Ba 301 Revised.

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Portland State University
School of Business Administration

PROBLEM SOLVING HANDBOOK
by Kristi Yuthas

BA 301 Research and analysis of business problems
© September 2005 All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, microfilm and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without perm ission in writing from the author. yuthas@pdx.edu www.sba.pdx.edu

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Table of Contents
Problem Solving Handbook
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Portland State University
School of Business Administration
Why the PSU SBA framework?
Managerial roles and responsibilities
How to use this handbook

1 Position . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..9 mission, vision, values
stakeholders
decision-making models
impediments

2 Sense . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 problem identification
problem finding
structural forces
prioritization

3 Uncover . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 causes
alternatives
information gathering
information evaluation

4 Solve . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 descriptive analysis
numeric presentation
solution formulation

5 Build . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34 ethical screen
cost/benefit analysis
feasibility analysis
argumentation

6 Achieve . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40 implementation plan
outcome measures
process evaluation

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Introduction
Portland State University
Portland State University has received national and international recognition for its integrated and highly effective approach to undergraduate education. It has been showcased by the American Association of Colleges and Universities and is one of only ten universities nationwide to be selected by the worldrenowned Carnegie Foundation to participate in its Integrative Learning Project. PSU‘s innovative approaches to learning have also earned notice in the national media. The university has repeatedly been recognized by U.S. News & World Report‘s annual report on America‘s Best Colleges for the quality of its academic programs. In fact, the 2006 report ―Programs to Look For‖, which highlights academic programs that lead to student success, placed PSU in excelle nt company, tied with the University of Michigan and the University of Maryland for first place among all public universities, and tied for first place with Stanford University among all public and private schools in the West.

Key to the university‘s success has been its ability to provide a learning environment that emphasizes several areas of excellence, including critical thinking, communication, divers ity, and social responsibility.

The School of Business Administration
The School of Business Administration‘s programs build on and expand these strengths, to produce graduates highly valued by regional employers and other stakeholders. The School, of course, has a lot to start with. PSU students bring to their university a unique set of characteristics and strengths. SBA students, in particular, commonly come to the school with a depth and breadth of personal and professional experience that is unequalled in the region. They possess a diversity of backgrounds and knowledge that translate into rich and rigorous classroom discussions. The School‘s course on Research and Analysis of Business Problems, BA 301, has been developed to build on these unique student assets. The goal of the course is to sharpen the core competencies and skills of new business graduates as they enter today‘s cha llenging and...
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