I don’t know if there have been many mistakes, but there have been lots of
lessons… Make sure you focus on your core business.
PRESIDENT AND CEO OF SHAW COMMUNICATIONS
Solve the problem or you don’t have a business; solve it or you don’t have a job.
PRESIDENT OF ZENECA AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
Management is an action-oriented activity. It requires doing to achieve proficiency.
Managers succeed or fail not so much because of what they know as because of what
they do. A person cannot expect to succeed as a manager and become a “professional”
simply by studying excellent books on management—no matter how thoroughly the
text material is mastered, nor how many As are earned at exam time. Just as a skater
needs to practice at being a better skater, a person who aspires to become a manager
benefits from practicing at being a manager.
PRACTICING MANAGEMENT VIA CASE
In academic programs of management education, students practice at being managers
via case analysis. A case sets forth, in a factual manner, the events and organizational
circumstances surrounding a particular managerial situation. It puts the readers at the
scene of the action and familiarizes them with the situation as it prevailed. A case can
concern a whole industry, a single organization, or even just a part of an organization;
the organization involved can be either profit seeking or not-for-profit. Cases about
business organizations usually include descriptions of the industry and its competitive
conditions, the organization’s history and development, its products and markets, the
backgrounds and personalities of the key people involved, the production facilities, the
work climate, the organizational structure, the marketing methods, and the external en-
vironment, together with whatever pertinent financial, production, accounting, sales,
and market information was available to management.
* This chapter has been adapted by the authors or incorporates material from Arthur A. Thompson and A.
Strategic Management: Concepts and Causes
(Plano, Tex.: Business Publications, 1984),
pp. 272-289. Used with permission.