Case Analyses

by Pamela Hubbell

Cases are detailed descriptions of real management situations. In the Case Analysis your objective is to analyze the management problem and make a recommendation for solving that problem. By applying concepts to actual cases, you improve your ability to think analytically when identifying problems and creating solutions.

Preparing the Case Analysis

There are four basic steps to follow when preparing a Case Analysis. However, because you will encounter a wide variety of cases and problems, you should determine the appropriate approach to each situation. Generally, the four steps are:

1.  Clearly define the problem.

Be sure to identify the problem and not the symptom of a problem. For example, a decline in sales is a symptom of a problem; you must identify the actual cause of the decline in sales. It is also important to establish that the problem is a major problem for the company.

2.  Formulate alternative solutions to the problem.

It may be helpful to brainstorm as many solutions as you can and then narrow your list down to three or four solutions you feel are the strongest.

3.  Evaluate and compare the alternative solutions.

To evaluate alternative solutions you should consider their strengths (e.g. increased productivity) and their weaknesses (e.g. increased cost).

4.  Recommend and justify an effective solution.

Be sure to record the reasons why the chosen solution is most effective. In your Case Analysis you must provide a recommendation that is supported by your analysis.

Note: Your assignment may require that you identify more than one problem and develop a set of recommendations. 

Writing the Case Analysis Report

Once you have the results of your Case Analysis you are ready to prepare the written report. It is important that your report include both qualitative and quantitative evidence to support your recommendations. Depending on the requirements of your specific assignment, the format of your report may vary. Following are the general components of a written Case Analysis report:

Title page

Table of contents

Introduction (this is not a summary; briefly describe the purpose and sections)

Environmental Analysis

A. General environment (economic, political, social, etc.)
B. Operating environment (competitors, suppliers, customers, etc.)
C. Internal environment (organization's finance, marketing, personnel, etc.)

Problem definition

A. Problem 1 and evidence
B. Problem 2 and evidence (if applicable)
C. Problem 3 and evidence (if applicable)

Alternative solutions

A. Description of solution

a. Strengths
b. Weaknesses

B. Description of solution 2

a. Strengths
b. Weaknesses

C. Description of solution 3

a. Strengths
b. Weaknesses

Recommended solution

A. Description of solution
B. Justification for alternative chosen
C. Implementation specifics

Summary of analysis


Technical Appendices

A. Financial anlayses
B. Other technical information


Presenting the Case Analysis Orally


Consider these tips when preparing for your oral presentation:

Use an outline; do not read the written report.

Provide class members with a copy of the outline.

Emphasize only the key points of your analysis; do not provide excessive detail.

Use visual aids such as simple pie charts, graphs, or bulleted statements.

Make sure visual aids are large enough to be read by people in the back of the room.



Certo, Samuel C. and J. Paul Peter. Strategic Management: Concepts and Applications. New York: Random House, 1988. 313-330.

Ellsworth, Richard R. Syllabus. Mgt 315H - Ethics and Management.

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