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4-1
Compiled by Darren Paproski - Adapted from the
University of Technology Sydney Writing Guide
Case Studies Module Overview
Why use case studies
Learning objectives of case studies
Steps in analyzing a case
Common errors made in case study analysis
Sample Board Plans
4-2
Compiled by Darren Paproski - Adapted from the
University of Technology Sydney Writing Guide
Case Studies
A useful learning tool  used in management
education to give student a feel for the
complexities if the real work and how the
theories, models and research being studied can
be used in practice.
4-3
Compiled by Darren Paproski - Adapted from the
University of Technology Sydney Writing Guide
Learning Objective
To diagnose what the problems or issues in the
case are, and why they have occurred, to consider
a variety of solutions; and to justify what you
believe to be the best solution.
4-4
Compiled by Darren Paproski - Adapted from the
University of Technology Sydney Writing Guide
Steps in Analyzing Case Studies
1. Gain an overview of the case
2. Establish what has happened (specify objectives)
3. Determine the causes
4. Develop possible solutions
5. Evaluate these solutions
6. Formulate recommendations (write up solutions)
Alternative: 1. What is the business problem; 2. What factors
affect the problem; 3. How would your team solve the problem?
Justification.
4-5
Compiled by Darren Paproski - Adapted from the
University of Technology Sydney Writing Guide
1. Gain an overview of the case
Ask students to read the case quickly to gain
familiarity with major events and characters and
to note what seems to be the central problem(s).
It’s a good idea to ask the students
to read the case to be discussed
prior to coming to class….but in
practice this seldom happens.
4-6
Compiled by Darren Paproski - Adapted from the
University of Technology Sydney Writing Guide
Note that case studies often contain substantial
information with information presented in
sometimes chaotic order.
Case studies usually present information
chronologically.
1. Gain an overview of the case
4-7
Compiled by Darren Paproski - Adapted from the
University of Technology Sydney Writing Guide
2. Establish what has happened or
the Business Problem
Ask students to go over the case in greater detail
to establish a clear picture of what has happened.
Establish the who, what, where, and when of the
situation.
4-8
Compiled by Darren Paproski - Adapted from the
University of Technology Sydney Writing Guide
NB: There is at least one fundamental business
problem in every case.
The problem may be “How to collect money from a
deadbeat customer” but the issue may be broader
“ How can they reduce accounts receivable aging
to 30 days or less?
2. Establish what has happened or
the Business Problem
4-9
Compiled by Darren Paproski - Adapted from the
University of Technology Sydney Writing Guide
Specify an objective for the
managers involved
Once the business problem(s) have been identified
students should think about the outcomes they
would most hope to see for the company.
Let students know they are Consultants on the
case.
Quantify the desired results if possible. “We wish
to reduce A/R aging by 15%.
4-10
Compiled by Darren Paproski - Adapted from the
University of Technology Sydney Writing Guide
3. Determine the causes and issues
Ask students to consider a variety of possible
causes or issues to see how well they are
supported by the facts of the case and how well
they explain what has happened.
Try to separate symptoms from problems.
Rank order the critical problems/issues
4-11
Compiled by Darren Paproski - Adapted from the
University of Technology Sydney Writing Guide
4. Develop possible solutions
Students should develop several possible solutions
to the problem(s).
Different solutions may need to be considered,
depending upon whether the aim is:
to have prevented what has already happened
to salvage the present situation
to avoid similar problems in the future.
4-12
Compiled by Darren Paproski - Adapted from the
University of Technology Sydney Writing Guide
5. Evaluate these solutions
Consider each possible solution, detailing exactly
what would need to be done to implement it.
Solutions will likely be in line with the concepts
learned in the course.
4-13
Compiled by Darren Paproski - Adapted from the
University of Technology Sydney Writing Guide
Ask students to think about any constraints or
impediments that are likely to make it difficult to
implement any of the possible solutions (e.g.
technological constraints, personal limitations, lack
of resources (people, budget)
Assign weights and values to the solutions
Why are the chosen ideas superior and how will they
work?
5. Evaluate these solutions
4-14
Compiled by Darren Paproski - Adapted from the
University of Technology Sydney Writing Guide
6. Formulate recommendations
Students should recommend exactly how the
solution can be implemented.
A broad view of the situation should be taken.
Mention that it may be best to implement a
relatively simple, inexpensive solution with
contingency plans for more elaborate solutions if
the first ones fail
4-15
Compiled by Darren Paproski - Adapted from the
University of Technology Sydney Writing Guide
Write up solutions
It is generally a good idea to have student groups
write up solutions to cases and hand-in to their
instructors.
If class time permits, instructors may call on
various groups to present problems and solutions
recommendations.
4-16
Compiled by Darren Paproski - Adapted from the
University of Technology Sydney Writing Guide
Common Errors in Analyzing Case
Studies
Not understanding and accepting the facts of the
case
Not explaining exactly what the problems are and
why they have occurred
Making unwarranted assumptions to try to simplify
the case
Sticking to generalities, such as “they must try to
improve communication”
4-17
Compiled by Darren Paproski - Adapted from the
University of Technology Sydney Writing Guide
Not integrating the various points into a
preferred solution
Not using theories and concepts currently being
studied in the course
Seeking ways out of the situation (such as “fire
them all”) rather than trying to solve the problems
Ignoring practicalities
Common Errors in Analyzing Case
Studies

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Steps4 analyzingcasestudies

  • 1. 4-1 Compiled by Darren Paproski - Adapted from the University of Technology Sydney Writing Guide Case Studies Module Overview Why use case studies Learning objectives of case studies Steps in analyzing a case Common errors made in case study analysis Sample Board Plans
  • 2. 4-2 Compiled by Darren Paproski - Adapted from the University of Technology Sydney Writing Guide Case Studies A useful learning tool  used in management education to give student a feel for the complexities if the real work and how the theories, models and research being studied can be used in practice.
  • 3. 4-3 Compiled by Darren Paproski - Adapted from the University of Technology Sydney Writing Guide Learning Objective To diagnose what the problems or issues in the case are, and why they have occurred, to consider a variety of solutions; and to justify what you believe to be the best solution.
  • 4. 4-4 Compiled by Darren Paproski - Adapted from the University of Technology Sydney Writing Guide Steps in Analyzing Case Studies 1. Gain an overview of the case 2. Establish what has happened (specify objectives) 3. Determine the causes 4. Develop possible solutions 5. Evaluate these solutions 6. Formulate recommendations (write up solutions) Alternative: 1. What is the business problem; 2. What factors affect the problem; 3. How would your team solve the problem? Justification.
  • 5. 4-5 Compiled by Darren Paproski - Adapted from the University of Technology Sydney Writing Guide 1. Gain an overview of the case Ask students to read the case quickly to gain familiarity with major events and characters and to note what seems to be the central problem(s). It’s a good idea to ask the students to read the case to be discussed prior to coming to class….but in practice this seldom happens.
  • 6. 4-6 Compiled by Darren Paproski - Adapted from the University of Technology Sydney Writing Guide Note that case studies often contain substantial information with information presented in sometimes chaotic order. Case studies usually present information chronologically. 1. Gain an overview of the case
  • 7. 4-7 Compiled by Darren Paproski - Adapted from the University of Technology Sydney Writing Guide 2. Establish what has happened or the Business Problem Ask students to go over the case in greater detail to establish a clear picture of what has happened. Establish the who, what, where, and when of the situation.
  • 8. 4-8 Compiled by Darren Paproski - Adapted from the University of Technology Sydney Writing Guide NB: There is at least one fundamental business problem in every case. The problem may be “How to collect money from a deadbeat customer” but the issue may be broader “ How can they reduce accounts receivable aging to 30 days or less? 2. Establish what has happened or the Business Problem
  • 9. 4-9 Compiled by Darren Paproski - Adapted from the University of Technology Sydney Writing Guide Specify an objective for the managers involved Once the business problem(s) have been identified students should think about the outcomes they would most hope to see for the company. Let students know they are Consultants on the case. Quantify the desired results if possible. “We wish to reduce A/R aging by 15%.
  • 10. 4-10 Compiled by Darren Paproski - Adapted from the University of Technology Sydney Writing Guide 3. Determine the causes and issues Ask students to consider a variety of possible causes or issues to see how well they are supported by the facts of the case and how well they explain what has happened. Try to separate symptoms from problems. Rank order the critical problems/issues
  • 11. 4-11 Compiled by Darren Paproski - Adapted from the University of Technology Sydney Writing Guide 4. Develop possible solutions Students should develop several possible solutions to the problem(s). Different solutions may need to be considered, depending upon whether the aim is: to have prevented what has already happened to salvage the present situation to avoid similar problems in the future.
  • 12. 4-12 Compiled by Darren Paproski - Adapted from the University of Technology Sydney Writing Guide 5. Evaluate these solutions Consider each possible solution, detailing exactly what would need to be done to implement it. Solutions will likely be in line with the concepts learned in the course.
  • 13. 4-13 Compiled by Darren Paproski - Adapted from the University of Technology Sydney Writing Guide Ask students to think about any constraints or impediments that are likely to make it difficult to implement any of the possible solutions (e.g. technological constraints, personal limitations, lack of resources (people, budget) Assign weights and values to the solutions Why are the chosen ideas superior and how will they work? 5. Evaluate these solutions
  • 14. 4-14 Compiled by Darren Paproski - Adapted from the University of Technology Sydney Writing Guide 6. Formulate recommendations Students should recommend exactly how the solution can be implemented. A broad view of the situation should be taken. Mention that it may be best to implement a relatively simple, inexpensive solution with contingency plans for more elaborate solutions if the first ones fail
  • 15. 4-15 Compiled by Darren Paproski - Adapted from the University of Technology Sydney Writing Guide Write up solutions It is generally a good idea to have student groups write up solutions to cases and hand-in to their instructors. If class time permits, instructors may call on various groups to present problems and solutions recommendations.
  • 16. 4-16 Compiled by Darren Paproski - Adapted from the University of Technology Sydney Writing Guide Common Errors in Analyzing Case Studies Not understanding and accepting the facts of the case Not explaining exactly what the problems are and why they have occurred Making unwarranted assumptions to try to simplify the case Sticking to generalities, such as “they must try to improve communication”
  • 17. 4-17 Compiled by Darren Paproski - Adapted from the University of Technology Sydney Writing Guide Not integrating the various points into a preferred solution Not using theories and concepts currently being studied in the course Seeking ways out of the situation (such as “fire them all”) rather than trying to solve the problems Ignoring practicalities Common Errors in Analyzing Case Studies

Editor's Notes

  1. Some issues are interdependent Some issues are more important than others…a company may have an opportunity to launch a product extension but not have sufficient market research data to support the idea or may not have the staff to understand and use the data. Each issue has a time dimension. Of two problems one may be near term and one long term in nature. E.g. may need corporate wensite but doesn’t solve long term issue of having a marketing strategy. Need to think how long will it take to fix this. Some issues are merely symptoms of larger or deeper problems. Sears rewarding managers for selling more parts and not for simnply servicing customer vehicles caused managers to replace parts not yet worn.
  2. Is one solution less expensive than another? Will one be more effective than another? Will one idea work more quickly than another? Will one of these ideas have a more enduring effect?