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These essays were written under exam conditions.


[108] Critical judgment of work in any given field has little value unless it comes from
someone who is an expert in that field.
Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the
statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting
your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true
and explain how these considerations shape your position.

Many people can easily give comments on others work nowadays, but are they valuable? The critical judgement of work is more valuable when it comes from an expert in the field. Most of the time, the quality of work need to be judged with professional knowledge in that field. Otherwise, it is just a casual comment. In addition, the judgement on a work better comes from by the consumers of the work, who really cares about its quality.

In general, a wide scope of work in the society requires professional knowledge to carry out, e.g. medical practitioners, engineers, lawyer. The laymen is unable to make valuable judgement on their work as they don't possess the necessary knowledge in that area to really understand the quality of one particular work. On the other hand, an expert with formal training and experience in that field is more able to provide a more reliable judgement. For example, the spacecraft built by the spacecraft engineers cannot be easily appraised by someone with no knowledge in that area. Only an expert is able to judge whether the spacecraft is prepared to be launched or not. This situation can be easily extended to other fields which also need professional knowledge to carry out the work, and not suitable for laymen to give casual opinions.

Besides the necessity of professional knowledge to judge the quality of a work, it is also important to note who will be the consumer of the outcome of the work. An accounting statement is going to be reported to the Head of Accounting firm or a CEO of a company. The statement is something arcane to a person without knowledge in accounting, and that person doesn't care about the statement after all. This case is very common in the society, meaning that a work sometimes is produced solely for the usage of a small group of people. Then, why do we need to care about the judgement of someone unrelated to the usage of the work?

Even though the points above is applicable to most of the industry in the society, there is still some exception. One may consider the industry of pop music. The product of this industry is songs that to be consumed by the mass public. It is quite obvious that the work need to consider the feelings and judgements of the listeners - which are mostly not experts in pop music - implies that for some qualified cases, we need to care about the views of laymen on the work.

After all, the value of a judgement on most of the work is largely depend on the professional knowledge of the one who makes the judgement and consumes the output of the work.

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[14] The following appeared as part of an article in a business magazine.
A recent study rating 300 male and female Mentian advertising executives according to the
average number of hours they sleep per night showed an association between the amount of
sleep the executives need and the success of their firms. Of the advertising firms studied,
those whose executives reported needing no more than 6 hours of sleep per night had higher
profit margins and faster growth. These results suggest that if a business wants to prosper, it
should hire only people who need less than 6 hours of sleep per night.
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 argument is flawed for relying on numerous unwarranted assumptions, which render the argument invalid. The study is not as reliable as it may seem, the business sector covered, the range of sampling are all undermining the validity of the argument. Also, it only provides a correlation but not a causation, which is pretty misleading.

Please carefully note that the study is only on advertising executives, but the implication of the argument is drawing on the whole business sector. This may be misleading if this "golden rule" only works in the advertising sector. For the human resource management sector this maybe another case. What if the human resource manager need to make judgement carefully which depends on sufficient sleep to get rid of his/her tiredness? To strengthen the argument, it is better to depend on study that covers the whole business sector.

Even if we assumed the first assumption is valid, there is another unwarranted assumption underlying the conclusion in the argument. One should consider whether the study cited is reliable, what if the study is biased? The study only covers 300 people and the countries involved are unknown. The 300 people interviewed may not be a significant sampling. They may provide biased result by chance because of the small number of sampling. Moreover, if the study is only based on UK, it may not be applicable to the business sector in US. This can easily be observed that to make this assumption less vulnerable, the argument should consider study that covered a larger sample (e.g. 3000 people) and companies from different countries.

One more assumption remains unwarranted is that the study shows only a correlation between sleep and the performance of the firms, but not a causation. The result may be due to the fact that those who achieve higher profit margins are more hardworking than their counterparts, often work after midnight. That is why they sleep less, but not the other way round. Also, if a person sleep less but he/she wastes the time on non-productive entertainment only and he/she becomes tired and lazy when it is time to work, it is reasonable to foresee that hiring this person will not improve the performance of the company.

With the aforementioned unwarranted assumptions, it can be seen that the argument has a great room for improvement.

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