Guidelines for Writing the Case Study

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GUIDELINES FOR WRITING THE CASE STUDY
The text should be written in Times New Roman size 12. Below is an informal discussion of what to include in each section of the case analysis. These are just tips for you to look over. Unfortunately there is no magic formula for doing case analysis. Each case study is different. However, if you try to incorporate some of these tips, your likelihood of success will probably increase. Section I: Narrative Summary of the Case

In this section, you should discuss the key elements of the case study that are essential for understanding the central problem that must be addressed. These should include at the very least a discussion of the key players (including their roles, what may motivate them in this situation, how they can impact the situation, etc.), organizational conditions that may impact the situation, environmental conditions that may be important to the situation, important time elements, and so on. Do not make a list of these items. They should be woven together into a narrative that clearly describes what the case is about. Do not spend time retelling the whole story—just hit the high points as described here. It is a good idea for you (and for the readers) to include a sentence wherever you think it is appropriate that says, “The central problem in this case is . . .” and then make a clear, declaratory statement of just what it is in the case study that has to be fixed, in other words— the problem. It might also be a good idea to underline this sentence so that you can find it later. This is what will drive the remainder of your case analysis. Don’t forget—case analysis is all about identifying a problem and developing a solution. This section should take no more than 30% of your total writing time. Section II: Problem Definition

A. Name immediate issues and define them in a way that calls for action-oriented answers. Be sure to identify problems not symptoms. To help identify the underlying problem, isolate the key factor, which is the one thing that needs to be changed to alleviate the symptoms. B. Your outline should be fairly detailed here. The problem statement should appear in sentence form. Often it is helpful to think of this and state it in the form of a question. Section III: Situation Analysis

A. At this point, you will need to assess the firm’s current situation, identify all factors that influence the problem and its potential solutions. This must go far beyond simple description or regurgitation of the case facts. The situational analysis is interpretive and diagnostic. Below is a list of factors the situational analysis should often consider. Each case is different so not all of these factors apply to each one, but they should be given some thought. Likewise, because the case is a real live firm and problem, you may encounter one where there are important issues that are not on this list - by all means include them: Extent of demand (absolute and relative market size, growth, relevant demand characteristics) Nature of demand (segments, decision making in purchase process) Strategy (general marketing strategy, product, promotion, distribution, and pricing strategies) Product life cycle (stage and issues)

Macroenvironmental trends (sociocultural, demographic, and economic issues that affect you) Competition (who, how, intensity, strategic groups, trends) Technology (changes, stability, developments)

Relevant characteristics of the product involved
Firm’s resources/strengths/capabilities
Firm’s distinctive competencies
Cost (structures, stability, characteristics)
Supplier or input issues
Labor or personnel issues
Firm’s weaknesses or problems that affect this particular situation Characteristics or factors in the firm’s culture that may affect you Anything in the firm’s current, past or future, internal or external situation that affects your problem and what you might do to solve it.

B. If you have trouble identifying elements of the...
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