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Case Analysis

2159 words - 9 pages

Cases are included in many courses in Administrative Studies to give students an appreciation of the hard realities of business and the constraints involved in decision making. By exposure to a variety of situations and diverse problems, the student can experience, to some degree, the challenges and dilemmas of the decision maker. Cases are usually based on real situations. For reasons of privacy and confidentiality, the persons, the companies, and the locations involved are typically disguised. When assigning case analyses, instructors expect that students will: • study the information provided in each case, • attempt to diagnose the nature of the problem or problems involved, • search for ...view middle of the document...

Rarely are there situations for which there is only one solution. Most real problems confronted by managers are multifaceted, involving such factors as motivation, culture, structure, technology, communication, and inter-personal concerns. In dealing with an organizational problem, a student has to be able to comprehend all its aspects, including the complex personal interrelationships involved. The overall learning objectives of a case study can include the following: • To improve a student’s ability to think logically and imaginatively; • To improve his or her ability to communicate; • To provide an opportunity for experiential learning particularly when it involves group work; • To develop analytical ability and personal involvement in problem solving; • To reinforce theoretical learning in the course and provide the opportunity to evaluate critically previously learned theories; • To bring about an awareness of the constraints in decision making; and • To integrate the knowledge and skills gained studying the diverse areas within an administrative studies or business program.

A METHOD OF CASE ANALYSIS There are many different methods that can be used to analyze successfully an organizational problem. Each requires a comprehensive understanding of the case information and its interrelatedness; a correct decision as to which principles, models, and theories of organizational behaviour should be applied; and competent application of that selected area of knowledge to the problems or issues at hand. Below is outlined one method of incorporating those criteria into a step-by-step procedure for case analysis. It is not the only feasible approach; but it is a method that will work, if applied carefully. 1. Read the case study two or three times (more, for a long or complex case) in an undirected manner. “Undirected” means do not think about the questions asked or the method of analysis. The goal here is to become familiar with the management situation that is described without filtering that perception with a premature focus on solutions or answers. If the assigned questions are considered prematurely, the case reader will unavoidably become solutions-oriented from the very first perusal. These solutions are likely to be both superficial and very hard to change as the study of the case proceeds. 2. During the final reading, make notes regarding salient issues. These issues will not necessarily conform to those upon which the assigned questions are based (although there will most likely be a strong relationship which will eventually become clear). 3. Now read and study the assigned question(s). Record information from the case that appears pertinent to its analysis. Do not, however, attempt to answer the questions yet. At this stage, focus on organizing your previous impressions of

the case in terms of the assigned areas of inquiry. It will usually be necessary to return to the case for further information. 4. Decide which principles,...

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