Case study methodology


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  • Until 1900: no business in education, only economics & psychology. Abstract theorising: general theories, very precise (like Newton gravitation) Positives of abstract theorising: explains the world, focusses on issues, simplifies. So it allows to build on it. Taymorism: time & motion studies to improve efficiency in a factory
  • To illustrate freedom of human beings: the flower, butterfly, military cross example Uncertainty is present everywhere as it is managed by human beings that are free
  • Case study as originally created by Harvard Law School: it was a summary of the big law case to train future lawyers.
  • Case study is an illustration of theory in practice
  • You are not supposed to incorporate other facts, informations. Our reality is the case, not what you have read on the internet.
  • Identity in terms of competences & culture: good in design? Good in manufacturing? In marketing? Who has the power? Engineers or sales?
  • You are not supposed to incorporate other facts, informations. Our reality is the case, not what you have read on the internet.
  • Case study methodology

    1. 1. >1 Master of Science in Finance Wednesday 22nd September 2010 Case study methodology Adapted from Patrick O Sullivan
    2. 2. >2 My objective is to… Prepare you for case study assignments
    3. 3. >3 The agenda  History of the case study methodology  Description of the methodology  Benefits & downsides of case studies  How to prepare a case study  An illustration with Marks & Spencer
    4. 4. >4 History of management science  Until 1900: no business in education  Late 19th century: management science in the US (based on “positivism”) science logics abstract theorising example: Taylorism
    5. 5. >5 History of management science Critics of abstract theorising: Human beings are complex and free creativity VS logics uncertainty is everywhere  Late 19th century: German historical school No permanent economic laws Historical perspective
    6. 6. >6 History of management science  Early 20th century: Harvard business school Case study methodology
    7. 7. >7 Description of the methodology Tells stories of business episodes “Once upon a time….” ++ closer to reality ++ includes uncertainty ++ easier to remember -- specific to a company, at a certain time… draw lessons = abstracting from cases
    8. 8. >8 How does it work?  A case study allows you to:  Discover theories (inductive)  Illustrate theories  Challenge theories  Student centered learning Teacher centered learning
    9. 9. >9 Competences developped?  Analysis  Synthesis  Decision making « This is the context: what would you do? And why? »
    10. 10. > 10 Various types of cases  Whole story  Half story  With or without questions
    11. 11. > 11 How to prepare a case study?  “Quick” read:  Who’s who?  What’s what?  “Slow” read a few days later: Find “clues” to understand the context  Environment (general economy, politics)  Position (sector, products, geography)  Identity (Who are we? How are we?)  Competition
    12. 12. > 12 How to prepare a case study?  List issues as if you were the CEO  Group discussion on issues  Group discussion on recommendations  Write a one page paper  Issues  Recommendations No right or wrong answer as long as you can support your answer
    13. 13. > 13 An illustration: Marks & Spencer 1. How would you characterize the strategic decisions taken under L. Vandevelde? 2. Were there multiple strategies? 3. How effective were means of implementation? 4. How would you describe M&S approach to globalization? 5. What do you think of M&S approach to HRM? 6. What can you say about financial services? 7. Why was there such a contrast between the clothing & food divisions? 8. How ethical is the M&S approach?