How to Write a Case Study Analysis

Step-By-Step Instructions

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When writing a business case study analysis, you must first have a good understanding of the case study. Before you begin the steps below, read the business case carefully, taking notes all the while. It may be necessary to read the case several times to get all of the details and fully grasp the issues facing the group, company, or industry.

As you are reading, do your best to identify key issues, key players, and the most pertinent facts. After you are comfortable with the information, use the following step-by-step instructions (geared toward a single-company analysis) to write your report. To write about an industry, just adapt the steps listed here to discuss the segment as a whole.

Step 1: Investigate the Company’s History and Growth

A company’s past can greatly affect the present and future state of the organization. To begin, investigate the company’s founding, critical incidents, structure, and growth. Create a timeline of events, issues, and achievements. This timeline will come in handy for the next step. 

Step 2: Identify Strengths and Weaknesses

Using the information you gathered in step one, continue by examining and making a list of the value creation functions of the company. For example, the company may be weak in product development but strong in marketing. Make a list of problems that have occurred and note the effects they have had on the company. You should also list areas where the company has excelled. Note the effects of these incidents as well.

You're essentially conducting a partial SWOT analysis to get a better understanding of the company's strengths and weaknesses. A SWOT analysis involves documenting things like internal strengths (S) and weaknesses (W) and external opportunities (O) and threats (T). 

Step 3: Examine the External Environment

The third step involves identifying opportunities and threats within the company’s external environment. This is where the second part of the SWOT analysis (the O and the T) comes into play. Special items to note include competition within the industry, bargaining powers, and the threat of substitute products. Some examples of opportunities include expansion into new markets or new technology. Some examples of threats include increasing competition and higher interest rates.

Step 4: Analyze Your Findings

Using the information in steps 2 and 3, create an evaluation for this portion of your case study analysis. Compare the strengths and weaknesses within the company to the external threats and opportunities. Determine if the company is in a strong competitive position, and decide if it can continue at its current pace successfully.

Step 5: Identify Corporate-Level Strategy

To identify a company’s corporate-level strategy, identify and evaluate the company’s mission, goals, and actions toward those goals. Analyze the company’s line of business and its subsidiaries and acquisitions. You also want to debate the pros and cons of the company strategy to determine whether or not a change might benefit the company in the short or long term.​

Step 6: Identify Business-Level Strategy

Thus far, your case study analysis has identified the company’s corporate-level strategy. To perform a complete analysis, you will need to identify the company’s business-level strategy. (Note: If it is a single business, without multiple companies under one umbrella, and not an industry-wide review, the corporate strategy and the business-level strategy are the same.) For this part, you should identify and analyze each company’s competitive strategy, marketing strategy, costs, and general focus.

Step 7: Analyze Implementations

This portion requires that you identify and analyze the structure and control systems that the company is using to implement its business strategies. Evaluate organizational change, levels of hierarchy, employee rewards, conflicts, and other issues that are important to the company you are analyzing.

Step 8: Make Recommendations

The final part of your case study analysis should include your recommendations for the company. Every recommendation you make should be based on and supported by the context of your analysis. Never share hunches or make a baseless recommendation.

You also want to make sure that your suggested solutions are actually realistic. If the solutions cannot be implemented due to some sort of restraint, they are not realistic enough to make the final cut.

Finally, consider some of the alternative solutions that you considered and rejected. Write down the reasons why these solutions were rejected. 

Step 9: Review

Look over your analysis when you have finished writing. Critique your work to make sure every step has been covered. Look for grammatical errors, poor sentence structure, or other things that can be improved. It should be clear, accurate, and professional.

Business Case Study Analysis Tips

Keep these strategic tips in mind:

  • Know the case study ​backward and forward before you begin your case study analysis.
  • Give yourself enough time to write the case study analysis. You don't want to rush through it.
  • Be honest in your evaluations. Don't let personal issues and opinions cloud your judgment.
  • Be analytical, not descriptive.
  • Proofread your work, and even let a test reader give it a once-over for dropped words or typos that you no longer can see.