Logical Fallacies and How to avoid them in Business Communications

Logical Fallacies and How to avoid them in Business Communications

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Logical Fallacies and How to avoid them in Business Communications

The field of business communications is commonly characterized by negotiations, arguments, bargains, and communiqués that determine the successes and failures of business organizations. While many corporate institutions may handle their communications casually, Guffey and Loewy (2010) opine that the possibility of committing fallacies in such communiqués may cost a business its reputation. It is for this reason that many organizations learn to identify and avoid logical fallacies.

Logical fallacies are substantial flaws in logic and reasoning that lead to unsound conclusions in relation to rationality. Considerably prevalent, ‘Ad hominem’ is a fallacy that defines biases and prejudiced judgment in relation to opponents’ character or personality (Grcic, 2006). Because this hampers business, it is important that those involved should focus on important subjects rather than opponents’ personality. Another common fallacy is ‘Post hoc ergo propter hoc’ which directly implies “after this, therefore because of this” (Grcic, 2006). An analogical situation that may indicate this is when an employee goes to a party with a boss and is promoted the next day. To avoid this fallacy, one should not believe that all occurrences are outcomes of preceding events. They may end up becoming overly casual with bosses. Perhaps the most common fallacy is ‘Faulty generalization’ which involves making rush decisions and drawing quick conclusions based on incomplete evidence or faulty parallelism. Again this can be avoided by keen analysis of situations and concepts (Van, 2011).

‘False analogy’ and ‘either / or’ also occur as major fallacies in business communications. In the former, the sharing of a characteristic between two or more elements may make one assume that the elements share all characteristics (Grcic, 2006). An example would be an assumption that professors are lazy because you know one who is lazy. In ‘either / or,’ one presents an argument whereby their suggestion is preferred or the only other alternative is unacceptable. The ‘Straw man fallacy’ also occurs when an individual simplifies points presented by their opponents and proceeds based on their simplifications (Van, 2011). Markedly, all the fallacies can be avoided by critical thinking, logical analysis, fair judgment, and proper scrutiny of principles applied in making various conclusions.


Grcic, J. (2006). Logic & life: An introduction to applied logic and critical thinking. Boston, MA: Pearson Education.

Guffey, M. E., & Loewy, D. (2010). Business Communication: Process and Product. Mason, OH: South-Western/Cengage Learning.

Van, V. J. E. (2011). Informal logical Fallacies: A brief Guide. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

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