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thewanderinggrad

First Issue and Argument Essay Review - help please (!!)

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Issue Prompts:

Claim: In any field — business, politics, education, government — those in power should step down after five years.

Reason: The surest path to success for any enterprise is revitalization through new leadership.

Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim and the reason on which that claim is based.

In each field of study and society, those in power are in control of high-level, high-pressure issues. They are experts in their fields and they have spent, sometimes decades, working to get there. The ones who last have gotten where they are have done so on merit, skill, and knowledge. Cycling through those preeminent in their field every five years would lead to a lower level of success overall, constant, chaotic change, and ridding institutions of one of their most valuable keys to continued success: trust in their leader’s abilities and judgement.

The adage, “knowledge is power” holds true for many fields, especially ones as prominent as business, politics, and government. Most fields benefit from people in power who have deep knowledge of their area and are experts - scientists who have spent decades researching the same topic, teachers who have specialized in one area of study, and CEOs who have spent their careers with the same company. Having wells of knowledge creates leaders who can draw on their own stores and their personal experience to solve dynamic problems and forge strong entities, such as businesses, governments, and universities. There is also the opposite side of the adage, which says that “power corrupts” - a phrase that looks over a fundamental element of high-powered, high-performing entities and institutions. Namely, if there is corruption (moral, financial, or legal) it will not be tolerated on the scale of CEOs, Presidents, and scholars.

Suggesting that those in power should change every five years also cuts out one of the most valuable aspects of having a seasoned, veteran member in a leadership role: losing that much industry-specific or company-specific knowledge, and arguably more important, the trust that is built over 5 years, is tantamount to firing and hiring all new people every five years. The intrinsic knowledge that is gained with experience is not transient from one leader to another, as is not their leadership style or the trust they have built over time. These factors are more crucial to the success of companies, the happiness of employees, and the performance of the leader than anything else they do. Getting rid of someone after so little as five years would certainly add new leadership- whether that new leadership would “revitalize” is unlikely.

Five years is not much time when talking about the life cycles of companies, educational institutions, and certainly not governments. Leaders set the culture and the style of their organization, which takes time to do - and undo. Changing leaders so quickly would likely muddle the culture, create backlash among employees, and be slower in reality that many would think. A change in leadership is also not guaranteed to revitalize the company. It would keep things in a state of flux, never allow for the normal flow of things to be establised, and detract from the important work being done.

Ultimately, Trying to revitalize an organization is better acheived in strategy than in leadership changes. Talking about central institutions such as government and education, and changing something as important as their leadership is unwise and unreasonable to do so often and five years.

 

Argument Prompts:

The following is a recommendation from the Board of Directors of Monarch Books.

"We recommend that Monarch Books open a café in its store. Monarch, having been in business at the same location for more than twenty years, has a large customer base because it is known for its wide selection of books on all subjects. Clearly, opening the café would attract more customers. Space could be made for the café by discontinuing the children's book section, which will probably become less popular given that the most recent national census indicated a significant decline in the percentage of the population under age ten. Opening a café will allow Monarch to attract more customers and better compete with Regal Books, which recently opened its own café."

Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the recommendation is likely to have the predicted result. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the recommendation.

This argument from the Board of Directors leaves many unanswered questions that ultimately lead to flawed logic. Primarily, their comparison that adding a cafe would allow Monarch Books to better compete with Regal Books relies on basic assumptions that the two stores are the exact same.

 

the question that needs to be answered is: what is Monarch’s customer base? They have a well-established customer base that relies on them for their wide selection of books, but we need to know how many of their customers would spend money in their cafe and how many more customers the added cafe would attract. If their customer base is more frugal, the cafe could fail; if their base is a significant portion of the town, can they expect the cafe to attract more customers to their bookshop? If Monarch Books’ does not make much money from their kids’ section, if their customers are affluent, and/or if they have a smaller portion of the town as their customer base, adding the cafe in lieu of the kid’s section could add to their success.

 

Another question needing an answer is how much of their sales/how much of their client base is geared toward kids? If their kids’ section is a large part of their store and their store’s profits, getting rid of the section all together could make them less profitable. If their base is family-oriented, parents and their children may stop patronizing the store wholly. A cost-benefit analysis needs to be done comparing the kids’ section sales to the cafe’s projected sales in order to make an informed decision about whether to install the cafe and get rid of the kids’ section. If Monarch’s customer base is not family oriented and children do not frequent their store, adding the more profitable cafe could help Monarch compete better with Regal.

 

Lastly, we need to answer the question of if Monarch adding a cafe will allow it to more directly compete with Regal books. The assumption made was that Regal Books and Monarch Books are the exact same and the only differentiating factor between them was Regal’s cafe. We need to establish other differences that could account for Monarch’s need to compete with Regal. We need to know the location of the stores - if Regal is closer to a university than Monarch, if they are in a wealthier part of town, if Monarch is outside the city, etc. Knowing the size and selection of their collections would help us see better the difference in clientele and spending habits; finally, we need to know if Regal Books’ success is in large part due to their cafe, or some other factor of their store. If Regal has a large kids’ section and their cafe has been wildly successful, as well as establishing that the two stores are similar, Monarch could let go of their kids’ section and put in a cafe to avoid fighting for sales in both areas.

 

Overall, we need to answer these questions in order to make an informed decision about Monarch’s next business decision. With the forthcoming information, we cannot accurately decide whether or not a cafe is the right choice for Monarch.

 

Edited by thewanderinggrad

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