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ENGL 272 - Business Writing

Use a Variety of Sources for Business Research

Your case analysis will be stronger when you incorporate lots of different sources. Each type has its own strengths and weaknesses. Watch this video to get a feel for what types of sources will help you.


Case Analysis Assignment - Fall 2020

Assignment Purpose:  Writing a Case Analysis is one of the cornerstones of the professional writing and research world.  You’ll build your knowledge of a business, will research the specifics of a particular incident within that business, and you’ll form an understanding of the way that company responded to the situation.  This research and writing helps solidify your understanding not only of business writing—including the skills of research, summary, paraphrase, synthesis, and citation that we practiced last week—but it also enhances your analytical ability to understand the challenging nature of the business world itself.

Step 1:  Research.  Using the Molstead Library Business Databases, select a controversy from the business world and conduct research on how the company handled that controversy. Locate, download/print, and take notes on 5 different articles related to this event. You can select any controversy that interests you:  a particular company’s botched response to the coronavirus pandemic?  Starbucks and its company rule on protest attire? Amazon’s worker protections against Covid-19 at their fulfillment centers? Commercials that were released and instantly found offensive (the Peloton advertisement from late 2019, for instance?) 

Step 2: Summary (2 pages)

  • INCIDENT SUMMARY.  What is the essence of what happened?  Give the who, what, when, where, and why.  Describe the controversial incident itself, citing your specific research, and using MLA format.  

Step 3:  Synthesis. (3 pages).  Write up a clear and concise synthesis of this business controversy, selecting details from the 5 articles you researched to address these headings in your synthesis:

  • INCIDENT RESPONSE. Describe the business’ response to the incident. Were there different strategies employed early and later in the crisis, for instance?  Or did the company handle the incident the same way throughout?  Provide brief quotes from relevant research, citing them in MLA style.
  • EMPLOYEE REACTIONS. What was the employee response? Were employees at the business happy with the response to the crisis?  Were they dissatisfied?  Did that reaction cause any changes in the business’ handling of the incident?
  • PUBLIC RESPONSE. What was the public response? If relevant to your case, what was the public’s reaction to the business’ handling of this incident?  Did public outcry change any company policy or behavior (or perhaps it was public outcry that led to the controversy itself?)

Step 4:  Final Analysis.  (1 page).

  • WHY DID THIS HAPPEN?  Now, take a step back and analyze this incident. Consider the questions below as you write your final analysis: What was surprising to you about it?  Troubling? Was the controversy a matter of poor judgement, bad timing, or changing demographics/cultural expectations of the marketplace?
  • TAKEAWAYS.  What are the key takeaways (apologies for this business-world jargon) from your research on the business’ handling of this crisis? What, in other words, could a future professional/business owner/employee/employer learn from this event?

Format, Length, and Research Requirements:

  1.   Give your Case Analysis a clear title, indicating the subject of your writing.  Often, a main title and a subtitle work effectively in these formal case studies, something like:  Starbucks in the Pandemic:  Corporate Battles with Contactless Ordering
  2. Your Case Analysis should be formatted with clear headings for each section and subsection (Summary, Synthesis, Analysis, etc.)
  3. Citation: You must cite, in MLA format, five Molstead Library sources that you accessed through the Business Databases.  You can use additional internet research, if you’d like.
  4. Length: This document should be 6 double-spaced pages total.  (2 pages for the summary, 3 pages for the synthesis, 1 page for the final analysis.)
  5. Works Cited page:  You should cite all of the sources you used at the end of the document on your Works Cited page.