Problem solving

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 26 September 2016

Problem solving

Presenting a case to a teacher is same as presenting it in front of a jury. You need to have structured and solid arguments to convince the jury (teacher, in your case) and prove your point. If you are an excellent lawyer, you can even convince the jury that your defendant is not guilty even if he is (not ethical, of course). The bottom line is: you need to structure your case analysis. Although every case analysis more or less follows the same pattern; there is a slight variation depending on the nature of the case study.

Basically there are two types of case studies: Open-ended and close-ended. Close-ended may have one or more questions at the end of the case for the reader to solve. Open-ended, on the contrast, may not contain any questions but require the reader to derive the problem statement and suggest a solution (thus, open). We will first look at the pattern for the Open-ended case type: Introduction / Overview. Although an optional part, it will give a professional look to your analysis. Overview would contain just 3-4 lines on what the case is about.

Example: The case describes the situation of a sales manager Jim Howard whose company’s value statement claims to treat customers with dignity and respect; however, he finds that the exact opposite is being done. He wants to rectify the situation but is prevented by his boss. It basically illustrates how an employee is made helpless by his top management even when he has the power. Summary. Ideally, the summary should be 1/4th of the case. In general terms, it should be limited to one and a half page. The summary should contain very basic details of the case and shouldn’t include quotes and figures.

Also, I’ve seen many students copying the exact same sentences from the case. Don’t do it. Trust me, it gives a very bad impression. Rephrase the sentences. SWOT Analysis. In case it’s a case about a company, list down the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the company in bullet points. Write complete sentences and not fragment statements. Example: Strengths: 1. SDI produces superior products with a differentiated strategy. 2. SDI is the only company to introduce solar technology in bird feeder. Problem Statement. Every case revolves around a particular problem that a company may be facing.

Sometimes, the problem is very explicit but at other times, you need to locate the problem from several causes, symptoms and reasons. There may even be more than one problem; they may come under the Sub-Problems category. However, the main problem would only be one. Example: The biggest problem of ABC Airways is its lack of market research because of which ABC Airways remains aloof of customers’ changing demands; hence, leaving space for its competitors to fill in the gap. In some cases, there is not a problem statement but an Opportunity Statement.

Example: ABC Airways needs to decide whether it has to continue its competitive strategy or change its course of action. At the same time, it has an opportunity of expansion into European market. Considering the pros and cons, should it enter this market? Alternatives. Alternatives are mainly the list of possible solutions. You need to suggest at least three alternatives and discuss pros and cons of each; the assessment of which would lead you to choose the best one. Best Alternative. As the name suggests, this would describe the best possible alternative.

Here, you would support your solution by reasoning why you’ve chosen this alternative. You can go a step further by explaining how this particular company can achieve its goal or resolve its problem with the help of this alternative. Scared? Don’t be. You already go through all these steps while doing the analysis. The only difference is that we have broken them down into headings so that they look more organized and neat. Plus, this would not only help you organize the information but also give you further ideas that you might miss out if everything was mixed up. Now, we take a look at the format for Close-ended case studies.

Don’t worry, this one doesn’t have all those steps. Introduction / Overview. Again optional. Summary: Same as above Questions and Answers. This is the most important step in close-ended case studies. Here is where you need to convince your audience that what you say is right (even if it’s not). Extract evidence for your answers from within the case. But don’t write long paragraphs and DON’T repeat the same thing over and over again. It gives an impression you’re just trying to fill up pages in hope that your teacher doesn’t read it all and assumes what you’ve written must be correct.

Wrong! Believe me, they’re far smarter than you! Conclusion. Instead of best alternatives, in the close-type case studies, you need to write the conclusion. It is better to write just a few paragraphs (1-2) in which you can summarize your answer as a total, give your opinion and recommendations. Example: “The conclusion I have drawn from this case is that one becomes powerless when is under the influence of someone else and is forced to alter his own personal ethical values and beliefs according to the beliefs of the ones having power.

Thus, ethics becomes secondary when one is under the power like the CPA in this case. However, there are some exceptions i. e. until and unless one is determined to stay firm on his ethical values, no one can force him to be his puppet. Hence, it depends on the willpower of one’s own self; how strongly he believes in his values and how earnest he is to stay put on them. He may face obstacles in the short-term; however, in long-term, he is bound to get the reward. ” 0. 0/60votes Tags: Asma Chang, Case Study, SEO, Solving Case Study, Ultraspectra Case Study.

There was nothing more dreadful for me than solving a case study. Honestly, whenever I was handed a case study to solve in a class, my throat would get dry and the words appeared to blur and dance in front of me. I would stare at the first page for a few seconds and quickly count the rest of the pages before reading the first paragraph, gulping as I’d begin. But thanks to my merciless teachers who seemed to love case studies as much as I hated them, I gradually began to overcome this fear. And soon enough, I realized solving a case study is nothing but a simple procedure of steps.

If you do them right, viola! Your case is solved. Before I go on to the steps, let me first give you some quick tips on how to begin a case study: 1. Read the case three times. This is at minimum. 2. Every case study has a task for you to do at the end; perhaps some questions to answer or a summary to write. In any case, just read through the whole case without reading the questions for the first time. Don’t stop if you are not getting what the case is about and don’t even expect you’ll get it the first time. Your objective to read the case the 1st time is to only get the gist. 3.

Now that you’ve finished reading for the first time, have a look at the questions and read the whole case again – starting from the beginning. Take a pencil and begin underlining what you feel is relevant to your questions. Mark the underlined text with a symbol that you can understand later. For example, say you’ve been asked to do the SWOT Analysis of the case; what you do is put a small S for any line you feel describes the company’s strength. But again, don’t become obsessed with finding the answers to your questions just now. Your objective for reading the case 2nd time is only to understand the problem statement.

4. You see what the problem is and you are ready to solve the answers. Read the third time, this time concentrating on finding solutions to your questions. By now, you will already know to quite an extent where the answer to particular question lies in the case. Hence, your objective for reading the case the 3rd time is to find solutions to your problems given at the end of the case. 5. In case you’re working in groups, make sure you read the case ALONE the first time. In fact, it would be nice to read it alone the second time too and sit with your team to read for the third time. Why am I saying this?

Picture this: You’ve begun reading the case with your group fellows for the first time and you’re only at second paragraph. One of your team members, who by the way, is a fast reader, reads the whole case and declares she knows what the problem is in the case: the company didn’t have enough funds! What has she done? She has caused you and everyone else in the team to form an opinion about the case before even finishing it. There are lesser chances now that you’ll think in any other direction; for example, maybe it was the lack of resources which was the major issue in the company.

So, always read the case alone the first time when working in a team and save the discussion to be done in group. Up till now, you’ve learned the dos and don’ts of a solving case study. Remember, you still haven’t penned down the case. What you’ve done is that you’ve understood what the case is about and looked for the answers to the questions, if given. Here comes another very important tip: There is never a right or wrong answer in a case study. It all matters on the way you present your case and the supporting arguments you give to defend it. This is the stage where enters your writing skills.


  • Subject:

  • University/College: University of Arkansas System

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 26 September 2016

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