As the last blog for ASCI 638, students are tasked with discussing the effectiveness of case analysis as a decision making tool. I believe case studies are applicable in a variety of settings and industries as educational tools and as aids to decision making in many but not all business or operational settings (Tellis, 1997). This is particularly true of op-immediate decisions where there is simply not the luxury of time available to conduct extensive analysis and decisions must be made based on experience, team member input, operational necessity, and the best available data at the time or any combination thereof. This applies not only to military scenarios but to civilian scenarios as well. Most everyone has experienced a situation where the boss wants something fixed, a situation handled, or change made “Now!” However for situations where time permits, and particularly wherethey may be precedence, a case analysis can provide insight that would otherwise be overlooked through other decision making processes.
As part of my career in the US Navy I was a member of what is known as a Damage Control Training Team (DCTT). A routine function of the team is to write and conduct training drills ranging from simple flood or fire scenarios to complex mass conflagration drills (USN, 1999). It is poor form and a bad training technique to simply rehash old drills so team members are routinely expected to write new drills. The fundamental process of writing a successful drill, particularly the more complex ones, starts with a case analysis of previous drills, both successful and unsuccessful. This provides an opportunity to review what desired training was accomplished or failed to be accomplished, and most importantly what knowledge and skills were gained or failed to be gained by the participants. In other words, what worked and what didn’t work. From that point new scenarios can be developed, lessons learned implemented, and new techniques developed to address shortfalls. In the future I anticipate using case study methods (time permitting) as part of a problem solving methodology particularly useful in instances where I may have no direct experience.
The case analysis assignment tool used at Embry Riddle can be improved by requiring the subject matter to be approved by faculty early in the process thus assuring the student is devoting the appropriate energy to a worthwhile research effort. This is less critical as students advance in subject matter knowledge but more relevant early in the MAS specialization process.
Tellis. W. (1997, September). Application of a case study methodology [81 paragraphs]. The Qualitative Report [On-line serial], 3(3). Retrieved from http://www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/QR3-3/tellis2.html
United States Navy (USN), (1999). Surface Force Training Manual. Retrieved from http://fas.org/man/dod-101/navy/docs/sftm/index.html