Business laws govern the rules of conducting business. These regulations ensure that the market is a fair playing field for all companies. A business law case study takes a specific scenario, fictional or otherwise, and poses questions on the same. Students then must read and understand the case to figure out solutions for the problems posed. A business case can be about a company, a particular industry, a market trend, customer behaviour etc. So, how do you approach a case study? And more importantly, how do you begin to solve it? Well, that is what I am here to help with! Here is a step by step guide to crack a business law case study you can follow.
1} The standard approach
I recommend my students to read the case study multiple times to understand the scenario. Every company adheres to some business laws. The theories ensure an equal playing field for all.
The standard approach to any business study would be to understand what’s present at face value. Jot down all the information you find. It gives you a primary picture of the case study. Based on this, you can analyze, infer and arrive at a conclusion.
The opening of any case study sets its context. It gives you some details about the company/individual, their position, the market etc. The main body of the case expands on this premise. Here you find the different scenarios, discussion points and details.
The ending then poses a problem. Most questions have a standard solution. However, you may find cases that are open-ended and have multiple interpretations. Here is a detailed guide to crack a case study you can follow.
Step 1: Understand the problem
The first reading of the case study gives you a good idea of the situation. Read through and note the details of the business law case. It helps you identify certain fundamental facts about the case.
A reading of the case study explores the scope and expectations of the business law scenario. This also includes the questions posed towards the end of the passage. Understand the problem and identify the resources needed to solve it effectively.
The subsequent readings further clarify the facts presented. And the more you read the case study, the more alternatives you find to solve it.
Step 2: Analyze the information given
There are three different theories to solve any case study. These techniques are not limited to business case studies. You can apply them to decode any case study, irrespective of the sector or subject. Some of them I attempt to discuss below.
a. The Pareto Principle
The Pareto Law, aka 80/20 rule, is an essential analytical method. According to this method, you assume that about 80% of the effects arise from 20% causes. This is useful to determine the key focus areas to analyze. With Pareto rule, you reduce the risk of trial and error.
Using the Pareto principle, students can highlight the critical sections of the case study that require deeper analysis. Your results are more accurate, effective and easy to execute. It also saves you a lot of time and effort.
To solve your Business law case study
b. MECE framework
MECE or mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive is a system that helps students categorize the case study. With this format, you categorize information into groups that are exclusive or overlapping.
With the MECE framework, you avoid confusion and simplify the case study. It improves your chances of success with the case study.
c. Using an Issue Tree
With the issue tree, you graphically breakdown the case study into a flowchart. This visual representation of the problem saves you a lot of time and trouble. Students can dissect the facts by arranging them vertically on the logic tree.
Issue tree breaks down complicated problems into smaller sections. It is a smart problem-solving tactic for easier management.
Step 3 -Arrange the alternatives.
Every case study poses multiple alternatives. These alternatives though hypothetical, are factually based. Also, note that these alternatives or opinions are purely objective. Don’t try to pick a side when reading the case study.
A critical analysis of these alternatives helps you form a hypothesis which I’ll discuss shortly later. Apply the business laws and regulations in these situations. Refer to this book “Crack the Case” by David Ohrvall for a better understanding of business law case interviews.
Step 4: Develop a hypothesis.
A hypothesis is a statement that lays down the fundamental assumptions and predictions for the case study. Note that the hypothesis is not a question but a statement. The entire case study then becomes a justification for this premise.
You can use a hypothesis to crack a business law case study. It is a more academic approach to derive theory from the given evidence.
The hypothesis sets the foundation for your answers. You can then move on to question, prove/disprove the premise as the solution progresses.
Step 5: Structuring your arguments
Remember your argument centres around the hypothesis. Combine the confirmed facts and your analysis to recreate the scenario. This helps fill in the gap in the case study.
Giving your arguments a structure also makes them more understandable. Start with a short introductory paragraph where you reinstate the given facts. Then you can build upon them in the main body.
The conclusion should tie the loose ends neatly, helping the reader arrive at a definitive ending. You can also compare the case with other similar scenarios to solidify your argument.
Step 6: Arriving at a solution
Solving the case study is an organic process. Half the puzzle is already solved in the case study. The other half, you can deduce from the information provided. It is a safe and straightforward way to come at a rational conclusion.
Note that the solution should not be a coloured perspective, but an objective extraction. Begin with a list of your key findings and research methodology. A good case study is compact yet contains all the details.
To solve your Business law case study
Step 7: Referencing and citations
This is the last part of the process that comes after the conclusion. It is a section where you state the resources and references used to crack the case study. Citing your sources is both ethically and legally acceptable. It protects you from plagiarism charges.
There are three main citation formats- MLA, APA and Harvard styles. I recommend APA or Harvard style referencing for scientific/analytical answers. If your case study analysis is descriptive, then MLA is more suitable. You can refer to the referencing guide at your University website for more details.
You can add annotations and footnotes to cram in additional details. This is a great way to earn some extra brownie points. Don’t forget to cite the sources for diagrams and charts used for your answers as well. Use CiteFast and other tools to get instant and accurate citations.
2} Elements of a business case study
Every business case study consists of three main elements. First is the scenario, where you find details about the case. The case can discuss issues like company contracts, partnerships, employee behaviour etc.
Most case studies deal with a particular company, employee or entrepreneur’s decision. As a student, you have to put yourself in their shoes and take proactive action to resolve the issue. This helps you understand the subject and its concepts much better than mere classroom learning.
The second part focuses on the crux of the issue. The case study usually ends with a set of questions based on the passage given. These questions are solely based on the given section. All the answers are either present in the case or can be deduced from it.
The last part is the hypothesis, where you develop a premise to predict a possible explanation of the issue. It follows a logical pattern, where you apply certain business law theories to figure a suitable solution.
3} Need for business law case study
Business law case studies are pretty relevant for students to understand how companies work. It presents a realistic scenario that you can follow, decode and understand. Any business holding must cater to specific rules and regulations under the law.
And as a student of business law, you learn about these regulations and their application in a real-life situation. This is where case studies come into the picture. It gives you an accurate account of how and where to implement these strategies.
Business case studies ground your theoretical coursework in a practical scenario. Students can understand the application and need for business laws.
4} The bottom line
Trade and commerce are integral parts of any society. And every venture or industry needs a set of standard principles. With case studies, you have an opportunity to explore the different aspects of the business from an objective perspective.
Decoding a business law case study is a step-by-step process.
Business law combines the legal and commercial aspects of an enterprise. It gives an in-depth insight into a situation.
I hope my approach would help you grasp the case and arrive at an eventual solution.
To solve your Business law case study