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OUTLINE FOR ANALYZING

BUSINESS CASES
(A CASE METHOD
ANALYSIS)

SUGGESTED OUTLINE FOR


ANALYZING BUSINESS
CASES
1.
2.
3.
4.

5.

6.
7.
8.

TIME CONTEXT
VIEWPOINT
CENTRAL PROBLEM
STATEMENT OF OBJECTIVES
MUST OBJECTIVES
WANT OBJECTIVES
AREAS OF CONSIDERATION
EXTERNAL ENVIRONMENT

THREATS

OPPORTUNITIES
INTERNAL ENVIRONMENT

STRENGTHS

WEAKNESSES
ALTERNATIVE COURSES OF ACTION
FINAL DECISION
DETAILED ACTION PLANS

OUTLINE DETAILS

TIME CONTEXT

Specify the time context if case fact is


explicit about it.
The time context should tell us when the
problem was noted which required the
necessity of an action.
A business problem requiring an action
in pre-martial law days would have a
different action if it were to be tackled
today.

TIME CONTEXT
(Continuation)

Likewise, a business problem a period of


stable prices, as in 1965, would require an
action that is different from the action to
be taken in an inflationary situation after
the 1974 oil crisis or the 1983
devaluation.
In short, a business problem would have
different solutions under different political,
social and economic environments.

VIEWPOINT

In solving a business case, the student must


specify whose point of view he has taken.

A marketing problem must be solved by a


marketing executive and not by the president of
the company.
Or, a financial problem must be handled by a
financial executive and not by someone from
production or marketing.

In short, the student must identify the


rightful owner of the problem to be effective
in his case analysis.

VIEWPOINT (Continuation)

Do not take the position of a third


party, i.e., supplier, creditor, or
management consultant. Their
decisions tend to weak because
they would compromise company
interests with those of outsiders.

CENTRAL PROBLEM

Every case analysis requires the


identification of the root or central
problem that requires a solution or
a course of action. Unfortunately,
business problems do not arrive
with the label problem.
Therefore, the student must learn
to identify the problem raised.

CENTRAL PROBLEM
(Continuation)

A problem is an unsolved difficulty or an


obstacle encountered in reaching
objectives optimizing performance. It is
threat to goal fulfillment.
A problem could also be deviation or an
imbalance between what should be and
what actually is happening. This
imbalance is caused by a change of one
kind or another.

CENTRAL PROBLEM
(Continuation)

A problem should be answered by the


question.
What is wrong that needs correcting?
or
What obstacle needs to be removed?

In analyzing, the student will discover that


without exception, every problem has two
parts the symptom and the cause.

CENTRAL PROBLEM
(Continuation)

A symptom is an event, circumstance, or


condition that indicates the existence of a
problem and guides the search for the
underlying cause of the problem.
A cause is something that brings about a
result. It is the agent of bringing
something about.
It is the cause, not the symptom that must
be investigated, solved and eliminated.

CENTRAL PROBLEM
(Continuation)

Learning to identify the problem is sometimes


surprisingly elusive. If one lacks considerable
experience with the work, one may discover that
he is dealing with symptoms and side issues only.
It is imperative that the student must identify the
central problem. For example, it is not
meaningful to assert that low sales volume is the
root problem. Low sales volume is only
symptomatic of an underlying problem such as
poor supervision and control by the sales
manager or inadequate coordination of the
several kinds of promotion.

CENTRAL PROBLEM
(Continuation)

EXAMPLE NO. 1

Symptom: ABC Company is suffering from an


abnormal sales decline.
Cause: The fixed salary method of
compensation affecting the morale of the sales
force.

EXAMPLE NO. 2

Symptom: XXX Company is experiencing a


decline in current profits.
Cause: Unproductive plant workers resulting in
high production costs.

CENTRAL PROBLEM
(Continuation)

EXAMPLE NO. 3
Symptom: Inability of AAA Research Company to
deliver research findings to clients as per agreed
schedules.
Cause: Faulty recruitment and training of new
interviewers resulting in delayed completion of field
surveys.
EXAMPLE NO. 4
Symptom: Car dealer XYZ is frequently out of stock
of new cars for sale.
Cause: Insufficient working capital affecting dealers
ability to purchase new stock of cars from the
manufacturer.

CENTRAL PROBLEM
(Continuation)

A business case may contain a variety of


issues or problem.

From the trivial to the significant;


From the irrelevant to the relevant

The student must focus his attention on


the central or root problem. The
elimination or removal of the central
problem will eventually result in the
elimination of other peripheral problems.

CENTRAL PROBLEM
(Continuation)

In identifying the central problem, the following steps


are suggested:
1.
List all possible or probable causes.
2.
Prioritize these possible causes.
3.
The root cause or central problem is the one with the highest
priority.
If possible, specify what the central problem is by
describing it very accurately in terms of four dimension,
namely:

Identity What?

Location Where?

Time When?

Extent How Serious?


Take note also that while a problem has a remedy; a
constraint, which is restriction, has no solution.

STATEMENT OF
OBJECTIVES

Objectives are ends or result that


are sought. They are states or
accomplishments that the
enterprise desires to be in by some
given time in the future.
Objectives are statements or
functions to be performed or
fulfilled by the course of action.

STATEMENT OF
OBJECTIVES (Continuation)

While goals are long-range strategic


ends, objectives are short-range tactical
ends.
Objectives must be:
Concrete and measurable;
Realistic and attainable;
Tied to a definite time period;
Listed in the order of priority; and
Result or achievement-oriented

STATEMENT OF
OBJECTIVES (Continuation)

MUST OBJECTIVES

Must objective set the limits that cannot be


violated by any alternative course of action.
Must objective help the manager recognize
and screen out the impossible and poorer
alternatives right a the outset.
Must objectives are of absolute importance
to the success of the decision and the
survival of the organization. In other words,
they are necessary objectives.

STATEMENT OF
OBJECTIVES (Continuation)

WANT OBJECTIVES

These objectives do not set absolute


limits but express relative desirability.
Want objectives are of relative
importance to the success of the
decision but less than absolute.

STATEMENT OF
OBJECTIVES (Continuation)

EXAMPLE NO. 1
Symptom: ABC Company
is suffering from an
abnormal sales decline.
Cause: The fixed salary
method of compensation
affecting the morale of
the sales force.
EXAMPLE NO. 2
Symptom: XXX Company
is experiencing a decline
in current profits.
Cause: Unproductive
plant workers resulting in
high production costs.

EXAMPLE NO. 1
Must Objective: To develop in
two weeks time a new
scheme of compensating
company salesman.
Want Objective: To retrain
salesmen in the art of
salesmanship.
EXAMPLE NO. 2
Must Objective: To increase in
three months time the
efficiency of plant workers by
at least 15%.
Want Objective: To reduce
production costs in
nonworker related areas by
10%

STATEMENT OF
OBJECTIVES (Continuation)

EXAMPLE NO. 3

Symptom: Inability of AAA


Research Company to deliver
research findings to clients as
per agreed schedules.

Cause: Faulty recruitment and


training of new interviewers
resulting in delayed completion
of field surveys.
EXAMPLE NO. 4

Symptom: Car dealer XYZ is


frequently out of stock of new
cars for sale.

Cause: Insufficient working


capital affecting dealers ability
to purchase new stock of cars
from the manufacturer.

EXAMPLE NO. 3

Must Objective: To develop in


one months time a new
recruitment procedure and
training manual for newly-hired
interviewers.
Want Objective: To deliver
research findings to clients by
at least two working days
ahead of schedule.

EXAMPLE NO. 4

Must Objective: To source an


additional working capital of P2
million in 30 days time.
Want Objective: To work out a
credit arrangement with the car
manufacturer.

AREAS OF CONSIDERATION

When the student has determined what he


considers the central problem and has
stated his objectives, he must ask the
questions.
What do I need to know to solve the
problem?

Then he must proceed to organize the facts


around the important and relevant issues.
He must separate the objective facts from
premises, assumptions and opinions of
persons.

AREAS OF CONSIDERATION
(Continuation)

It is a vital that the students sift and sort the


facts of the case, even if there are a very large
number of them. A time-consuming technique
but one that many persons find productive is
to rank orders the facts. List the most
important fact first and the least importance
fact lasts. Between them, fill in the various
facts in descending order of importance for
solving the problem. Use your best judgment
in building this list, but always ask yourself the
question: What do I need to know to solve
the problem?

AREAS OF CONSIDERATION
(Continuation)

When the facts have been completely


arrange in order, review and revise the list
again on the basis of logic and intuition.
Each area of consideration must be related to
the functional areas of management
(product, marketing, finance, and personnel)
if ever this is relevant.
Assess the external environment for
opportunities and threats. The internal
environment must likewise be looked into for
strengths and weaknesses.

AREAS OF CONSIDERATION
(Continuation)

Exhibits must be scrutinized carefully as they


contain relevant and significant information. Do not
underestimate the figures even if they are merely
approximations of the real situation. A reasonable
approximation is better than no approximation at
all.
For easy recall, remember(WOTS UP)

W weaknesses
O opportunities
T threats
S strengths
U underlying
P problem solving

ALTERNATIVE COURSES OF
ACTION

An alternative is a choice between two


or more things, methods, or
approaches that might solve the
problem and thereby reach or achieve
the companys objective.
Alternatives must be mutually
exclusive. Said differently, an
alternative must be able to standalone.

ALTERNATIVE COURSES OF
ACTION (Continuation)

In some case problems, the


alternatives are clear. In others, the
student must invent alternatives
appropriate to the problem at hand.
The student must not be content
with pre-determined alternatives.
He must strive for new and better
alternatives or solutions.

ALTERNATIVE COURSES OF
ACTION (Continuation)

Use imagination in choosing the


possible solutions to be considered.
One must learn to draw a fine line
between an alternative that is stroke
of genius and an alternative that is a
harebrained idea.
Finding, recognizing, and developing
alternatives calls for perceptive and
creative abilities.

ALTERNATIVE COURSES OF
ACTION (Continuation)

A good alternative must be:

Relevant, pertinent or appropriate;


Original, novel or ingenious;
Convincing, effective, potent or powerful in
action;
Workable or realistic; and
In accord with company policies.

Policies are guideline, customs, limitations


and constraints in the organization that
affect the actions to be taken.

ALTERNATIVE COURSES OF
ACTION (Continuation)

Alternatives must not:

Violate the long-term goals of the


organization
Violate short-term objectives of the
operating period
Exceed capital constraints and
Go against behavioral factors.

ALTERNATIVE COURSES OF
ACTION (Continuation)

The following steps should be adhered to


when evaluating alternatives:

Step 1 Take each alternative and measure it


individually against each of the must and want
objectives.
Step 2 Discard an alternative that fails to
perform what a must objective requires.
Step 3 Alternatives that satisfy all must
objectives must be evaluated further against the
want objectives.
Step 4 Appraise the remaining alternatives and
weigh there strengths and weaknesses.

ALTERNATIVE COURSES OF
ACTION (Continuation)

Step 5 Make a tentative choice of the alternative


that appears to be the best.
Step 6 Assess the possible adverse consequences
of the tentative choice.
Step 7 Look for promising areas where trouble
could occur if the tentative course of action is
implemented.
Step 8 For each prospective serious trouble area,
set-up corresponding preventive and contingency
plans.
Step 9 - If prospective serious trouble areas could
not be prevented, review other alternatives for final
action.

ALTERNATIVE COURSES OF
ACTION (Continuation)

The course of action to be taken or


implemented must show a clear
advantage over any other
alternative including that of
doing nothing.
Implementation is dependent on
the ability to show such
advantage.

FINAL DECISION

A decision is a determination of a course of


action to be taken to eliminate the problem.
A good decision-maker must have
determination and firmness of mind in
settling a dispute, a question, or a problem.
The student must now select the action
alternative that provides the best solution to
the problem.
Inaction or a status quo position is no
decision.

FINAL DECISION
(Continuation)

The student must make a final


decision. He must not vacillate or
waver. He must not evade making a
final choice of the alternative, which
seems best to him. He must be
decisive. He must not postpone a
decision until every conceivable
information resource has been
exhausted. Such is uneconomic and
unreasonable.

FINAL DECISION
(Continuation)

One should not feel unable to make a


decision when some needed information
is not given in the case. Despite
uncertainties, the student must make a
decision at a reasonable cost and within a
reasonable time. Postponing a decision
the same as deciding to perpetuate the
existing problematic situations, which
may be the worst decision.

FINAL DECISION
(Continuation)

In making the decision, the student


must:

Compare and contrast the sets of


advantages and disadvantages for each
alternative;
Make the selection;
Articulate his main reasons for choosing an
alternative over the others; and
State why the chosen alternative is better
than each of the rejected alternatives.

DETAILED PLAN OF ACTION

A plan is a detailed and systematic


formulation of a program of action.
The student must now make a
gross operational plan to ensure
the success of the course of action
to be implemented or undertaken.
The decision is not complete until
one prepares a plan of action.

DETAILED PLAN OF ACTION


(Continuation)

Usually, one cannot formulate a


detailed plan of action given the
case facts. However, gross
estimates are infinitely better than
no estimates at all. This will force
the student to bring to a logical
conclusion a logical process of
thinking.

DETAILED PLAN OF ACTION


(Continuation)

The plan of action must show the following:

The activities What must be done to carry out


the decision?
Timetables of programs When will these acts
be carried out?
The action officers responsible for implementing
the plan What existing or new personnel must
be assigned to do it?
The budget About how much will it cost to do
it?
Other necessary controls

DETAILED PLAN OF ACTION


(Continuation)

The characteristics of a good action plan


are:

It is well-structured A good action plan is


developed carefully.
It is realistic The plan must be capable of
being carried out an unrealistic plan causes
frustration and is self-defeating.
It is flexible A good plan should be flexible
enough to allow for revision when change is
called for.

APPENDIX

A FINAL WORD TO THE


STUDENT

After analyzing a case, it is good


practice for the student to write
down the most important
principles, lessons, or insights that
he had learned from the particular
business case.

SUGGESTED SCORING SYSTEM IN ORAL


PRESENTATION AND DEFENSE OF CASE
ANALYSIS
1.

2.

3.

ANALYSIS (50 points)

Problem identification
15

Alternative solutions 15

Final decisions and action plan


10

Overall depth of analysis


10
PRESENTATION (30 points)

Stage presence & articulateness of presentor(s)

Ability to arouse audience interest 10

Effective use of visual aids


10
DEFENSE (20 points)

Ability to answer questions 15

Composure of presentor(s)
5

TOTAL POINTS

100

10

ELEMENTS OF AN
EFFECTIVE CASE
PRESENTATION

There are three main elements of


an effective case presentation,
namely:

Planning the presentation


Making the actual presentation
Defending the presentation

PLANNING THE
PRESENTATION

There are two reasons for planning


presentations:
1.

2.

The occasion itself calls for it, and only


planning assures quality. Quality
presentations are the only kind you and
your audience are interested in.
Failure to plan may cause you to be
ineffective during the occasion and may
result in your presentation being less than
top quality.

PLANNING THE
PRESENTATION
(Continuation)

Steps in planning a presentation:

Determine what you want to accomplish. Set


the accomplishment down and keep it uppermost in
your mind at all times. This gives you a target at
which to direct your presentation time and effort.

Consider means to secure audience interest.


Study your expected audience. Basically, focus on
the audiences interests, not yours. Be sure the
entire presentation is audience-oriented.

Anticipate questions you may be asked after


the presentation. There will be many questions
from the floor. If you are caught off-guard, your total
presentation will suffer. Have your answers ready.

PLANNING THE
PRESENTATION
Gather facts to answer anticipated
(Continuation)
questions. This step becomes simpler once

you have set down anticipated questions. There


are many resources for gathering facts.
Practice your presentation. Use notes for
practice and practice your presentation out loud
at least three times. If necessary, cut your
material down to stay within the time limit
allotted to you. Rehearse your opening and
closing statements.
Check to see that all materials are ready.
One missing material could foul up your
presentation.

MAKING THE ACTUAL


PRESENTATION

When making the actual presentation,


the following must be observed:

Arrive ahead of time. When you are late,


the tendency is you become nervous and
clumsy in your presentation.
Start on time and end on time. Your
audiences time is just a precious as yours.
Give your audience the red carpet
treatment. Always begin your
presentation with the attitude that you are
presenting to a very important audience.

MAKING THE ACTUAL


PRESENTATION
Be an excellent stage actor. Get your
(Continuation)
audiences attention and hold it throughout.

Watch your verbal language. Words are


your main communication. Use words that
suggest action. Use forceful, simple, and
specific words, not generalities.
Watch our body language. Your posture,
your physical attitude, your gestures can
often do more help you to convince
persuasively than words. Avoid scratching,
yawning, or slumping. Seek eye contact with
your audience.

MAKING THE ACTUAL


PRESENTATION
Use visual aids. Visual aids dramatize the
(Continuation)
presentation, and dramatization is a strong aid

in convincing your audience.


Be thorough. Cover the subject of your
presentation completely. It is a way of life for
business students.
Summarize main points. Be brief a possible
when summarizing.
Save some time for questions. In any
presentations, there are always devils
advocates.

DEFENDING THE
PRESENTATION

Answer the audiences questions satisfactorily.


Questions must always be laid to rest. In answering
questions, one has to follow these steps:
1.
Ask the person to restate his question.
2.
Listen attentively.
3.
Ask for an explanation of the question. The person
will often restate the question to help you
understand it.
4.
Again, listen intently and do not interrupt.
5.
Use facts, instead of opinions when answering
questions.
6.
Remain calm during the open forum and keep your
temper in check.