INTRODUCTION:






“A case study can be described as the study of an object, person or situation in its natural habitat in an uncontrolled and observational manner”.







When any management graduate undertakes his course; he will frequently come across with various case studies during his academic curriculum. There is no management course without referring to case studies. Research reveals that students may work with as many as 800 case studies during a two year MBA program. It indicates the importance and significance attached to case studies. Apart from Management, the medicine and other courses also club case studies as the part of the academic curriculum. In this context, it is essential to explain the meaning and definition of a case study.







WHAT IS CASE STUDY?







Case study is the study of a particular situation or case or a problem in a given scenario thoroughly after weighing the pros and cons, taking a practically feasible decision in the best interests for effective implementation. Case studies are essential for MBA so that the students can step into the shoes of the given case study, understand the implications and the complications involved and can have the feeling that of a trouble shooter. To put in a nut shell, case study is a simulation of a management situation that helps the management graduates to react in a real situation and helps them by providing right direction towards right decision making and problem solving.







The technical students like engineering graduates have both theory and laboratory activities. The faculty teaches the theory in the class room and then takes them to laboratory to try and test what was taught in the class. The students will be in a position to correlate the theoretical concepts and aspects with that of the practical experiments in the laboratory. As a result, the gap between learning and doing is minimized and also students can grasp, understand and memorize quickly. And while doing practical experiments in the laboratory they may have a few doubts and the same can be clarified, verified and authenticated.







The case studies are also just like laboratory activities. Since for management education the students can not be taken to industry for each and every theoretical concept the case studies will prove handy for them. When the management concepts are explained then the case studies of the companies are explained so that students in the class room can feel like in a simulated situation and they will be able to understand the concepts effectively and efficiently.







IMPORTANCE OF CASE STUDIES:







People, in general, love to listen stories, examples, case studies and anecdotes. No teaching will be complete without the same. And teaching for management graduates is no exception.







Case studies will arouse the interest amongst the students. Every class should have at least one case study to make the teaching process interesting and entertaining. The students, for a while, get into the shoes of the key player in the case study and think and act like him.







There are institutions which are specializing in case studies alone and they have acquired prominence globally. ICFAI has number of case studies under its reservoir and its case studies are accepted and adopted all over the world especially USA, Canada, UK and other European countries. There is specialization in every discipline in these days. IBSCDC which is the acronym for Icfai Business School Case Development Centre was set up in 2003 and it has developed over 2000 world class case studies. Its case studies have been featured in more than 30 international textbooks on Management. It has sold more than 1, 30,000 copies to various global B-schools and universities. It is the second largest producer of case studies in the world and the biggest producer of case studies in Asia. Under the visionary leadership of Dr.Nagendra V Chowdary, Dean of IBSCDC, who has passion for excellence, it is set to conquer the globe with innovative case studies. IBSCDC believes in quality research and catering quality case studies. It coined a new tool ‘Structured Assignment’ for the first time in the world. Now days, the world looks at the innovative tools and techniques. Innovation is the key to survival in this cut throat competitive world.







ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS FOR CASE STUDY:







A few characteristics and qualifications are essential for preparing case studies. The person should have passion to become the creator of case studies. He needs to involve and immerse himself in the case scenario thoroughly so as to have the feel of the real situation. Then only the best can be expected. The author should have flair for writing the case studies. He should be a voracious reader of various books from the discipline in which he is preparing. For instance, the writer of the case studies of HR should have read various books related to Human Resources functional area in order to do justification. Having industrial experience in the same discipline will help to create effective case studies. Imagination works out to some extent but having worked in the same field will bring out the best as the author knows the practical problems.







Lot of patience is essential to create the stuff. Ability to analyze the problems and prospects of the case and logical correlation of various activities in a given situation will prove to be highly beneficial. To put it in a nut shell, the author should have analytical bent of mind, problems solving skills and decision making skills for preparing case studies.







HOW TO PREPARE A CASE STUDY?







“Case study is a description of an actual administrative solution involving a decision to be made or a problem to be solved. It can be a real situation that actually happened just as described, or portions have been disguised for reasons of privacy”.







Usually the case study can be brief or extensive running from 2 to 30 pages. As such there is no specific rule that the content should be limited or extended up to certain levels. Read the entire text thoroughly once and jot down the key points and concepts and also the important issues involved in it in a separate sheet. Look for 4 W’s in the case such as what is the problem? where is the problem? when the problem started? And why the problem occurred? Relate and correlate all the factors and forces together to have better quick grasp about the case. Also read between the lines keenly. Apply your common sense and make comparative study of the situation. Observe closely if any statistical data is given. Look at the cause and effect relation with in the case study. At times the causes are hidden and it requires extraordinary ability to unearth the hidden causes. It needs probing temperament and correlate the same with the effects. This will help to get at the root of the problem for generating bags of solutions. During this process, the visualization technique is highly useful in order to correlate various things mentally. If time permits read and reread the text more times for getting at the crux of the case. Repeat the process till you get perfection.







Create number of multiple solutions to a given problem. Choose the best that suits the present position and adopt. It requires intuition and gut feeling to shortlist the best logical, analytical and appropriate decision. Don’t repeat what is already stated in the case.







During the case study analysis and preparation the academician with industrial exposure can deliver better results than mere academician without any industrial experience. The academicians always look at the case purely from their vast theoretical perspective as they are not exposed to industry. Of course, they honed their skills based on reading plenty of case studies. But that will not be sufficient to create effective case studies. On the other hand, the academician who hailed from industrial or from corporate background look at the case from multiple perspectives. They might have faced the same scenario as stated in the case study in their practical life. Therefore, they have ready made and tailor made answers and more solutions to each problem. Case study analysis requires critical and creative thinking. It also requires empathy i.e. stepping into the shoes of a situation and generating multiple solutions.







CONCLUSION:







Case Study is the heart of the management curriculum. Creating case study is a skill not a talent. If the case study writer has creative mind, passion, nose for writing, eye for detail, analytical bent of mind, problem solving skills, decision making skills and the ability to see the big picture and the capability to think out of the box, the best and the most memorable case studies can be crafted.


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