How to analyse a case study

Step 1: Get a general impression

  • Which organisations and industries/sectors does it relate to?
  • Is the organisation doing well or badly and how has it performed in the past? Is it an organisation that has an unbroken record of success or has it fallen on hard times?
  • Look at the development of the organisation over time. What strategies has it pursued? Which have succeeded and which have failed? How successful has the organisation been – and on what bases do you know?
  • What are your initial impressions of the main issues and choices confronting the organisation? Is it in an expanding industry/sector, or a maturing one? Are customer needs changing? Does the organisation confront a variety of opportunities? Or is there a particular strategic issue which the case is oriented towards?
  • What information is there in the case as tables and annexes?

Step 2: Start to analyse seriously

  • First, with regard to its environment:
    • o Which are the types of environment where it has been able to succeed, and in which types has it had problems?
    • o What have been and are likely to be the key drivers in the macro environment that may give rise to changes that could provide opportunities or give rise to threats?
    • o What is the nature of the competitive environment?
  • Second, get insights about the organisation itself:
    • o What kind of strategic resources does the organisation have – and which does it lack?
    • o Think about which of these have provided advantage over competitors; or could provide competitive advantage.
    • o Draw these analyses together by considering in what ways the organisation has strengths or weaknesses greater than competition.

So you will have built up a picture of the relative strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) for the organisation.

  • Third, look at issues about the organisation’s stakeholders. What are their expectations? Are they similar or in conflict? Who has more or less power and influence over the organisation’s strategy?
  • And consider the organisation’s culture. How has this influenced past strategies and is it likely to influence future strategy or constrain attempts to change strategy?
  • Beware of regarding different frameworks of analysis as distinct and separate; they relate to each other. For instance, the results of a value chain analysis could be put in the context of data from a PESTEL and 5-Forces analysis and are likely to provide more insight if they are.
  • Pull together your analyses and ask: ‘What are the major issues that future strategy needs to address?’.
  • In all of this consider what information is there in all the tables, annexes and appendices? What are they and how do they relate to and inform the questions above?

Step 3: Develop and Evaluate Strategic Options

  • Use the results of these analyses as a starting point for developing strategic options. You will have begun to think of what the organisation might do during your analyses. Note these down.
  • But don’t just rely on these. Generate more systematically other options by using some of the frameworks in part II, in particular Chapter 10, of Exploring Corporate Strategy – for example a TOWS matrix builds on a SWOT analysis that you have carried out; and Chapter 10 provides checklists of generic strategic options.
  • Evaluate the options by asking the following questions:
    • o Which are most suitable in terms of the strategic position of the organisation; i.e. the strengths and weaknesses it has and the opportunities and threats it faces?
    • o Would a strategy, if followed, achieve competitive advantage for the organisation and provide bases for the sustainability of such advantage?
    • o Which are most likely to be acceptable in terms of the expectations of major stakeholders?
    • o Which are feasible in terms of the likelihood of implementation: for example in terms of resourcing the strategy and managing change.

Step 4: Justify your conclusions with reference to the case

  • Relate your analysis to the task or questions you have been set. What elements of the strategic analysis do you require to answer the question? And what don’t you need, or are less significant (don’t try to justify your arguments by using all the information you have – select what is most powerful to support your argument)? And is there further information or analysis that you need?
  • Ask yourself whether you have really supported your conclusions and recommendations with hard evidence (events and results) from the case study? Have you allowed yourself to be swayed by the opinions of the organisation’s own managers? Do the facts support their claims of success, or their excuses for failure?
  • Make sure you clearly state what your recommendations are. There is no point marshalling a list of fifteen possible reasons why the organisation should do this or that without making it clear which one(s) is your preferred option. Unless you clearly state what is your recommendation, you could lose marks.

Step 5: Present a balanced view

  • Make sure you have considered the alternatives to your recommendations. There is hardly ever just one single option available to an organisation in a given industry/sector.
  • Make sure your have made it clear why the recommendation you have chosen is the best of the available alternatives.
  • Make sure you have examined the downside of your options.


Organizational behavior is a field of study that studies the behavioral pattern of a firm and need for change in any organization. The concept of motivation gained existence mainly because of the globalization of companies on large scale. The concept is gaining existence day by day which can be said on the basis of strategic HRM being practiced heavily in firms’ nowadays. The concept is an expanding entity and may take another decade for being extensively practiced. The need for growth, development, expansion, profit has become bare essentials for organizations. One of the most important factors influencing it is motivation; motivation is an internal force that affects a person’s ability and soundness to understand productivity and commitment. Motivation gives us direction, intensity and power to fight with adverse situations. Ability is natural aptitude and it has to be intensified with help of external motivation which brings peace and healthy work environment in an organization. [New Age Publisher, 2002] In order to motivate employees to work faster and achieve their goals what is most important is that they should be realized for their goals and also that after achieving those goals rewards and recognition will be there. One of the biggest motivations for any person to be focused on his job is the recognition for his work and monetary and non monetary rewards which are provided for good work. These factors influence the capability, concentration, competence and eventually the performance of an individual on work in an organization. [Wright, 2003] High ability and low willingness and high willingness and low ability and fetch no good results, therefore it is very important to maintain a balance between the two.

While analyzing the situation in depth, it has been found that a very important perspective is leadership that is followed with motivation. Motivation is a driving force and that can only be successful if leadership quality is appropriate. For effective leadership in an organization, one must understand the role plays of his subordinates, what kind of task is to be performed; situational factors of employee must also be taken care of like money, time, family etc. leadership cannot be  imposed it needs to be won and therefore a good leader influences the overall performance of his team. [Rovold and Scholtz, 2009] There are two types of issues as seen in the case study given. The both styles of management and leadership are different and both have their own pros and cones. Peter’s style is transformational wherein leaders bring sense of belongingness and responsibility in their followers so that they are proactive and leaders are idealistically followed by their subordinates and leader possesses vision, dexterity, and high level of competence, knowledge and management skills and performance depends upon leader’s ability to reinforce and unite the subordinates towards itself. [Hall et al] Petra’s style of leadership i.e. leadership continuum says that employee involvement should be included together with manager’s involvement in decision making. Initially they should be told what to do, follow by giving authority to sell themselves in the market, then comes the phase of taking consultation from employees and asking them to participate in decision making. Finally they may be delegated responsibility. GM’s type of leadership is transactional method of leadership which is responsive and creates a link between effort and reward and it follows that leaders depend upon standard techniques of rewarding employees and punishing them for their mistakes. [Liu, 2007] Under this method leader reaches its employees with the help of his response towards the employee’s action and the level of penetration of leaders’ messages in employees is also directly proportional to leader’s reaction towards award or reward.

The analysis is incomplete a framework to relate the theories together so as to make a chain of all networks. There are two theories of motivation which can put more light on the concepts and ideas in this case study. The theories are content theory and process theory. [Mullins, 1985] Content theory includes Maslow’s, Herzberg’s, and three need theory whereas process theory includes reinforcement, equity, and expectancy theory. Maslow’s theory says that there is a hierarchy of needs and that is the most important factor of motivation for any employee. The most imperative and basic one is life needs like food, drink, money, shelter. The second is the safety need that is protection, law order, safety. Third is social need i.e. family, affection. Work group. Forth is esteem need followed by self actualization need. All these needs if fulfilled on right time in any organization, the employee will be self motivated towards work. [Chapman, 2010] Herzberg’s theory says that motivation is dependent on two factors one being motivating factors the other being hygiene factors. In motivating factors employees are given achievement, recognition, monetary benefits, rewards whereas in hygiene factors employees are given salary, job security, supervision, good working conditions and under both the factors, in the earlier one employee will be highly motivated and will give high level of efforts towards achievement of goals whereas in latter one they may have low level of motivation and will put lesser effort towards goal. [Gawel, 1997] The three need theory is based on achievement, power and affiliations all are important from affiliation to achievement step by step. [Sharma, 1995] In case of process theory the equity theory says that any employee compares his effort to outcome ratio with that of any other person relevant for comparison. Through this he finds out his effectiveness being over rewarded or under rewarded. [Baxamusa, 2011] Expectancy theory of motivation says that effort gives performance and performance measures outcomes and valencies of outcomes. [] Reinforcement theory of motivation says that there are four types of reinforcement positive motivation, negative motivation. Punishment and fear from it, extinction that is fear of lowered recognition and bad impression. [IACPA, 2008] A very good method of leadership which they can follow is path goal theory of leadership which says that the leaders must set a goal for their subordinates and the path should be pre-determined and leaders must remove all blockages from the path of their subordinates so as to bring achievement of their goals. [IPEDR, 2011] In this method there are four types of leadership. Firstly supportive leadership in which leaders just have to tell the employees what to do and this method can majorly be applicable for old employees where they know what to do but are feeling boring and dull and needs a motivation like goal set by their seniors and target given to be achieved. [Muller et al, 2009] Secondly is directive where management tells the employees what is the purpose of their job, their existence and giving hard directions to perform any work, this is basically followed for non productive employees or may be to new comers who may feel secured after getting proper directions towards work. Thirdly it is the participative leadership which means that employees have to be given consultations on their loopholes and seniors or leaders should also perform with their employees or subordinates so that there is high level of participation from the other end as well. [Huang and Joyce, 2009] Fourthly it is the achievement oriented leadership wherein the leaders set challenging goals for their subordinates and ask them to achieve those in order to get high rewards and recognition from their seniors. These are not just four types of leadership styles but actually they denote four types of employees who perform in different manners and subsequently different leadership styles are adopted on them. All these four types are employees can be handled in four different leadership manners as discussed and not just sticking to peter and Petra’s method of leadership may bring high level of motivation in organizations. Both Peter and Petra methods are effective methods of leadership but if we categorize the employees in four categories and follow path goal method, motivation level and clear leadership pictures on each employee can be seen and followed. [Evans, 1990]

SWOT Analysis: Transformational leadership


  • Emotional link
  • Leaders are proactive
  • Stimulate the followers for learning



  • May lead to lack of articulation
  • Indirect and time consuming
  • Organizational change is a difficult state to attain



  • Strategic management
  • Competitive advantage
  • Higher loyality



  • Risk associated with the change
  • Motivation may be negative in nature as well which can lead to demotivation
  • Lesser concentration on profit maximization.

Transactional leadership:


  • Effort and reward link
  • Focus on current issues
  • Powerful imposing of duties


  • Short term focus
  • Self interest
  • High level of deviations


  • Cost effectiveness can be attained
  • Active  rectifications
  • Lesser involvement of top officials


  • May lack in long run
  • Higher attrition
  • Deviation from company’s vision and goals.



Strategies and Recommendations

  1. The most effective process which should be practiced on large scale is the expectancy method which works on similar pattern to that of path goal method. It is better to others majorly because it takes into consideration different levels of outcomes for different employees which is true in real sense as all employees have different intelligence and loopholes and degree of their competence must be measured and accordingly the leaders should assign responsibilities to their subordinates.
  2. Both theories of motivation have relevant forces and pragmatic approach. In case of content theory we saw that the factor that motivates is majorly basic needs or affiliation in most of the theories followed by achievement or self actualization. If all such needs get fulfilled on perfect time in career of any employee then motivation for work will be extremely high for that employee. In short it can be said that content theory focuses on the content of motivating factors whereas process theory focuses on the path which an employee passes through during his journey of motivation. [International management journals, 2012]
  3. What should also be followed is evaluation of performance of various subordinates at regular interval so as to find out the areas where employees are lacking and motivating factors can be transformed accordingly.
  4. Leaders should also focus on knowing the internal factors like monetary benefits, recognition and social existence.
  5. The motivation of employees at work has direct linkage with the style of leadership being followed on them, so it should also be followed seriously.


In totality it can be said that leaders must recognize the need for motivation and the factor which is most effecting the motivation in any particular group of employees. [Dorman and Godiano] It can also be said that motivation should be made to vary from level to level starting from monetary motivation for blue collar employees to self actualization need for top level officials. Another viewpoint remains that even the employees must be competent enough to understand the corporate ethics and abide the company rules and maintain healthy relation with their leaders and managers. A balance between the tow entities is very imperative to be gained so as to bring enhanced effectiveness of the motivational and leadership skills. For maintaining a neutral and subtle workforce what is needed is high motivation from leaders, effective leadership from seniors, highly competent employees and eventually a well balanced organizational behavior could be attained.


  1. Introduction to organizational behavior, viewed on 28 march, 2012, <>
  2. Bradley E. Wright, 2003, towards understanding task, mission and public service motivation, viewed on 28 march, 2012, <>
  3. Rowold Jens and Schlotz Wolff , Transformational and Transactional Leadeship and Followers, viewed on 28 march, 2012, <>
  4. John Hall, Shannon Johnson, Allen Wysocki, Karl Kerpner, transformational leadership, viewed on 28 march, 2012, <>
  5. Caroline H.Liu, 2007, transactional, transformational and transcendental leadership, viewed on 28 march, 2012,  <>
  6. L J Mullins 1985, Process of motivation, viewed on 28 march, 2012, <>
  7. Alan Chapman, 2010, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, viewed on 28 march, 2012, <>
  8. Joseph E. Gawel, 1997, Herzberg’s theory of motivation, viewed on 28 march, 2012, <>
  9. Sharma, Shikha 1995, three need theory of motivation, viewed on 28 march, 2012, <>
  10. Batul Nafisa Baxamusa, 2011, equity theory of motivation, viewed on 28 march, 2012, <>
  11., 2012, reinforcement theory, viewed on 28 march, 2012, <>
  12. IACPA 2008, Expectancy theory,  viewed on 28 march, 2012, <>
  13. IPEDR, 2011, path goal theory, viewed on 28 march, 2012, <>
  14. Muller, Juanita, Maclean, Rowenna and Biggs, Herbert C., 2009, supportive leadership, viewed on 28 march, 2012, <>
  15. Huang XU and Joyce IUN 2009, Journal of Organizational behavior, participative leadership, viewed on 28 march, 2012, <>
  16. Evans, M.G. (1970). The effect of supervisory behavior on the path-goal relationship. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 5, 277-298
  17. International management journals, 2012, theories of motivation, viewed on 28 march, 2012, <>
  18. C.Dorman and P. Godiano, Motivation, viewed on 28 march, 2012, <>\


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