Analysis of Problems in Management Case Studies

The case can be analysed from different points of view. Usually there are four parties involved in the case, viz., the proprietor or top management, the middle management departmental heads, the employees or workers and finally the society in general (it includes consumers, distributors, investors, potential employees and those who are directly or indirectly affected by the organization), which is mostly disguised. While analysing and suggesting solutions, the student should try to look at the case from these different points of view and try to pin point violation of rules, regulations, code of conduct or precedents in vogue. The solution to be suggested must be in the larger interests of safeguarding the provisions of laws, code of conduct, rules and regulations to restore the normal positron. The solution should be in the interests of the organization, the weaker sections of the organization and society in general.

While analyzing the case, the social, economic and political environment should also be taken into consideration, e.g. the background of poverty of workers, illiteracy in the country, outside political interference in trade union activities, lack of job opportunities in the country for labor mobility, liberalization of the economy, impact of democratic principles on workers etc. Many times, the problem in the organization is created due to such outside factors. If the student is aware of these factors/situations, he will be able to analyze the case in its proper perspective and suggest a practicable solution.

The student should quote or give definitions of the authorities in Management Science or Economists in support of the suggested solution. The related provisions of various labor legislations should also be given correctly. The references to various theories and their inferences e.g. Maslow’s Theory of Hierarchy of needs etc. will certainly improve the quality of the analysis and the suggested solution.

Case study method for personnel problems presents some typical difficulties. It is always difficult to get the facts – people in the same situation interpret and present them in different ways depending on their attitude and background.

Skill is required lo inquire into what has happened or what people really want. The issue is frequently not clear for want of defined policies or procedures. It may also be difficult to establish objectives. People within the organization, including the top management, very often do not know what they want. Their needs are obscure and need to be defined. The case contains too much information, which is to be analyzed. There is every possibility that the analysis may be useless. Judgment is necessary to study the evidence and to decide relevant points. Where human beings are concerned, symptoms cannot be easily separated from causes.

It is always necessary to take into consideration the past decisions, because there may be precedents. But there is much danger in being too concerned about past decisions. With the change of time, the circumstances also change. Decision should be made in the light of an objective analysis of the facts, not simply by reference to what has gone before.

It is always difficult to ignore the precedents but at the same time the wrong decisions in the past need not be continued. Precedents are important when dealing with personnel and industrial relations problems and care should be taken not to create a bad precedent for the future.

Personnel problems cannot be solved in a clear-cut manner. Situations involving people can rarely be seen in black-and-white terms. While solving personnel problems adopt an analytical approach to decision making but, in the end, you will have to rely upon your judgment in deciding on a course of action, which seems to be the best alternative available.

According to Raymond, the analyst should try to seek answers to following questions:

1.   What is actual problem involved in the case?

2.   What are the relevant facts?

3.   What are the crucial unknown aspects of the scene?

4.   What are the major critical questions related to each specific event?

5. In what ways can logic and reasoning be used lo determine crucial inferences, connections and relationships?

6. In what manner can contradictory facts and arguments be weighed in making decisions?

7.   What should be the proper timing of decisions?

8.   In what ways can those decisions be best executed?

Schnells has given a ten-point model for solving case problem:

1. Identification of the problem.

2. Determination of facts.

3. Ascertainment of alternative courses of action.

4. Analysis of advantages and disadvantages of the alternatives.

5. Assessment of advantages and disadvantages of the alternatives.

6. Prediction of concurrent advantages and disadvantages.

7. Selection of best alternative.

8. Execution of the decision.

9. Filing the problem solution.                                                                                                         ‘

10. Comparing expected results with the actual results of the decision.

The steps suggested by Schnells are more useful for students and trainee executives to tackle case problems in practical life. They find opportunities; to put their own decisions lo test and verify the results. The case study serves two purposes:

Firstly, the students or trainee executives have to face similar cases in future life as executives. The case will tell them how incidents lake place, how there may be deep causes underlying the apparent expressions of happiness, distress or unconcerned altitudes and what can be done, as well as when and how to rectify the situation.

Secondly, the case study provides lest material where the student can apply the principles he has studied so far, and test their validity. It gives confidence to the student, which will be of vital importance to him as an executive.

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