The following is a memorandum from the director of personnel to the president of Get-Away
"Since our mechanics are responsible for inspecting and maintaining our aircraft, Get-Away Airlines should
pay to send them to the Quality-Care Seminar, a two-week seminar on proper maintenance procedures. I
recommend this seminar because it is likely to be a wise investment, given that the automobile racing industry
recently reported that the performance of its maintenance crews improved markedly after their crews had
attended the seminar. These maintenance crews perform many of the same functions as do our mechanics,
including refueling and repairing engines. The money we spend on sending our staff to the seminar will
inevitably lead to improved maintenance and thus to greater customer satisfaction along with greater profits for
In this argument, the arguer concludes that
sending the mechanics of Get-Away Airlines to a two-week
Quality-Care Seminar on proper maintenance procedures will automatically lead to improved maintenance and to
greater customer satisfaction along with greater profits for the airline.
To support the conclusion, the arguer
points out that
the performance of the maintenance crews in the automobile racing industry improved markedly
after their crews had attended the seminar.
In addition, the arguer reasons that
since the maintenance crews of
the automobile racing industry and the mechanics of Get-Away Airlines perform many of the same functions, the
airlines will gain similar benefits from the training program.
This argument suffers from several critical
First, the argument Is based on a false analogy.
The arguer simply assumes that
airplane mechanics and
automobile maintenance crews perform many similar functions,
but he does not provide any evidence that
functions are indeed comparable.
As we know,
the structure, operation and function of airplanes and those of
automobiles differ conspicuously.
It is true that
both the airplane and the automobile need refueling and engine
maintenance, but even here there exist fundamental differences: the structure and the building materials of each
other's engines are different, so is the oil they use.
, even though the two-week Quality-Care Seminar
proved effective in improving the performance of the maintenance crews in the automobile racing industry,
is no guarantee that
it will work just as well for airplane mechanics.
Second, the arguer commits a fallacy of hasty generalization.
Even if the maintenance of the airline has been
improved as a result of sending its mechanics to the Seminar, which is, of course, an
unwarranted assumption, it
does not follow that
there will be greater profits as well as greater customer satisfaction for the airline.
As we know,
customer satisfaction depends on several major factors other than good maintenance of the airplane.
customers are generally concerned about the punctuality, the on-board service, the ticket price, the luggage