Learning by the case method What each class member brings to identifying the central problems in a case, analyzing them, and proposing solutions is as important as the content of the case itself. Determining the real problem –Symptoms vs. problems –Related issues (explicit or inferred)
How to prepare a case What is the case about, and what types of information am I being given to analyze? What are the basic problems these managers have to resolve? Sort out the relevant considerations for each problem area Do appropriate quantitative and qualitative analysis Develop a set of recommendations, supported by your analysis. Be prepared to state what YOU would do and WHY.
In class discussion You will benefit the most if you actively participate in the debate The instructor facilitates the discussion, challenges assertions made by discussants, but should not be expected to provide “the answer.” The object of case learning is to develop your thinking as a manager, not to memorize facts or arrive at the right answer.
How you can get the most out of case learning Prepare Discuss the case with others beforehand Participate Share your related experience Constantly relate the topic and the case at hand to your work Actively apply what you are learning to your own specific management situations, past and future Note what clicks Mix it up; learn to appreciate differences Try to better understand and enhance your own management style
Problem or Symptom? Mary’s performance is declining Mary is unmotivated Mary does not have the training required to do the job Mary is being sexually harassed by John
Management Complexity –Variability Inputs, outputs, demand –Uncertainty Two types of complexity –Detail complexity: many variables –Dynamic complexity: situations where cause and effect are subtle, and where the effects over time of interventions are not obvious.
Dynamic complexity: it can take days to produce something, weeks to develop a new marketing promotion, months to hire and train new people, and years to develop new products, nurture management talent, and build a reputation for quality – and all of these processes interact continually. The real leverage in most management situations lies in understanding dynamic complexity, not detail complexity.
Final thought Please bring your copy of the case with you to class every week, because I will occasionally check to see if you have it. Without a copy of the case in front of you, you cannot adequately discuss the case with your small group; therefore, you cannot add any value to your group discussion.
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