GUIDE TO CASE ANALYSIS
Preparing a Case for Class Discussion:
If this is your first experience with the case method, you may have to reorient your study habits. Unlike lecture courses where you can get by without preparing intensively for each class and where you have latitude to work assigned readings and reviews of lecture notes into your schedule, a case assignment requires conscientious preparation before class. You will not get much out of hearing the class discuss a case you haven't read, and you certainly won't be able to contribute anything yourself to the discussion. What you have got to do to get ready for class discussion of a case is to study the case, reflect ...view middle of the document...
Decide what the strategic issues are. Until you have identified the strategic issues and/or problems in the case, you don't know what to analyze, which tools and analytical techniques are called for, or otherwise how to proceed. At times the strategic issues are clear, either being stated in the case or else obvious from reading the case. At other times you will have to dig them out from all the information given.
Check out conflicting opinions and make some judgments about the validity of all the data and information provided. Many times cases report views and contradictory opinions (after all, people don't always agree on things, and different people see the same things in different ways). Forcing you to evaluate the data and information presented in the case helps you develop your powers of inference and judgment. Asking you to resolve conflicting information "comes with the territory" because a great many managerial situations entail opposing points of view, conflicting trends, and sketchy information.
Support your diagnosis and opinions with reasons and evidence. The most important things to prepare for are your answers to the question "Why?" For instance, if after studying the case you are of the opinion that the company's managers are doing a poor job, then it is your answer to "Why?" that establishes just how good your analysis of the situation is. Prepare answers that include all the evidence you can muster to support your diagnosis.
Develop an appropriate action plan and set of recommendations. Diagnosis divorced from corrective action is sterile. The test...