Group Case Analysis Guidelines and Rubric
In the course you will complete three Group Case Analysis assignments, due in Modules Three, Six and Nine. These will be completed in a Group Wiki.
The case method is an important tool in educating managers by allowing students to bring to life conceptual material that is often difficult to understand without application, and aiding in integrating tools and theories students have learned by applying them to relevant management decisions.
The cases used in this course are a record of issues and problems actually faced by business executives, with supporting facts, opinions, and financial data that decisions were based on. These real-life situations are summarized by case writers who provide you with all of the relevant information that was available to the decision makers involved. If the information presented seems incomplete, remember that this only mirrors the business world reality of decision making with limited information. Obtaining more information costs time and money, resources that are scarce in most situations.
Each case, like each management situation, is unique. Since there is no one best procedure for solving problems or making decisions, there are no right or wrong answers in case analysis. Each class member will approach the case in a different manner. However, the following procedure can serve as a rough guide to your analysis which can be fine-tuned to personal preferences.
Procedure Main Elements
1. Read the Case. The first step is to get acquainted with the situation. Read through the case quickly, getting a general feel for what is going on. Who are the main players? What types of information are available to you? Go back and reread the case carefully, paying particular attention to case facts, figures, and diagrams. Be careful to separate symptoms and problems. Case writers will often flag important issues by italics, headings, or questions at the end of the case.
2. Define the Problem. Put yourself in the place of the decision makers in the case (managers, investors, debt holders, banks, employees, etc.). What are the critical issues? Does one problem stand out as primary, with other problems secondary or contingent upon it? Establish a time dimension to the problems; which problems demand immediate action, and which are long-term or strategic in nature? What critical assumptions are being made by the decision makers in the case, and how do these assumptions influence their chosen strategies? Try to state the problems so as to identify (a) who must take action, (b) why action must be taken, and (c) when should action be taken.
3. Build your Analysis. Gather the important facts and concepts in the case, and discard unimportant or fringe issues and data. Build a theme for your analysis, and establish the importance of the problems you have identified. Incorporate your knowledge of cultural impact on the situation, financial analysis, accounting techniques, marketing methods, economics, and human behavior into your analysis. Put theory to work in your paper, by using concepts from the readings and module overviews to analyze the problems and issues and explain why they require responses by management.
4. Develop Alternatives. Examine the alternative courses of action that are available to the firm. Make a list of the advantages and disadvantages of each. Don’t use “straw-man” alternatives (those that are patently unfeasible or undesirable). Develop a few well- reasoned responses that could solve the problems, and critically evaluate them.
5. Make a Recommendation. Based on your analysis of alternative courses of action, choose the best and recommend course of action. Be specific in your statements. How will your recommendation be implemented? Circle back through the case to identify possible points of inconsistency between your recommendation and case facts. What potential problems might crop up? How will internal constituencies (e.g., management, employees) and external constituencies (e.g., competitors, stockholders) react, and how will you handle their responses? What assumptions have you made in developing your recommendation?
Please review Writing and Revising/ Editing the Case Analysis for additional information on structuring a case analysis. (I will upload this “Writing and Revising/ Editing the Case Analysis” separately)
Deliverable: Case Write-Up
The write-up must include the following items:
• Title page containing case name, date, and team members • Brief summary of the business situation in the case
• Identification of problems or issues
• Analysis of the problems or issues including the nature of the problems, causes of the problems, constraints, and related theories (framework for your analysis)
• List of alternatives for solving problems, including pros and cons of each alternative
• Your recommended alternative and clear reasoning for your decision
• Supporting spreadsheets or charts • References
Read this Example of Case Analysis Writing for an example of a case analysis report from Ashford University. (I will upload this “Example of Case Analysis Writing” separately)
Please note: You will also download and fill out the group evaluation form after each case analysis submission. The feedback provided by your team members will affect your grade under the Teamwork critical element in the rubric.
Group Case Analysis Assignment #3: Cox Communications, Inc., 1999
In 7-3 Group Case Analysis: Case #3 you will begin this analysis with your group. This analysis will be graded separately using the Group Case Study Analysis Rubric in Module Nine.
Use the Cox Communications Case from the Harvard Business Publishing Coursepack. After individually reading the case, you are expected to have online group discussion sessions with your team members in the Group Wiki and to submit a group case analysis write-up in Module Nine. To help you with the analysis of this case, provided below are the main objectives and a list of suggested questions for you to discuss when analyzing the case. Note that while these questions are helpful, your group report should not be written to answer these questions but to provide a full analysis of the case. Some of these questions will also be discussed by the whole class in the discussion forum.
This case introduces students to the questions of (1) how to make short-term and long-term funding decisions, (2) how new/innovative financial products create value by allowing firms to accomplish business objectives, and (3) how to go about analyzing the use of financial products with embedded options. The case also illustrates how various constraints (tax shields, costs of financial distress, financial flexibility, and the financial
wishes of a majority shareholder) can influence a firm’s financing decisions as well as how innovative financial instruments can be used to alleviate these financing constraints and create value.
1. Why is CCI acquiring Gannett? Does the Gannett acquisition make sense at $2.7 billion?
2. Assuming that the Gannett acquisition goes through, estimate CCR’s short-term (1 1⁄2 years) andlong-term (4 1⁄2 years) funding needs. How much of each funding need must be met through external financing?
3. What constraints does CCI face in meeting these financing needs?
4. What is the menu of financing choices available to CCI? What are the costs and benefits of each choice?
5. What exactly are FELINE PRIDES securities and how are they structured to provide the benefits of both equity and debt? How does the use of these securities create value for CCI?
Guidelines for Submission: Written components of projects must follow these formatting guidelines when applicable: double spacing, 12-point Times New Roman font, one-inch margins, and discipline- appropriate citations. Your case write-ups should be approximately 8-10 pages long including charts and figures.