24 May 2005

Case Study Write ups: Some Practicle Tips

1. Do not repeat Case Facts. The class or person marking will have read it too. You therefore do not need to repeat case facts. Such repetitious padding will add nothing either to the development of your argument for making a particular recommendation or to your mark.

2. Always assume you have sufficient information. It is not satisfactory to ‘cop out’ by stating that you do not have sufficient information. Managers the world over operate in situations where the information supply to make decisions is imperfect.

3. Waffle Factor. It helps to imagine that you are a consultant or a senior manager being asked for advice when working on a case study. If when you review your advice it seems a load of waffle, try again. Your advice would be of no practical use and is therefore not acceptable as an exercise in applying concepts.

4. Challenge or Acceptance? Generally speaking case studies are written to illustrate a problem or issue. If you find yourself endorsing or accepting the organisation’s thoughts or actions without discussion, think again! The case was written to generate debate. Is all as it appears? Become sceptical; do not necessarily accept bland statements without corroborating evidence. Challenge the views and perceptions of the people as represented in the case studies.

5. Thoroughness. Do not ignore data, financial or otherwise, that is included. It probably has a purpose; even if it’s an exercise in determining whether you can see the wood for the trees.

6. Credibility. Never forget implementation issues when making recommendations. Not all opportunities are exploitable. Employed human beings are not an infinitely disposable commodity. Your ability to determine the best match of decision in strategy, marketing etc. for the organisation’s capabilities, resources and the external environment is paramount and a major step on the way to becoming an effective manager.

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