Zаrа саsе study аnаlysis
GUIDELINES FOR CASE ANALYSIS
The case method is an important tool in educating managers by allowing students to “bring to life” conceptual material that is often difficult to understand without application; and to aid in integrating tools and concepts you have learned in previous coursework by applying them to relevant management decisions.
The cases used in this course are a record of issues and problems actually faced by business executives, with supporting facts, opinions, and financial data on which decisions were based. These “real-life” situations are summarized by casewriters who provide you with all (and perhaps more) of the relevant information that was available to the decision makers involved. If the information presented seems incomplete, remember this only mirrors the business world reality of decision making with limited information. Obtaining more information costs time and money, resources which are scarce in most situations.
Each case, like each management situation, is unique. Since there is no one best procedure for solving problems or making decisions, there are no right or wrong answers in case analysis. Each class member will approach the case in a different manner. However, the following procedure can serve as a rough guide to your analysis which can be fine-tuned to personal tastes:
1. Read the Case. The first step is to get acquainted with the situation. Read through the case quickly, getting a general feel for what is going on. Who are the main players? What types of information are available to you? Go back and reread the case carefully, paying particular attention to case facts, figures and diagrams. Be careful to separate symptoms and problems. Casewriters will often flag important issues by italics, headings or questions at the end of the case.
2. Define the Problem. Put yourself in the place of the decision makers in the case. What are the critical issues? Does one problem stand out as primary, with other problems secondary or contingent upon it? Establish a time dimension to the problems; which problems demand immediate action, and which are long-term or strategic in nature? What critical assumptions are being made by the decision makers in the case, and how do these assumptions influence their chosen strategies? Try to state the problems so as to identify: (a) who must take action, (b) why action must be taken, and (c) when?
3. Build your Analysis. Gather the important facts and concepts in the case, and discard unimportant or fringe issues and data. Build a theme for your analysis, and establish the importance of the problems you have identified. Incorporate your knowledge of cultural impart on the situation, financial analysis, accounting techniques, marketing methods, economics, and human behavior into your analysis. Put theory to work in your paper, by using concepts from the readings and lectures to analyze the problems and issues and explain why they require responses by management.
4. Develop Alternatives. Examine the alternative courses of action that are available to the firm. Make a list of the advantages and disadvantages of each. Don’t use “straw-man” alternatives (those which are patently unfeasible
or undesirable). Develop a few, well-reasoned responses which could solve the problems and critically evaluate them.
5. Make a Recommendation. Based on your analysis of alternative courses of action, choose the best and recommend this course of action. Be specific in your statements. How will your recommendation be implemented? Circle back through the case to identify possible points of inconsistency between your recommendation and case facts. What potential problems might crop up? How will internal constituencies (e.g. management, employees) and external constituencies (e.g. competitors, stockholders) react, and how will you handle their responses? What assumptions have you made in developing your recommendation?