It is imperative that the business person be competent in the entire process of problem solving. Through the use of case studies this course will attempt to develop your skills in analyzing various business problems. Therefore, a basic methodology for situation analysis and decision making is presented which will be useful in most areas of policy making. The major steps in this process are:
- Define the problem
- Discern which information is relevant
- Analyze the information
- Formulate viable alternatives
- Evaluate these alternatives
- Make a decision
- Plan for implementation
In preparing yourself for class, the following process may be helpful in evaluating each case:
- Thoroughly familiarize yourself with all the information given in the case.
- State the central problem(s) as succinctly as possible.
- Divide the problem into logical areas of consideration. Example: A decision on mode of distribution may involve price, promotion, management, organization, and packaging.
- Formulate alternative courses of action. Try to brainstorm and come up with as many potential solutions as possible.
- Analyze the problem segments and alternatives with regard to: (1) Internal Business Conditions, (2) Competition, (3) Environment (think of the word ICE). This should involve developing a logical series of questions which reveal causal relationships. Use facts presented in the case to answer these questions.
Example: How would a change from intensive distribution to selective distribution affect product image? Sales volume? Salesperson morale? Distribution costs? Advertising?
- Evaluate the pros and cons of each alternative. Consider the long-run impact of each alternative on the business environment. Try to determine how sensitive these would be to changes in the environment.
- Decide which course of action would be the most advisable. Know the weaknesses as well as the strengths of your chosen plan.
A Checklist for Written Case Analysis
- Are the key issues, problems, and/or decisions stated clearly?
- Is the analysis useful?
Does it address the key issue?
Are recommendations clear?
Are recommendations realistic in light of available resources and business conditions?
Are priorities clearly outlined?
- Is the analysis complete?
Are the conclusions reasonable in light of the evidence presented in the case and your paper? Is the logic of the analysis convincing?
- Is the analysis clear?
Have you made explicit what the report is trying to accomplish?
Does the order of presentation contribute to the reader’s understanding of your contributions?
Is the presentation neat, legible, and without careless errors?
- Is the analysis concise?
Is the language straightforward and direct?
Does the analysis demonstrate an adequate understanding of the case facts without indulging in useless repetition?