What is a Business Case Study?

Case studies have always been popular among students and professors in colleges, universities, and MBA courses. They represent an effective method of teaching and learning. Business case studies are hypothetical or real situations created by educators to motivate learners to make relevant business decisions and translate them into practice. At the same time, educators may ask students to make up their own case studies, and other students will have to solve them. In any case, the essence and significance of case studies are out of question, and you should know how to deal with them.

While working on a business case study, you will enhance your understanding of the main business processes. It is also a great opportunity to build and refine your analytical and critical thinking skills.

Structuring and Formatting Your Case Study

No two case studies are the same. Nevertheless, the principles of structuring and formatting them are similar. Even though each case study describes a different organizational situation, it must still contain a unique title of no more than 10 words, which also includes a topic and title of the company. For example, you may want to title your case study as PROMOTING ORGANIZATIONAL AND CULTURAL CHANGE AT STARBUCKS.

While working on your case study, don’t forget that its purpose is to teach others. Everything you include in your case study must be learning-oriented. You should expect that when your fellow students finish reading your case study, they will have to use their analytical and critical thinking skills to identify the best potential solutions and justify their significance and effectiveness in the organization of your choice. Do not forget to include a clear learning goal, e.g., after reading the case study, students will be able to develop a comprehensive change strategy for the company.

Your case study should come in a narrative form. Imagine that you are telling a story. Then, include several questions based on the contents of the case. Learn more about case study structure using our additional resources. Do not hesitate to ask questions or search for additional information while working on the case study.

Protagonist

Your case study is a story, and it must have a protagonist. It is a person who acts as a decision maker. This way, your readers will be more likely to assume the leadership and management roles needed to make the best possible organizational decision. For example, if you are talking of change at Starbucks, your protagonist will be a top manager. Your readers will associate themselves with the top manager and make a decision on his or her behalf.

Narrative Case Study

Your case study narrative must have all elements of a good story. It must begin with an introduction. A good case study will highlight and outline the key functions and responsibilities of protagonist, so that the reader can understand what role he or she plays in the case study. Your narrative will also contain other details such as barriers to change encountered within the organization.

Then, the narrative will switch to the analysis of the company, its context, successes and failures. You may want to describe the context and market in which the company operates. Extra documents such as annual reports may be included to inform the decisions made by students in this case study. It should be a smoothly following story that leaves some questions unanswered.

Decision to be Made

Finally, a case study must have a conclusion. Here, it relates the reader back to the question that needs to be answered to resolve the case. Your fellow students will assume the role of the protagonist and make a decision based on the facts and information provided in the case study. You can surf the Internet to find good case study examples or sample questions to be included in your case.