May 12, 2010

How to Handle Case Studies

Giving you tips on ‘How to Handle Case Studies’

First of all, following are the various type of case studies, you may come across:
1. Finance based 2. Marketing based 3. HR based 4. Ethical Dilemma 5. Social issue 6. Legal issue
Most common of all, is the HR case. The reason for that is, that anyone can speak on HR issues without technical knowledge of HR function. And they want to give chance to everyone to speak, because without you guys speaking they won’t be able to judge you.

Now, irrespective of which type of case study has been given to you, following are the steps, I will suggest you should be following:

1. Identify the problem in the case.
If a case study has been given to you, there has to be a problem or concerns which you are suppose to tackle. You need to clearly identify this. Please note, it seems identifying problem is easy. Trust me it is at times not that easy.

Eg: ‘Excessive exposure of female anatomy should be banned in the advertisements’

Think for a minute, before reading further, that in this GD(not case study) topic what is the main concern.

Is it exposure?
Or is it excessive exposure?
Or is it females?
Or is it exposure of females?
Or is it excessive expose of females?
Or the advertisements are the issue?
Or females in advertisements are the issue?
Or is it exposure of females in the advertisements?
Or is it excessive exposure of females in the advertisements?

Trust me it’s neither of the above. When I took this GD topic, in my class a couple of weeks back, almost everyone in the class of 40 said something or other written above.

The problem/concern in the above topic is ‘Banned’ or ‘Banning’. Think over it.

2. Identify the cause of the problem.
Once you have identified the problem, your next step should be identifying the cause of the problem. Note that cause of the problem may or may not be explicitly mentioned in the case. If it is mentioned, nothing like it. If it is not, then you have to take assumptions.

In the above example, following can be the causes:
Exposure is spoiling the society.
Models are ill-respected.
Society heads are raising questions.
Laws does not allow.

3. Work on solution.
There are two ways of doing it.
a) Work on the cause. If cause can be well taken care of, then the problem itself is taken care of. In this case develop strategies to address the cause. You should at least develop 2 strategies for this. Once primary and the other secondary.

b) Work on the problem. May be the cause is intrinsic. That means the cause and problem are interlinked, in the sense that solution to one thing gives rise to other. In this case, you will have to work on minimizing the effect of the problem or eliminate the problem working on something else but the cause. Again I will suggest develop at least 2 plans/strategies to work on it.

4. Implementation plan.
This means how are you going to implement the plan you have made. What will be the stages involved. What will be the order in which you will implement it? Etc.

5.Backup plan.
A manager has to be always ready with the backup plan. If the main plan back fires than the back plan has to be used. In a case study discussion you will only mention what is your back up plan. You need not talk of its implementation plan, reason being its implementation comes into picture only when the primary plan fails and that’s something we can’t say in discussion only.


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