CASE STUDY; STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT; THEORY AND PRACTICE
In order to encourage strategic thinking, students are being asked to write and evaluate an individual written case study.
1. A case study description. This will identify the details of a UK-based organisation that has a specific strategic problem(s), which needs a turnaround or retrenchment
strategy. For example, the problem may be the result of unsuccessful previous strategies, changes in market demand, or changes in competition, or a combination of factors. The
problem should exist now, or have existed in the previous 12 months. The case organisation may be a private business (sole trader, partnership or company), social enterprise,
or public body. Your case description should be based on secondary data, i.e. public domain knowledge, and primary research is not expected. However, if you have access to
primary data, e.g. you work for the firm or have contacts in the firm, you may use such primary data. The case section should be around 1,000 words and accounts for 40% of the
assignment mark. The case should lead to a strategic management issue or problem that needs solving. The end of the case must be followed by two strategic management questions.
At least one of the questions should require the ‘student’ to devise or suggest a strategy for the future, to solve the specific problem(s) or issue(s).
1. The case study is based on a British organisation requiring a turnaround strategy.
2. The chosen organisation and the scenario will be original and interesting, and less likely to have been chosen by other students.
3. The scenario will be based on a strategic issue.
4. The two questions should be (i) original and interesting (ii) allow a range of possible answers/responses (iii) allow theory from the course to be used (iv) unlikely to lead
to overlapping content or repetition in answers.
5. Good use made of secondary research (and if primary research is used it should be well integrated and suitably used)
6. Suitable and effective structure, style and presentation, and free of language errors.
7. The case study should be 1,000 words +/-10%
2. A teaching note. Think of this as your ‘model answers’. For each question, you should provide details of at least two possible/acceptable answers. Remember, case answers
should be given in the form of a conclusion (e.g. this is what you should do) followed by evidence of how you arrived at this conclusion. It may be appropriate to spell out the
learning outcomes of the case. The teaching note should be no more than 1,000 words in total and accounts for 60% of the mark. Marks are awarded for how well the two parts
integrate. Theories or concepts covered in the module must be used to support the teaching note. You may also other appropriate sources such as strategic management text books
and journals. Their use must be appropriate and clearly justified. Please note that all material should be referenced in a section following the teaching note (e.g. newspapers,
text books, journals, etc.). References are not included in your word count. The use of photographs, tables, etc. is encouraged where relevant. During the module, case studies
will be used to highlight various strategic issues and these can be seen as useful benchmarks. The core text (Campbell et al. 2011) offers many examples of good case studies.
Indeed almost all strategic management text books will be illustrative here. Case study information may be sourced from the business sections of newspapers, news agencies,
personal contacts, or from your own experience. It may help to contextualise your case by stating at the beginning of the teaching note where the case belongs in a strategic
1. The teaching note details multiple possible answers with analysis and evaluation
2. Both answers make use of the literature and theory learnt in the module
3. The case study and teaching note are suitably integrated and sufficient information was given in the case to answer the questions satisfactorily
4. Suitable and effective structure, style and presentation, and free of language errors
5. A minimum of 15 reference sources from academic journals and books 6. The teaching note should be 1,000 words +/-10%
3. Your target audience are 3rd year undergraduate Business Management students studying a strategic management core module. You only have 1,000 words for each part and you
will more than likely have to write and re-write the case several times until you think you are making the best use of the available space to pose an interesting strategic
management case. You are advised to use a minimum of 15 reference sources from books and academic journals, mainly for the explanatory case rather than the teaching note.
References are not included in your word count. Finally, for guidance on marking, an outstanding case would be fit for teaching with no modification. The following is a list of
points that you should bear in mind:
1. Ensure that you address a strategic problem(s) or issue(s).
2. Avoid disclosing new information within the teaching note; all information required to answer the questions should be contained within the case.
3. Having written the questions and possible answers you might find that the original question just does not work very well. A good case will be re-drafted several times until
there is a good fit between the case and the answer.
4. The questions and answers should not lead to a brain-dump of all the strategic management theory you know. Good case studies focus in on specific areas of strategy, with
practical issues arising from the case. You need to answer these well, rather than use a scattergun approach.
5. The level of depth required to give a good specific answer requires a similar level of depth within the case. If there is not enough data available to provide this, then
this suggests either a poor choice of case or a poor choice of question.
6. Given that this is a final year module, SWOT analysis should be avoided in answers. You need to ask whether the questions being asked are appropriate for 3rd year business
management students – specifically strategic management students.
7. However, SWOT analysis might be a useful part of the case if it is then used to answer the questions. If a SWOT helps to answer the questions, consider providing it as part
of the case.
References should include use of Core Text: Business Strategy: An Introduction (3rd Edition). David Campbell, David Edgar and George Stonehouse. Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. ISBN:
Theory from the course;
Internal resources and competencies
Understand how the resource-based view explains competitive advantage
Appreciate the strategic role of resources
– value chain analysis
– the value system
– weaknesses of value chain and value system analysis
Evaluate use of the VRIO framework
Evaluate the role of core competencies.
Understand the environment-based view
Appreciate the use of environmental analysis
Examine tools and techniques:
– Environmental analysis
– Industry Analysis
– Intra-industry Analysis
Strategic group analysis
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