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Case Study Examples

 



Sometimes, group discussions are conducted with the help of case studies. A case describes a situation -a business situation, usually with a problem, which is sought to be solved. You cannot solve a problem unless, of course, you comprehend it in all its aspects. Problems are rarely simple. Even those which appear simple may have complex causes. So, in order to understand the problem thoroughly, first, you have to identify all the facts that have given rise to the problem. Some of these facts, on first reading might appr very important, but as you gain a more thorough understanding of the situation, you might dismiss them as insignificant or irrelevant.

Once you understand the scope of the problem, you have to examine the objectives which are to be achieved in solving the problem. Objectives are the ends, or goals we set for ourselves as problem-solvers. A problem is solved with an end in view; objectives are these ends which the problem solver seeks to achieve. Objectives can be short term or long term. Also, there can be more than is sought to be achieved by solving a problem.

A problem can be solved in several ways, alternative course of action. Obviously, in a given situation, only a few of these alternatives are relevant and feasible. We should analyze these few feasible and select the one that fulfills our objective(s) the best. The objectives that we sent for ourselves become crucial in choosing our course of action.

Thus the four vital questions that the analysis of case studies has to answer are:

  • PROBLEM: What is the problem? What factors have caused it? What is the total impact of the problem? What consequences it is likely to bring about if it is not solved? (Remember symptoms are not only the problem. You need to identify the cause behind the symptoms).
  • OBJECTIVES: What objectives, goals, and aims one has to keep in mind in solving the problem in the short-term and in the long run?
  • ALTERNATIVES: What alternative courses of action are available to solve the problem? Which of them is the most feasible? How?

  • RECOMMENDATION: Which single alternative satisfies our objectives the best? Should this alternative fail, which other course of action could we fall back upon?

Your competence as a participant in the discussion of a case study will depend on how clearly you comprehend the problem, the relevance of the objectives you set the set of alternative courses of action you evolve to solve the problem and the quality of recommendations you finally make. There are no 'right' answers and 'correct' recommendations. The force of reasoning behind your arguments is the sole criterion that will determine the quality of your contribution to the discussion. A point you would do well to remember is the fact that no case situations will offer you all the information you need to arrive at a complete understanding of a situation. Here, as in many a real life situation, you can seldom get all the information you need; either it is simply not available, or it is too costly to get it. You have to make do with whatever information the case has and take your decision.

Take five minutes time to read each of the following cases and ten minutes to prepare your synopsis of points under the four heads of problem, objectives, alternatives and the recommendation. In the discussion, of course, you have to speak out, but the exercise helps you to learn organizing your thoughts.

  A  FEW  CASES  

Case 1. Chemco is a subsidary of an engineering company. It initiated implementation of enterprise wide integrated software and hired consultants for this. The scheduled budget was Rs x and time frame was 2 years. A committee was formed to review the implementation part and after 2 years the MD of the found that the project was 40% complete the facing serious cost and time overruns. The top management blames the consultant and the plant level people, while the consultant blames top management. Identify the problem and discuss the course of action.

Case 2. A truck driver of a company had put in 15 years of service and was very popular. The company in appreciation of his efforts promoted him and made him the MDs driver. In contravention to company's rule he used the vehicle for some personal reason and met with an accident killing/injuring somebody in the process. He was let-off by the courts. The group recommends the course of action.

Case 3. A fertilizer company is located near a village. One day the villagers find fish dying due to fluid waste from fertilizer plant. Fishing being the main source of income for these villagers, Govt. issues an order while the fertilizer company's contention is that is not due to their fault.

Case 4. Msoft is a software co.established 6 years ago by PCC (a construction firm). PCC cannot give a very high salary, as it would not be consistent with their other business. The ultimate aim of Msoft is to enter the export market but in 6 years they do well in the domestic market. Msoft decides to here a firm SYSQS to start a training program and to improve their business operations. SYSQS does a good job and Msoft starts to reap the benefits in the forms of several prestigious projects. Msoft has employs 15 people. Then in the middle of a crucial project, two senior executives leave for better remuneration. What should the GM of Msoft do? Note: IIMA had three panels in Bangalore - The first panel asks all technical funda questions, the second was concentrating on subjects and personal info mentioned in the form; the third panel was asking anything under the sun-music to science to politics-did not asks much questions on the background; Engineering students were being asked fundas on economic politics. 



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