Case Analysis: “Lisa Sherman” and “It Wasn’t About Race – Or Was It?”
“The case method requires a lot from the student…First, they need to be able to analyze a case, to give it meaning in relation to its key issues or questions that have been asked about it. The goal is to come to conclusions congruent with the reality of the case, taking into account its gaps and uncertainties. Second students have to be able to communicate their thinking effectively. The method should help you use the business concepts that are already part of your working knowledge or taught in business courses…” (p. 6, Ellet, The case study handbook: how to read discuss, and write persuasively about cases).
The quarter we will analyze and discuss two cases. In both cases, the protagonists must make decisions about how they will behave. As we approach each case, you will have learned a variety of concepts that can help you analyze the case, reach conclusions, and make recommendations that could help the characters manage (and, hopefully, leverage) diversity within their organizations. Your decision making case analysis must include the following five parts: [To help you think about each section, we will talk about the Sophia Chen case. Some information from this case are included below.]
1. Problem statement. In this section, summarize your analysis of the problem. Please use a combination of evidence from the case and course material to construct your problem statement. Your position statement should be approximately 2-3 paragraphs. Your decision should reflect our course – diversity management. If you make any assumptions, you must back them up with evidence from the case or the course material.
Example: Sophia Chen is not creating inclusion for herself and it is spilling into her interactions with others. The conclusion is based on the definition of inclusion as discussed by Ferdman and Roberts (2014) which states…Because Sophia has not had an experience of inclusion, she has trouble making room for others to be fully themselves. For example, in the case…
2. Decision options. Decisions require options. Do not consider more than three or four options. You may wish to produce a table like the one below and follow the table with an explanation of each decision option in a paragraph (or two) below the table.
Range of Decision Options
Use Stolzman’s six rules for learning about subordinated and dominant identities to deal with challenges she is experiencing
Use the racial identity development model to determine where she is in her development and engage in further self-development work
Engage in the exploring our identities at work exercise discussed in Ferman & Roberts article.
3. Decision criteria. The next critical skill for you to demonstrate is your ability to establish meaningful criteria by which to evaluate criteria and make the decision. The best way to establish criteria is to use information from the case and course material. For example, in the Sophia Chen’s case, you might first put the criteria in bullet points and expand on the each criteria in a paragraph or two after the bullet points as in the example below:
“To make her decision, Sophia should use two criteria:
· The extent to which the option allows for increased self-awareness, and
· The extent to which the option allows for positive parallel interactions.
Self-awareness is defined as…(citation). Based on the facts of the case such as…(evidence from the case), the decision that brings about this kind of self-awareness would be crucial to Sophia’s…(evidence from the case/interpretations of the case). Next, positive parallel interactions are defined as…(citation). If Sophia wishes to be a good mentor…(evidence from the case/interpretations of the case).”
Please keep the number of criteria small (maybe 2-3) and related to our course material and or facts obtained directly from the case.
4. Critique of options. In this section of the case, you are expected to critique each option using the criteria you established above. Next, you must discuss the virtues and drawbacks of each and every option you list and how you will mitigate against drawbacks. There is rarely (if ever) an option that is free of drawbacks. If your case analysis does not investigate the drawbacks of your recommendations, I will assume that you have not conducted an adequate analysis. At the end of the section, you should state the option that is best for the main character. In the Sophia’s case, we might discard one option with the following argument:
“Using Stolzman’s six rules (citation)…especially rule #…would enable increased self-awareness because…However, the drawback to doing so is….This would have negative impacts on Sophia’s ability to…(citation/evidence from case). If Sophia uses this option, she must mitigate against the negative impacts by…(citation)
5. Action plan. An action plan has at least three parts. First, you will state your goal. It should be SMART (specific, measurable, attractive, realistic, and time bound). What is the main character trying to accomplish with the decision option chosen and when will this be done? Second, your action plan includes both short and long term steps. Finally, your action plan should include risks and countermeasures. Here are examples from Sophia’s case:
· Goal: Use the racial identity development model to determine where she is in her development and engage in further self-development work.
· Short term steps:
o Determine what stage she is currently in by engaging in journaling and taking stop of interactions with others. Based on her description, she seems to be at…(citation). However, she should conduct more…
o Spend time learning more about racial identity development.
· Long terms steps:
o Sign up for activities where she can engage in immersion and emersion such as….
· Risks and Countermeasures
o Engaging in self-awareness requires one is able to be honest with oneself. Often biases such as…get in the way of that process (citation). A countermeasure against being influenced by the…bias is…
Presenting the Assignment:
Assignment Length. Imagine that you are presenting your completed assignment to the leadership of our community partner. Please limit your analysis to 6-8 double spaced pages. (The page limit does not include graphs, tables, charts, appendices, etc.)
Assignment Format. Please use Times New Roman, 12 point font, 1 inch margins, double spaced. Your assignment must either be a Word document or PDF because Canvas has problems processing other formats. It is your responsibility to ensure that your assignment has posted properly. Cite all course material (or other material) using APA format for references or bibliography. More information on APA format can be found at: http://libguides.seattleu.edu/c.php?g=308510&p=2062007.
Headings. Please use the five elements outlined above (position statement, decision options, decision criteria, etc.) to provide structure to your paper.
Assignment Clarity. This is not a free form assignment. My expectation is that you are not turning in your first draft but your final, perfected draft. Therefore, you have considered word choices carefully. Your grammar is reflective of your status as a undergraduate business student. You have edited the paper and removed sentences and/or sections that are not value added. You used headings and topic sentences to aid your reader. Your paper is free of jargon. In other words, the assignment is something that would prove useful to others – even people who were not members of our class.
Handing in the assignments. Post your analyses to Canvas. Neither hard copies nor email copies will be accepted.
Closing Thoughts: Our work lives are full of “cases” – opportunities for us to systematically and critically apply what we are learning. Our leadership skills are developed when we can share our thinking with others and provide strong (i.e., influential and persuasive) reasons for pursuing a course of action. This case analysis is an opportunity for you to receive feedback on your analytical and leadership development using a case on diversity management. After you have written your first draft of the case, compare it to the rubric to assess your progress. If you have questions, please contact me.