HOW TO ANALYZE A CASE
1. Begin by reading through the entire case without drawing any conclusions.
2. Reread the case. This time, begin to diagnose the problem. A good way to do that?
a) First, list all the symptoms of the existence of a problem. Symptoms are those tangible indicators that lead a person to realize some is wrong (e.g., people are quitting, customers are complaining, conflicts are occurring, etc.).
b) Then try to determine (and put in concrete terms) what exactly are the causes of these symptoms (e.g., unclear goals, misunderstood messages, poor interpersonal relations/communication, ambiguous authority, resistance to change, inadequate planning or feedback, poor motivation, sometime referred to as “The Problem.” ]
Try to use the material we have covered in class so far to determine what might be the cause(s). Think about what theories or processes we have discussed that may relate to the symptoms. Don't limit yourself to the first idea that occurs to you. Consider multiple causes. Taken together a description of the symptoms and their causes is a problem diagnosis (sometimes called a "definition of the problem").
3. Write your consulting report as a business memorandum (i.e., "To: From: Subject: date, etc.). [Smart junior staffers try to imitate the form and style of the boss, in this case his memo writing style.] Number and label each section. Type the paper using wide margins. Anything you can do to make the paper easier to read and absorb by a busy person (like Chet) is good. Use white space, bold, underlining indenting, etc to make key ideas stand out.
You can assume that the reader (MCC President, Chet Amagan) is quite familiar with the case but be specific in references and language. Be concise but pointed. Don't be ambivalent or wishy-washy unless you want the boss to think you are in a job over-your-head. Of course, you can't always be absolutely certain of your conclusions, but use your best judgment. In the real world people often MUST act without certainty. Remember you are trying to impress the boss with your professionalism and value to the organization. Naturally you won't want to be sloppy or make mechanical or other writing errors. Perhaps the most important feature of writing a good case response is using support material (specific examples, quotes, etc.) to justify your conclusions.
It is vital for any task on the job to FOLLOW DIRECTIONS EXACTLY. It doesn't really matter what is convenient for you. If you want to impress the boss, do it his way. Be sure you haven't misread or misunderstood your instructions. Ask questions to be sure. [Sometimes the boss returns reports that don't follow directions without reading them and treats the re-submission as "late work."]
last updated 2/18/2015