Author: Prof. Richard Brixton
Physical Analogies for Problems
Physical Analogies for Problems
Use of analogies in designing solutions to problems uses two basically dissimilar things or scenarios that actually appear different to solve a problem by showing through analogical reasoning that indeed there is some sort of similarities that can be used to draw comparisons between the two elements, and thus design a solution from one element that can be applicable to the other. In this case study the analogical reasoning shall review two different problems-employee theft and teenage pregnancy-and analogies shall be drawn from either side to help solve problems related to the other side of the element.
Employee theft involves the illegal activity of employees taking up company property for their own use (either finances, intellectual property or office supplies) (Paulsell, 2007). On the other hand, teenage pregnancy denotes pregnancies that are conceived and held by young women who may reach their expected birth date before they get to age twenty.
Employee theft and teenage pregnancies have similarities when viewed from various differing perspectives. Employee theft, like teenage pregnancy occurs when there is a window of opportunity created by the overseeing authority (management or parents and teachers). If the management has no tight checks to avert theft occurrences then the employees are likely to steal. Similarly, if parents are not observant and keen on their children’s behavior and they let them have so much freedom and discretion, then they are likely to get teenage pregnancies (Gillham, 1997). Most theft cases also occur when employees are not in communication with the management to air their problems to seek for help-note that most theft cases occur when workers have financial problems. If they can communicate with the management and get help they are less likely to steal. Similarly, teenagers that cannot access their parents for help on emotional and relation issues are more likely to get teenage pregnancies because they lack parental attention. Opportunities to steal provided by poor check systems encourage theft at the work place, just like relaxed rules at home and schools can encourage occurrences of teenage pregnancies-this can be exemplified by instances where teenagers are easily allowed to go out for movies and club parties late in the nights (Paulsell, 2007). If policies are made clear on the consequences of theft and the issues are well highlighted, employees are less likely to be involved in theft. Similarly, if teenagers are made aware of the consequences of teenage pregnancies earlier they are less likely to get teenage pregnancies.
Similar problems have been dealt with punitively in the past. For example, cheating in exams has been punished through expulsions or suspensions. The expulsions serve as deterrence to future cases of cheating. On the other hand, the suspensions serve as a deterrent to offenders as well as a warning to other might-be cheaters. Another similar problem is promiscuity, where spouses cheat on each other. In the past the and even in the present this has been handled through personal discretion and the results have been ugly-such as divorce and violence. The root cause has been negligence of responsibility. The fact that a spouse neglects his or her partner and fails to offer spousal love and live up to his or her responsibilities leads to cheating. The results have been not so desirable and they have led to ugly incidences such as divorces and physical violence. This way of dealing with the problem has not been good. However, with time things have taken a different shape. Presently, counseling sessions and training is being offered to spouses to ensure that they live up to their responsibilities. The avoidance of negligence of responsibility in a relation is the main cause of promiscuity-through not the sole cause of it. Thus, if this problem can be handled spouses may live better lives than before. This is quite similar to the problem of teenage pregnancy and employee theft. If the teenagers are well informed about the consequences of pre-marital sex and made aware, they are likely to stay safe.
However, if the counseling is absent they are likely to fall into these problems. These problems are actually similar to the two problems because if they are not handled prior to their occurrence, there is little chance to make any positive changes thereafter. These problems are analogues because they require early attention, and they should be prevented before they occur because there damage is irreparable no matter how they are punitively punished. Employee theft has always been dealt with through the law and courts. Employees get punished through civil suits that label fines on them or incarceration. The highly set standards of punishment set were also used as a means to deter any future occurrences of theft by employees at the work place. On the other hand, teenagers that got pregnant in the past have been forced to go through abortions and some of them had to endure even physical and verbal abuse because of their actions which were considered disgraceful (Gillham, 1997). The physical and verbal abuse was meant to discourage teenagers from ever getting pregnant during their teenage years. Employee theft has always been dealt by the management and justice system. The management either developed internal means of punishing employees or they filed legal suits and let the legal system deal with employees found to have been involved in theft cases.
On the other hand, teenage pregnancies have always been dealt with by parents because they have always been the ones that are directly involved with the affairs of their children. Currently, dealing with employee theft has adopted a different direction with more efforts being driven towards preventive measures rather than legal measures of punishment and deterrence. The management is now more concerned with preventing employee theft by setting up frameworks that can prevent theft. Measures taken include reducing theft opportunities and teaching employees about employee theft and its consequences (Sloane, 2006). Similarly, dealing with teenage pregnancy has adopted more preventive measures than reactionary measures that take care of pregnancies when they occur. The parents and schooling institutions are taking an active role in training teenagers on how to avoid teenage pregnancies as well as prevent them through the use of contraceptives.
Through an analogical analysis, employee theft and teenage pregnancies are all encouraged by the creation of opportunistic moments that allow teenagers to engage in activities such as drinking and partying that lead to early pregnancies. The lack of communication and open airing of opinions, ideas and personal problems between the teenagers and parents or teachers and between the employees and the management are also identified as key causes that lead to employee theft and teenage pregnancies. Early education on employee theft delivered to employees and teenage pregnancy education delivered to teenagers act as main solutions to preventing the occurrences of either of the problems. Therefore, to prevent these problems, it is recommended that opportunities of committing either of the actions be reduced through regular checks on activities so as to prevent the occurrence of these problems. Education provision is also identified as a key solution to these problems. Similarly, the adoption of preventive measures is preferred as a better means of preventing the occurrence of these two problems (Sloane, 2006).
Gillham, B. (1997). The facts about teenage pregnancies, Continuum International Publishing Group.
Paulsell, M. (2007). The problem of employee theft, retrieved on 6th November, 2010 from http://www.missouribusiness.net/sbtdc/docs/problem_employee_theft.asp.
Sloane, P. (2006).The Leader’s Guide to Lateral Thinking Skills: Unlocking the Creativity and Innovation in You and Your Team, 2nd edition. Kogan Page Publishers.
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