Overview of a Case Study Format
Case studies are some of the most common assignments in business school. They can be considered to be in the same category as business research paper.
This makes skills on how to write a case study quite important. Developing such skills requires you to understand the purpose of case studies.
Accordingly, case studies usually seek to:
Examine your decision making capacity within a specific business environment.
Common assignments may include an international business case study or short case studies in management.
Note that the format of your case study is critical in how you deal with issues within a particular situation. Herein, relying on a good business case study template may come in handy.
That said, before you explore the business case study format, it is important to review various elements distinctive to a case study.
These elements are as explained below.
As illustrated in different case studies examples, there is usually an individual required to make a decision on an issue.
Such issues include business problems that need to be solved or business actions meant to take a business enterprise to the next level.
In this, you are supposed assume the protagonist’s role when writing the business case study. You should further take a particular perspective when making respective decisions or choices.
All these factors together shape the business case study format.
When conducting an analysis, note that you have to adequately develop the protagonist before delving into the issues in the case study.
For a clearer picture on the protagonist, you can explore different case studies examples.
The Narrative Nature
The case study assumes a narrative approach. As illustrated in different business case study templates, this has a major impact on the case study format.
The narration has to begin with the introduction of the protagonist and continue to set the background of the case study.
The business case study format has to then include an overview of issues that require to be addressed by the protagonist.
As well, the evidence to be included in evaluating the entailed issues also influence the format.
Remember that the narrative has to end with a conclusion on the issues being examined.
Business Case Study Format
As demonstrated in appropriate business case study templates, the format of a business case study usually has 5 key sections that include:
4) Proposed solution, and
These sections are usually common across the board, whether it is an international business case study or short case studies in management.
The sections play different purposes as discussed below.
The introduction should be concise, devoid of jargon, and catchy. In this section, it is important to ensure that the reader identifies the direction of case study with ease.
The introduction should also effectively evoke the interest of the reader.
The introduction plays 2 key roles that are:
1. Identifying key issues in the case study: In this role, you should identify the protagonist and all the relevant characters in the case.
You should then go ahead and identify the prevailing situation and the challenges the protagonist is facing.
It is important to present the protagonist’s point of view on issues under study. This requires you to view the challenges from the protagonist’s perspective.
To do this, you have to identify the entailed protagonist’s biases and assumptions.
2. Putting forward the thesis statement: The introduction should clearly highlight the thesis statement.
Rightly, this is a key element of a business case study format, where you should stipulate the objective of the case study.
The thesis statement must be precise and concise. It should appear as the last sentence/s in the introduction.
Accordingly, when writing the introduction, you can observe particular guidelines to help adhere to the correct business case study format.
These guidelines are as listed below.
1. Clarify what makes this case special in the title of the case study using about 10 words.
2. Include the name of the organization or company entailed in the study in the title.
3. Identify the protagonist within the first paragraph.
4. Introduce the protagonist’s point of view within the first few paragraphs, as well as the major characters.
5. Provide the situation’s context, including its location, time frame, organization’s or company’s purpose, business factors to be considered, and the protagonist’s goals.
This section provides a foundation for the analysis of the case. Some of the key purposes of the section include:
1. Setting the scene: You should do this by providing background information, important facts, and key issues.
2. Demonstrating your understanding of the case: This requires you to illustrate that you have conducted research on the entailed issues by explaining how the case relates to general business issues.
As evidenced in suitable case studies examples, the background section should provide information about the company and the industry.
Note that you should however not reveal what actually transpired in the case.
Relevant background information areas are as explained below.
1. Company background: In this, you should include information about the company’s history in a chronological order, including 1) how it was formed, 2) how long it has been in existence, 3) and the company’s business (business model).
You should also include details on the company’s services, products, and customers. As well, you could provide information on the company’s culture particularly where it is part of the context.
2. Industry: Information on this could include the company’s behavior in relation to its competitors and how each has reacted in relation to the issue under study.
Evaluation of the Case
This section should look at the entailed business issues or challenges. It is one of the most important parts of a business case study format. The section plays 3 key roles that encompass:
1. Outlining the various areas/issues/challenges you intend to focus on in the cases study.
2. Evaluating the respective areas/issues/challenges by exploring what is working and what is not.
3. Establishing why the respective areas/issues/challenges are or are not working.
In this section, you should begin by highlighting the challenges and issues the protagonist is facing. This should include information available to the protagonist and key characters essential in finding a solution.
It involves organization, company, industry, or competitor information accessible by the protagonist at the case’s occurrence time.
A detailed background is essential in ensuring effective evaluation. Such a background should focus on the organization’s revenues, losses, or profits.
As well, you could include information on historical data, trends, quotes from analysts and participants, and key tables and figures.
After the analysis, it is time to propose solutions to the involved issues/challenges. This section is the epitome of a business case study format.
It serves different purposes as explored below.
1. Providing pragmatic solution(s) to the issues/challenges in the case study.
2. Identifying why the proposed solution (s) is/are the most suitable in resolving the issues/challenges.
3. Providing evidence on why the solution(s) is/are suitable. This requires you to apply a) class concepts, b) outside research, and personal experiences.
This is usually the last section of a business case study format. The purposes of this section include:
1. Determining and explaining the specific strategies key in the actualization of the proposed solution(s).
2. Establishing further action(s) requisite in solving the entailed issues.
3. Explaining what should be done and the persons to be charged with specific responsibility.