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How to Write
Business Case Studies
By
Maxwell Ranasinghe
Presentation made to
“Marketing Department ‘s Lecturer’s Forum”
U...
Outline of the presentation
 Types of Case studies
 Importance of case studies
 Undergraduate/ MBA level case studies
...
 We write assignments/case studies for
testing of knowledge and skills of
students
 We usually write two types of
scenar...
 The first option where you provide
information in the case study itself and
let student answer it without referring to
a...
 A business case study puts the student in
to real life scenario.
 It challenges student to apply theory he
or she has l...
 Student should feel that he is the
principal character( protagonist-
ප්‍රෝටැ) who is given the responsibility
of solving...
Therefore, a good case study
should be written to create a
real life kind of situation with a
well crafted story to intri...
Undergraduate level case
studies
Case study writers who write
cases for undergraduate level or
diploma Level students shou...
Case study should not be
complicated and it should
have one central decision
point or dilemma ( bear in
mind that this is ...
MBA Level case studies
 These case studies may have one or
more core issues and could be
complicated.
 Therefore the cas...
Layers to be thought separately
and superimposed
 Internal layer( staff relations, resource
constraints and corporate cul...
Lets start with undergraduate
case study to illustrate
 Case should have a proper
problem within the facts of the
case.
...
 The nature of the situation should be
clearly apparent once the case is
read.
 Most importantly the case writer
should ...
In marketing case studies
Case writers should be careful
when making the plot of the
story not to end up in asking
the st...
 There is no proper format for case
studies but it is always better to
have a logical format so that the
case writer will...
Have you got to follow
Harvard, Princeton or Yale
University styles ? No
 Have your own style. Then
only you will get cr...
Guideline
1. Decide what you need to
test in students through the
case study.
2. Develop a plot
3. Structure the case
...
 5. Provide symptoms of the
situation
 6. Let student analyse the
symptoms and find out the central
problem.
 7. Ask qu...
Decide what you need to test in
students through the case study.
 Most importantly the case writer
should know the level ...
Case writer should not write a
problem that he has to face in
his business which may not be
suitable to check on students...
 Case writer should know the
areas of studies done by the
student where the practical
application is very important
 Tho...
Developing a plot
 Here the case writers creativity comes to
play ( copying from other exam papers or
case books are not ...
Where to get information
 Internet is a great source
 Newspaper articles
 Magazines
 Students’ assignments
 Your own ...
If you are indicating actual information of a
company, please take proper authority to
indicate them in your case study
 ...
 It is best to let the organization know
up front that you are writing a case
study that will be used in teaching and
pub...
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE
FEATURED ORGANIZATION?
 The role of the Featured Organization
is to provide information and data,...
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BEING A
FEATURED ORGANIZATION?
 1. Being a Featured Organization is
both a practical and altruis...
 2. The organization will also gain
broad exposure to thousands of
future graduates who are likely to
seek out the organi...
 3. Many Featured Organizations use
the completed case study in their
internal training programs.
 4. Employees within t...
Structuring the case studies
 Title and introduction
 Company
 Industry
 Competitors
 Symptoms of the problem
 Chall...
Structuring the case
studies….
Title and Introduction
 It is always better to have a creative
title so that the student ...
Introduction
 Within the first paragraph, identify the
protagonist. ( main character)
 Within the first few paragraphs,
...
Structuring the case studies…
Background
 Case writers often add extraneous
information in this section in a
deliberate e...
Structuring the case studies…
 Company and products
A brief historical setting of the
company, its product lines,
brands...
 - Industry
Brief introduction of the industry, size,
nature and the trends should be
provided depending on the problem
...
Competitive environment-
Major competitors, market
share, products, challenges
posed and strategies
adopted can be discu...
Structuring the case studies…
 Symptoms and the problems
 The important part of the story begins
here
 Bear in mind tha...
Structuring the case studies…
 Bit of his background, character and
the dilemma faced by him should be
introduced
 The w...
Structuring the case studies…
 Readers who have both an emotional
connection to the Central Character
of the story will b...
Structuring the case studies…
 Write the symptoms supported by
data, sales, profits, tables, graphs
to show the status wh...
Structuring the case studies…
 Connect the background in this
section to the current situation,
including underlying caus...
 Tell what has the principal character
done in order to remedy the situation
and what is the status after such
action
 C...
Structuring the case studies…
 Challenge
 Throw the challenge of finding the
underlying problem to the student on
behalf...
Structuring the case studies…
Problem to be answered
 At the conclusion of this section,
include the degree of urgency in...
Tables and Exhibits
 You could have tables such as market
share, financial information etc. in the
body of the case study...
 Do not issue case studies
 Without going through you draft
several times to ensure it is in line with
your plot.
 With...
 The only way to learn is to commence
writing at least small case studies.
Then you will develop the art of writing
case ...
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How to write business case studies

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Case studies for undergraduate and postgraduate levels

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How to write business case studies

  1. 1. How to Write Business Case Studies By Maxwell Ranasinghe Presentation made to “Marketing Department ‘s Lecturer’s Forum” University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka At Hotel Royal Park 29-07-2016
  2. 2. Outline of the presentation  Types of Case studies  Importance of case studies  Undergraduate/ MBA level case studies  Guideline for case study writing  Developing a plot  Where to get information  How to get commitment from a company to write a real case study  Structure of a case study  Q & A  Comments of Harvard’s “Nike” case study  Discussion
  3. 3.  We write assignments/case studies for testing of knowledge and skills of students  We usually write two types of scenarios as follows: ◦ 1. Find the answer through given facts ◦ ( analysis based assignments) ◦ 2. Request students to answer by collecting further information from the market place ◦ ( tasks based assignments)
  4. 4.  The first option where you provide information in the case study itself and let student answer it without referring to any other material (but with logical assumptions) These case studies can be given in an exam, where student write the answer on his own  The second option is a kind of exploratory, observational or research type of tasks. These case studies can be given as individual or group assignments.
  5. 5.  A business case study puts the student in to real life scenario.  It challenges student to apply theory he or she has learnt in the class to a practical situation.  The case study should be a story that changes the student’s view point to a business manager’s
  6. 6.  Student should feel that he is the principal character( protagonist- ප්‍රෝටැ) who is given the responsibility of solving the problem in the case.  He should also feel that the body of knowledge that he had acquired through academic work and experience can be used to handle the case.
  7. 7. Therefore, a good case study should be written to create a real life kind of situation with a well crafted story to intrigue the student.
  8. 8. Undergraduate level case studies Case study writers who write cases for undergraduate level or diploma Level students should bear in mind that the answer expected could be provided well with the level of knowledge and experience that those students posses.
  9. 9. Case study should not be complicated and it should have one central decision point or dilemma ( bear in mind that this is not an MBA case)
  10. 10. MBA Level case studies  These case studies may have one or more core issues and could be complicated.  Therefore the case writer should be in a position to describe a scenario that has many facets to the problem  Case writer has to mix different areas of the problem to form a challenging situation  Individual related areas could be thought separately and it has to be mixed together by superimposing each other to have a one single story. It is a challenge !
  11. 11. Layers to be thought separately and superimposed  Internal layer( staff relations, resource constraints and corporate culture etc.)  Operational layer(Suppliers, Intermediaries, Competitors- Direct and Indirect ,Customers of a business/marketer, Publics)  External layer ( PESTEEL factors)  It is important to note that they are not written in sequence but throughout the story
  12. 12. Lets start with undergraduate case study to illustrate  Case should have a proper problem within the facts of the case.  Student should not feel that he can answer the case study without going through the facts of the case but referring to the class notes or any other material
  13. 13.  The nature of the situation should be clearly apparent once the case is read.  Most importantly the case writer should not write too much of background details which may not have much bearing on the problem.
  14. 14. In marketing case studies Case writers should be careful when making the plot of the story not to end up in asking the student to write a marketing plan as it has become a common feature of many marketing case studies.
  15. 15.  There is no proper format for case studies but it is always better to have a logical format so that the case writer will be directed to include the main ingredients of a case study.
  16. 16. Have you got to follow Harvard, Princeton or Yale University styles ? No  Have your own style. Then only you will get creative and objective. Can we have a simple guideline in writing case studies ? Yes
  17. 17. Guideline 1. Decide what you need to test in students through the case study. 2. Develop a plot 3. Structure the case 4. Find information and data to fill the structure
  18. 18.  5. Provide symptoms of the situation  6. Let student analyse the symptoms and find out the central problem.  7. Ask questions to provide answers to the central problem or problems
  19. 19. Decide what you need to test in students through the case study.  Most importantly the case writer should know the level of knowledge and experience that the student posses  At least the course content and the syllabus should be known to the case writer
  20. 20. Case writer should not write a problem that he has to face in his business which may not be suitable to check on students at this level or in the subject that the case is given
  21. 21.  Case writer should know the areas of studies done by the student where the practical application is very important  Those are the areas that he should test through a case study.  Then the student will also appreciate about the importance of the case study
  22. 22. Developing a plot  Here the case writers creativity comes to play ( copying from other exam papers or case books are not recommended….. be creative ??????)  He can have any kind of logical formats (where the facts that he is going to relate will have a bearing on finding the symptoms of the problem that would finally pave the way in finding the central problem)  The plot should provide a “fine idea” “ big idea” to be structured and developed
  23. 23. Where to get information  Internet is a great source  Newspaper articles  Magazines  Students’ assignments  Your own experience  Many other secondary sources
  24. 24. If you are indicating actual information of a company, please take proper authority to indicate them in your case study  If a business case employs insider information, written permission must be obtained from the company to use, publish, and market the case study.  Organizations can be notoriously frustrating to work with in this regard— especially large, complex organizations with sophisticated legal and marketing departments.  Once the case is complete, it can take months (or longer) to obtain permission and approvals. So many drafts may have to be written
  25. 25.  It is best to let the organization know up front that you are writing a case study that will be used in teaching and published for use in institutions of higher learning.  Assembling the right team of advocates for the case study is a critical task, and the team should include representatives from the company.
  26. 26. WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE FEATURED ORGANIZATION?  The role of the Featured Organization is to provide information and data, to check for accuracy/completeness, and to assist in final review and release of the case.  Most importantly, the Featured Organization must provide legal permission to use the case for educational purposes upon completion of the case.
  27. 27. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BEING A FEATURED ORGANIZATION?  1. Being a Featured Organization is both a practical and altruistic role. The organization will play a significant role in helping tomorrow’s business leaders become better prepared to face complex decisions in the constantly-changing world of business.
  28. 28.  2. The organization will also gain broad exposure to thousands of future graduates who are likely to seek out the organization for employment.  ( Students with diverse experience may come out with fine answers)
  29. 29.  3. Many Featured Organizations use the completed case study in their internal training programs.  4. Employees within the Featured Organizations benefit from sharing the importance of their roles and tasks in the case study’s business situation.
  30. 30. Structuring the case studies  Title and introduction  Company  Industry  Competitors  Symptoms of the problem  Challenges  Problems to be answered
  31. 31. Structuring the case studies…. Title and Introduction  It is always better to have a creative title so that the student will feel he is not reading another note  Even a journalistic title should create interest in student to read  In a case study written in English can even have a title in your own mother tongue
  32. 32. Introduction  Within the first paragraph, identify the protagonist. ( main character)  Within the first few paragraphs, present—from the protagonist’s point of view—the decision point. Identify other major players, if relevant.  Provide the context for the situation. Include the situation’s time frame, location, the purpose of the company or organization, relevant business factors, and the goal of the protagonist.
  33. 33. Structuring the case studies… Background  Case writers often add extraneous information in this section in a deliberate effort to lead students astray.  Case writer should bear in mind that he should provide the relevant information only to set up the foundation to build his story
  34. 34. Structuring the case studies…  Company and products A brief historical setting of the company, its product lines, brands, status in the market place, market share etc. Consider depicting the structure, culture and resources of the of the company or organization, if it has any bearing on the story that you are going to present
  35. 35.  - Industry Brief introduction of the industry, size, nature and the trends should be provided depending on the problem that you are going to write in the case study If any PESTEEL factor would be relevant to your case you may write about it too .
  36. 36. Competitive environment- Major competitors, market share, products, challenges posed and strategies adopted can be discussed depending on the case
  37. 37. Structuring the case studies…  Symptoms and the problems  The important part of the story begins here  Bear in mind that you are writing a story. It should not be totally technical or colloquial.  A fine blend will make the case interesting for the reader  It is always better to bring the main character here into play so that students will read in his point of view
  38. 38. Structuring the case studies…  Bit of his background, character and the dilemma faced by him should be introduced  The writer should describe what has happened to create an emotional attachment by the reader to the central character of the story
  39. 39. Structuring the case studies…  Readers who have both an emotional connection to the Central Character of the story will be more motivated to find actionable solutions to the problems depicted in the case.  Keep this section complex enough that students cannot come to an easy decision.
  40. 40. Structuring the case studies…  Write the symptoms supported by data, sales, profits, tables, graphs to show the status where the student can analyse and find out the trend .  ( should not be able to get the trend or problem by just reading the figures)
  41. 41. Structuring the case studies…  Connect the background in this section to the current situation, including underlying causes and current results. • Deal more deeply into the context and possible consequences of the decision point, dilemma faced.  Include the consequences for the central character as well as for company or organization.
  42. 42.  Tell what has the principal character done in order to remedy the situation and what is the status after such action  Clearly state the current status  What finally matters in your story is to provide information to the student to analyse and find out the underlying reason/reasons for the central problem.
  43. 43. Structuring the case studies…  Challenge  Throw the challenge of finding the underlying problem to the student on behalf of the Central Character of the case study  Students should be looking at problems from a systemic perspective and trying to solve problems based on the complexities of the environment, resource constraints, availability of information, and a general understanding that the main characters situation is
  44. 44. Structuring the case studies… Problem to be answered  At the conclusion of this section, include the degree of urgency involved in the decision-making or the timeline for the decision to be made  Offer him the chance of suggesting the proper course of action or task to be done in order to remedy the situation
  45. 45. Tables and Exhibits  You could have tables such as market share, financial information etc. in the body of the case study or at the end  Exhibits such as advertisements, paper articles, reports etc. should come at the end of the case study.  Links to video clips, websites etc.
  46. 46.  Do not issue case studies  Without going through you draft several times to ensure it is in line with your plot.  Without checking spelling and grammar  Without developing your own answer before it is issued to the students.  Without being moderated by a Senior Lecturer/ Professor/ practitioner
  47. 47.  The only way to learn is to commence writing at least small case studies. Then you will develop the art of writing case studies Good Luck Email: maxran1@yahoo.com

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