Michael Porters concepts Analysis
A case is a text that refuses to explain itself.
How do you construct a meaning for it? Start by recognizing some contextual factors that help limit and narrow the analysis. Cases are usually studied In a course. A marketing case requires you to think as a marketer, not a strategist or manufacturing manager. Courses are often divided Into different modules or themes defined by certain types of situations and, often, concepts, theories, and practices appropriate for these situations.
Analysis is derived from a Greek word meaning, “a dissolving. In English, analysis has two closely related definitions: to break something up into Its constituent parts; and to study the relationships of the parts to the whole.
To analyze a case, you therefore need ways of Identifying and understanding Important aspects of a situation and what they mean in relation to the overall situation. Each business adolescence has its own theories, frameworks, processes and practices, and quantitative tools.
All of them are adapted to help understand specific types of situations. Michael Porters concepts are reductive when investigating competitive advantage?but they arena very helpful for deciding whether to launch a product at a particular price or choosing the best method to finance the growth of a business. Porter’s five forces can describe and explain the industry context in which a firm operates.
L No one would expect Porter’s framework to guide a product launch decision. Specialized methods are fruitful because they’re tailored to fit well-defined purposes.
Thieve often complex, though, and hard to apply, especially for people who are Just learning how to use them. 2 ANALYSIS This book teaches an approach to cases that complements business concepts and theories. Its purpose is to provide a starting point for analysis that aids the use of theories and frameworks and quantitative formulas, all of which are indispensable for reaching conclusions about a case and building an argument for those conclusions.
The case situation approach identifies features of a case that can be helpful to its analysis and encourages active reading.
THINKING, NOT RE ADDING, IS KEY Students new to the case method usually believe the most reliable way to understand a case Is to read it from start to finish and then reread it as many times as necessary. (That’s why many business school students think speed reading courses can help them. ) They rush Into a case, highlighter In hand, reading as If the case were a textbook chapter. For case analysis you need to know when to read fast and when t read slowly. You should also spend more time thinking about a case than rearing It when you Deign work on a new case, you don’t Know want to KICK Tort.
I an is the major dilemma that confronts everyone who reads a case. In an active approach to a case, you start thinking before you read the case. And as you start reading it, you ask questions about the content. Then you seek answers in the case itself. As you find partial or full answers, you think about how they relate to each other and to the big picture of the case. You don’t make knowledge by reading.
Reading is never the primary resource of case analysis. Reading is simply an instrument directed by the thought process that makes meaning from the text.
TYPES OF C A SE SITUATIONS Four types of situations occur repeatedly in cases: Problems Decisions Evaluations Rules People sometimes react indignantly to this classification. They insist that there are a multitude of situations portrayed in cases, and it’s misleading to say they’re reducible to four. The four are not the only situations found in cases, but many case situations do belong in one of the four categories, and when they do, an awareness of which one can help organize analysis. This approach isn’t the only correct way?it is one way.
Try it and see if it helps.
HOW TO ANALYZE A CASE 3 Feel free to integrate pieces of it with your own way of dealing with cases. The greatest value of the case situation approach may be that it causes you to think about how you think about case studies. Problems The word problem has many meanings. The meaning can be vague, referring to something that’s difficult or troubling. The definition of problem as a case situation, however, is quite specific.
It is a situation in which (1) there is a significant outcome or performance, and (2) there is no explicit explanation of the outcome or performance.
To put it simply, a problem is a situation in which something important as happened, but we don’t know why it did. Cases provide many examples of problems defined this way. In one, a well-trained, well-intentioned manager has tried to introduce a worthwhile change in the sales strategy of an organization?a change supported by a detailed, data-driven analysis everyone admits is a breakthrough? and has failed to get any of the sales staff to go along. In another, an accounting manager of a manufacturer notices that two good retail customers suddenly have accounts payable that are large and overdue enough to be worrisome.
He has no dead why the two firms would fall so far behind in their payments. Both of these cases describe situations that involve negative outcomes. The causes of these sorts of outcomes are important to know for a practical reason: the knowledge can help improve the situation. The change effort may be self-destructive because it has weaknesses that are not apparent, or the manager may be good at many things but is a poor change agent. The manufacturer’s retail customers may have large accounts payable because they have sloppy internal controls?or they may both be on the erg of bankruptcy.
These possibilities illustrate why accurate causal analysis is vital.
A conceptually flawed change is addressed very differently from an individual who isn’t well suited to lead change. If both situations exist, the corrective action is that much more complex. Retail operations that need to clean up their accounting processes might require the manufacturer to engage in negotiations over a period of time, but two firms with bad debts that might go bankrupt require the supplier’s Immediate attention. Success can also De a problem In ten special meaning uses ere. Take the case of a company that specializes in outdoor advertising.
It operates in three different market segments, but the case doesn’t tell you which is the most profitable, much less why. Another case describes the development of a country over a period of thirty years or so; after severe political and social upheaval, the country slowly recovers and exceeds the performance of most countries in the region. But the case doesn’t state how much more successful the country has been relative to its neighbors, and while it provides a great deal of data, both economic and anemographic, it doesn’t enumerate the reasons for the country revival.
Problem analysis begins with a definition of the problem. That seems obvious, yet many cases don’t state a problem.
So first, you need to realize a problem exists and then define it for yourself. Next, you work out an explanation of the problem by linking the outcome or performance to its root causes?this is the main work of problem analysis. To carry it out, you’ll need relevant tools, the specialized methods of business disciplines such as organizational behavior or operations management.