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The following appeared in a memorandum sent by a vice-president of the
Nadir Company to the company’s human resources department.
Page numbers AWA
“Nadir does not need to adopt the costly ‘family-friendly’ programs that have been
proposed, such as part-time work, work at home, and job-sharing. When these
programs were made available at the Summit Company, the leader in its industry,
only a small percentage of employees participated in them. Rather than adversely
affecting our profitability by offering these programs, we should concentrate on
offering extensive training that will enable employees to increase their
Discuss how well reasoned . . . etc.
In this memorandum the vice president of Nadir Company recommends against the adoption of “family-friendly” program. The author’s
line of reasoning is that family-friendly programs such as part-time work, work-at-home and job-sharing need not be adopted because
Nadir’s employees will not widely participate in them. The vice president’s recommendation is unconvincing for several reasons.
In the first place, the fact that only a small percentage of Summit Company’s employees participated in these programs when they
were offered is scant evidence that Nadir’s employees will do likewise. To warrant this inference the author must assume that Summit is
representative of other companies such as Nadir. Unfortunately, the author has failed to provide evidence for this crucial assumption.
For example, if Summit is an emerging high-tech company whose employees are young and unmarried whereas Nadir is an established
low-tech company whose employees are middle-aged and married we can expect that the percentage of employees who desire to
participate in family-friendly programs would be considerably different. Lacking specific information about the companies in question it
is difficult to give much credence to the vice president’s position.
In the second place, the vice president has failed to make a case for the contention that the adoption of family-friendly programs will
adversely affect Nadir’s profitability. On the face of it none of the programs mentioned require capital outlay for new equipment or
additional office space. Unless the vice president assumes that employees who participate in such programs are less productive than
their full-time counterparts it is difficult to comprehend the line of reasoning that leads to this view.
Finally, the vice president assumes that “family-friendly” programs will not increase Nadir’s productivity. Lacking evidence to the
contrary, there is little motivation to accept this assumption as true. In fact, common sense suggests that part-time workers and jobsharers
would be as productive as, or perhaps more productive than, full-time workers.
In conclusion, the vice president’s recommendation against adopting family-friendly programs is not convincing. To strengthen the
conclusion it must be shown that Summit is representative of other companies such as Nadir. Additionally, evidence would have to be
provided for the assumption that employees who participate in family-friendly programs are less productive than other employees.