The method of case studies is the techniques of training, which uses the description of the real economic, social and business situations. Students should analyze the situation, understand the essence of the problems, suggest possible solutions and choose the best of them. Case studies are based on real factual data, or close to the real situation.
The method was first used in the Harvard Business School in 1924. Teachers at the Harvard Business School quickly realized that there were no textbooks suitable for graduate programs in business. Their first solution to this problem was an interview with the leading practitioners of business and writing detailed reports of what those managers were engaged into, and the factors influencing their activity. Students were given the description of a particular situation, which was faced by a real organization in its activities in order to understand the problem and find a solution in the course of brainstorming.
Classification of cases according to the structure Method of case studies is widely used in business education around the world and continues to win new supporters. So, with 50 years of the twentieth century, business cases are common in Western Europe. The leading European business schools INSEAD, LBS, HEC, LSE, ESADE actively participate not only in teaching but also in the writing such cases.
- Structured cases (highly structured case) are short and precise descriptions of the situation with the concrete figures and data. For this type of cases there is a certain number of correct answers. They are designed to measure knowledge and / or ability to use a single formula, skill, technique in a particular area of expertise.
- Unstructured cases (unstructured cases). They represent a material with large amounts of data and are designed to assess the style and speed of thinking, the ability to separate the important from the unimportant, and skills in a particular area. For them, there are several correct answers, and usually they do not exclude the possibility of finding non-standard solutions.
- Pioneering case studies (ground breaking cases) may be very short and long term. Monitoring of the decision of this case study provides an opportunity to see whether a person is able to think outside the box, how many creative ideas he can issue in the allotted time.
Classification of cases according the form of presentation
- Paper Cases
- Video Case studies
Classification of cases according the size
- The full case studies (on average 20-25 pages) are designed for team work within a few days, and usually involve a command performance for the presentation of its decision;
- Compressed Cases (3-5 pages) are designed to directly parse the lesson and involve a general discussion;
- Mini-Cases (1-2 pages) as soon as cases are designed to parse in class and are often used as illustrations of the theory taught in class.
- Classification of cases according the level of complexity
- Case studies for bachelors
- Case studies for the Masters
- Cases for MBA programs and refresher courses
Classification of cases according the subjects
- Accounting and Control
- Business and Government Relations
- Competitive StrategyEntrepreneurship
- Personnel administration
- Management Information Systems
- Operations Management
- Organizational Behavior and Leadership
- Service Management
- Business and Social Responsibility
Classification of cases according the types of companies
- Case of the TNC
- Cases of major regional business
- Cases of small and medium business
- By Region
- North American cases
- European Cases
- Case studies from developing countries and countries with economies in transition
The essence of the case study
Traditionally, the business case study reflects the specific business situation that requires a management decision by the management if the company. During the course instructor guides students in finding such solutions. According to Jamie Anderson, Professor of Strategic Management at TiasNimbas Business School, the Netherlands, the success of a business case study depends on three criteria:
Sufficient primary and statistical data;
- The participation of top managers of the company in the process of writing a case study;
- The presence of an exciting business situation, which allows using different methods of analysis when looking for solutions.
According to studies conducted by ECCH, non-profit organization specializing in the design and development of case-method in business education, the most popular with both teachers and students, are case studies based on field studies rather than on published data. Traditionally, the business case is written in a partnership of academic teachers and managers.
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