Problem Identification


Problem Identification:

The most critical part of your analysis is to define the problem or problems (sometimes there can be multiple, interacting problems). If there are case guide questions, read it for some conceptual direction, but do not seek merely to address these questions.

Read the case, read it again, and again and again.

Define the major problem or problems (not the symptoms in the case).

· Problems cause symptoms. Define the major problem or problems (not the symptoms in the case). Usually, the problem can be defined in a single sentence or two.

· Problems cause symptoms but the symptoms are NOT the problem (s) they are just the easiest thing(s) to spot.

For example:

(1) Stress causes the symptom of high blood pressure but it is not the problem. Something else is the problem.

(2) A fever causes a medical symptom of a number of problems but the fever is not the problem. Something else is the problem.

(3) Declining sales cause the symptom of a firm’s loss of market share but declining sales is not the businesses’ problem. Something else is the problem.

(4) Too much money circulating in the economy is a symptom of economic troubles but too much money in circulation is not the problem. Something else is the problem.

· Often, the symptoms are directly described in the case, whereas the problem(s) usually are not.

· If necessary, indicate how the problems are related to one another.

  1. Situation Analysis

Another part of the analysis is to explain the mechanisms that are causing the problem or problems. This is not a summary of the case.

Be succinct and concise and get to the point. Bullet points are acceptable when they can effectively be used to support your position.

· Incorporate specific and relevant Organizational Behavior, Leadership or Managerial concepts, theories, or ideas.

· Avoid using general or just common sense or urban myth responses that do not incorporate course concepts, analytical or empirical proof

· This is an intellectual academic exercise testing your intuitive, academic, and intellectual skills please do not just simply summarizing case facts/examples.

· Don’t make assumptions or assertions or claims that cannot be supported by the facts in the case.

· Be wary of imposing personal opinions on the case that cannot be supported by case facts, and try not to place blame or pass judgment. Use rational thinking concepts.

· Avoid providing viewpoints that are sketchy and/or overlook important course concepts, case facts, and events.

III. Lessons Learned:

From the problem(s) identified and situation identified, what lessons for leaders, managers, and decision-makers were learned? What mistakes, opportunities, benefits, solutions, ideas, warnings came from this case

  1. Recommendation(s):

Finally, recommendations must be developed that are appropriate for the situation and for those who must implement them, so develop a structured plan of action. Who is to do what, when?

· Your solutions should follow logically from your analysis.

· Treat the problem(s), not the symptoms.

· What are the expected outcomes (both positive and negative) of the solution?

· What aspects of the problem remain unresolved by your solutions?

· Make sure recommended actions incorporate academic and learned concepts and theories. Although these recommendations are sometimes speculative, you still need to be sure to incorporate relevant concepts and provide specific, concrete examples to help demonstrate/support your points.

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