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GRE Argument Essay: Climpson Industries Internet Monitoring Software - With A Free Essay Review
Prompt: ‘The vice president of human resources at Climpson Industries sent the following recommendation to the company's president. “In an effort to improve our employees' productivity, we should implement electronic monitoring of employees' Internet use from their workstations. Employees who use the Internet from their workstations need to be identified and punished if we are to reduce the number of work hours spent on personal or recreational activities, such as shopping or playing games. By installing software to detect employees' Internet use on company computers, we can prevent employees from wasting time, foster a better work ethic at Climpson, and improve our overall profits."
Write a response in which you examine the stated and/or unstated assumptions of the argument. Be sure to explain how the argument depends on these assumptions and what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions prove unwarranted.’
The vice president of Climpson Industries recommends that in order to improve employees’ productivity, the company should implement electronic monitoring of employees’ internet used from their workstations. However, the recommendation is flawed. First of all, the vice president assumes that if employees are restricted on personal activities, they would then spend more time on their work. However, this assumption is very questionable. Preventing employees from spending less time on internet, does not predict that employees will spend more time on work. For instance, if a employee in not in a working mood, then, this monitoring system may prevent her from doing recreational things online, but it can prevent her from playing games on phones or chatting with others. These alternative possibilities can weaken the recommendation.
Moreover, the recommendation is only valid based on the assumption that the longer hours an employee works, the more productive he is. In some situations, this assumption is unwarranted, because productivity is not a matter of how long a person works, but how efficiently an employee works. Is the worker who spends 8 hours on his work but does not finish the assignmnet more productive than the other worker who spends 7 hours on his work with an hour break, but finishes the same assignment? This alternative possibility can weaken the vice president argument who assumes that the more time employees spend on their work, the more productive they would be. Even though, it is logical in some sense, but the vice president ignores that sometimes recreational activities can refresh people’s mind, and help them relax, thus improving employees’ productivity.
Further, the vice president assumes that the monitoring systems would force employees to work, thus allowing Climpson to foster a better work ethic. However, this assumption may be unwarranted; it is possible that employees would not like this monitoring system, and feel they are not trusted, then, this can have a negative effect on work ethic at the company, because employees are not happy, and feel the company does not trust them.
Overall, the recommendation is based on several assumptions that are not clearly addressed in the argument. When these assumptions are unwarranted, the recommendation is not convincing.
All of your arguments here are pretty reasonable. You might want to work on improving the clarity with which you carry out the specific instructions to "explain how the argument depends" on the assumptions you identify, and to explain "what the implications are for the argument if the assumptions prove unwarranted.
You tend to merely assert that the assumptions you identify are assumptions. For example, you write: "The vice president assumes that if employees are restricted on personal activities, they would spend more time on their work." That's an assertion rather than an explanation. An explanation might look like this:
"The vice president concludes that monitoring internet activity will enable the company to ‘prevent employees from wasting time’. Since monitoring internet activity is only likely to prevent employees from wasting time on the Internet, the vice president's conclusion necessarily presupposes that workers will not find other ways, offline, to waste time and so will spend more time on their work."
On the second point noted above, your explanation of the implications for the argument tends to be a bit vague. This is the case, for example, with the following statement: "These alternative possibilities can weaken the recommendation." A clearer explanation might look something like this:
"If the vice president's assumption proves unwarranted, and workers are likely to find other ways to avoid work, then the specific conclusion concerning the impact of installing software to detect employees’ Internet use on time wasting in the company would be false, and there would be no grounds for predicting an improved work ethic or improved profits"
P.S. The examples above, you probably feel, are a bit ungainly, but they were written with a view to emphasizing (perhaps overemphasizing) a particular, required quality: explicitness. Your statements should be explicit; they don't need to be ostentatiously explicit!