Sample Response to GMAT AWA Argument Questions
The following appeared in a memorandum from the business department of
the Apogee Company. “When the Apogee Company had all its operations in
one location, it was more profitable than it is today. Therefore, the
Apogee Company should close down its field offices and conduct all its
operations from a single location. Such centralization would improve
profitability by cutting costs and helping the company maintain better
supervision of all employees.” Discuss how well reasoned . . . Etc.
The author argues that Apogee Company improves profitability by closing
down its field offices and conducting all its operations from a single
location. To support this argument, the author states that such
centralization would improve profitability by cutting costs and helping
the company maintain better supervision of all employees. In addition,
the author points out that Apogee Company enjoyed a more profitable
business in the past when it had all its operations in one location.
However, the author's argument is flawed in three aspects.
In the first place, the author regards a complicated managerial issue as
a single-step change in operations and ignores many relevant factors. A
company's profitability is determined by a whole bunch of economic,
social, political, and cultural factors as well as management skills and
employees' attitude. Luck also plays an important role. It can be
reasonably assumed that Apogee Company is suffering a low profitability
at present. The reasons can be many, so any single adjustment without
considering other possible influential factors is incomplete, and any
oversimplified conclusion is unfounded.
In the second place, it is dangerous for Apogee Company to cut costs
deeper and supervise employees better by resorting to centralization.
The company may lose its market share because it concentrates its entire
resource in one single location and has no direct access to some of
those markets that it has offices at present. It will be difficult for
the company to get first-hand information and make quick decisions to
fight competitors. Moreover, Apogee Company may also lose its customers'
interest and trust. People always tend to conduct business with somebody
who they can see whenever they want to see. Apogee Company may easily
become another unfortunate company that is forgotten by its customers in
a region where it does not have a permanent office.
In the third place, it is senseless to compare the present operations of
Apogee Company with the operations in the past. The world is changing
and the business environment is different. Competition is probably more
severe than before, for example, so Apogee Company does not have the
relative advantage it had. The only way for the company to keep
competitive is to keep tighter relationships with its customers and
provide better and quicker services to them, but this may require Apogee
Company to open more offices rather than to close most of the current
In sum, the author's conclusion is unfounded. To improve its
profitability, Apogee Company should analyze its business environment
carefully and, without losing its current business relationships,
explore new opportunities. If it simply closed its current offices, the
most possible result is that it loses its customers and therefore
suffers even lower profitability.