Effective Ways to Case Study Analysis

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For maximum effectiveness, it is essential that you do all three components. Here are the subcomponents, in order. We will discuss them in more detail shortly. 1. Before the class discussion:
1. Read the reading assignments (if any)
2. Use the Short Cycle Process to familiarize yourself with the case. 3. Use the Long Cycle Process to analyze the case
4. Usually there will be group meetings to discuss your ideas. 5. Write up the case (if required)
2. In the class discussion:
1. Someone will start the discussion, usually at the prompting of the Instructor. 2. Listen carefully and take notes. Pay close attention to assumptions. Insist that they are clearly stated. 3. Take part in the discussion. Your contribution is important, and is likely a part of your evaluation for the course. 3. After the class discussion:

1. Review ASAP after the class. Note what the key concept was and how the case fits into the course. Top of page

Preparing A Case Study

It helps to have a system when sitting down to prepare a case study as the amount of information and issues to be resolved can initially seem quite overwhelming. The following is a good way to start.

Step 1: The Short Cycle Process
1. Quickly read the case. If it is a long case, at this stage you may want to read only the first few and last paragraphs. You should then be able to 2. Answer the following questions:
1. Who is the decision maker in this case, and what is their position and responsibilities? 2. What appears to be the issue (of concern, problem, challenge, or opportunity) and its significance for the organization? 3. Why has the issue arisen and why is the decision maker involved now? 4. When does the decision maker have to decide, resolve, act or dispose of the issue? What is the urgency to the situation? 3. Take a look at the Exhibits to see what numbers have been provided. 4. Review the case subtitles to see what areas are covered in more depth. 5. Review the case questions if they have been provided. This may give you some clues are what the main issues are to be resolved. You should now be familiar with what the case study is about, and are ready to begin the process of analyzing it. You are not done yet! Many students mistakenly believe that this is all the preparation needed for a class discussion of a case study. If this was the extent of your preparation, your ability to contribute to the discussion would likely be limited to the first one quarter of the class time allotted. You need to go further to prepare the case, using the next step. One of the primary reasons for doing the short cycle process is to give you an indication of how much work will need to be done to prepare the case study properly.

Step 2: The Long Cycle Process

At this point, the task consists of two parts:
1. A detailed reading of the case, and then
2. Analyzing the case.
When you are doing the detailed reading of the case study, look for the following sections: 1. Opening paragraph: introduces the situation.
2. Background information: industry, organization, products, history, competition, financial information, and anything else of significance. 3. Specific (functional) area of interest: marketing, finance, operations, human resources, or integrated. 4. The specific problem or decision(s) to be made.

5. Alternatives open to the decision maker, which may or may not be stated in the case. 6. Conclusion: sets up the task, any constraints or limitations, and the urgency of the situation. Most, but not all case studies will follow this format. The purpose here is to thoroughly understand the situation and the decisions that will need to be made. Take your time, make notes, and keep focussed on your objectives.

Analyzing the case should take the following steps:
1. Defining the issue(s)
2. Analyzing the case data...
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