- Part 2 (23% of your final grade): Submit a case study with the following:
- opening paragraphâ€”introduction to the situation
- background organizational informationâ€”history, mission, values, competition, financial information, and additional information of significant value
- area of interestâ€”strategic planning, leadership, marketing, finance, health care operations, human resources
- definition of the challenge/concernâ€”specific problem or decision(s) to be made; this is your problem statement
- alternative situations/solutionsâ€”list of options for meeting the challenge or concern
- conclusionâ€”summary of the situation, any constraints or limitations, and the urgency of the situation, with the best alternative presented and defended
Most but not all case studies will follow this format. The purpose here is for you to thoroughly understand the situation and the decisions/discussions that need to be made. Take your time and stay focused on your objectives.
Here, we’ll pay a bit more attention to the fourth and fifth components:
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Defining the Challenge/Concern
The problem statement should be a clear and concise statement of exactly what issue or concern needs to be addressed. This is not challenging to write!
To pinpoint the challenge to be addressed, ask yourself the following questions:
- What appears to be the issue/problem?
- How do I know that this is a problem? Note that, in answering this question, you will differentiate the indicators of the problem from the problem itself.
- What needs to be addressed immediately? Answering this will help you to differentiate between problems that can be resolved within the context of the case and larger issues that need to be addressed at a later time.
- What is important and what is urgent? Some problems appear to be urgent, but upon closer examination, are revealed to be relatively unimportant, while others may be far more important than they are pressing.
The problem statement can be framed as a question (e.g., What should Sue do? or How can Mr. Smith improve? It typically has to be rewritten several times during the analysis of a case, as you peel back the layers of symptoms or causation.
Coming Up With Alternative Situations/Solutions
You’ll want to answer the following questions to come up with viable alternatives:
- Why or how did the challenge/concern arise? You are trying to determine cause and effect for the problems identified. You cannot solve a problem of which you cannot determine the cause! It may be helpful to think of the organization in question as consisting of the following components:
- people who transform. . .
- resources, such as materials, equipment, or supplies, using. . .
- processes, which create something of greater value
- Who is affected the most by the challenge/concern? You are trying to identify the relevant stakeholders to the situation, and who will be affected by the decisions to be made.
- What are the constraints and opportunities in this situation?
This paper should be about 7 – 10 pages of text.