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Case Study Problem |dentlflcatlon

What is it and Benefits?
Developing a Case Study
Sources of Information
Writing up the objectives
Using it in class
Taking feedback, Clarification and Action
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Case Study Problem |dentlflcatlon
What is it?

A case study ls an lmage of reallty brought lnto the classroom. |t offers an excellent way of connectlng
theory to real llfe. Cases can vary from belng slmple to very complex. The outcomes can be at lower or
hlgher levels of behavloural ob[ectlves. See wrltlng Ob[ectlves. Slmple case studles examlne a small
corner or mlcrocosm of buslness. They can be created from reallty or can be wrltten by the tralner
(based on reallty, sometlmes called factlon). The basls of most cases studles ls the problem.
what are the parts of a problem! |n every problem there are 2 posltlons:
The present posltlon.
A more deslred posltlon.
The space ln between ls the problem area. No problem ls one-dlmenslonal. 1ust thlnk: technology,
flnance, sclence, human behavlour, markets and so on can all converge on a real buslness problem. All
are lnteractlng ln a movlng, dynamlc and fluld world.
what ls the present posltlon! |n most areas of buslness, there are standards for all thlngs (e.g., return ln
lnvestment, output per worker, levels of waste, percentage of returns, numbers of letters, rate of cash
flow, days lost by slckness, strlkes or absenteelsm). Numbers or ratlos are used frequently to ldentlfy
and deflne problems. The performance of a buslness can be measured agalnst any or all of these
Fig 3.01 Situation Analysis!
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Case Study Problem |dentlflcatlon
numbers, ratlos or standards. |f there ls non-performance ln any or many of them, lt wlll show up as a
number. when the numbers do not match the deslred posltlon, there are problems.
Case studles can have few varlables or many. They can represent slmple or complex problems. The
ob[ectlve wlth case studles ls to take as many or as few varlables as necessary for the tralnees to
ldentlfy the problem/s. The tralnees tasks are: (a) flnd a common understandlng of the lssues, (b)
ldentlfy the causes and symptoms. Separate them and (c) ldentlfy the problem.
Other actlvltles that can be embedded wlthln a case study are:
Peport wrltlng.
Presentatlon to a plenary sesslon.
Developlng actlon plans based on lnltlatlng the change.
Plannlng the trlalllng of new systems (where appllcable).
worklng wlth case studles ls lnltlally dlfflcult for the tralnees. Thls ls slmply because they are not used
to them, so flrst results may cause dlsappolntment. Practlslng case studles ls necessary to bulld ablllty
and confldence. (Learnlng polnt: Learnlng experlences should lnclude practlslng the behavlour)

Fig 3.02 First Steps in Problem Solving
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Case Study Problem |dentlflcatlon
why are case studles very good tralnlng technlques!
They are partlclpatlve and collaboratlve.
They can accommodate dlfferent learnlng styles.
They connect theory to practlce and practlce to theory.
They dlsplay the tralnees understandlng of the materlal as lt applles to the [ob or thelr ablllty to
deflne problems.
They lntegrate the sub[ect matter.
They are effectlve at produclng an attltude change.
They form the basls of developlng presentatlons and other lnterpersonal skllls.
They can form the core of a tralnlng program from whlch everythlng else radlates.
They can be used as evaluatlon tools.
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Case Study Problem |dentlflcatlon
Developing a simple case study
There are several steps to constructlng a case study. Some can be bought off the shelf and lf you
choose to thls optlon make sure lt sults your ob[ectlves. Google the words Case Studles to get a cholce
of optlons on the web or check wlth your local buslness newspaper who generally have free studles
avallable on-llne. L.g. www.buslness2000.le. |f you cant get anythlng to sult you must construct your
wrlte them! |ts a terrlflc exerclse. Never say | cant, because you can. The range of posslbllltles ls
lmmense. Take a look at thls llst, lssues concernlng:-
Pesolvlng customer complalnts
System changes and adoptlon of new ldeas
Too much waste of materlal, tlme or money
Hlgh levels of damaged goods
Decllnlng sales
Health and safety lssues
Staff confuslon
Pesponslblllty always resldlng elsewhere
Appllcatlon of changlng legal or tradlng envlronment.
Steps in construction
The steps ln constructlon are:
Deflne your purpose.
Sources of lnformatlon.
Structurlng the ltems.
wrltlng up the case.
Scrlptlng tralnee lnstructlons.
Define your purpose
The use of case studles can achleve many levels of ob[ectlves. The followlng llst outllnes a posslble
range, from slmple to complex levels. ou should select the level to whlch you want to take the
tralnees. See Writing Objectives.
l. The tralnee must be able to descrlbe the case. ou may only lnltlally want the tralnees to descrlbe
the facts of the case and relate the problem to whatever theoretlcal facts you have taught them.
ou may ask them to explaln the concept, ratlos, laws governlng, prlnclples etc. used wlthln the
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Case Study Problem |dentlflcatlon
study to determlne lf they understand/comprehend them. ou may even want them to lnterpret
efflclency ratlos and recognlse any devlatlon from the deslred flgures.
Thls ls commonly called understandlng the facts!
2. |f lt ls a slmple case study, the tralnee may need to offer solutlons to the problem by mentally
selectlng the correct content and applylng lt to the problem to obtaln an answer.
Thls ls commonly called uslng the facts to solve problems!
3. |n the context of a wlder problem, you may want the tralnees to be able to separate out the
components that make up the problem as lt ls presented. They can then add the experlences of
lndlvlduals, provldlng reasons not wrltten ln the problem as presented. They wlll ldentlfy and
explaln the wlder effects of all of these condltlons of the problem.
Thls ls commonly called belng able to read the sltuatlon and understand the scope of the
problem. |n other words, the analysls of the sltuatlon.
4. The tralnee wlll be able to select construct optlons for solvlng the problem and deflne the
lmpllcatlons of each posslblllty.
Thls ls commonly called comlng up wlth all posslble solutlons. |n other words, creatlvlty or
5. The tralnee wlll make a declslon about the most approprlate solutlon. |t must meet the
acceptable crlterla for acceptance and ensure lnternal or external conslstencles wlthln the chosen
Thls ls commonly called declslon maklng.

Writing the objectives Level of analysis or problem identification
Heres a selectlon of ob[ectlves. After readlng them, select them as ls or modlfy them to meet your
The tralnees wlll be able to:
Pead and lnterpret the content of the case study and know the meanlngs of the terms, structure,
rules, etc. contalned wlthln lt.
Dlscuss/verballse and place ln context the concepts that apply to thls problem (e.g., technlcal,
legal, flnanclal or soclal content that has a bearlng on the problem).
Use the technlcal lnformatlon to descrlbe the problem and lts subsets.
Pecognlse whether all crltlcal lnformatlon ls avallable.
Tease out the symptoms and dlfferentlate them from the causes.
Make clear statements about the overall problem and lts sub-components.
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Case Study Problem |dentlflcatlon
There are four templates ln the Templates Plle to asslst the tralnees systematlcally proceed wlth the
problem solvlng process. The Templates are:
Template l Scoplng the Case Study.
Template 2 wrltlng a Case Study.
Template 3 Task l Understandlng the |ssues.
Template 4 Task 2 Problem Causes and Deflnltlons.
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Case Study Problem |dentlflcatlon
Sources of information
Local company knowledge, flrst- or thlrd-hand.
Corporate memory of the company.
Lxamples from other companles.
Customer feedback glven to the company.
Legal outcomes reported ln court reports.
Materlal extrapolated from books and modlfled to reflect the home company.
Materlal gleaned from professlonal magazlnes and websltes.
Tips on creating the case:
The case must reflect reallty and be bellevable.
The dlfflcultles should be based on exlstlng problems or future change.
|t should be constructed around a character (e.g., the manager, supervlsor or company mentor).
Personallse lt lnto the 3rd person.
Glve sufflclent hard data so that the tralnees have to get thelr teeth lnto the lssue.
Lnsure that there ls a problem and a real sltuatlon (deslred sltuatlon ratlos). See below.
Glve lt context.
Do not polnt to a solutlon.
Create a scrlpt for an l8-year-old. See Handouts, Short Talk.
Have some addltlonal supportlng data held aslde.

For suggestions, Google writing case studies, writing for the press or writing press articles.
Identifying the components
The components of the problem can be one, few or many of the followlng: the symptoms, efflclency
ratlos, responslbllltles, law, exlstlng procedures, current effectlveness, costs, cash flows, procedure
flows, efflclency factors and coefflclents, loss of productlon tlme, staff morale, blame, lntroduclng of
new procedures, monltorlng of beddlng ln of new procedures, changlng envlronment, etc.
Place the problem ln the centre of the splder dlagram. Surround the central problem wlth the key
lssues that lmplnge on the problem. Connect them to the problem wlth llnes.
|dentlfy the next lower level and factors connected to the key lssues. Use llnes to [oln them wlth the
key lssues. Gradually, all of the elements wlll be lnserted lnto the splder dlagram. Thls wlll provlde
a structure for the case study. Next, add ln the hard facts, such as actual numbers, processes, law,
personnel and efflclency factors, lnsofar as they are known. |nclude flgures, ratlos, graphs, dlagrams
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Case Study Problem |dentlflcatlon
or lllustratlons. |n fact, lnclude any lllustratlons that wlll help the tralnee to qulckly come to terms wlth
the scope of the problem.
Thls ls real materlal wlth whlch the tralnees wlll ldentlfy. wlth the research done, throw yourself lnto
the role of the newspaper reporter and start wrltlng up the case. There should be several paragraphs.
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Case Study Problem |dentlflcatlon
Writing up the case
Target: Not more than l.5 pages.
|t wlll have 4 sectlons.
Sectlon l. Tltle. Short actlve headlng.
Sectlon 2. Paragraph l. Openlng wlll state, ln no more than 3 sentences, what the problem ls, when
lt happened, where lt happened, why lt happened and the posslble consequences.
Sectlon 3. 8ody of the artlcle. Glve the detalls and consequences for the buslness, and trace the
splder dlagram ln words. Do not express you own oplnlon -- be factual. Glve sufflclent speclflcs, ratlos,
graphs, etc. to glve the case substance. |t ls up the tralnees to translate/lnterpret and extrapolate from
the facts. |n factlon case studles, lt ls acceptable to use fictional facts to polnt the study ln a partlcular
dlrectlon. The tralnees may have to pursue further detall themselves to fully deflne what ls happenlng.
See Cards and Data, Handouts and Short Lecture for writing style.
Sectlon 4. Last paragraph. The last paragraph wlll explaln the beneflts to the buslness lf the
problem ls resolved. Thls wlll motlvate the tralnees to flnd solutlons.
Now read your report and edlt where necessary. |nclude personal testament lf lt adds to the product.
Additional facts
Not all the facts need to be glven lf part of the ob[ectlve ls to ldentlfy and source mlsslng data. ou
may wlsh to wlthhold the lnformatlon untll lt ls requested, or you may want the tralnees to spend tlme
searchlng for lt. |ndeed you may prompt them to the need for them.
Glve the report to a colleague to evaluate, and llsten to any observatlons presented. |f need be, modlfy
the case. The flnal edlt wlll take place after the case ls presented ln class. |ts effectlveness should be
closely monltored to ensure that lt has the deslred lmpact. Any shortcomlngs should be ldentlfled and
rectlfled before reuse.
The next task ls to develop lnstructlons for the tralnees.
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Case Study Problem |dentlflcatlon
Issue of time
|n lssulng lnstructlons to tralnees, remember that case studles consume large quantltles of tlme.
Conslderlng the lssue of tlme, you may:
Shorten the complexlty of the problem.
Lxtend the tlme.
Use lt as an after-sesslon pro[ect.

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Case Study Problem |dentlflcatlon
Using it in Class
There are two tasks ln thls exerclse: (l) to flnd an agreed-upon lnterpretatlon of the problem, and (2)
to deflne the problem and lts maln and subordlnate problems. Hence, the followlng two actlvltles: (l)
examlnlng the case study, and (2) deflnlng the problem and ldentlfylng lts causes.
So, to get golng, ensure that you have all the pleces requlred to operate the case study, see Templates
Case Study. ou should have:
Sufflclent coples for the tralnees of Template 3, Task 1 Understanding the Issues and Template 4,
Task 2 Problem Causes and Definitions.
Sufflclent coples of the Case Study.
Support and reference materlals, lf needed.
Access to admlnlstratlve facllltles, lf needed (e.g. photocopylng, typlng, pens markers, fllp chart
Class materlals to handle feedback.
Settlng up the class and the tasks:
The class wlll operate ln plenary group and sub-groups of approxlmately 2 to 3 (more lf needed).
Set up the room so that each sub-group has sufflclent space.
Call to order and outllne the task. The purpose of the task ls to offer a range of posslble solutlons
to a very controlled problem, typlcal of what they wlll encounter ln the buslness. Outllne the
Fig 3.03 Teasing out the Details
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Case Study Problem |dentlflcatlon
ob[ectlves for the sesslon.
Outllne the format of the exerclse. They wlll be operatlng ln sub-groups of 2 or 3 and wlll be back
ln plenary sesslon to share feedback.
Asslgn everyone to a sub-group and a place ln the room.
6. Outllne the problem and dlstrlbute Case Study and Template 2, Task l Understandlng the |ssues.
Have tralnees move to thelr sub-group locatlons.
7. Suggest tlme budgets for the task.
8. Lncourage the work.
9. Quletly move from group to group ensurlng that each tralnee understands what ls requlred.
l0. Allow the work to progress unhlndered.
ll. Observe the functlonlng of the groups. |f you see a group experlenclng dlfflculty, check the lssue
and clarlfy. Do not solve the problem!
l2. Call to plenary sesslon at the due tlme. Have the reporter of each group present the report. Seek
lnteractlon from the tralnees.
l3. Observe/llsten lf there ls any lnformatlon mlsslng or mlsunderstood. |f there ls, correct lt.
l4. Prepare for feedback sesslon.
Fig 3.04 Indentify the causes!
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Case Study Problem |dentlflcatlon
Observations during group work
Monltor progress from a dlstance.
Make a mental note of extent to whlch everyone ls lnvolved.
|dentlfy any antl-group behavlour and counsel approprlately.
|dentlfy lndlvlduals not belng allowed contrlbute by domlnant others.
|dentlfy those dolng the physlcal actlvltles, such as wrltlng the flndlngs or gettlng materlals, and
those who are dolng the thlnklng. |t wlll glve you a sense of thelr learnlng styles, posslbly leadlng
to a reshuffllng of the group members to accommodate these styles.
As the dlscusslon develops, llsten to hear whether dlfflcultles arlse that requlre your lnterventlon.
Only lntervene lf necessary.
Towards the end, clrculate around the groups and ensure that the recordlngs are ln order.
Call to order.

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Case Study Problem |dentlflcatlon
Taking Feedback - The Principles
The feedback process ls lmportant. Try to ablde by the followlng prlnclples:
|nvolve everyone and llsten to the group flndlngs (ownershlp).
Check each persons understandlng through questlonlng or llstenlng.
Note any mlsslng data, mlsunderstandlngs or gaps ln knowledge.
|ntroduce a serles of clarlflcatlon, lnformatlon-seeklng and challenglng questlons. Have a serles
prepared. See Questlons& Answers, Gettlng Peedback.
Lxplaln the purpose of the actlvlty and how lt ls progresslng so that tralnees can repllcate lt
themselves at any tlme.
8e satlsfled that everyone has a grasp of the lssues.
8e prepared to glve brlef lnput about technlcal lnformatlon.
8e prepared to reallgn the dlscusslon lf lt moves substantlally away from where you want lt to go.
Make notes of tralnees who:
Show the greatest/least lnvolvement ln offerlng oplnlons, and those who are wllllng to take lead
Have a better understandlng of lssues and the appllcatlon of theory.
Can contextuallse the lssues.
Fig 3.05 Taking Feedback
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Case Study Problem |dentlflcatlon
The feedback process.
Keep the sub-groups lntact and ask the flrst person ln the group to present the flrst ltem.
wrlte thls on the board.
Ask the flrst person ln the second group for the flrst ltem, and wrlte lt on the board.
Pepeat thls wlth each group.
After each flrst person has offered an ltem, ask the second person ln the flrst group for the next
Pepeat untll all the ltems are recorded.
Plnally, replay back the flndlngs to the group and explaln how well they have met the ob[ectlves.
Clarification and Action
when the tralnees have completed the flrst task, repeat the same process for the second Task outllned
ln Template 4, Task 2 Problem Causes and Definitions. Take feedback as descrlbed above and support
the groups ln process.
Action Plan
The Sesslon should flnlsh wlth a short Actlon Plan. |n thls case lt ls to scrlpt up the causes and
deflnltlon of the problem as thls wlll be used at the lnput to the Sesslon on Declslon Maklng.