Apples to oranges comparisons occur when people examine two objects and draw incorrect conclusions. The problem comes from the fact that the two objects are dissimilar and should not be compared.
It happens often in Lean. Employees resisting Lean may compare the number of machines they run in a Lean company to the number they used to run, and conclude that they are overworked.
In truth, the manner in which the workers are ‘running the machines’ is much different when the company is Lean, so the comparison doesn’t paint the whole picture. It is an ‘apples to oranges comparison’.
Comparisons, to be effective and valid, must compare similar objects, i.e. apples to apples, not apples and oranges.