How to Solve a Case Study
Cases are included in many courses in Administrative Studies to give students an
appreciation of the hard realities of business and the constraints involved in decision
making. By exposure to a variety of situations and diverse problems, the student can
experience, to some degree, the challenges and dilemmas of the decision maker. Cases
are usually based on real situations. For reasons of privacy and confidentiality, the persons,
the companies, and the locations involved are typically disguised.
When assigning case analyses, instructors expect that students will:
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” However, because the cases do represent the realities of organizations, they
are often likely to be somewhat mundane, at least to the outside observer. Most of the
incidents are based on events that were actually faced by managers and their subordinates
on a day-today basis. Very often, cases do not contain all the information that the student
would like to have. This is often done intentionally, or at least knowingly, by the case writer.
In real life, a manager must frequently make decisions on the basis of limited information.
Sometimes students exert much energy searching for the “correct answer” or the “one best
solution” without realizing that, in case studies, the stress is not on the “right” or “wrong”
answer. Instead, the emphasis is on the student’s ability to take into account all the
variables that might have a bearing on the situation and then find an answer that is feasible
and the best among a limited number of alternatives. Rarely are there situations for which
there is only one solution.
Most real problems confronted by managers are multifaceted, involving such factors as
motivation, culture, structure, technology, communication, and inter-personal concerns. In
dealing with an organizational problem, a student has to be able to comprehend all its
aspects, including the complex personal interrelationships involved.