Process of analyzing business problems

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Reference no: EM13685280

A NOTE ON CASE ANALYSIS

A case is a real life business situation. In the process of analyzing these business problems, you should put yourself in the role of the decision maker and try to solve whatever problem exists in the best possible manner.

There rarely are "right" answers to most business problems. However, there certainly are wrong answers. It is your responsibility to come up with what you think is the best solution, having considered all possible repercussions of your recommendation.

Naturally, it helps to approach a case analysis in an organized manner. I provide here the format that I would like you to use in your written reports.

I. Situation Analysis. What is happening in the case? What are the relevant pieces of information? The purpose of this section is to provide the logic that leads to the definition of the problem (see II. below). It is analogous to the diagnostic process engaged in by medical practitioners, prior to making a judgment regarding the nature of the disease. It is therefore critical that you use a deductive process of identifying and analyzing elements of the situation that lead to your definition of the problem. The more rigorous your analysis, the more precise and defensible will be your problem definition.

II. Problem Definition. If you have done a good job in the first section, this section should simply be the conclusion of the thinking process in the first section. All you need is a sentence or two stating the problem in as precise a fashion as you can. The brevity of this section should not lead you to believe that it is an unimportant section. It is, in fact, the core of your overall presentation. An incorrect definition of the problem will most definitely yield solutions that are not particularly helpful. To continue with the medical analogy, consider a doctor performing brain surgery to deal with headache symptoms, when all that was necessary was a new prescription for eyeglasses.

III. Analysis of Alternatives. Now that you have a sense of what the problem is, you need to list and examine various options to fix the problem. Provide the reasoning you use as you examine the evidence and identify solution possibilities.

IV. Recommendation. Use some intelligent process (e.g., a cost/benefit analysis, feasibility, timeliness), to rank order the options you identified in the previous section. Provide a sense of their respective strengths and weaknesses. Finally, imagine yourself in the role of a manager making a detailed recommendation to a superior. Think of possible questions and objections that may come up, and think of how your recommendation may be implemented.

It is a good idea to use principles we have discussed in class, to support your analysis.

N. B. 1. Two common errors to be avoided are: (a) Do not simply restate case information -- this is a waste of precious space. Only include information that is relevant to your argument. (b) Do not bury important information in an appendix. The text of your document should stand alone and the reader should need to refer to an appendix for detail, not for the argument itself.

2. To remind you that brevity is the soul of wit, there is a strict upper limit of 1500 words (approximately five double-spaced pages with a 12 point font-size and standard 1" margins all around). There is no limit on the number of Exhibits and Appendices you may include. However, common sense and prior experience suggests that anything over five additional pages is probably overkill.

3. I am available for consultation on form, content, and anything else that may come up. If in doubt, ask.

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Reference no: EM13685280

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