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Analytical and Decision-making skills Course - Case analysis

Problem Statement

The goal in this course is to further develop your analytical and decision-making skills bymaking not perfect decisions but by making more prudent, well thought-out decisions.
Required Hand-In Format
The following method (and headings) is what you will be required to use in this course:
1. Problem Statement
This should be a short concise paragraph (or two) briefly identifying what you think the problem is in the case.
You want to provide some context to your statement that provides a characterization of the problem. For example, instead of simply identifying a problem, such as increased employee absenteeism, you would indicate that the issue of increased employee absenteeism has created significant difficulties in scheduling restaurant servers.
Be careful and make sure that you have identified what truly is the “problem”. Often as managers we end up addressing the “symptoms” of problems instead. For example we might think the problem is high absenteeism but the real problem might be something else (e.g. working conditions, poor management, lack of incentives, etc)
Use the “drill down” approach by asking why several times and see what you come up with. Also one way to check for symptoms is to ask yourself. After I implement my preferred solution to the problem is there a chance that it could become a problem again? If your answer is yes then there is a good chance that you are dealing with a symptom.
2. Analysis
This is the section where you would consider the information presented to you in the case. You could also draw on your own experiences and insights to analyze the situation facing you as a decision-maker.
• Identify the issues and think about why they are issues
• What other factors need to be considered in this case? Why do they need to be considered?
• When writing your analysis, use headings. They will help you to organize your ideas and make your discussion and analysis easier to follow. Your written analysis should show meyour think ng process (analysis).
• It should take two or three paragraphs to adequately discuss (analyze) the issue being considered. However, it is more important to be thorough use more paragraphs if needed. Do not leave me asking questions about your analysis.
• Do not re-tell the case. Simply re-telling me what critical events, actions or history occurred in the case is not analysis.
• In a full case analysis assignment, I am usually looking for a minimum of three issues or topics for consideration. In more complex cases, there will obviously be more information and issues to be analyzed.
3. Alternative Identification
• At this point we need to consider our options. What are we going to do about the problem, challenge or opportunity we are facing?
• In some situations I may ask you for as many plausible solutions as possible but I will be clear in my request. Unless requested to do otherwise, I will expect at least three possible courses of action to a given problem.
• Each alternative course of action (decision) must be independent and mutually exclusive from the other alternatives. In simple terms, two events are mutually exclusive if they cannot occur at the same time.
• Alternatives must also be reasonable and plausible. Status quo is definitely an alternative but is usually not a reasonable one. In many situations, doing nothing is not a sound course of action, but might be a reasonable option in others.
• For the “alternative” section of your written case analysis, you are required to provide a
heading and a short, one paragraph description of the alternative.
4. Evaluation of Alternatives
• Selecting among a number of feasible and reasonable alternatives (courses of action) can be difficult.
• For each alternative, you are asked to identify at least three “pros” (advantages or positives) and three “cons” (disadvantages or negatives) that need to be considered in evaluating that a particular alternative.
• These can be done using point form. However, be careful to make sure your point (pro or con) is understandable. Do not make your point so short that I do not know what you are referring to. If need be, your point can be a short sentence.

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