Business & Finance

SOLVING THE CASE
Chapter 3

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Chapter Outline

Case Analysis Steps

Presenting the case

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Case Analysis Steps

We begin the writing of our solutions to the case by including a verbatim copy (copy and paste) of your first part of the background case. This is the summary of your problem.

This way the reader will immediately know which case your are going to solve.

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Case Analysis Steps

There is no single best method for analyzing a case. However, the following steps are suggested:

Look for the problem(s): After thoroughly acquainting yourself with the data provided in the case, identify the problem facing the organization. A problem may be defined as a condition in which certain goals or objectives are either not likely to be met or have not been met.

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Case Analysis Steps

Ascertain Alternatives: After identifying the problem spend some time thinking about the various alternatives (short and long run) available to the organization. Once alternatives are defined, no matter how imprecisely, you can list the pro’s and con’s of each alternative. This may help you review the alternatives.

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Case Analysis Steps

Define crucial issues: The crucial issues are those conditions that affect the feasibility of the various alternatives. They serve as organizing points around which facts can be grouped, and deduction drawn. They become the bases by which the suitability of various alternatives can be addressed.

It is insufficient to simply state crucial issues and facts related to these issues. The analysis really consists of the deduction and inference drawn from these facts as they relate to the issues and to the alternatives. This is the core of the task, and you must develop a sound and logical set of arguments.

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Case Analysis Steps

Recommendations: the recommendations may be regarded as consisting of 2 parts.

The first is a conclusion indicating which of the alternative paths of action the organization should follow. In general, this will involve a weighting of the decisions drawn from the analysis of crucial issues. Note that the analysis will seldom indicate that every crucial issue points to the same alternative as being “best”. The evidence will typically be contradictory. For example, profits may be higher, but also risk. The conclusion must weight the importance of these elements with respect to the alternative and the organization objectives.

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Case Analysis Steps

The second part of the recommendations consists of a plan to implement the selected alternative.

Here details regarding how the strategy is to be followed should be developed. Care should be given to note the importance of each recommendation and its timing with the implementation stage.

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Case Analysis Steps

SWOT / TOWS

TOWS Analysis is a variant of the classic business tool, SWOT Analysis.

TOWS and SWOT are acronyms for different arrangements of the words Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

By analyzing the external environment (threats and opportunities), and your internal environment (weaknesses and strengths), you can use these techniques to think about the strategy of your whole organization, a department or a team. You can also use them to think about a process, a marketing campaign, or even your own skills and experience.

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Case Analysis Steps

Identifying Strategic Options

SWOT or TOWS analysis helps you get a better understanding of the strategic choices that you face. (Remember that “strategy” is the art of determining how you’ll “win” in business and life.) It helps you ask, and answer, the following questions: How do you:

  • Make the most of your strengths?
  • Circumvent your weaknesses?
  • Capitalize on your opportunities?
  • Manage your threats?

A next step of analysis, usually associated with the externally-focused TOWS Matrix, helps you think about the options that you could pursue. To do this you match external opportunities and threats with your internal strengths and weaknesses, as illustrated in the matrix (see next slide):

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Case Analysis Steps

TOWS Strategic Alternatives Matrix

TOWS Matrix © 1982 Heinz Weihrich, Ph.D

External Opportunities (O)

1.

2.

3.

4.

External Threats (T)

1.

2.

3.

4.

ST

Stragegies to use Strength to

minimize Threats.

SO

Strategies that use Strength to

maximize Opportunities

Internal Strength (S)

1.

2.

3.

4.

Internatl Weaknesses (W)

1.

2.

3.

4.

WO

Strategies that minimize Weaknesses by taking advantage of Opportunities.

WT

Strategies that minimize Weaknesses and avoid Threats

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Case Analysis Steps

This helps you identify strategic alternatives that address the following additional questions:

  • Strengths and Opportunities (SO) – How can you use your strengths to take advantage of the opportunities?
  • Strengths and Threats (ST) – How can you take advantage of your strengths to avoid real and potential threats?
  • Weaknesses and Opportunities (WO) – How can you use your opportunities to overcome the weaknesses you are experiencing?
  • Weaknesses and Threats (WT) – How can you minimize your weaknesses and avoid threats?

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Presenting the Case

Tips:

Do not restate facts from the case. You can assume the reader is familiar with the same.

A question asking you to assess the market conditions should not be answered by the statement: “Demand is growing at 25% a year”. Instead, discuss how the information in the case relates to the decision-making situation. For example: “Demand is growing at 25% per year which suggests that aggressive pricing may not be necessary”.

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Presenting the Case

Discuss the information critically. Read between the lines. For example, should you believe rumors about the low price bidding by competitors?

If you make an assumption, ask yourself how that assumption affects the outcome of the analysis. If it is critical to your analysis, you should justify it and discuss how your analysis changes if the assumption is violated.

The recommendations should clearly address the managerial decision problem.

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Presenting the Case

Present the pro’s and con’s of your recommendation clearly and concisely.

In your recommendation it might be necessary to explain why some factors were more important than others in leading to your recommendation.

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