The best way for strategic managers and business leaders to do their jobs in a more efficient manner is by reading cases. These cases simulate real world experiences that these leaders will have to inevitably face one day. Case Analysis covers complex strategic management concepts – such as environmental analysis, process of decision making, and implementing strategic actions—by putting managers in middle of a scenario and challenging them to figure out what to do. Analyzing these cases will give the managers the ability to evaluate business situations critically. Chapter 13 shows how these three skills – differentiate, speculate and integrate – will be key to successfully analyzing the cases presented.
Good managers will develop and actually use the following tools for future complex business problems. To Differentiate a problem means that there will be many different elements of a situation and they will need to be evaluated all at once. Make sure to distinguish between bad and good information as well as understanding that problems are often complex and multilayered. To Speculate a problems means that strategic managers need to be able to imagine different scenarios or contemplate the outcome of a decision. This will aid the analysis and deal with the uncertainty matter since many cases provided insufficient information. To Integrate a problem means that the managers need to comprehend how all the factors that influence an organization will interact. By simultaneously making distinctions, envisioning the whole and staying focused in the present will make strategic managers very effective.
Strategic managers also need to get the most from their case analysis, even small cases. This will indeed expand their horizons beyond concepts and seek insights from their own reservoir of knowledge. They must keep and open mind and avoid letting emotional responses to another person’s style or opinion keep them from hearing what he or she is truly saying. Taking a stand in what they believe will help them analyze the case from the perspective of their own background and belief system. They must also draw on their personal outside experiences and background.
A few techniques can be used for conflict-inducing decision making, which will lead to better verdicts of the case analysis. Devil’s Advocacy is an approach by which one group member is given the role of the devil advocate and they try to come up with problems with the proposed alternative and suggest reasons why it should not be adopted. This ensures that the group will take a hard look at its proposal. Dialectical Inquiry attempts to accomplish the goals of the devil’s advocate in a more constructive manner and the problem is approached from two alternative points of view. These techniques provide many benefits and serve to use, rather than minimize or suppress, conflict, so high quality decisions will result.
Chapter 13 also discusses how to use the strategic insights and material from each of the 12 previous chapters in the text to analyze issues posed by strategic management cases. A few concepts cover analyzing organizational goals/objectives, the external/internal environments, the firm’s intellectual assets, and formulating business-level strategies.