ANALYZING A CASE STUDY FROM VISION TO REALITY
To analyze a case, you need to apply what you've learned to each of these areas. We offer a summary of the steps you can take to analyze the case material for each of the eight points we just noted. These points will also include the recommended steps in Nanus (1992) Visionary Leadership:
1. Analyze the company's history, development, and growth. A convenient way to investigate how a company's past strategy on their vision and mission and structure affect it in the present is to chart the critical incidents in its history - that is, the events that were the most unusual or the most essential for its development into the company it is today. Some of the events have to do with its founding, its initial products, how it makes new-product market decisions, and how it developed and chose functional competencies to pursue. Use Nanus (1992) five-question model on Page 45.
1. What is the current state of the mission or purpose of your organization?
2. What value does the organization provide to society?
3. What is the character of the industry or institutional framework within which your organization operates?
4. What is your organization’s unique position in that industry or institutional structure?
5. What does it take for your organization to succeed?
2. Identify the company's internal strengths and weakness Internal Vision AUDIT Apply Chapter 4 in Nanus (1992) for the SWOT. Once the historical profile is completed, you can begin a simple SWOT analysis
. This particular case analysis
for OLAM 430 is not to discuss in depth the strategic plan, but rather the following components along with the Vision Audit:
1. Strengths- discuss current issues that strengthen the organization from the leadership to internal structures.
2. Weaknesses- possible concerns regarding the externals-
3. Opportunities- current successes and initiatives
Use all the incidents you have charted to develop an account of the company's strengths and weaknesses as they have emerged historically. Examine each of the value creation functions of the company, and identify the functions in which the company is currently strong and currently weak. Some organizations might be weak in marketing; some might be strong in research and development. Make lists of these strengths and weaknesses.
3. Vision Audit Include the following questions in your analysis
after considering the SWOT.
1. Does the organization have a clearly stated vision? If so, what is it?
2. If the organization continues on its current path, where will it be heading over the next decade? How good would such a direction be?
3. Do the key people in the organization know where the organization is headed and agree on the direction?
4. Do the structures, processes, personnel, incentives and information systems support the current direction of the organization?
4. Evaluate the current analysis
towards a shared vision. Having identified the company's external opportunities and threats as well as its internal strengths and weaknesses, you need to consider what your findings mean. That is, you need to balance strengths and weaknesses against opportunities and threats. Is the company in an overall strong competitive position? Is there vision sharing within the corporation? Is the leader communicating a sense of vision towards the future? What can the company do to turn weaknesses into strengths and threats into opportunities? Can it develop a new functional process to make a change in the future?
5. Analyze corporate-level strategy- through the vision and mission. To analyze a company's corporate-level strategy, you first need to define the company's mission and goals. Describe the vision of the organization. Sometimes the mission and goals are stated explicitly in the case; at other times, you will have to infer them from available information.
6. Internal identifiers on the vision (complete by the end of Week 6)- Applying chapter 6 in Nanus discuss the “The Vision Choice” include the following:
1. The Leader as the Great Synthesizer
2. Mapping the Domain
3. Generate Alternative Visions
4. Choosing the Right Vision
5. Packaging the Vision
Identifying the functional strategies that a company pursues to build competitive advantage through superior efficiency, quality, innovation, and customer responsiveness and to achieve its vision and goals. The SWOT analysis
will have provided you with information on the company's functional competencies. You should further the research related to the development strategy to gain a picture of where the company is going. For example, pursuing a campaign to inform on the new vision or change in the organization requires a plan and may vary across the various organizational structures of the corporation. Once you complete this analysis
, you will have a full picture of the way the company is operating and be in a position to evaluate the potential of its vision or new vision.
7. Analyze change . Organizational change is an issue in many cases because the organizations are attempting to alter their strategies or structures to solve problems. Thus, as a part of the analysis
, you might suggest an action plan that the company in question could use to achieve its goals in sharing a vision. For example, you might list in a logical sequence the steps the company would need to follow to alter in order to accomplish the plan- Use chapter 6 in Nanus (1992) to guide you through the change and finding the right vision for the organization.
8. Make recommendations- Implementing the Vision. The last part of the case analysis
process involves making recommendations based on your analysis
. Obviously, the quality of your recommendations is a direct result of the thoroughness with which you prepared the case analysis
. The work you put into the case analysis
will be obvious to the professor from the nature of your recommendations. Your recommendations should be in line with your analysis
; that is, they should follow logically from the previous discussion. For example, using the Nanus (1992) chapter 7 “Making it Happen: Translating Vision to Reality” define how the organization will fulfill the vision (i.e. the leader as the spokesperson). The set of recommendations will be specific to each case, and so it is difficult to discuss these recommendations here. Again, make sure your recommendations are mutually consistent and are written in the form of an action plan. The plan might contain a timetable that sequences the actions for changing the company's strategy and a description of how changes at the corporate level will necessitate changes at the business level and subsequently at the functional level. Finally, use the “Properties of a Good Vision” in Nanus (1992).
After following all these stages, you will have performed a thorough analysis
of the case and will be in a position to join in class discussion or present your ideas to the class, depending on the format used by your professor. Remember that you must tailor your analysis
to suit the specific issue discussed in your case. In some cases, you might completely omit one of the steps in the analysis
because it is not relevant to the situation you are considering. You must be sensitive to the needs of the case and not apply the framework we have discussed in this section blindly. The framework is meant only as a guide and not as an outline that you must use to do a successful analysis
WRITING A CASE STUDY ANALYSIS
A course requirement for OLAM 430 is to write a case study, you will need to present your instructor with a written case analysis
. Whatever the situation, there are certain guidelines to follow in writing a case analysis
that will improve the evaluation your work will receive from your instructor.
The structure of your written report is critical. Generally, if you follow the steps for analysis
discussed in the previous section, you already will have a good structure for your written discussion. All reports begin with an introduction to the case. In it you outline briefly what the company does, how it developed historically, what problems it is experiencing, and how you are going to approach the issues in the case write-up. Do this sequentially by writing, for example, "First, we discuss the environment of Company X... Then we discuss the current vision in company X,
In the second part of the case write-up, where you mention the SWOT analysis
make sure you use plenty of headings and subheadings to structure your analysis
. For example, have separate sections on any important conceptual tool you use. Thus, you might have a section on Nanus on defining the organization (p. 45)- (see above under point 2). Answer the five questions
In the third part of the case write-up, present your solutions and recommendations. Be comprehensive, and make sure they are in line with the previous analysis
so that the recommendations fit together and move logically from one to the next. The recommendations section is very revealing because, as mentioned earlier, your instructor will have a good idea of how much work you put into the case from the quality of your recommendations.
Following this framework will provide a good structure for most written reports, though obviously it must be shaped to fit the individual case being considered. Some cases are about excellent organizations experiencing no problems. In such instances, it is hard to write recommendations. Instead, you can focus on analyzing why the company is doing so well, using that analysis
to structure the discussion. Following are some minor suggestions that can help make a good analysis
1. Do not repeat in summary form large pieces of factual information from the case. The instructor has read the case and knows what is going on. Rather, use the information in the case to illustrate your statements, to defend your arguments, or to make salient points. Beyond the brief introduction to the company, you must avoid being descriptive; instead, you must be analytical.
2. Make sure the sections and subsections of your discussion flow logically and smoothly from one to the next. That is, try to build on what has gone before so that the analysis
of the case study moves toward a climax. This is particularly important for group analysis
, because there is a tendency for people in a group
to split up the work and say, "I’ll do the beginning, you take the middle, and I’ll do the end." The result is a choppy, stilted analysis
because the parts do not flow from one to the next, and it is obvious to the instructor that no real group
work has been done.
3. Avoid grammatical and spelling errors.
4. In some instances, cases dealing with well-known organizations don’t include up-to-date research because it was not available at the time the case was written. If possible, do a search for more information on what has happened to the company in subsequent years. Following are sources of information for performing this search:
The World Wide Web is the place to start your research. Very often you can download copies of a company’s annual report from its Web site, and many organizations also keep lists of press releases and articles that have been written about them. Thoroughly search the company’s Web site for information such as the company’s history and performance, and download all relevant information at the beginning of your project.
Compact disk sources such as Lotus One Source and InfoTrac provide an amazing amount of good information, including summaries of recent articles written on specific organizations that you can then access in the library.
F&S Predicasts provide a listing on a yearly basis of all the articles written about a particular company. Simply reading the titles gives an indication of what has been happening in the company.
Annual reports on a Form 10-K often provide an organization chart.
Organizations themselves provide information if you write and ask for it.
Fortune, BusinessWeek, and Forbes have many articles on organizations featured in most cases.
Standard & Poor's industry reports provide detailed information about the competitive conditions facing the company's industry. Be sure to look at this journal.
5. Sometimes instructors hand out questions for each case to help you in your analysis
. Use these as a guide for writing the case analysis
. They often illuminate the important issues that have to be covered in the discussion.
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