Case Study

Initial briefing

You have been provided with details of a company. You have some weeks to analyse this, and then over the period of you will be asked to compete a time-controlled task in relation to the case.

The task will involve responding to a realistic situation that arises in relation to the case. However, it will require more than simply a summary of your existing analysis. The task will require you to use your professional abilities and you’re theoretically driven understanding of the case, to produce a response to the situation. Merely replicating the analysis you have done as your preparation will not answer the specific task you will be set, but that preparation will be essential for you to be able to deal with the situation presented to you.

You will be required, in addition to the completion of the time controlled task, to submit the working notes that you make as you go through your analysis.

These will attract a small weighting (10%) but might also be referred to by tutors if any aspect of your answer to the main task is not clear, and as indicated above they are the main way in which you can prepare for this assessment.

The learning materials, and additional podcasts, will provide you with more detailed guidance on analysing the case, but as this is meant to be analogous with real life, you should assume that any and all managerial concepts might be relevant here. The analysis therefore could – at least in principle – touch on organisational factors, human factors, and strategic issues, structural, marketing and operational aspects. How much you emphasise one area rather than another is part of your professional judgement – and therefore part of the exercise.

Bear in mind that this is managerial – whilst you may be familiar with this industry and with examples of firms that are similar in scale and aim to the case, the important thing is not the technicalities of marine services, but the way that the firm is managed and how it might progress in the future.

Please note that (a) the case is drawn from real life examples but is not itself a real company, and hence internet or other research is not appropriate here (b) the case has been designed for educational purposes, and not as an example of good or bad practice (c) as with real life, you do not have here all the data you would like to see, and the data you have been provided with may not even be always complete – you may therefore need to make assumptions, in which case they should be reasonable, justified, and explicitly acknowledged in your notes.

Further Clarification of the Assessment

You will be given a specific task to carry out, acting as an external consultant, writing a briefing for the company management in response to a new situation that has arisen for them. You will therefore need to use the analysis that you have summarized in your notes. But a simple replication of these will not address the situation that you are presented with. So be ready to draw on these to rethink the situation of the company in the light of the changed circumstances, and then provide a reasoned and coherent response addressed to the management of the company.

Managerial case studies do not have a single right answer, just better (or worse) argued and analysed ones. So the important thing is to try to use concepts and your own experience to develop a deep understanding of what is going on here. Aim to explain and justify your response in terms of your analysis. The better your prior analysis the easier it will be for you to make use of this as you complete the assessment.

There is no specific word length, but our advice is to aim to produce a decent quality response to the task, to the scale which would be realistic within the two hours that you will have for this piece of work. In our experience in the past, good quality answers have come in a range of lengths – anything from 800 words to 1500 words in the time given, but please take this as no more than a suggestion on length – the number of words will not be marked. Coverage of key issues is what is required.

In a professional paper for a client, full referencing is not always expected, and we will be more flexible with this assessment than with other work.

However, you still should make sure that any ideas you use drawn from other sources should have some kind of acknowledgement – e.g. “Smith’s theory of motivation suggests…” Failure to acknowledge sources will still be treated as academic misconduct and subject to penalties

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