The Case Study Method:
An Introduction
By
Michael McDermott

1

© McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
The Case Study Method
 What is it?
 Why use it?
 How do I become accomplished at it?
 Where can I practice it?

2

© M...
What is it?

3

© McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
The Case Study Method: Making a
Presentation
 For a student this involves the following parts:
 Processing: Performing t...
The Case Study Method: Facilitating a Class
Room Discussion
 This involves the following parts:
 Processing: Performing ...
Processing a Case
 This is not just reading the case;
 Nor is it simply getting a highlighter pen;
 It demands that you...
Processing a Case
The Case

The “Story”

My Response

Sentence 1

In 2014 the long-established, highly
successful, US comp...
Processing a Case
 Now you can see from the previous slide that it is impossible

to answer the questions posed based upo...
How long does it take to undertake this
process?
 Obviously it depends on the length
 A 500-word article may take an hou...
How do I Perform The Case Study
Method?
 Assume that the author has included each sentence for a good

reason…. So make s...
How do I Perform The Case Study
Method?
 You need to consider the importance of all aspects of the





11

case stud...
Preparing
 A presentation that adopts a standard formula in terms of

structure is not ideal

 However having said that ...
Preparing: my advice
 Identify what you consider to the key question that needs to





13

be addressed in the case
...
Presenting your analysis in PPt
Do’s

Don’ts

Add value

Simply provide a summary

Facilitate comparisons

Make such impos...
This Class vs Others
This Class
 The presentation should
not require commentary –
your PPt in the business
world may only...
What is the Case Study Method?
 A case study is a description of a company’s evolving

performance

 The authors’ presen...
What is the Case Study Method
 Action Learning
 Problem solving
 Analysis is based ONLY on the material in the case its...
Why Use the Case Study Method?
 The emphasis is upon developing life-long skills
 It’s like riding a bicycle
 Once you ...
The Case Study Method
 The case study is full of ‘evidence’
 The aim is to analyze this evidence and present a coherent
...
Why Use the Case Study Method?
 The skills gained are precisely what businesses and

organizations need and value

 Trus...
When and Where Can I Practice the key
skills?
 In class, you are provided with written case studies
 However, every day ...
When and Where Can I Practice the key
skills?
 When you go to a restaurant you are going to leave

having performed case ...
When and Where Can I Practice the key
skills?
 When you are reading the business section of the newspaper,

you can be mo...
When and Where Can I Practice the key
skills?
 In short, everywhere
 This class is seeking to develop a new or improved ...
When and Where Can I Practice the key
skills?
 So open your eyes!
 Consider all those businesses that you deal with or

...
Common Reactions
 This is new
 This is different
 This is difficult
 All the above are true

26

© McDermott, 2014, mc...
Common Reactions
 “I need direction”
 But you are seeking to develop rare skills
 This is not ‘strategy by numbers’

27...
The Reality…It’s Like Golf
 Many of us play golf
 Playing regularly will improve us
 Many may become average players
 ...
Presenting The Case Study

29

© McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
Common Failings
The most common failings at first are:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
30

Failure to identify any issue(s)
Present a...
Common Failings
 In every slide you need to provide added value
 That means helping the reader/audience by offering anal...
Presenting The Case Study
 In terms of presentations help your reader/audience
 Use Tables to facilitate comparisons
 U...
Example of Using Table
Factor

Variable

Impact on
Company

Impact of Issue
(1-5)

Political

Ban on imports
from Asia

Op...
Example of Using Table
Company A

Company B

Company C

Founded
Domestic
Presence
Location of
international
operations
Gen...
The Case Study Method
 Make use of standard tools of strategic analysis, but do not

allow them to result in a rigid appr...
The Case Study Method
 Above all, you must avoid simply regurgitating the case study
 This is the key challenge to overc...
The Case Study Method
 Above all, you must avoid simply regurgitating the case study
 This is the key challenge to overc...
The Case Study Method
 Above all, you must avoid simply regurgitating the case study
 This is the key challenge to overc...
The Case Study Method

Any Questions?

39

© McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
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The Case Study mehtod advises leaners and students on how to process, prepare, deliver and facilitate, and present a case study.

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The case study method

  1. 1. The Case Study Method: An Introduction By Michael McDermott 1 © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  2. 2. The Case Study Method  What is it?  Why use it?  How do I become accomplished at it?  Where can I practice it? 2 © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  3. 3. What is it? 3 © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  4. 4. The Case Study Method: Making a Presentation  For a student this involves the following parts:  Processing: Performing the analysis  Preparing: putting together the presentation  Presenting: Delivering the presentation 4 © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  5. 5. The Case Study Method: Facilitating a Class Room Discussion  This involves the following parts:  Processing: Performing the analysis  Preparing:  Identifying the primary question – “the big issue”;  Identifying the secondary questions that when answered contribute to answering the primary question;  Developing the structure of the discussion  Facilitating:You MUST NOT simply pose a series of questions as your take the class through the case study – this results in a SUMMARY of the case not ANALYSIS 5 © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  6. 6. Processing a Case  This is not just reading the case;  Nor is it simply getting a highlighter pen;  It demands that you look at each sentence, each exhibit and see to draw out assumptions, inferences, facts;  This takes time!  Ideally, I like to go through the case and use an Excel or Word document to take notes, record thoughts, pose questions.  What? Show me what you mean. 6 © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  7. 7. Processing a Case The Case The “Story” My Response Sentence 1 In 2014 the long-established, highly successful, US company X paid $20bn to acquire company Y based in Japan, its first ever acquisition, as it sought to enter the Asian market. In what way is this company successful? Where? Wonder how it achieves success? Is its success today the same as in the past? What was it buying? Why did it want to make this acquisition? If so successful why acquire another company? Why has it never made an acquisition prior to now? Why is wanting to enter Asia? Is this the best way to enter Asia? Has it entered other regional markets? Were more suitable takeover target available? Etc etc Sentence 2 Repeat as above. Repeat as above. Sentence 3 Repeat as above. Repeat as above. Paragraph 1 7 © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  8. 8. Processing a Case  Now you can see from the previous slide that it is impossible to answer the questions posed based upon the information provided in sentence 1.  However, I am now on track to seek the answer to these questions as I progress through the case study. 8 © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  9. 9. How long does it take to undertake this process?  Obviously it depends on the length  A 500-word article may take an hour  A 20 page case study may take 4-8 hours  “Practice makes perfect” 9 © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  10. 10. How do I Perform The Case Study Method?  Assume that the author has included each sentence for a good reason…. So make sure you consider the implications of such  What assumptions or conclusions can you make when you read a sentence? 10 © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  11. 11. How do I Perform The Case Study Method?  You need to consider the importance of all aspects of the     11 case study: The text The tables The exhibits The figures © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  12. 12. Preparing  A presentation that adopts a standard formula in terms of structure is not ideal  However having said that there are some structural issues that need to be adhered to – a PEST at the end is wrong; a SWOT before PEST and Internal analysis is in the wrong sequence  The higher the quality of processing, the easier it is to prepare the presentation 12 © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  13. 13. Preparing: my advice  Identify what you consider to the key question that needs to     13 be addressed in the case Then identify some secondary questions and structure them in a manner that is logically consistent and which develops a good ‘flow’ Do not overwhelm the ‘listener’ or ‘reader’ with a very large number of questions that do not appear to have a clear flow; Answering each secondary question as you go along should make sure the argument developed is robust Provide clear conclusions © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  14. 14. Presenting your analysis in PPt Do’s Don’ts Add value Simply provide a summary Facilitate comparisons Make such impossible Tables work Rely on excessive amounts of text Focus on presenting your analysis Fall in love with charts that look on each slide good but fail to hammer home the key finding 14 © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  15. 15. This Class vs Others This Class  The presentation should not require commentary – your PPt in the business world may only be read by others  Often presenters best- points are not made in the PPt! Avoid that mistake 15 © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu Other classes (as described by students)  The PPt is simply an aide-memoire  Assess based mainly if not exclusively upon the oral presentation
  16. 16. What is the Case Study Method?  A case study is a description of a company’s evolving performance  The authors’ presentation is descriptive  The students’ presentation must be analytical 16 © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  17. 17. What is the Case Study Method  Action Learning  Problem solving  Analysis is based ONLY on the material in the case itself  Do not undertake any additional research  More often than not the case provides subtle clues – be sensitive to such 17 © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  18. 18. Why Use the Case Study Method?  The emphasis is upon developing life-long skills  It’s like riding a bicycle  Once you can do it, you have it for life 18 © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  19. 19. The Case Study Method  The case study is full of ‘evidence’  The aim is to analyze this evidence and present a coherent evaluation of the company’s decisions and actions  And to provide logical recommendations that would enhance the competitiveness of the business 19 © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  20. 20. Why Use the Case Study Method?  The skills gained are precisely what businesses and organizations need and value  Trust me such skills are extremely rare  Even in many ostensibly successful businesses, the lack of such skills is alarming 20 © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  21. 21. When and Where Can I Practice the key skills?  In class, you are provided with written case studies  However, every day you are exposed to a number of ‘case studies’ 21 © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  22. 22. When and Where Can I Practice the key skills?  When you go to a restaurant you are going to leave having performed case study analysis?  You will have formed a clear opinion of that supplier  Based upon your experience you have analyzed all aspects of the supplier in terms of your customer experience 22 © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  23. 23. When and Where Can I Practice the key skills?  When you are reading the business section of the newspaper, you can be more reflective and conduct your own analysis of the company based upon what you have read 23 © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  24. 24. When and Where Can I Practice the key skills?  In short, everywhere  This class is seeking to develop a new or improved mindset  One in which you see the world through a new ‘lens’ 24 © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  25. 25. When and Where Can I Practice the key skills?  So open your eyes!  Consider all those businesses that you deal with or observe  Which ones are on the right tracks strategically?  Which ones do you think are out of synch? 25 © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  26. 26. Common Reactions  This is new  This is different  This is difficult  All the above are true 26 © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  27. 27. Common Reactions  “I need direction”  But you are seeking to develop rare skills  This is not ‘strategy by numbers’ 27 © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  28. 28. The Reality…It’s Like Golf  Many of us play golf  Playing regularly will improve us  Many may become average players  But very few become exceptional 28 © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  29. 29. Presenting The Case Study 29 © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  30. 30. Common Failings The most common failings at first are: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 30 Failure to identify any issue(s) Present a condensed, descriptive overview of the case study Use text only and demand too much from the audience/reader Or put together endless graphs and bar charts that are attractive, but offer no analysis Focus on manifestations of problems rather than their causes Failure to provide any analysis Focus upon tactical issues as opposed to startegic © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  31. 31. Common Failings  In every slide you need to provide added value  That means helping the reader/audience by offering analysis  Slides that only summarize the case study are worthless 31 © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  32. 32. Presenting The Case Study  In terms of presentations help your reader/audience  Use Tables to facilitate comparisons  Use Tables to show clearly the impact of issues  Avoid relying only on text 32 © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  33. 33. Example of Using Table Factor Variable Impact on Company Impact of Issue (1-5) Political Ban on imports from Asia Opportunity 5 Economic Weak US $ Threat 5 Web 2.0 applications Threat 3 Social Technological © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu 33
  34. 34. Example of Using Table Company A Company B Company C Founded Domestic Presence Location of international operations Generic strategy Target market Market share © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu 34
  35. 35. The Case Study Method  Make use of standard tools of strategic analysis, but do not allow them to result in a rigid approach to problem solving  Be creative in use of Tables, Figures etc 35 © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  36. 36. The Case Study Method  Above all, you must avoid simply regurgitating the case study  This is the key challenge to overcome 36 © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  37. 37. The Case Study Method  Above all, you must avoid simply regurgitating the case study  This is the key challenge to overcome 37 © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  38. 38. The Case Study Method  Above all, you must avoid simply regurgitating the case study  This is the key challenge to overcome 38 © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
  39. 39. The Case Study Method Any Questions? 39 © McDermott, 2014, mcdermottm1@nku.edu
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