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Writing Industry Reports

Writing Industry Reports

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Writing Industry Reports

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  1. Writing Industry Reports A guide

  2. Use all of the following subheadings within the Industry Analysis (followed by sufficient and well cited analysis): • Industry Size and Growth Trends • Maturity of the Industry • External Economic Factors and their Effect on the Industry • Seasonality • Technological Factors • Regulatory, Political, and Legal Concerns • Competitive Environment and Changes in the Competitive Environment Common Headings

  3. Key Challenges Facing the Industry • Use articles and other published sources of information such as industry trade publications. You may supplement these sources with interviews by your supervisor and other managers in your company and with websites. Use correct APA format to document your sources Common Headings

  4. Questions

  5. Analyzing Case Studies A guide

  6. Read the Case No one can analyze a case after reading it only one time, or even worse, doing the analysis during the first reading of the case. You should read through the case once just to get an understanding of the nature of the case. During the second reading, you can begin to structure and classify the issues as they appear. A truly comprehensive case analysis will probably require at least three readings. General Guidelines

  7. Searching for the Answer Don’t get trapped into thinking the “answer” to the case is hidden somewhere in the case text. There is never a single answer to a case just as there is never a single management strategy that is appropriate for all situations. Each case is unique. Looking for tricks or shortcuts is not appropriate. General Guidelines

  8. Role Playing Make an effort to put yourself in the shoes of the decision maker in the case. The use of role-playing as part of the analysis can be very useful. It helps you gain some feeling for the perspective of the key parties at the time the case took place. After you have done several analyses, you will likely come up with your own additional procedures or guidelines that assist you with this process. General Guidelines

  9. Step 1 - Situational Analysis • Step 2 - Assumptions and Missing Information • Step 3 - Problem Definition • Step 4 - Development of Alternatives • Step 5 - Evaluation of Alternatives & Recommendations • And Finally – Write your report on the case Analyzing a Case

  10. The process of assessing a situation is widely accomplished through the use of SWOT Analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). Specifically you should try to answer Is the plan current? Do the key parties understand and utilize it? Was it developed with input from all levels of the organization? The organization’s financial condition may also present strengths and weaknesses. Is it in a solid position, and does it have, or can it acquire, needed funds at a reasonable cost of capital? Other possible strengths and weaknesses might include managerial expertise, human resources, product reputation and customer loyalty, patents and trademarks, age and capacity of production facilities, channel relationships, and promotional programs (sales force, advertising program, publicity, and sales promotion efforts). These are all issues that we want to consider in terms of both the present state of the firm and identifiable trends. Situational Analysis

  11. As with life, it is neither possible nor realistic for cases to contain all the information a decision maker might wish to have available. Usually a decision maker has only bits and pieces of information. He or she must either fill in the gaps, or make the decision that the information is not critical, fairly predictable, or simply too costly and time-consuming to justify collecting for the decision at hand. Some of the information that is not available can be addressed through assumptions. • It is critical that these assumptions be realistic and clearly identified before and during the case analysis. • This list should contain only those items that will be truly useful in enhancing the quality of the decisions made. • It should not be a list of things that would be interesting to know. Assumptions and Missing Information

  12. The identification and clear presentation of the problem(s) or issue(s) facing the company is the most critical part of the analysis framework. Only a problem properly defined can be addressed. Define the problem too narrowly, or miss the key problem all together, and all subsequent framework steps will be off the mark. Remember - Symptoms are not the problem themselves. The most important question in the identification of any problem is “Why?” The Why question should always be asked after a potential problem has been proposed. The questions at the end of the case (if any) is a useful source for understanding the problem. Problem Definition

  13. Once we have the problem clearly and succinctly defined, we are in a position to develop a set of strategic alternatives that have a reasonable potential to solve the problem. • A key problem students face in this step is that they generate a laundry list of a dozen fairly detail-oriented items. These items have a lot more to do with the tactics of implementing a strategy than with presenting alternative strategies from which we will make our selections. • One alternative is always the status quo. You must understand that this is not a means of avoiding a decision. If recommended as the next step, it is a conscious decision, based on a careful evaluation, that the present strategy in use, perhaps with some tactical modifications, is the best course of action in the current situation. Development of Alternatives

  14. Three major criteria should be used in this evaluation process. • First, how well does the alternative address the problem or issue as stated in Step 3? • Closely related to the first criterion is the consistency of the alternative with the organization’s mission, as well as its ability to assist in achieving the plan’s stated goals and objectives. • For each alternative, you should make an effort to estimate and evaluate the cost and revenue implications of the option. Probable income statements, under corresponding stated assumptions, should be included for each alternative. • You should use what you have learned from your accounting and finance courses when you conduct case analyses. Look at any financial information you are given in the case, or that you can acquire, as a key resource in conducting your analysis. Evaluation of Alternatives & Recommendations

  15. The recommendation portion of this step is often included as a separate phase in the case analysis framework. • We include evaluation with recommendation because, if the former is done well, the latter should be a natural continuation of the process. • The alternative chosen is the one that stands up best in terms of all three criteria: consistency with mission, goals and objectives as stated or as modified, strongest probable financial performance, and harmony with the internal and external environments of the organization. • With a thorough evaluation, the recommended alternative should be a natural move. This does not mean that two alternatives will never be close in terms of their attractiveness, but usually one will be a better match for the organization as a whole. Evaluation of Alternatives & Recommendations

  16. Become accustomed to making recommendations in the face of unknown economic or competitive conditions. While you will be able to know some things for certain (such as gross domestic product or consumer spending), no one can possibly predict all future events. As long as your evaluation is thorough, and your assumptions are clearly stated and reasonable, your recommendations will be justified. Like anything else, the learning benefits of case analysis are dependent on the amount of effort you put into the analysis. Learning to think critically and see the big picture are important lessons to be learned in a case. Likewise, learning how business activities (not just cost accounting activities) can be strategically integrated to achieve superior results is the ultimate goal. A Final Tip

  17. Guide References