In a large company, (14)________ people is about as common as using a gun or a switch-blade to (15)________ an argument. As a result, most managers have little or no experience of firing people, and they find it emotionally traumatic; as a result, they often delay the act interminably, much as an unhappy spouse will prolong a bad marriage. And when the firing is done, it is often done clumsily, with far worse side effects than are necessary. Do the world-class software organizations have a different way of firing people? No, but they do the deed swiftly, humanely, and professionally.
The key point here is to view the fired employee as a “failed product” and to ask how the process (16) ________ such a phenomenon in the first place.
The most appropriate word is