Business 5301 – Organizational Theory
Memorial University of Newfoundland
A case analysis method of study provides experiential education—learning by doing. Therefore, the amount of learning students receive from an individual case is directly related to the amount of work they put into it.
A major goal of the use of cases is to allow students to gain experience in problem solving.
Cases help students learn to:
• Develop an understanding of problems
• Learn how to dissect various factors relevant to problems
• Learn how to think creatively about solutions to problems
• Learn to critically and thoroughly ...view middle of the document...
Such an understanding usually requires insights gained from step 2, situational analysis— which illustrates the iterative nature of the case analysis process. Gaining insight into the urgency of the problem will help inform long-term and short-term recommendations.
2. Situational Analysis
Students adopt the role of the decision maker or a consultant asked to assist the decision maker. To better understand the nature of the problem, possible solutions, and constraints to these solutions, the decision context needs to be understood. There are a number of analytical tools and processes for conducting situational analysis. For example, SWOT analysis is recommended as a simple preliminary approach. In this approach students review the facts, opinions, and preferences identified in the case and evaluate strengths of weaknesses of the organization’s internal environment and opportunities and threats in the organization’s external environment.
An assessment of the internal environment may include strengths and weaknesses relating to:
- Current Strategy & Performance (such as mission, goals, strategies and outcomes)
- The Organization Itself (such as systems, processes, structure, and culture)
- Skills, Abilities, Resources, Technologies and Other Assets of the Organization
- Beliefs, Values, and Preferences of Senior Management and Other Key Stakeholder
An assessment of the external environment may include opportunities/threats relating to:
- Political, Legal, Economic, Socio-Cultural, Technological, and Other Trends
- Consumer / Customer Behaviour
- Industry / Market Conditions, Structures, and Norms
- Competitive Conditions and Expected Reactions
The objective of this analysis is to (1) identify the underlying causes of the problem(s) identified in Step 1, and (2) identify key factors (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) that have implications for, or bearing on, the problem and potential solutions. This is your chance to do further research to gather information. Do not use opinions!
Situational analysis may suggest a need to re-specify the problem statement, re-assess the relative importance and urgency of problems, or suggest some potential solutions.
It helps to identify potential alternatives and then use the situational analysis to assess those alternatives. To help differentiate relevant from irrelevant information, students should confront each piece of information with the following question: does this provide support for or ammunition against a recommendation and if so, how? Key strengths and opportunities generally provide evidence to support alternative courses of action while key weaknesses and threats provide evidence against. Hint: think like a trial lawyer – facts!
This section should identify three or four viable alternative solutions to the problem and discuss the positive and negative outcomes for each. For example, one...