Business Oriented Case Study For Group Discussion Questions


Number of participants: 5

Time: 20 Mins

Rahul Reddy Started:

Good Morning everyone, it is my pleasure to be seated with you all for this exciting discussion. Let's fully participate in this and try to come up with a concrete end remark.

I think, it is not justified to think cricket as a national obsession. It is the one game through which we Indians are able to hold our heads high. We won two world cups and have been on top in tests for two odd years. Whatever it has brought is quite appreciable. In other sports as well, like Abhinav bindra winning gold medal in Olympics, Indian hockey team winning 8 gold medals in past, etc are also highly appreciated. But it is also a fact that it happened when TV's and internet are on full bloom. But, in 1983, when India won the world cup, the TV's were just becoming popular. Still, cricket fever was high on everyone's head. That made it more popular than any other sport. Every Indian wants to play cricket in streets. It is in Indian blood and no media is required for cricket. Cricket is, and will be the most popular sport in India although I hope other sports also will do well.

Smriti Nigam said:

Hello everyone, I do agree with my friend here.

Even I don't think that cricket have hurt any other sports. If cricket is more interesting, full of excitement, inculcating a nation patriotism feeling, then it is not the "SPORT'S" fault. I think it is just because cricket has a very interesting format and that is why it has become so popular and loved by all. It is followed as a religion and the cricketers are worshiped as God in our country. But also, the fame that cricket has given to India, cannot be ignored. As far as other sports are concerned, they have not lost their importance. Whether it is tennis, badminton or hockey they are still very popular. But yes, it is a fact that cricket is more popular and followed by more people.

Himanshu said:

Good Morning friends,
I don't think cricket as a national obsession is a deterrent to other sports. Cricket has got popularity because of the legends cricket has given to us like sunil gavaskar, kapil dev, sachin tendulkar, etc. Just because of the achievement that these peoples have made in the game of cricket, it is appreciated so much in India. Recently, if we take an example, when Rajyawardhan Singh Rathore won silver in Olympics, just after that we won lots of medals in shooting. So, if we want others game to be equally appreciated, then we need some great legends in other games too. And I believe that if other sports will also produce great players then definitely they will get as much appreciation as cricket in this country.

Mayank Aggarwal said:

Hello Friends,
As the topic suggests, that cricket is detriment to other sports, I quite agree with it. It is because:

  • Cricket game is promoted by the way of advertisement.
  • Cricket sport stars are being seen in most of the advertisements related to cricket or promotion of any other product from honey to alcohol and potato chips to insurance.
  • One of the main reasons for the game of cricket being preferred is when there is a match between India and Pakistan. And the way it is advertised on the news make cricket not only detriment to other sports but to national peace.
  • In newspapers, most of the sports page is filled with cricket news, wherever it is held.

So, along with cricket, the Indian media too, is playing the role of detriment to other sports of India.
Media has the highest power today in our country. If it wishes, it can change the shape of sports too.

Abin Thomas said:

Hello everyone,
I don't, at all, think that cricket is a detriment to other sports. But, it is the Indian people's supportive spirit towards cricket is what is destructing other sports. Most people do not even know that India has teams in Hockey, Rugby, Soccer, Basketball, etc. It feels mortified extremely, to know that a huge nation like India does not support its athletes. I hope that we will recognize our athletes of all games and supports them in their respective sports.

Rahul Reddy said:

As I said earlier, according to me cricket is not at all detrimental to any other sports, it is suppressed by ourselves, we-the people are totally responsible for that. Well, I think that there is no comparison between 2 sports. Each has its own existence, so how can cricket suppress the other sports? It is just the matter of fact that Indian people are crazy about the cricket. So, the comparison lies not in sports but in our thinking only. Few days ago, the Economic Times conducted a survey to find out who inspires the people in the field of sports and the results announced that almost -

43% people inspires with S R Tendulkar
35% people inspires with M S Dhoni
11% people inspires with S. Nehwal
04% people inspires with Vijendra Singh
04% people inspires with A. Bindra

This survey observed that a total of 78% people inspired by the cricketers, that shows the craziness of the people towards cricket.

Mayank Aggarwal said:

Well, I personally feel that obsession with cricket is a detriment to other sports. It is all because of the way it is promoted. It is just like in the case of a movie, if a movie is hyped about, all of us go to watch it. But on the same time some epic movie just gets neglected because of poor advertisement. Also, it is not the case that there is less talent in other sports. If other sports are unable to match up to the expectations, it is only because of improper training due to lack of finances.

Smriti Nigam said:

Well friends, although I like and support cricket a lot, I fell that, unintentionally only but cricket has come to a point from where it has become detrimental to other sports. You can see among yourself only, tha how many of us watches other sports played by Indian sportsmen. Of course, a handful! Why is it so? One definite reason could be the hype that cricket gets through the media. People not only watch the match with shear attention but also the pre-and post-match shows. Other main reason is the investment of money either by the Government and/or, now as we can see, by the business individuals which lures young minds to have a great profession in cricket. Lastly, I would say that the Government should definitely see to this and take necessary measures to allow other sports perpetuate.

Abin Thomas Concluded:

Now, if we conclude our discussion I would like to highlight the main points that were discussed.

First: Majority of us agreed that the Game of Cricket, in itself, is not spoiling other streams of sports but it's the audience that goes crazy for its favorite sport.

Second: Media should give as much exposure to other sports as much it does to cricket.

Third: Government and Corporate people need to fund other sports as well so that they could get better training and bring home as much popularity as cricket does.

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How to approach a case study based Group Discussion

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

The process of a case-study group discussion is almost similar to that of a topical discussion in that there is a preparation time of about 5 minutes, the panel starts the discussion and observes the discussion without moderating it, and the group is at complete liberty to understand, analyse, and interpret the case as it deems appropriate in order to make a recommendation.
There are however 2 key differences.
The first is that instead of an opinion-oriented or a descriptive topic, the participants are given a case statement, which they must read so as to prepare within the given prep time a basic response, which allows them to give their perspective on the problem at hand.
The second, and more important, difference is that unlike the conclusion of a topical GD – in which the panel does not expect a particular outcome – the ideal conclusion of a case-study discussion already exists in the minds of the panellists. They expect you to arrive at it, or at least near it.
Therefore, a topical GD is similar to a ‘free-response’ question, whereas a case-study GD is similar to an ‘objective’ question.
The cases invariably feature a business problem, but often have a social, a personal, or even a political dimension(s) that must be taken into account while solving the problem, and part of the evaluation involves testing the participants’ ability to understand the problem in all its complexities.
Case studies are usually of two types: Those in which the group must make a decision, and those in which a decision has already been made and the group must discuss and determine whether the decision is ‘right’. The former is the norm and the latter, an exception. The former, in my opinion, is much easier than the latter because it is always easier devise a solution of your own than to evaluate that of someone else, who applied their own evaluation criteria which you must first infer and compare with your own. Luckily, only in the rarest of cases do we get to see the latter type.

The Six Steps of Approaching a Case-study based Group Discussion

A participant must approach the case by NOT beginning their thought process by impulsively thinking of what solution would best answer the question that follows the case, for we cannot solve a problem that we do not fully understand. Rather, I recommend the following steps:
Step1: Situational analysis
Step 2: Problem definition
Step 3: Statement of objectives
Step 4: Evaluation of alternatives
Step 5: Recommendation
Step 6: Plan B, if any
Let us understand these steps by examining a famous caselet that I have often referred to in my sessions.
“A software engineer is hired as a trainee by a company that specialises in hardware. As the end of his mandatory training period approaches, his job performance is found below par, and he is informed that he must leave the company at the end of his training period. His immediate superior, out of kindness, writes him a recommendation letter, which may help him in getting the next job. However, this engineer uses the letter to take the company to court and challenges his dismissal.
How should the company resolve this situation?”
I recommend that before you read further, try to answer this question in your own way, and then compare your thought process with what follows.

You can also see Group Discussion – Definition, Tips, and other rules to follow

Step 1: Situation Analysis

Some case studies are as short the one above, or they could have a long case statement that runs beyond 20 to 25 lines. With case studies, it is usually easier to deal with the longer ones than the shorter ones, as the shorter the statement the lesser the data, and the more the number of assumptions we need to make in order to proceed towards a solution.
Please remember that in a case study you – both the individuals and the group – must solve the problem from the perspective of the entity in the question at the end of the case statement – in the above case you are ‘the company’. Nobody is allowed to role-play in such discussions. However, you should certainly examine how the given situation affects all the concerned parties.
Situation analysis, contrary to what usually happens, should not begin by a word-by-word repetition of the case, as every participant is familiar with the case details. If the first person to speak in the discussion does this, he or she will be quickly silenced by someone louder who wants enter the discussion, even if the latter has very little to contribute.
Instead begin analysing the situation by asking the questions about what we do not know about the situation, and what assumptions we need to make in order to solve the problem.
For example, is this recommendation letter personal (made on the basis of a personal relationship) or professional? Has it been issued on the company letterhead? The facts definitely point in that direction.
Therefore, the assumption we need to make is that this is a professional recommendation, and hence potentially damaging to the company.
Was the superior aware of the potential consequences of his action?
We cannot necessarily assume that he was, as he may not have received appropriate training. Would that mean that he is not responsible? Certainly not.
Why was a software professional hired in hardware company?
We cannot necessarily assume that there was a need or a perceived future need of a hardware professional at the time of his appointment. His appointment may have been a result of factors other than his qualifications or the company’s requirement, factors such as nepotism.
Who are the parties directly involved in this problem? The employee, the superior, the company management, the court.
Who are the parties indirectly involved in this problem? The rest of the company staff, the shareholders of the company, and the general public. The potential court case and its proceedings will eventually affect the first two, and the third’s perception of the company may also be affected by a potentially lengthy and publicised court case.
Observe what we are doing here. We are not trying to hijack the discussion by the usual “I think the company should…” kind of beginning. We are trying to understand the situation better. Unless this is done, we cannot go to step 2.

Step 2: Problem definition

This is the most important stage of the discussion. If the situation has been analysed properly, we can not only see all the inherent problems but also determine the order of priority in which they must dealt with.
Problem 1: What to do with the court case? We cannot merely wish it away. This is priority number 1 because it involves a factor superior to us and hence one we do not control: The court.
Problem 2: What do to with the superior? His error in judgement – it could very well be deliberate – has brought the company into trouble.
Problem 3: How to ensure that such an incident is not repeated in the future? This re-examining two processes: recruitment, and recommendation.
It important to agree on the order of priority so as to ensure that all participants are on the same page, and the limited time is most effectively utilised.

Step 3: Statement of objectives

What do we hope to achieve out of a range of solutions we are going to discuss? Where will we absolutely not compromise, and where we might? This must also be determined in the order of priority.
Objective 1: Whether the case proceeds in the court or not, we are not going to retain the candidate in our employment. Any solution we agree on must achieve this.
Objective 2: Whether the case proceeds in the court or not, we must minimise the damage that may be caused to the company’s reputation both within and outside the company. The achievement of this objective is conditional on the fulfilment of objective 1, e.g. if we retain him in our employment, all problems will be over in a minute, but that is not in the best interests of the company or the employee.
Objective 3: We must take appropriate steps to ensure that such an incident is never repeated.

Step 4: Evaluation of Alternatives

You must have realised by now that discussing a course of action is not really possible without a proper discussion on step 2 and 3. You are always going to solve only those problems that you have identified, and only up to an extent determined by the objectives you have set out for yourselves.
Most participants will have their own perspectives on the case in Step 1. However, from step 2 onwards, there needs to be a clear agreement among the group members. The ‘leader’ of the group must achieve this, and ensure that the discussion does not start at step 4.
If the discussion starts directly at step 4, it cannot end in anything but chaos. Any course of action must always be weighed against the objectives in the given order of priority.
I am not going to suggest any alternatives for the above case! I leave that to you.

Step 5: Recommendation

Upon discussing alternatives, the group may make a unanimous recommendation, or the opinion may be divided. In case of such division, a majority recommendation is made to the panel. The group is under no obligation to come to a consensus. The panel is primarily interested in how logical the participants are in their execution of Steps 1, 2, and 3. First I need to see if you can understand the problem. Solving it comparatively easier (if you have identified it correctly).

Step 6: Plan B

Actually, it is plan B, C, D, E, F and so on.
What I mean is the panel does not expect a one-size-fits-all kind of solution. The panel expect you to identify all possible scenarios in which the case may end, and have a plan of action for each. Therefore, a case-study should ideally end like this: If A happens, we will do X; if B happens, we will do Y, and so on till you have identified all that can possibly happen.
In order to successfully solve the case, all 6 steps must be rigorously followed. It is a completely logical process. Take one step out of it, and the discussion will collapse like a computer programme without one crucial digit.

You can also see Group Discussion Tips – How to approach a topical Group Discussion

In Summary

Do not deviate from the 6-step process.
If the rest of participants deviate, it is wiser for an individual to keep trying to bring them back to the process than to deviate with them. The panel will notice that you tried to approach the task methodically, and did not abandon logic in the midst of chaos. That is a BIG positive.
The case can be solved only if the entire (or at least the majority of) the group works together. Work in the spirit of the team, but do not forget that the team spirit does not mean that you blindly follow the majority of the team.
You must have realised that to understand a problem in all its complexities, you must be able to observe it from the points of view of all the concerned parties. In order to be able to do this – both now and in future – cultivate empathy within yourself. Develop a habit of putting yourself in the shoes of others and feel what they feel.
Nobody said it more eloquently than Aristotle: “To perceive is to suffer.”

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How to approach a case study based Group Discussion

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