Read all relevant case papers before attempting this assignment.
Case study research (CSR) has been used as a valid method of research by social scientists, educators, psychologists and anthropologists for many years because it provides more realistic responses than purely statistical surveys.
It is proposed to conduct a CSR focusing on the political, social and commercial life of a small compact region of a country. The objective of the research is to examine the use of a proposed electronic community network on the World Wide Web as a method of delivering and receiving information from the public and to determine whether such an electronic network would be beneficial to the community and what those benefits might be.
You are asked to prepare a working document for the guidance of conducting a Case Study Research (CSR) focusing on the political, social and commercial life of a small compact region of a country of your choice.
Your document should ensure that adequate demographic details of the selected country region will be taken into consideration its history and ancient roots, diversified culture, languages and multi-religious beliefs so that the subsequent report will be understood in context.
The objective of the research is to examine the use of a proposed electronic community network on the World Wide Web as a method of delivering and receiving information from the public and to determine whether such an electronic network would be beneficial to the community and what those benefits might be.
In The Economist, September 7th -13th 2013 pp25-27 is an article œmultiplexed metropolis which might be of interest to you. If of interest, look at Mustapha Coruh’s doctoral project was œThe Effects of Municipal Wireless Network (MWN) and e-Municipality System for Effective, Efficient and Productive Usage of Local Resources in the Municipal Governments.
Suggest how the CSR could be used as a learning medium stating the objectives you consider could be transferred to practical research operations.
(Note: You are not required to undertake a research but to prepare an instruction document for the CSR including whatever guidance you consider appropriate within the limited size of the assignment.)
Paper must include:
Executive summary: a very short literature review on CSR and its evolution. Then agree, challenge or support the use of CSR as a medium. State the objectives you consider could be transferred to practical research operations.
Your paper must include guidance on the following eight criteria:
1. Definition of the objective of the research outlining possible scenarios of results and plans of action under each scenario to ensure that the purpose of the CSR is understood before it commences. Objectives must be Real, Understandable, Measurable, Achievable and Agreed/ Time bound (SMART)
2. Advice on CSR design which is to be a descriptive research with longitudinal or cross-sectional studies, rather than an exploratory or causal research.
3. Suggestions of data types and sources. Secondary data that has previously been collected for other purposes but which can be used in the proposed CSR. Primary data, which may be obtained by observation or communication and involves questioning respondents orally or in writing.
4. The collecting of data and analytical techniques such as:
Using available information.
Observation and interviews.
Questionnaires?postal or electronic.
Focus discussion groups.
Projective techniques, mapping, scaling.
5. Construction and size of the sample. The sampling frame must be representative of the whole region. Because CSR generates a large amount of data from multiple sources, systematic organisation of data collection and collation is vital.
6. Data collection. In addition to the inherent sampling error, the actual data collection process will introduce unintentional non-sampling errors owing to fatigue or insufficient understanding of the interview process, and intentional errors by a biased interviewer. A description of how non-sampling errors may be reduced.
7. Analysis and interpretation of the data. Raw data needs to be edited to eliminate errors, transformed into appropriate format and then coded to convert it into quantitative data, which is tabulated into various categories.
8. Preparation of the report. Typically, this should contain:
Statement of research objectives.
List of tables.
Conclusions and recommendations.
Appendices containing copies of the questionnaires, etc.
9. References (at least 20).
Histories and studies
The majority of those who write about case studies and case study analysis do so from a narrow viewpoint of their business experience and such observations are not exhaustive. Frequently, attempts are made to argue from a specific business case background to generalisations about cases as a whole. I differentiate among case material, histories, studies, projects and research
This is either in raw data format or analysed and edited into information. It is the substance, facts, processes, timings, and characters that form the basis for the preparation and description of an event or series of events in a framework with, or without, a related environment.
The crucial element in all case studies is the environment. A case history is a case study but a case study is not necessarily a case history?its environment conditions its analysis and synthesis. Case material is collated into its historical context, usually in time sequence. Events, situations, problems, conflicts, processes, results and conclusions are described post hoc and the whole thing is a fait accompli. The events are irreversible and the case history is used as a typical, good or bad example of the subject being studied.
A case study maybe a bit of history, taken or modified from real-life, fiction or ˜faction’ created by the author or a combination of several sources. A study also describes events in their environment and any problems or conflicts are not necessarily revealed; their discovery may be the reason for using the case. Conclusions are not necessarily reached and it is usually possible to ˜enter the case’ at an appropriate point and become involved in operations as an external adviser or from a designated position in the case.
The case project is an active case study relating to the contemporary real world; the substance of the project can be extended or expanded by actual research. I found Harvard cases at the time inadequate for the depth analysis needs of the final examination and for eleven years, I wrote two cases a year based on my business and consultancy experience. I was commissioned to write the first book on case analysis, Business Analysis for Marketing Managers, which, though dated, is still consulted in public libraries. Today, with the mass of data, information, research, reports and opinions availability on the Internet, the case project is becoming more popular.
Since then, a lot of academic attention has focused on case work and new methods have been, and are being sought to deal with the subject. R K Yin, a prolific writer of case work especially on case study research in the social services, has suggested different descriptions for the case history, which he classifies as an evaluative or descriptive case, and the case study, which he calls a decision-forcing or decision-focus case. He differs from me in his description of the latter saying that the author does not reveal the decisions made by the participants. Stakeholder and participant decisions are often a major topic.
Yin, Stake and Merriam classify cases differently and one way of dealing with these is to array them first:
Merriam Stake Yin
Descriptive ? ?
and then investigate the implications. Are the eight categories exhaustive? If we were dealing with a stochastic case study what categories would be included? Similarly, if the case were treated as a heuristic how would the classification differ? Why does Stake not include descriptive? Are Merriam’s and Yin’s definitions of descriptive the same? And so on.
A case study may or may not contain the decisions taken by the characters depending on the objective of the originator. If the decisions are described, then the focus of the investigation is different from the situation where the decisions are not revealed until after participants have reached their own conclusions and presented them, usually in plenary session.
It is not only characters’ decisions that may be the focus of discussions; the problems may or may not be made explicit. In general, I favour disclosing everything in a case as if it were in real life where with a phone call, email or meeting with one or more characters, additional information could be obtained. I see no sense in withholding material that would be possible to obtain in real life. An added advantage of revealing everything said and done by the characters is that it introduces another dimension to the case?the behavioural aspects of the characters. People do not think and reason the same way and conflict is often generated because of differences of opinions on major strategies, opposing views on minor matters, or haggling over unimportant details.
Case histories and studies may be in any discipline?agriculture, business, climate, cosmology, criminology, finance, geography, history, law, medicine, psychology, sociology and technology as examples.
A hospital patient’s case notes are typical of a case history. The patient is diagnosed with a disease that was treated,
responded, regressed but eventually resulted in the patient’s death is typical of a medical case history. It may subsequently be used by students learning about diagnosis and prognosis, interpretation and misinterpretation, partially efficacious treatments and prognostic failures. The case is in the past and by recording crucial medical facts is of considerable value to those studying similar future situations.
A typical legal case history is the landmark case of Donoghue v Stevenson.On an August evening in 1928 May Donoghue went into a cafÃ© in Paisley with a friend who bought her a ginger beer. On pouring the soft drink into a glass, a partially decomposed snail tumbled from the bottle. Because the ginger beer bottle was opaque green glass, neither she, her friend nor Stevenson the manufacturer knew it was in the bottle. As there was no privity of contract between Donoghue and Stevenson, Donoghue could not sue. Privity of contract occurs only between the parties to the contract, most commonly contract of sale of goods or services. If a third party gets a benefit under a contract, that party does not have the right to go against the parties to the contract beyond its entitlement to a benefit.
On appeal to the House of Lords, it was held that Donoghue v Stevenson made it clear that, even without a contract between the parties, a duty of care is owed by A to take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which could reasonably be foreseen as likely to cause injury to neighbourB. This concept, in this case history has become known by the universal shorthand, the neighbour principle.
The history of the Polaroid camera and film is an interesting study in pricing. Invented by Dr Land after World War II, the Polaroid camera was the subject of intensive pricing discussions at the time of its launch and subsequently in cases written about it. When the Polaroid camera was introduced into the USA management had to decide to sell the camera at a high price and the special Polaroid film at a low price, or give the camera away for peanuts and make money on the film. Clearly, sales of film are not related to the sale of cameras, but to the number of cameras owned and in use.
Initially, Polaroid priced the camera on the low side and made their profit on the film”remarkable when their restricted output and vast market potential is considered. When the camera was subsequently launched in the UK, they revised their pricing policy?a high-price strategy was adopted both for camera and film.
A long-range outlook for pricing strategy in such situations is essential and will be effective only as long as no competitor is able to capture a substantial portion of the market by a low-price policy or, if the product is protected legally, by circumventing the patent.
Polaroid was fully patented but Eastman Kodak launched its competitive Instamatic camera; which as far as the public was concerned was an identical system of instant pictures. The resulting battle in the market place was eventually transferred to the courts, where Polaroid forced Eastman Kodak out of the instant film business. In 1988, after a long legal wrangle, Eastman Kodak reached a compensation settlement with the 16.5 million holders of its unusable instant camera.
The Polaroid experience is an excellent case history and today’s case studiers can only discuss the pros and cons and what might have been. A typical fait accompli?actions that have been completed before those affected by it are in a position to query or reverse it.
An essential element in case study analysis is the environment. Both case histories and studies have environments and often it is the environment that conditions the case material. Consider the medical case history I mentioned a few paragraphs ago; it would be essential to know when the events took place because of the continuous advances being made in medical diagnosis and treatment. Similarly, the Polaroid that went on sale to the public for the first time in 1948 would be in a different situation today with the digital cameras. By 2002, the ubiquitous digital camera had made the Polaroid almost obsolete. Yet, when I Googled œPolaroid recently while writing this paper, I found they are making a come-back. They are even available in different coloured cases and holding their own against the Cybershot type cameras, which are useless with the sun behind you! We await the marketing of the next generation of cameras the œfocus-after-shoot cameras shortly to be introduced using Lytro’s light field technology and Adobe’s similar plenoptic technology; both enable focusing to be sharpened after the shot has been taken and recorded. The big question is whether they will launch the new camera with a high or low price policy.
The fortunes of Kodak fell dramatically in January 2012 because of alleged poor management and there was a heightened probability of their filing for bankruptcy. It was said that they need material, near-term liquidity support, otherwise will run out of domestic liquidity by mid-2012. Their shares fell 23% to 52 cents and the New York Stock Exchange warned them on Jan 3 that they need to get their share price back above $1 within six months to continue trading, under listing standards rules.
Computer-related equipment is in an incredibly dynamic environment and therefore a case history is clearly more environmentally dependent than is a case study. You couldn’t really have a case study about Henry VIII and his passion for real tennis?it would have to be a case history. My distinction between histories and studies is otherwise largely artificial and was an attempt to classify cases that are useful as discussion documents deciding what went wrong (or right) at what point, what should or could have been done at that point, and is there a
nything we can learn from the history of events? With a case study it is usually possible for the studier to enter the case in a nominated role and change things.
Case study research
Case study research (CSR), about which much has been written, is scantily used in practice. In seven years I have had just one PhD candidate attempt a case study research. CSR has evolved as a useful tool for investigating specific situations and trends in many disciplines, particularly social science, psychology, anthropology and ecology. It is useful for testing theoretical models that are applied to real life situations, such as when anthropologists live amongst remote populations. Their notes might not produce a great deal of quantitative data, but their observations are useful to build up a corpus of knowledge about the population.
CSR is an in-depth study of a particular situation rather that a comprehensive statistical survey; it narrows down a broad field of research and focuses on one more easily researchable topic. While it may not provide complete solutions, it can indicate where further amplification can help in the development of hypotheses and test whether hypotheses and models actually work in the real world. An example is the development of a computer program that represents how the ecosystem of a land-locked expanse of water works. It is only by trying it out on a real life pool or lake that it can be decided if it is a realistic simulation.
CSR has been used as a valid method of research by psychologists, anthropologists, educators and social scientists for many years because it provides more realistic responses than a purely statistical survey. Its use in business and finance is limited because the narrow field on which it is focused means that its results cannot be extrapolated to fit an entire population; this requires the more holistic treatment of research by means of case study analysis. There are two main ways to conduct a research using the case method:
First, to work entirely in the conceptual area, propose structures and suggest postulations on what supports the hypothesis implied in the case.
Second, to construct an operational model against which to test empirical criteria.
Whichever path is taken, the argument must be constructed along the lines of, œeither way, models will represent the constructed reality of their progenitor and should be referred to always with the preamble ˜if I am right ? this is the way it is’.
The aim of a case may be to help an organisation that has to choose from different strategies and take action, by suggesting the use of an operational model. Any approach may be attempted analytically (and be amenable to validation), or heuristically. If it is intended to test the observations made of the case material, what should be done is:
Demonstrate that the model is empirically valid at the level of the organisation described in the case and, if successful,
Demonstrate that the characteristics of the organisation and its environment that determine the validity of the model at that level, also apply to higher levels.
Demonstrate that the model is empirically valid at these higher levels, and finally,
Demonstrate that the predictions of the models in the expanded environment?legal, medical, social, industry, commercial situations equal or out-perform others.
To accomplish this, the task is similar to what any researcher must do when testing hypotheses. A series of two-by-two experimental designs is constructed such as: planned strategy and no strategy set against improved situation and no improved situation. (Note that each pair must be exhaustive.)
The inconsistency often observed in case study research and analysis is similar to that observed in the approach taken by the Excellence literature brigade. If you are unfamiliar with Porter, Peters & Waterman, the fallacy of their methodology is:
A search is made for successful examples; successful social structures, educational establishments, medical organisations, business companies (by Peters & Waterman), successful industries and nations (by Porter).
Having discovered several examples of achievement, an analysis is made of a number of attributes thought to be most relevant. Where common attributes are found, a teleological argument from effects to causes is constructed. For example, where all the successful organisations and companies have well-qualified staff, the conclusion is that having well-qualified staff?plus other factors?causes your outfit to be successful.
This is illogical and an example of the fallacy of the ˜undistributed middle’ in syllogistic reasoning of Aristotelian logic. All Frenchmen are Europeans; this man is a European, therefore this man is a Frenchman. Consider the following arguments, one of which is similar to the Excellence themes:
1. All heavy smokers have nasty coughs; therefore nasty coughs (plus other factors) cause heavy smoking.
2. All heavy smokers have nasty coughs; therefore all nasty coughs are caused by heavy smoking.
The two errors of logic are:
1. If all A are B, then all B areA; and
2. If A reliably causes B, then all Bs are caused by As.
It is useful to consider the situations diagrammatically. Draw two circles representing A and B. They can be dawn three ways: entirely