Why Analyze Strategic Management Cases?
The process of analyzing, decision making, and implementing strategic actions raises many good questions.
* Why do some firms succeed and other fail?
* Why are some companies higher performers than others?
* What information is needed in the strategic planning process? * How do competing values and beliefs affect strategic decision making? * What skills and capabilities are needed to implement a strategy effectively?
Case Analysis – A method of learning complex strategic management concepts – such as environmental analysis, the process of decision making, and implementing strategic actions – through placing students in the middle of an actual situation and challenging them to figure out what to do.
A strategic management case is a detailed description of challenging situation faced by an organization. One of the main reasons to analyze strategic management cases is to develop an ability to evaluate business situations critically. To analyze a case, it is important that you go beyond textbook prescriptions and quick answers. It requires you to look deeply into the information that is provided and root out the essential issues and causes of a company’s problems.
Three capabilities that can be learned by conducting case analysis:
Differentiate – Differentiating between the factors that are influencing the situation presented by a case is necessary for making a good analysis. Speculate – Being able to imagine different scenarios or contemplate the outcome of a decision can aid the analysis. Integrate – A strategic manager needs to comprehend how all the factors that influence the organization will interact.
How to Conduct a Case Analysis
Five steps to follow when conducting strategic management cases:
1. Become familiar with the material
* Read quickly through the case one time to get an overall sense of the material * Use the initial read-through to assess possible links to strategic concepts * Read through the case again, in depth
* Make written notes as you read
* Evaluate how strategic concepts might inform key decisions or suggest alternative solutions * After formulating an initial recommendation, thumb through the case again quickly to help assess the consequences of the actions you propose
2. Identify the problem
One of the most important tasks is to identify the problem. Once you have determined what the problem is, you are well on your way to identifying a reasonable solution. Case Symptoms: Observable and concrete information in a case analysis that indicates an undesirable state of affairs. Case Problems: Inferred causes of case symptoms
Sometimes problems are not apparent until after you do the analysis. In some cases the problem will be presented plainly. In other cases the problem does not emerge until after the issues in the case have been analyzed.
3. Conduct strategic analysis
Determine what strategic issues are involved and then conduct the analysis. Financial Ratio Analysis: A method of evaluating a company’s performance and financial well-being though rations of accounting values, including short-term solvency, long-term solvency, asset utilization, profitability and market value ratios.
In this part of the process, it is important to test your own assumptions about the case. Being clear about the assumptions will be important in determining how to analyze the case. This process of assumption checking can also help determine if you have gotten to the heart of the problem or are still just dealing with symptoms.
4. Propose alternative solutions
After conducting the analysis and identifying the problems, develop a list of options. Evaluate choices and the implications of those choices.
The point of this step in the case analysis process is to find a solution that both solves the problem and is realistic. A consideration of the implications of various alternative solutions will generally lead you to a final recommendation that is more thoughtful and complete.
5. Make recommendations
The actions you propose should describe the very next steps that the company needs to take. Give options, but be complete and straight forward.
This chapters discusses the importance of strategic case analysis and describes the five steps involved in case analysis: becoming familiar with the material, identifying the problems, analyzing strategic issues, proposing alternative solutions and making recommendations.