CASE STUDY EVALUATION
Step 1: Investigate the Company’s History and Growth
A company’s past can greatly affect the present and future state of the organization. To begin, investigate the company’s founding, critical incidents, structure, and growth. Create a timeline of events, issues, and achievements. This timeline will come in handy for the next step.
Step 2: Identify Strengths and Weaknesses
Using the information you gathered in step one, continue by examining and making a list of the value creation functions of the company. For example, the company may be weak in product development but strong in marketing. Make a list of problems that have occurred and note the effects they have had on the company. You should also list areas where the company has excelled. Note the effects of these incidents as well.
You’re essentially conducting a partial SWOT analysis to get a better understanding of the company’s strengths and weaknesses. A SWOT analysis involves documenting things like internal strengths (S) and weaknesses (W) and external opportunities (O) and threats (T).
The third step involves identifying opportunities and threats within the company’s external environment. This is where the second part of the SWOT analysis (the O and the T) comes into play. Special items to note include competition within the industry, bargaining powers, and the threat of substitute products. Some examples of opportunities include expansion into new markets or new technology. Some examples of threats include increasing competition and higher interest rates.
Step 4: Analyze Your Findings
Using the information in steps 2 and 3, create an evaluation for this portion of your case study analysis. Compare the strengths and weaknesses within the company to the external threats and opportunities. Determine if the company is in a strong competitive position, and decide if it can continue at its current pace successfully.
You must focus your analysis:
- Identify two to five key problems.
- Why do they exist?
- How do they impact the organization?
- Who is responsible for them?
- Step 3: Examine the External Environment
Step 5: Identify Corporate-Level Strategy
To identify a company’s corporate-level strategy, identify and evaluate the company’s mission, goals, and actions toward those goals. Analyze the company’s line of business and its subsidiaries and acquisitions. You also want to debate the pros and cons of the company strategy to determine whether or not a change might benefit the company in the short or long term.
Step 6: Identify Business-Level Strategy
Thus far, your case study analysis has identified the company’s corporate-level strategy. To perform a complete analysis, you will need to identify the company’s business-level strategy. (Note: If it is a single business, without multiple companies under one umbrella, and not an industry-wide review, the corporate strategy and the business-level strategy are the same.) For this part, you should identify and analyze each company’s competitive strategy, marketing strategy, costs, and general focus.
Step 7: Analyze Implementations
This portion requires that you identify and analyze the structure and control systems that the company is using to implement its business strategies. Evaluate organizational change, levels of hierarchy, employee rewards, conflicts, and other issues that are important to the company you are analyzing.
Step 8: Make Recommendations
The final part of your case study analysis should include your recommendations for the company. Every recommendation you make should be based on and supported by the context of your analysis. Never share hunches or make a baseless recommendation.
You also want to make sure that your suggested solutions are actually realistic. If the solutions cannot be implemented due to some sort of restraint, they are not realistic enough to make the final cut.
Finally, consider some of the alternative solutions that you considered and rejected. Write down the reasons why these solutions were rejected.
Step 9: Review
Look over your analysis when you have finished writing. Critique your work to make sure every step has been covered. Look for grammatical errors, poor sentence structure, or other things that can be improved. It should be clear, accurate, and professional.
Business Case Study Analysis Tips
Keep these strategic tips in mind:
- Know the case studybackward and forward before you begin your case study analysis.
- Give yourself enough time to write the case study analysis. You don’t want to rush through it.
- Be honest in your evaluations. Don’t let personal issues and opinions cloud your judgment.
- Be analytical, not descriptive.
- Proofread your work, and even let a test reader give it a once-over for dropped words or typos that you no longer can see.
Drafting the Case
Once you have gathered the necessary information, a draft of your analysis should include these general sections, but these may differ depending on your assignment directions or your specific case study:
Identify the key problems and issues in the case study.
Formulate and include a thesis statement, summarizing the outcome of your analysis in 1–2 sentences.
Set the scene: background information, relevant facts, and the most important issues.
Demonstrate that you have researched the problems in this case study.
Evaluation of the Case
Outline the various pieces of the case study that you are focusing on.
Evaluate these pieces by discussing what is working and what is not working.
State why these parts of the case study are or are not working well.
Provide specific and realistic solution(s) or changes needed.
Explain why this solution was chosen.
Support this solution with solid evidence, such as:
Concepts from class (text readings, discussions, lectures)
Personal experience (anecdotes)
Determine and discuss specific strategies for accomplishing the proposed solution.
If applicable, recommend further action to resolve some of the issues.
What should be done and who should do it?
Note: Finalizing the Case
After you have composed the first draft of your case study analysis, read through it to check for any gaps or inconsistencies in content or structure:
Is your thesis statement clear and direct?
Have you provided solid evidence?
Is any component from the analysis missing?
When you make the necessary revisions, proof read and edit your analysis before submitting the final draft.