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How to Download and Analyze a Case

How to download the Harvard Business School Cases

Enter the following link into your web browser:

http://harvardbusinessonline.hbsp.harvard.edu/relay.jhtml?name=cp&c=c24832

To get the Harvard Online Course materials you need to register as a new user (unless you already have registered).

The Harvard Online Course may ask you for a "Reference ID" That number is “c24832”.

Then just click "Add to my Courses" and you'll be able to purchase the class materials with your credit card.

Outline for Case Reports:

Please follow this outline for all written case reports. Please note that this follows the discussion below.

1. Situation Analysis

2. Assumptions and Missing Information

3. Problem Definition

4. Development of Alternatives

5. Evaluation of Alternatives and Recommendation to Management

6. Appendix – Used for exhibits such as pro-forma income statements and other detailed analyses.

The Case Analysis Framework

The case analysis framework presented here is a synthesis of the frameworks used by your professor and other marketing professors who use case analysis in their courses. It will provide a solid structure to organize the diverse information presented in a case.

As you work your way through this framework, or a similar approach to case analysis, we offer the following hints to increase your probability of success:

1. No one can analyze a case after reading it only one time, or even worse, doing the analysis during the first reading of the case. You should read through the case once just to get an understanding of the nature of the case. During the second reading, you can begin to structure and classify the issues as they appear. A truly comprehensive case analysis will probably require at least three readings.

2. Don’t get trapped into thinking the “answer” to the case is hidden somewhere in the case text. There is never a single answer to a case just as there is never a single marketing strategy that is appropriate for all situations. Each case is unique. Looking for tricks or shortcuts is not appropriate.

3. Make an effort to put yourself in the shoes of the decision maker in the case. The use of role-playing as part of the analysis can be very useful. It helps you gain some feeling for the perspective of the key parties at the time the case took place. After you have done several analyses, you will likely come up with your own additional procedures or guidelines that assist you with this process.

Step 1: Situation Analysis

The material presented in a case is much like the communications we have in our daily lives. Usually our conversations involve the selection of a topic and then the discussion of that topic, and so it is with cases. The problem is that we end up with bits and pieces of information that by themselves are not very useful, but once organized, can be quite valuable in our assessment of the situation. The first step in the framework helps you organize the pieces of information into more useful topic blocks.

The process of assessing a situation is widely accomplished through the use of SWOT Analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). Looking at an organization’s strengths and weaknesses is the first half of Step 1. This involves looking at the organization’s internal environment. Strengths are those aspects of the internal environment that can help the firm address a present problem, issue, or opportunity, while weaknesses are negative factors or deficiencies that do not allow the firm to reach its full potential. One topic that should be addressed is the content and appropriateness of the current marketing or sales plan. Is the plan current? Do the key parties understand and utilize it? Was it developed with input from all levels of the organization? The organization’s financial condition may also present strengths and weaknesses. Is it in a solid...
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