Case Analysis

Guidelines for Written Case Analyses

 

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  1. Write the case analysis as a consultant engaged to assist the firm and address the managerial issues described in the case, give a recommended action plan, and be persuasive.

 

  1. Written case analyses should be titled “Final Consulting Report to Management.”

 

  1. The purpose of the Introduction section of the paper is to identify the issues, problems, and challenges in the case study. It may be helpful to use examples to illustrate the issues, problems, and challenges.  (Examples are a very helpful tool in illustrating concepts and making abstract ideas more tangible.  Teachers, for instance, routinely use examples to illustrate concepts.)

 

  1. The Introduction section only needs to be a paragraph or two. There is no need to describe the business or the industry in the Introduction because these are well known to the top managers who will be reading the final consulting report.

 

  1. There is no need to repeat case facts unless the facts are used to support an analytical argument.

 

  1. The majority of the report should be an Analysis section that explains why and how the case events occurred. From this section, the reader should be able to anticipate what the recommendations will be.  For example, if employee turnover is high because compensation is too low, the recommendation is obvious.

 

  1. In the Analysis section, never attribute problems to “poor management” or “mismanagement.” Never attribute a problem to “inefficiency.”  Instead, give the precise root cause of the problem.

 

  1. To make the Analysis more persuasive, understandable, and rigorous, do the following:

 

  1. Give specific examples of how the asserted cause could be the real cause. Examples are an essential tool to explaining an argument.  For example, teachers use examples to illustrate new concepts.

 

 

  1. Construct figures and diagrams to explain.

 

 

  • Connect the explanation to a problem. Sometimes students address issues in the Analysis section that are seemingly unrelated to the case issues outlined in the Introduction section.  Be sure to connect the analysis and explanations to an issue identified in the Introduction section.

 

 

 

  1. Cite to the evidence. In general, it is not necessary to include citations to the case because we are all familiar with the facts stated in the case.  There are a few exceptions to this.  When using data that comes from a case exhibit, cite the exhibit number.  For example, “See Exhibit 7” or “See footnote 2.”  Second, when bold contentions are stated (for example, “The hospital’s infection rate is unacceptable.”), cite to the facts in the case to support the contention.

 

  1. Replace vague words with specifics. Never use vague words such as “inefficient” and “poor management.”

 

  1. Write the Analysis section before you write the Recommendations section. Divide the Analysis section into subsections by problem or issue addressed.  Test the Analysis section by having someone outside the class read your Analysis.  The reader should be able to anticipate all of your recommendations and prepare a list of recommendations that is very similar to yours.

 

  1. The Recommendations section should be no more than a couple of paragraphs because all the recommendations should be predictable given the Analysis.

 

  1. Do not give goals as recommendations. Examples are: “Management should more effectively utilize resources” and “Quality and productivity should be improved.”  These are goals.  Give specific recommendations or initiatives that could lead to achievement of these goals.

 

  1. Recommendations that appear out of nowhere, and are not deducible from the Analysis, are not credible or persuasive.

 

  1. Written case analyses are graded on the basis of analysis, grammar, organization, clarity, and persuasiveness.

 

  1. Write sentences and paragraphs. Do not use lists or bullet points.

 

  1. Do not use contractions.

 

  1. Sentences should consist of a single idea.

 

  1. Use active sentences such as “John threw the ball,” rather than passive sentences such as, “The ball was thrown by John.”

 

  1. Organize sentences having a common subject into a paragraph. Paragraphs having a single sentence should be very uncommon.

 

  1. Paragraphs should consist of sentences all having the same subject.

 

  1. Indent the first word of each paragraph.

 

  1. Organize paragraphs having the same focus into sections and give each section a title.

 

  1. Use the Microsoft Word grammar checker. There should be no grammar errors highlighted by the Word grammar checker.  The grader will be using Microsoft Word to locate grammar errors.

 

  1. Double space the entire paper.

 

  1. Print on one side of each page.

 

A written case analysis should have the following section structure:

 

 

Final Consulting Report to Management

 

  1. Introduction

 

Describe the present problems (if any).

Describe the present issues (if any).

Describe the present challenges (if any).

Describe the case events at issue in the case.

Describe the major accomplishments (if any).  (Some case analyses are written to explain why and how the firm achieved its major accomplishments.)

 

  1. Analysis
  2. Subtitle (Use a subtitle that summarizes the argument)

 

Analysis of case event, problem, issue, challenge, or accomplishment number 1

Why has the first case event (problem, issue, or challenge) occurred?

What are the causes of the problem? Use cause-and-effect diagrams to organize

all the causes.  Identify the root causes.

How has the firm achieved accomplishment number 1?

The reader should be able to anticipate the recommendations from this analysis.

 

  1. Subtitle (Use a subtitle that summarizes the argument)

 

Analysis of case event, problem, issue, challenge, or accomplishment number 2

Why has the second case event (problem, issue, or challenge) occurred?

What are the causes of the problem?  Use cause-and-effect diagrams to organize

all the causes.  Identify the root causes.

How has the firm achieved accomplishment number 2?

The reader should be able to anticipate the recommendations from this analysis.

 

(Repeat for each case event, problem, issue, challenge, or accomplishment.)

 

 

III.       Recommendations

 

  1. Subtitle

 

Recommendation number 1 for problems, issues, challenges 1, . . . , n

This recommendation should be deducible from the analysis in section II(A).

 

 

  1. Subtitle

 

Recommendation number 2 for problems, issues, challenges 2, . . . , n.

This recommendation should be deducible from the analysis in section II(B).

 

(Repeat as needed.  Sometimes one recommendation addressing a root cause can resolve numerous problems.

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