To draw up case studies, it is first important to understand its various aspects. For an effective case study, one must first understand the principles of a case. It is important to understand what a case is, the types of cases there are and their purposes. Following this understanding, the methods of analyzing and discussing cases must be explored. After mastering these skills, The three stages of problem, decision and evaluation are vital to the organization of the case study. 4 ? 5 6 7 ? In all case studies we should first explore the brief synopsis of the case and its pedagogical objectives.
8 9 ? In a case method classroom, both the instructor and students must be active in different ways. The art of a case method instructor is to ask the right question at the right time, provide feedback on answers, and sustain a discussion that opens up meanings of the case. If students don’t come to class well-prepared, the case method will fail because the people responsible for making meaning from the case are not equipped to do it. ? 10 ? Case discussions are full of facts and information, but they aren’t shaped into single interpretation, the “truth”.
Instructors don’t announce definitive conclusions or right answers, although they may discriminate between more and less plausible solutions. Students enter and leave the classroom responsible for the outcomes of the discussion. For students, this is a shift from the comfort of authority and single truth to the hard work of personal responsibility and the unease of ambiguity and multiple meanings. ? 11 ? Cases are verbal representation of reality. Real business situations involve uncertainty and don’t present selected and sorted information. ? A case must have 3 characteristics:
1) a significant real world business issue or issues 2) Sufficient information on which to base conclusions 3) No stated conclusions 12 ? Many cases have these complicating properties: 1) Information that includes “Noise”- false, irrelevant… testimony by characters in the case 2) Unstated information that must be inferred from the information that is stated 3) Nonlinear structure 13 ? A well-written case must have these characteristics. Reader of the case must be able to: 1) Construct conclusion from the information in the text 2) Filter out irrelevant portions of the text.
3) Furnish missing information through inferences. 4) Associate evidence from different parts of the case and integrate it into a conclusion. 14 ? Noise is a characteristic of real situations. Today, we are flooded in information, much of it of little value. Every case, whether it has a large amount of information or very little, requires the reader to make inferences. This can be the most difficult transition from textbooks and lectures. ? If memorization is the primary skill of the lecture model, inference is the primary skill of the case model.
Furthermore, cases do not have a linear structure and are not presented in the most logical way. ? 15 ? There are 3 possible approaches to reading the case: 1) Receive it 2) Find it 3) Make it (appropriate for cases) ? “Receive it” states both subject and its significance (fits a text such as news story) “Find it” states keys and clues to find the solution (fits a text such as mystery novel) On the first reading of the case, it can seem to be a whole that is less than the sum of its parts. Indeed, the most basic matters of fact are not clearly stated or are stated in multiple ways.
Students have to read a case actively (Active Reading) and construct their own meaning based on pedagogical objectives of the case and the theories and concepts already discussed in the class. 16 ? ? ? A case is a text that refuses to explain itself; hence, a meaning needs to be constructed for it. To analyze a case, the contextual factors concerning it must first be studied in order to allow a deeper understanding of the case (Situational analysis) Contextual information helps to limit and narrow the analysis of the case.
Courses are often divided up into different modules or themes defined by certain types of situations and, often, concepts, theories, and practices appropriate for these situations. Students should learn how to make a case with relevant information based on the objectives of the case or questions already given by the instructor. 18 ? ? ? The method of analyzing a text is heuristic, meaning that important aspects of the situation in which the case is set must be identified and understood. This is a term used for self-guided learning that employs analysis to help draw conclusions about a situation. 19 ?
Analysis has two closely related definitions: to break something up into its constituent parts; and to study the relationships of the parts to the whole. To analyze a case, you therefore need ways of identifying and understanding important aspects of a situation and what they mean to the overall situation. ? Thinking about a case must start before you begin making it. This way, the different questions arising about the case can be answered during the reading process. For example, the framework of a certain concept may guide a product launch decision. Hence, specialized methods are advantageous in achieving well-defined purposes. 20 21 22
23 The following will provide a starting point for further understanding the different aspects of analyzing a case: ? There are four types of situations which appear repeatedly in case: › Problems › Decisions › Evaluations › Rules (complicated for beginners) 24 ? The definition of “problem” as a case situation is quite specific, unlike its other suggestions. Problem is a situation in which there is a significant outcome or performance, and there is no explicit explanation of the outcome or the performance. A problem in a case study is when the outcome or performance is significant yet there is no clear explanation of why it has happened.
The causes of these outcomes are important to know so that the situation can be improved. ? 25 ? The outcomes of the cases may be negative. This is as a result of the fact that the change effort of the manager may be self-destructive. This result may arise from weaknesses that are unapparent. For efficient problem analysis, the problem first has to be defined. This is where success can come to be seen as a problem, in its own special meaning. ? ? Next, the problem must be explained by linking the outcome or performance to its root causes. Specialized methods of business disciplines are needed as tools to carry out this analysis.
26 ? Problem analysis begins with a definition of the problem. That seems obvious, yet many cases do not state a problem. As a result, you will first need to realize that a problem does exist. After this, you must define it yourself. Next, you must work out an explanation of the problem. This can be done by linking the outcome or performance to its root causes. This is the main work of problem analysis. To carry it out, you will need to employ the relevant tools, the specialized methods of business disciplines such as Strategy or SCM or operations management. 27 ?
Would Barnes & Noble have benefited (or been hindered) by its physical organizational structure and management processes in its attempt to strengthen its position as an electronic commerce product/service provider? Defend your arguments. 28 ? Many cases complicate the decision immediately. Many of these are organized around an explicit decision. The decision, however, should not be based on other situations. The existence of an explicit decision is an important distinction, because nearly all business cases involve decision. In many other cases, however, the decisions are implicit and dependant on another situation.
The decisions featured in various cases vary greatly in scope, consequence and available data. An executive must decide whether to launch a product, move a plant, pursue a merger, or provide financing for a planned expansion. ? 29 ? Analyzing a decision requires the following, regardless of the dimensions of a decision: › Decision options › Decision criteria › Relevant evidence ? The decision options are often mentioned in the case itself. A stated decision needs to be followed by a statement of the alternative decision options. Finding these or coming up with them can be set as the first goal of the analysis.
30 ? In making a rational decision, the appropriate criteria need to be determined. By thoroughly studying the specifics of the case with the help of specialized methods, the criteria can be derived from the case, as they are not likely to be directly stated. The criteria are then used to develop evidence so as to complete a decision analysis. The decision must be the best option between the evidence and criteria available. In decision analysis, no decision is objectively correct. The goal is to find a decision that creates more benefits than the alternatives, as well as having less severe downsides.
31 ? ? “If we are to continue outsourcing, and even consider expanding it, why should we keep paying someone else to do what we can do for ourselves? ” what are the stimuli behind such a statement to reflect on eBay customer support decision? 32 ? In an evaluation, a judgment is expressed about the worth, value, or effectiveness of a performance, act, or outcome. An outcome can be the subject of an assessment. The analysis of an evaluation can be based on any unit, from an individual to a global region. ? The outcome can be the subject of an assessment.
The competitive position of a company, for instance, is the outcome of numerous decisions and performances as well as contingencies such as macroeconomic conditions. 33 ? Evaluations require appropriate criteria for setting the standards for assessing worth, value, or effectiveness. These criteria can be inferred from the particulars of a situation, with the aid of specialized methods. An overall evaluation will express the best option between the evidence and the criteria. Another requirement of an evaluation is that it includes both positive and negative aspects. Both strengths and weaknesses require analyzing.
34 ? 1. Is it justifiable for a company like Amazon. com to continue investing so much money and effort in a business operation that not only has made a profit for nearly 5 years but was incurring heavier losses? (Refer to the company’s financial statements) 35 ? The key to the analyzing process is active reading in order to make a case, as it is interrogative, purposeful, and iterative, meaning that you make multiple passes through a case and each time reading with various purposes. 37 ? Three factors contribute to active reading: a goal, a point of view, and a hypothesis.
Goal of Analysis – Concrete limits must be set in order to derive the desirable information form the case. In addition, a time limit can be used to make the time spent on analyzing the case more productive. the main character. This way, making a decision as a person in that situation will help making conclusions easier. compare and contrast a concrete statement against case evidence. › Point of View – It is effective to pout oneself in the place of › Hypotheses – This gives the advantage of being able to 38 ? The process of working on a case has five phases: 1) Situation 2) Questions.
3) Hypothesis 4) Proof and action 5) Alternatives 39 The analysis can first be structured as a series of questions and then identifying the situation by reading the first and last sections. The opening or end of a case may present partial or complete descriptions of the problem as well as expressing a tension or conflict vital to the analysis. 40 Knowing the situation allows you to ask questions pertinent to a problem, a decision, or an evaluation. Hence, the stages previously stated can develop the needed understanding to ask the questions in this second phase.
Making a content inventory of the case, to locate information that might be used to answer the questions about the situation, can be useful. 41 › Problem – Who or what is the subject of the problem? What is the problem? Am I trying to account for a failure, a success, or something more ambiguous? What is the significance of the problem to the subject? Who is responsible for the problem and what might he need to know to do something about it? › Decision – What are the decision options? Do any seem particularly strong or weak? What is at stake of the decision? What are the possible criteria?
What might the most important criteria be for this kind of decision? Are any of the criteria explicitly discussed in the case? › Evaluation – Who or what is being evaluated? Who is responsible for the evaluation? What is at stake? What are the possible criteria? What might the possible criteria be for this sort of evaluation? Are any of the criteria explicitly discussed in the case? 42 ? Instructor may decide to provide situation guidelines and questions regarding the case study for students: 1) Situation 2) Questions 3) Hypothesis 4) Proof and action 5) Alternatives 43.
This is the most important phase while working on the case. This involves narrowing the possibilities to the one that seems most plausible. There are different aspects to take into consideration, depending on if you are dealing with a problem, a decision, or an evaluation. Recording your thought process can help the development of this stage. 44 ? – Make sure you know the problem that needs to be diagnosed. Consider whether the characteristics of the problem suggest causes. – Think about the frameworks that seem most appropriate to the situation. Quickly review the specifics of the frameworks if you are not certain about them.
– Pursue the diagnosis by looking at case information through the lens of the cause you are most certain about. – For each cause, make a separate pass through the case looking for evidence of it. – If the case has a lot of quantitative evidence, to what case is it most relevant? If you do not have a case relevant to the quantitative evidence, formulate one. Work up as much relevant, high-value quantitative evidence as you can. – In a case with a protagonist (central character), consider whether she is a potential cause. If you think she is, work out how she contributes to the problem.
Problem 45 Energy = 2/3 consulting + all of technology service Industry = 1/3 consulting + all of certification 46 ? Decision – Review the criteria you have come up with so far. Which do you have the most confidence in? – Review the decision options. Do any seem especially strong or weak? – Apply the criteria that seem to identify the most evidence in the case. – Investigate the strongest decision option with the criterion you have the most confidence in. or, if you are reasonably certain about what which is the weakest, see if you can quickly dismiss that option.
– If the case has a lot of quantitative evidence, which criterion is most relevant to it? If you do not have the criterion relevant to the quantitative evidence, formulate one. Work up as much relevant, high-value quantitative evidence as you can. – If there are conflicts about the decision between individuals or groups, think about why it is. Look at the decision from the point of view of each of the parties to the conflict. – If the protagonist is in a difficult position in relation to the decision, consider why that is. 47 48 49 ? Evaluation – Review the criteria you have come up with so far.
Which do you have the most confidence in? – What are the terms of the evaluation going to be? Do any stand out in the case? – Do you already have a sense of the bottom-line evaluation you favor? If you do, what are the reasons for the preference? Pursue those reasons. – Start by applying the criterion that seems to identify the most evidence in the case. – Investigate the most positive range or the most negative with the criterion you have the most confidence in. – Investigate the most positive rating or the most negative with the criterion you have the most confidence in.
– If the case has a lot of quantitative evidence, which criterion is most relevant to it? If you do not have a criterion relevant to the quantitative evidence, formulate one. Work up as much relevant, high-value, quantitative evidence as you can. 50 ????? 08 ???? ????? ???????? ????? ?????? ??????? ???? ?? 😕 ?• ???? «????? ???? » (???? ??????? )? ?• ???? «????? ???? ?? ???????? » (???? ???????? )? ?• ???? «?????? » (???? ??????? )? ?• ???? «??? ?????? ????? ?????? ??? ???? » (????? ????????? )? ?????? 😕 ????? ????? ???????? ?? ?????? ???? ?????? ?15? A hypothesis drives a different approach to the case.
You will start proving something you have already found out. Evidence supporting the hypothesis can be found in this stage. After this, the evidence can be assessed and a decision option can be drawn up, also finding the actionable content of the decision made. 52 ? The last phase involves questioning your own hypothesis. This means reading your hypothesis and evidence with a critical eye. In this way, you can be the one who notices the weaknesses in the first place. › › Problem – Can the problem be defined differently? Would that make a difference to the diagnosis? Are there any holes in the diagnosis – could there be causes missing? What is the weakest part of the diagnosis?
Could an entirely different diagnosis be made? What would it look like? Decision – What is the biggest downside of the recommended decision? How would you manage the downside? What is the strongest evidence against the recommendation? How would a case for the major alternative look? 55 › Evaluation – Have you been objective and thorough ? If a hypothesis, after all these stages of analyzing and evaluation, fails, looking at alternative ideas can help to come up with another, stronger, hypothesis. This can be made into a useful learning experience for gaining more expertise.
Such a case may arise if you perhaps overlooked important information or not used specialized tools effectively. about the evaluation findings that oppose your overall assessment? Think how a different overall evaluation might be proved. Have you accounted for factors that the subject of the evaluation could not control? 56 ? Potential for further discussion 57 ?• ?? 02 ????? ??? 0102 ??????? ? Deepwater Horizon??? ????? ?????? ????? ?? , 11 ??? ???? ? 71 ??? ????? ???? . ?? ??? 3 ??? ??? ??? ??????? 002 ?????? ???? ??? ???? ???? ????? ?? ? ?????? ????? ? ????? ?????? ??????? ????? ?? ??? ?? .?
?85? ? The variables that influence the path and quality of a case discussion include the instructor, the students, the case, and a host of other possibilities such as the physical setting, the time of day, or the proximity to exams. The only variable that you can control is yourself. Case discussions are the most important part of Industrial Engineering and Business studies classrooms. This method encourages students to apply their learned theories and be able to contribute as part of a group to converse in a business matter. Therefore, skills to communicate and participate are very essential.
60 ? ? A case is a condition explained in which the students attribute with giving their own opinions about it, as well as listening to their peers. It is important for everyone in the case class to contribute in the discussion and comment on it. 61 ? Unfortunately there are some students who do not find it comfortable to participate in the class and feel threatened. This could be due to several reasons. ? The language used in the class might be different from their mother’s tongue and therefore give them the fear of making a mistake in front of their native speaker peers.
They might have the fear that they do not have enough knowledge and background about business as others do, and therefore make themselves look silly by making a useless comment and several other reasons, which limits students from participating. Strategies have been used by instructors to overcome these kinds of fears. 62 ? ? Preparing comments and speeches are among the tactics used to overcome fears. Students prepare all their comments and what they want to say before the class and write them down, ready to be said.
They will feel comfortable thinking they will have a valuable point to make. This is not always right. A discussion is not predictable, and the preparation might not work very well. The discussion might go into a totally different path in which the prepared points are irrelevant. On the other hand a flexible plan preparation can be helpful. It only causes problems when it is “over prepared”. ? 63 ? Another tactic is to enter the discussion with a delay, which is after listening to the peers and the professor and trying to make a comment relevant to theirs. This is not a very good way.
In fact, it makes it harder to enter a discussion, thinking that only a perfect comment will give him the power to break into the discussion. Therefore the earlier the student starts participating, preferably from the first class, he will feel more comfortable. ? 64 ? Case method exposes risk which is shared by everyone. Risk isn’t purely negative; it is a motivator to do the hard work the case method requires. The most valuable advice about case discussion is to speak up early. Speaking up early not only reduces the nervousness of being in the spotlight It also assists you in setting realistic expectations for yourself.
› Setting a limit on your case preparation has several benefits: it puts a healthy pressure on students to use the time well; and it encourages students to pay attention to how you analyze a case. › Read the case actively. Reading passively is one of the most important obstacles to efficient analysis. 65 ? In addition, students can try to get to know each other outside the classroom. This reduces their fear and strangeness towards each other. ? They can meet outside the classroom. This will definitely change the environment in the classroom.
Building a social network is important to case discussion. Students surrounded by classmates who clearly respect them will probably be at least a little more willing to take risks in discussions. The often subtle but damaging influence of stereotypes about gender, personal appearance, and many other characteristics can be muted when people get to know each other as they are instead of what they are projected to be. A classroom friend can encourage a quiet student to speak up or to take bigger risks with his/her comments 66.
Regardless of business seriousness, it is also helpful to be funny at some points, and make others enjoy the class with a little humor. participation. However it should be accompanied by participating. It is important to listen to everyone carefully and contribute equally, and do not hesitate to talk whenever an idea pops in the mind. › Listening is the most important factor of 67 › Take a little time after class to think about the discussion before the memory of it fades away, you’ll capture more of the value of the classroom experience. The short-term benefit is greater clarity about the issues that link on case to another and lends coherence to a course.
In long run, these takeaways become your personal bible for leadership. is the product of useful contributions over a period of time, not occasional bravura performance. › You need to be patient. Effective collaboration 68 ? In conclusion, it is important to first analyze and discuss a case to develop one’s understanding of it. Afterwards, the knowledge gained can be employed to draw up the planning of the casebased essay. Finally, using the guidelines outlined, the different aspects of the case analyzed can be used to write up a well-researched essay. 69 ?
Ellet W (2007) The Case Study Handbook: How to Read, Discuss, and Write Persuasively About Cases (Boston: Harvard Business School Press) ECCH Case Study Workshop 2010 ? 70.
Subject: Casebook method,
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 26 September 2016
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