Additional reading

I’m adding this page to share content I would have come across reading other blogs; or to share alternatives to my views. All credits will be mentioned.

Analysis of an Argument

On 05/24/2012, I had attempted a sample Analysis of an Argument essay in the Analytical Writing Assessment section of the GMAT.

The following is an actual AWA essay that received the highest rating from the GMAT website:

This argument states that it makes financial sense for employers to make the workplace safer because by making the workplace safer then lower wages could be paid to employees. This conclusion is based on the premise that as the list of physical injury increases, the wages paid to employees should also increase. However, there are several assumptions that may not necessarily apply to this argument. For example, the costs associated with making the workplace safe must outweigh the increased payroll expenses due to hazardous conditions. Also, one must look at the plausability of improving the work environment. And finally, because most companies agree that as the risk of injury increases so will wages doesn’t necessarily mean that the all companies which have hazardous work environments agree.

The first issue to be addressed is whether increased labor costs justify large capital expenditures to improve the work environment. Clearly one could argue that if making the workplace safe would cost an exorbitant amount of money in comparison to leaving the workplace as is and paying slightly increased wages than it would not make sense to improve the work environment. For example, if making the workplace safe would cost $100 million versus additional payroll expenses of only $5,000 per year, it would make financial sense to simply pay the increased wages. No business or business owner with any sense would pay all that extra money just to save a couple dollars and improve employee health and relations. To consider this, a cost benefit analysis must be made. I also feel that although a cost benefit analysis should be the determining factor with regard to these decisions making financial sense, it may not be the determining factor with regard to making social, moral and ethical sense.

This argument also relies on the idea that companies solely use financial sense in analysing improving the work environment. This is not the case. Companies look at other considerations such as the negative social ramifications of high on-job injuries. For example, Toyota spends large amounts of money improving its environment because while its goal is to be profitable, it also prides itself on high employee morale and an almost perfectly safe work environment. However, Toyota finds that it can do both, as by improving employee health and employee relations they are guaranteed a more motivated staff, and hence a more efficient staff; this guarantees more money for the business as well as more safety for the employees.

Finally one must understand that not all work environments can be made safer. For example, in the case of coal mining, a company only has limited ways of making the work environment safe. While companies may be able to ensure some safety precautions, they may not be able to provide all the safety measures necessary. In other words, a mining company has limited ability to control the air quality within a coal mine and therefore it cannot control the risk of employees getting blacklung. In other words, regardless of the intent of the company, some jobs are simply dangerous in nature.

In conclusion, while at first it may seem to make financial sense to improve the safety of the work environment sometimes it truly does not make financial sense. Furthermore, financial sense may not be the only issue a company faces. Other types of analyses must be made such as the social ramifications of an unsafe work environment and the overall ability of a company to improve that environment (i.e., coal mine). Before any decision is made, all this things must be considered, not simply the reduction of payroll expenses.

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Need a Fresh Start? Try Blogging

by Sathishkumar on December 21, 2010

If you’re out of a job or simply feeling like you’ve lost your way, blogging might be the perfect activity to help you find yourself again. Many do not realize that blogging can actually create new job opportunities or guide you in the direction of success. By identifying your own professional interests and writing about them, it can show people what you’re capable of developing.

Fresh Start Blogging

Step 1: Find what gets you up in the mornings.

All human beings have something that inspires them. It may be the latest political debate or the mating habits of puffins. It doesn’t matter what interests you; all that matters is that you dig deep down inside to find it. Chances are, once you do, your life will immediately have more purpose because you’ll be tending to your own needs and thus demonstrating that you’re a passionate individual–something potential employers love to see.

Step 2: Find a blogging platform that best suits your needs.

When choosing a blogging platform, you must think about what you’d like your blog to do for you. Blogging can be the perfect way to factor in “me time,” but you must also think about where you’d like to end up professionally. Think about which blogging platform might attract people you could use to network.

Step 3: Brainstorm ideas for blogs.

No reader wants to read the same post over again, so brainstorm a few ideas for posts before you start so you’ll be motivated to write regularly. You’ll lose readers if there are big chunks of time during which you’ve neglected posting. Brainstorming ideas will give you some ammunition in case you come down with writer’s block.

Step 4: Recruit potential followers.

Although you might get some followers from people who like to browse the web randomly, it is better to select your followers by telling friends, family, and potential employers about your blog. You should try telling people who are most likely to have some investment in your blog. If your blog is appropriate, post the link on a Facebook status or in an email signature to make sure that people know what you’ve been doing with your time.

Step 5: Make your blog your baby.

In order for a blog to be successful, you must pour your heart and soul into it. If the idea of doing this doesn’t appeal to you, perhaps you’ll need to pick another topic or reconsider the idea of blogging altogether. You can pick out the best blogs on the internet by their strong sense of passion. You should be visiting your blog each day to see what comments people have made–and to respond accordingly.  A blog–especially one that you create to showcase your professional talents–should be something you’re incredibly proud of.

Author Bio: J.Jacobs is a guest blogger for Pounding the Pavement and a writer on the subject of becoming a nail technician for the Guide to Career Education.

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This next piece was written by a very good friend Divyatman for Voziq, who have some excellent social media analytics tools at their disposal . I’d recommend anyone interested to read them regularly. The article and all images belong to Voziq No copyright infringement intended. Happy reading. Read more from Voziq

 How retail brands market themselves in social media? : Analysis of BrandZ top retail brands

The much awaited release of 7th annual BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Brands ranking by Millward Brown was released during May 2012. This report named the world’s top 100 brands sector wise along with their brand value and the change in brand value over the previous year. According to the report, the previous year witnessed a mere growth of 0.4% in the aggregate value of the world’s top brands not completely unexpected given the economy is still recovering from the recession.

One of the most important industry sector that has been adversely affected by the economic downturn is retail. Manufacturers are facing cash shortages leading to less flexible credit policies for the retail stores. On the other hand, demand from customers has also taken a hit. Naturally this has led to stiffer competition in an already crowded industry sector.

“A bend in the road is not the end of the road, unless you fail to make the turn.” – Anonymous

It looks like the retail brands have taken inspiration from the quote above. Instead of sitting down and waiting for the economy to recover, major brands in this sector have taken the initiative to expand their base across developing markets, develop promotional events to engage customers and to incorporate new channels for sales and marketing efforts.

Social media engagement has been one such initiative taken up by almost all top retail brands to engage customers and communicate more effectively with them. Some brands are being cautious to begin with and have limited their efforts to just social media presence, while others have taken the leap to social media analytics as well using the latest Social Media Monitoring Tools.

We decided to use the Brandz top 100 report and figure out how the brand value for the top brands in retails compare with the buzz in social media about these brands. We selected the following brands for our social media analysis and intentionally included the e-retailers like Amazon and eBay in the list to identify the difference in social media strategy adopted by the e-retailers and conventional retailers.

Brandz Top Retailers: Social Media Presence Vs. Brand Value

Above graph has the number of social media mentions on y-axis, % positive sentiment on x-axis and the bubble size is proportional to the brand value according to Millward Brown’s Brandz report.

It clearly shows a trend between the brand value for a store and the number of mentions it had on social media in the previous month. It also shows one expected trend that e-retailers have a clear edge over conventional stores when it comes to social media. Not only do the e-retailers have more mentions on social media, the % of positive sentiment in their mentions is comparably higher than those for most of the conventional retailers.

One of the possible reasons behind this positive buzz could be that the users of e-retail brands and social media have a good amount of overlap and thus when a user has a positive experience with them he / she freely expresses that opinion on social media. Whereas in the case of conventional stores, their users tend to use social media channels only when they have had a bad experience and want to express their anger or frustration. To confirm this hypothesis we decided to do a text frequency analysis to see the words that are being used in negative mentions for Walmart.

Brandz Top Retailers: Social Media Sentiment Cloud for Walmart

Looking at the word cloud for these negative sentiments of Walmart, it emerges that people at Walmart are the biggest reason for their customers to vent out negativity on social media.

Brand value is after all people’s perception about a company/product and social media acts as a great platform for people to express themselves freely which results in higher accuracy of the views about the company/product. The number of mentions can easily show us the brand’s popularity but finding out the brand value in social media in a science in itself requiring various analytical skills. However with the advent of the various social media monitoring tools this exercise has become a lot easier and a lot more valuable.

Please watch this space for more interesting blogs on social media analysis in the weeks to come as we continue to monitor social media events as and when they happen. We would love to have your suggestions / feedback on the above article.

If you are interested in social media monitoring tools from VOZIQ to track and monitor online content for your brand, feel free to request a demo or open an account with VOZIQ.

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