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1. Read the case rubric and there is an example below2. Read Chapters 2 and 11 in the Rothaermel text to establish an understanding of the strategy theories relevant to this mini-case.3. Read the text of the mini-case on Microsoft in the Rothaermel text.

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Mini case responses
Getting Started:
Mini-cases will allow each student to develop the thinking skills of practicing managers
who are constantly evaluating key strategic decisions in a larger global environment. As
such, the mini cases should allow each student to apply the strategic concepts and
practices in the textbook to sharpen his/her analytical and evaluative management
skills. Each mini case will require the student to focus on three basic, yet critical
1) Where is the individual(s) and/or the organization(s) at the time that the mini-case
was written?
2) Where does the individual(s) and/or the organization(s) need to go?
3) How should the individual(s) and/or the organization(s) get there?
When considering the overall theme in constructing a mini-case response, each student
should start by reading the questions associated with each mini-case in the
textbook. All mini case responses MUST, at the minimum, address each of the
questions posed. Each student must also be sure to relate the response to the weekly
chapter’s topics and/or issues in a significant way. Although it may be interesting to
know what happened to an individual and/or an organization after the fact, do NOT
include additional research and/or information in the mini-case response about what
may have transpired AFTER the mini-case was written.
A Three-Step Process:
The first part of the process in analyzing a mini case involves sifting through a mass of
information to pick out the important patterns and issues in order to investigate a
business problem. In doing this, each student will be guided partially by his/her overall
judgment about the individual(s) and/or the organization(s) mentioned in the mini
case. Each student will need to start by making an initial judgment(s) that is formed
through critical thinking and problem-solving in approaching the mini-case response as
a whole.
The second part of the process is to evaluate an individual’s or an organization’s
external and/or internal position using the data and/or the tools discussed in the
textbook. Depending on the content of the mini case, an examination of the data and/or
the tools may include: (a) external environment analyses; (b) internal analyses; (c)
past/present strategies; (d) possible strategic directions; and (e) a process to implement
how the organization(s) might go about carrying out a given strategy to maximize
performance. It is important to examine the alternative solutions, and then, assert and
defend the most effective and efficient solution using the supporting evidence that has
been uncovered.
The third part of the process is to use the seven following sections in a mini-case
response – an introduction (2A), the background (2B), the alternatives (2C) (the findings
and the results), the proposed solution (2D) (an evaluation and analysis of the results),
recommendations (2E), the conclusion (3A), and a list of references (3B). Note: These
seven section titles should be used as subheadings in the mini-case response. One by
one — make an assertion and defend it. Write an argument from a position of strength
by doing the required homework.
Ashford University Outlines The Steps In Writing A Mini-Case Response:
Ashford University suggests the following steps in outlining a mini-case response.
1. Pre-Work — Preparing the Case. Before you begin writing, follow these guidelines
to help you prepare and understand the case study:
2. Read and examine the case thoroughly.
o Take notes, highlight relevant facts, underline key problems.
3. Focus your analysis.
o Identify two to five key problems.
o Why do they exist?
o How do they impact the organization?
o Who is responsible for them?
4. Uncover possible solutions.
o Review course readings, discussions, outside research, your experience.
5. Select the best solution.
o Consider strong supporting evidence, pros, and cons: is this solution realistic?
6. Drafting the Case. Once you have gathered the necessary information, a draft of
your analysis should include these sections:
o Identify the key problems and/or issues in the case study.
o Formulate and include a thesis statement, summarizing the outcome of your
analysis in 1–2 sentences.
o Set the scene: background information, relevant facts, and the most important
o Demonstrate that you have researched the problems in this case study.
o Outline two to three possible alternatives (not necessarily all of them).
o Explain why alternatives were rejected.
o Constraints/reasons.
o Why are alternatives not possible at this time?
10. Proposed Solution.
o Provide one specific and realistic solution.
o Explain why this solution was chosen.
o Support this solution with solid evidence:
1. Concepts from class (text readings, discussions, lectures).
2. Outside research.
3. Personal experience (anecdotes).
Determine and discuss specific strategies for accomplishing the proposed
o If applicable, recommend further action to resolve some of the issues.
o What should be done and who should do it?
2. Finalizing the Case (Conclusion). After the first draft of the case study analysis is
composed, read through it to check for any gaps or inconsistencies in content or
structure: Is the thesis statement clear and direct? Is the evidence solid? Is any
component from the analysis missing When making the necessary revisions,
proofread and edit the analysis before submitting the final draft. (Refer
to Proofreading and Editing Strategies (链接到外部网站。) at the Ashford University
site as a guide at this stage.)

Draft a conclusion to wrap up the project.

Add a list of references, including the Rothaermel text and any other sources used in
the mini-case response. Be sure to use correct APA style in citing references – see
the “Tips on Writing Assignments” later in the syllabus (链接到外部网
Some Additional Questions To Consider:
Some additional questions that could help each student pull together some ideas on
mini-case topics/issues are provided. Not all of the questions will fit all of the minicases. Students are not expected to answer all of these additional questions in a minicase response. However, keep in mind that many of the questions below could require
outside research that must be documented and can then be used as a reference

What is the management structure of the organization(s)? Who are the important
players? What are their respective roles? How are specific individuals tied to the
organization’s success? What is unique about the management structure? What
are the problems in the management structure?
What are the core strengths of this organization(s)? How does the organization(s)
retain its competitiveness?
What are the organization’s sales figures? How much market-share does the
organization(s) have? What is the organization’s marketing strategy? How does the
organization(s) plan to retain customers and/or market-share? What is the plan to
gain new customers and/or market share? Who is/are the direct
competitor(s)? How much market-share is/are it/they capable of taking?
Can this organization’s products/services be easily replaced? What new
products/services does this organization(s) have or need?

What are the short-term and/or the long-term outlooks for the organization’s
industry? What barriers to entry exist in the organization’s industry? How weak or
strong are the barriers?
What can you say in terms of the organization’s financial performance? What are
the organization’s financial strengths? What are the organization’s financial
weaknesses? Whenever it relates to a mini case, students may want to conduct an
in-depth financial analysis with regards to profitability, liquidity, and growth, and
then, they may want to provide an assessment of the overall health of the
organization’s finances.
What significant Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, or Threats does this
organization(s) face? Do a SWOT. What is the organization(s) doing to capitalize
on its Strengths and/or its Opportunities? What is the organization(s) doing to
mitigate its Weaknesses and/or its Threats?
Do suppliers to this organization(s) have strong bargaining power or not? How does
this impact the organization’s success? What strategic decisions are made as the
result of its suppliers? Overall, is this an effective and efficient organization(s) in
terms of operations?
What international markets is this organization(s) in? Where is the organization(s)
succeeding? Why is the organization(s) successful? Where is the organization(s)
struggling? Why is the organization(s) struggling?
What is the organization’s stock trading at in the mini-case? What was the
high? What was the close? What was the volume? Would you buy stock in this
organization(s)? Why or why not?
Is this a socially responsible individual(s) and/or organization(s)? What examples
can a student provide that demonstrate the importance of ethics in his/her life and/or
the organizational culture?
Mini-Case Final Check:
All mini-case work responses should run in the three-to-five page range in length with
the use of at least six appropriate, academic-style references to back up the statements
made. (Please see other sections within this syllabus regarding proper use of
references.) Each student who elects not to supply references with each mini-case
work assignment will face a substantially reduced grade, usually averaging a reduction
of 25-50% of the points possible, depending on the specific mini-case response under
consideration. No student should consider him/herself to be an expert and substitute
professional/personal examples for any of the required references.
A minimum of six academic reference sources is needed for each mini-case work

A minimum of three reference materials from the current chapter of the week in the
textbook (different pages) AND/OR three references from the videos are
required. Additionally, three OTHER references are required as noted below. This
means each mini-case response will have a minimum of six reference citations.
o Three references MUST come from the current chapter of the week in the
textbook using different page numbers (citing the quote and/or page number

where you found the information). (References from the relevant course videos
may be substituted.)
The other three references (and any additional references beyond a total of six
references) can come from any source in the following list of external research
sources. Note: Use any combination of the references in the list given here for
the second set of three references and beyond.
▪ Mini-case video sources included with the current chapter of the week on
▪ Additional textbook references from other chapters.
▪ Experts in the field (cite the name of the individual and the professional
occupation or reason that this person is an expert).
▪ Other ACADEMIC journal sources on the Internet (NOT Wikipedia or E-How
or a like kind).
▪ Newspaper studies or articles from ACADEMIC places like the Wall Street
▪ Other types of library reference sources.
Notes on Copyright and Attribution:
o When quoting other publications (online or offline), be sure to link to the original
text (if possible) and use quotation marks or block quotes (for longer texts).
o When using an image from Miami University’s image pool, contact the
appropriate department and make sure that the image is licensed for online use.
o When using a photograph found on the Web, you must do one of the following:
▪ Get permission from the original copyright holder (which may not always be
same as the site displaying the image).
▪ Document receipt of permission.
▪ Use an image with a creative commons license and include the appropriate
▪ Make sure images are properly credited, citing the source and
photographer’s name.
To recap, in CMR 495, each student will have the opportunity to carefully examine five
mini cases. In a three-to-five page mini-case response, he/she must demonstrate the
use of appropriate analytical techniques, sound logic, and well-supported arguments in
evaluating the individual’s and/or the organization’s present condition and/or future
prospects. Mini-case responses will be completed across the entire duration of the
course. Working ahead to complete the five mini-cases is permitted.
Point Distribution:
The mini-case responses are worth a maximum of 450 points each for a total maximum
number of 2,250 points.
Mini-case responses will lose points if:

The writing is top of mind, babbled, jumbled, and/or disorganized.

The writing is not on topic – meaning that the writing is not about the focus of the
They are too short or too long (the ideal range is between approximately three
pages to no more than five pages). However, going over five pages is fine if needed
to complete the argument contained in the mini-case response.
There are weak or non-academic references, less than six total references, and/or
no references.
There are problems in grammar and/or spelling.
What to Turn In:
Keep in mind that each student may need this material for a student work
portfolio. He/She may want to take it in as a sample of his/her work to show a potential
employer. At some point in time, each student may want to send the mini-case
responses to a graduate school committee as part of the application when applying for
advanced educational programs in law or for a MBA or other advanced graduate
Think about what the content of the mini-case responses and the writing style say about
the writer. Can he/she present his/her mini-case responses in an efficient and effective
manner where the arguments are supported with theoretical academic evidence and/or
examples? Is the writing neat or sloppy? Again, getting that next job or school or life
opportunity means showing people one’s ability to “fit” in a variety of situations. Each
student should leave no doubt to the reader that there is only one person – him or her -who is the “Number One” choice.
If desired, each student may submit draft copies of any mini-case responses to the
instructor for feedback at Feedback will be returned promptly so
that each student may revise his/her work prior to submitting final copies. The early
feedback by the instructor is not intended to be critical and it is only given to improve the
quantity/quality of the student’s written materials. Please indicate “DRAFT” either on
the document or in the e-mail sent to the instructor if seeking feedback. Drafts for
feedback must be e-mailed to the instructor at least 48 hours before the assignment is
Responses for the mini-cases are to be completed and turned in according to the
Course Calendar and the due dates listed for the mini case responses. All mini-case
responses are to be uploaded to Canvas at the links provided for these assignments, no
later than 11:59 P.M. (MIDNIGHT) on Sundays according to the Course Calendar each
week. Refer to the Course Calendar for time and date guidelines. Note that the fifth
mini case assignment will be given during final exams week.
Where Most Errors Occur
Most students do a very good job of summarizing what is already known about the
situation described in the mini-case. The next section of the essay is concerned with
alternative solutions to the issues raised and this is often more difficult for students to
grasp. It is essential to list multiple alternative solutions and to briefly explain how each
may play out if implemented. Listing only one alternative or skipping this portion of the
essay entirely will result in a large loss of points. Other errors include not describing the
chosen solution in enough detail (be sure to include not only the solution, but specific
recommendations on how to make it work) and a lack of literature-based references to
back up the comments made in the essay.
Mini-Case Response Example:
Mini-Case Response – Mini-Case #18
This mini-case response is concerned with Mini-Case #18: “Standards Battle: Which
Automotive Technology Will Win?” as described on page 478 in the Rothaermel 3e
text. The relevant text chapter is Chapter 7. The material presented within the minicase briefly describes efforts by several major automobile manufacturers and newerentry manufacturers to address the issue of replacing the internal combustion engine as
a primary source of power for personal automobiles. The mini-case explains that there
is currently no consensus among the manufacturers regarding how to proceed and that
the pathway forward is not necessarily clear-cut.
Key problems/issues identifiable within the mini-case include:

Is the impending demise of the internal combustion engine a foregone conclusion
and, thus, the alternative power projects by the manufacturers a necessity or is this
work more exploratory in nature?
Assuming that the internal combustion engine does have only a short remaining
lifespan, is there a solid understanding of what criteria any new power source would
need to meet?
Is it possible to determine which company and/or technology is likely to be
successful, under this scenario – or is too little known at present?
Thesis statement: Based on an analysis of the available mini-case materials and the
relevant literature, it is likely that routine alternatives to the internal combustion engine
will be needed within a relatively short timeframe. It is equally likely that multiple
alternatives will be under exploration and offer legitimate benefits for consumers in the
future with a lengthy period of technology optimization involved before a clear “winner”
To help place this mini-case into perspective, it is useful to step back briefly from the
materials presented to examine the factors that have caused the automobile industry to
reach the crossroads described in the scenario in the text.
The internal combustion engine has been the “gold standard” for self-propelled vehicles
for more than 100 years. Automobile manufacturers have consistently improved their
offerings, resulting in higher levels of power, greater reliability, and length of service;
and also, greater efficiency with less environmental pollution. These efforts have
effectively extended the lifespan of the internal combustion engine beyond what might
have been predictable 30-40 years ago, but they have not permanently addressed three
issues that continue to signal an impending need for change.
First, using an internal combustion engine requires the simultaneous use of
complementary products such as oil and gasoline or diesel. These fossil fuels are in
diminishing supply, are subject to political and geographic constraints, and have a price
structure that is both unpredictable and generally upward trending. The supply is not
limitless, even if there is no widespread concern of running out within a few years.
Second, environmental factors are continuously increasing in importance with the
pollution of even the cleanest burning internal combustion engine a subject of great
concern worldwide. Global warming is perhaps the most visible symptom of this issue
now that pollution controls have largely decreased visible smog in many heavily
populated areas. This situation places extra pressure on the internal combustion
engine as an out-of-date propulsion system.
Third, alternative propulsion systems are rapidly gaining ground in terms of the
underlying technology, reliability, price of entry, and availability. There is a great deal of
money to be made in reducing these new technologies to practice and even more
money to be …
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