DECISION MAKING & CASE
Professor of Marketing
International Management Institute
According to Peter Drucker
The burden of decision making can be lessened and
better decisions can result if a manager recognizes that :
“decision making is a rational & systematic
process and that its organization is a definite
sequence of steps, each of them in turn rational
What is a case ?
A case is typically a record of a business issue which
actually has been faced by business executives,
together with surrounding facts, opinions and
prejudices upon which the executives had to depend.
The case method places the student in a simulated
business environment and substitutes the student in
place of the business manager, who is required to
take a set of decisions.
What is expected ?
Develop a capability to take decisions
develop skills in critical thinking.
learn the art of reasoning & logical thinking
support those decisions with appropriate
analysis …options and pros-cons
defend the analysis & recommendations.
learn to communicate both orally & in writing.
Benefits & Limitations
There is no single right or wrong answer to any
situation…. The glass maybe half full or half empty…
The process of arriving at an answer is what is
Individuals will find opinion of others may differ from
their own….maybe certain data has been overlooked,
weightages assigned are different, issues perceived
The cookie cutter approach does not work.
Handling a case
reading….read the case quickly
reading…. read it thoroughly (with the situation in
Start to identify key issues & key players
Sift information that may be relevant
relate to the numerical data & make notes
reading…. come to terms with the prevailing situation
Identify any missing information or data
Identify the issue(s), cause of the problem
Make assumptions, as relevant
Apply the learnings to address the issues
Thinking, not reading, is the key
The decision making
Define the problem
Enumerate the decision factors
Consider relevant information, make relevant
Identify the best alternative, pros & cons of each
Develop a plan for implementing the chosen
Evaluate the decision & the decision process & keep
an alternate plan handy.
Elements of problem
Diagnosis vs symptoms
Concepts & framework
Define the problem
A problem well defined is half solved
What are the objectives of the decision maker?
What are the constraints?
How will success be measured?
In a case study, the analyst is frequently given
alternative courses of action to consider. A narrow
approach is to simply compare these different
options. A better approach is to consider the choices
in the broader context.
Differentiate between a problem & a
Enumerate the decision
Two sets of decision factors must be enumerated:
The alternative courses of action. Essentially based on a set of
controllable factors that the decision maker has control over,
keeping the overall objective(s) in perspective.
Uncertainties in the environment. Largely factors beyond the
control of the decision maker or organization. Necessitating in a
set of relevant assumptions being made.
Identify the controllable & uncontrollable factors
Consider relevant information
Relevant information, consists of information that
relates to the alternatives identified as being likely to
affect future events e.g characteristics of the industry,
the competitive environment, situation of the
organization (strengths/weaknesses), characteristics
of the alternatives themselves.
Will need to cull out relevant information using
varying sets of data that should produce an answer to
“where are we now?”
Assumptions should be derived from the
situation and should be used to fill-in the
Identify the best alternative
The selection of a course of action is not simply a
matter of choosing alternative “A” over others but, of
exploring alternatives & evaluating identified
alternatives & the uncertainties apparent in the
Use of tools & techniques such as decision tree,
breakeven analysis, payoffs etc.
Essentially determine the implications of the varying
decision alternatives in the light of the operating
environment , the companies own situation & the
Rule out those not relevant wrt the given
situation, the desired objectives & the
Plan for implementing the
Simply deciding what to do is only one part of the
The decision maker will thus need to plan in terms of
when will it be done, by whom, where will the
resources …managerial & financial come from.
Resulting in strategy formulation & implementation
using various managerial tools.
The crucial part is HOW will it be done.
Evaluate the decision &
Having done case analysis it is pertinent to evaluate the
decision & the decision process
Has a decision been made or only data & facts have
Is the decision appropriate (the best in your
perception), given the situation?
TEST: Does your decision address the
What if ????
What if the decision parameters considered do not
behave in the manner visualised or anticipated…????
Keep a contingency plan handy !!! Always develop an
alternative course of action plan …just in case the
planned move doesn’t work!!
Murphy’s law..” if something can go wrong, it
Role of instructor
Essentially a facilitator & moderator
Calling upon varying opinions
Putting the discussion back on rails
Facilitating greater participation by students
Evaluating ‘substance’ from ‘gas’
Assess decision making ability & traits
The good news & the bad
There is no one solution … the glass could
be half full or half empty.
Happy case work !!!