The following appeared in a memo from the president of Bower Builders, a company that constructs new homes.
"A nationwide survey reveals that the two most-desired home features are a large family room and a large, well-appointed kitchen. A number of homes in our area built by our competitor Domus Construction have such features and have sold much faster and at significantly higher prices than the national average. To boost sales and profits, we should increase the size of the family rooms and kitchens in all the homes we build and should make state-of-the-art kitchens a standard feature. Moreover, our larger family rooms and kitchens can come at the expense of the dining room, since many of our recent buyers say they do not need a separate dining room for family meals."
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 claims that because families prefer homes that have larger family room and kitchen and Domus Construction better caters to the needs of its customer, its houses are sold at higher prices than national average. Consequently, the author concluded that Bower Builders should expand their family rooms and kitchens at the expense of dining room to boost sales and profits. Although the recommendation looks promising, there are some unsubstantiated assumptions that underlie the author’s argument and could be wrong. When new evidence emerges, invalidating those assumptions, the author’s conclusion will be seriously weakened.
To start with, in concluding that the two most-desired home features are a large family room and a well-appointed kitchen, the author cites the result of the national wide survey, the applicability of which is assumed to extend to all areas. However, in the areas where Bower Builders mainly operates, there might be particularities that a national survey largely fails to capture. For example, such areas’ residents may have lower-than-average socioeconomic status. In this case, the survey will not be very helpful in guiding Bower’s future business plan, and hence will make the author’s conclusion shaky.
Moreover, the author also assumes that Domus Construction’s homes are selling faster and at higher prices because of large family room and a large, well-appointed kitchen. Yet, little information about Domus Construction is presented and its success might be caused by other factors. For example, Domus Construction could choose to build homes at places that have easy access to convenient transportation, or places with great natural views and kind neighborhoods. This scenario would make buyers willing to buy their homes at higher prices even without large family rooms and kitchens. Such a scenario, if true, shall disprove the author’s assumption and weaken the final recommendation as well.
Additionally, quoting many of recent buyers saying that they do not need a separate dining room for family meals, the author assumes that such a claim to be representative and worth referring to. Nonetheless, recent buyers’ claim might be biased. What is more worthwhile to investigate may be the demand from potential customers, who might consider separate dining rooms an important feature when buying houses. For instance, if there is a comprehensive survey through years showing that separate dining rooms are highly expected by customers, both existing and potential, the author’s assumption must be rejected and the conclusion will be seriously challenged.
Finally, even if the aforementioned assumptions are valid, the author also predicts that sales and profits will grow as a result, too. Here, the underlying assumptions are that the new housing price will still be affordable to customers and the cost of renovation will be exceeded by the increased sales. Both of the two assumptions could be wrong. To illustrate, if the potential buyers cannot afford the house price after renovation, there will not be boosted sales, let alone greater profits. Alternatively, should the cost for renovation be significantly higher than the projected revenue growth, Bower Builders would actually suffer losses despite rising sales. In such scenarios, where the author’s assumption are unwarranted, Bower should not set to expand the family rooms and kitchens.
To sum up, there are several unverified assumptions in the lines of reasoning. If new evidence emerges and proves these assumptions unwarranted, the conclusion will be weakened.