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Learning with Cases (Continued...)


CASE STUDIES IN THE CLASSROOM

Case studies are usually discussed in class, in a large group. However, sometimes, instructors may require individuals or groups of students to provide a written analysis of a case study, or make an oral presentation on the case study in the classroom.

Preparing for a Case Discussion

Unlike lecture-based teaching, the case method requires intensive preparation by the students, before each class. If a case has been assigned for discussion in the class, the student must prepare carefully and thoroughly for the case discussion.

The first step in this preparation is to read the case thoroughly. To grasp the situation described in a case study, the student will need to read it several times. The first reading of the case can be a light one, to get a broad idea of the story. The subsequent readings must be more focused, to help the student become familiar with the facts of the case, and the issues that are important in the situation being described in the case the who, what, where, why and how of the case.

However, familiarity with the facts described in the case is not enough. The student must also acquire a thorough understanding of the case situation, through a detailed analysis of the case. During the case analysis process, she must to attempt to identify the main protagonists in the case study (organizations, groups, or individuals described in the case) and their relationships.

The student must also keep in mind that different kinds of information are presented in the case study[2] . There are facts, which are verifiable from several sources. There are inferences, which represent an individual's judgment in a given situation. There is speculation, which is information which cannot be verified. There are also assumptions, which cannot be verified, and are generated during case analysis or discussion. Clearly, all these different types of information are not equally valuable for managerial decision-making. Usually, the greater your reliance on facts (rather than speculation or assumptions), the better the logic and persuasiveness of your arguments and the quality of your decisions.


[2] Michael A. Hitt, R. Duane Ireland and Robert E. Hoskisson, Strategic Management (Thomson Southwestern, 6th Edition) Civ

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