Objective 4.2 Explain how a case study could be used to investigate a problem in an organization or group
Understanding problems in groups • One of the best ways to understand groups, in general, is to understand one group, in depth. • The case-study approach has a long and respected tradition in all the sciences, with some of the greatest advances in thinking coming from case studies rather than from experiments or survey studies. • The field of group dynamics, in particular, is checkered with case studies that have transformed the field: the case analyses conducted at the Hawthorne Plant of the Western Electric Company
Understanding problems in groups • By examining a group during its actual activities, you gain understanding of such groups in general. Provide examples to support this statement. • Detailed case studies on groups, in some cases, are higher in external validity, and they can also be the vessel for more advanced theoretical analysis.
Understanding problems in groups • Indeed, extending David B. Miller's comments about naturalistic observation to case studies of groups. we find that case studies are useful because: • They allow us to study groups, for their own sake • They serve as a "starting point for investigating certain behavioral phenomena and subsequently serve as a point of departure from which to develop a program of laboratory research"
Understanding problems in groups • They can serve to validate findings obtained in quantitative data (such as questionnaires and closed-ended interviews) • They provide us with a larger context for understanding groups as they form, develop, and disband in their natural settings;
Investigating problems in groups • Case studies can deal with either single or multiple cases. There are two types of single case study that are helpful for investigating problems within a group: the intrinsic and the instrumental • The intrinsic case study is done to learn about a unique phenomenon which the study focuses on. • Specifically, intrinsic case studies can look at unique problems within a group. Examples should be used • The researcher needs to be able to define the uniqueness of this phenomenon which distinguishes it from all others; possibly based on a collection of features or the sequence of events. Intrinsic case studies are not looking to generalize, they are looking to describe.
Investigating problems in groups • The instrumental case study is done to provide a general understanding of a phenomenon/problem using a particular case. • The case chosen can be a typical case although an unusual case may help illustrate matters overlooked in a typical case because they are atypical.
Understanding problems in groups • Indeed, extending David B. Miller's comments about naturalistic observation to case studies of groups (1977, American Psychologist, Vol. 32, pp. 211-220), we find that case studies are useful because: • They allow us to study groups, for their own sake • They serve as a "starting point for investigating certain behavioral phenomena and subsequently serve as a point of departure from which to develop a program of laboratory research" (Miller, p. 213);
How a case study would help to study this problem. • The case study approach is an ideal strategy to investigation a situation like this • It provides an opportunity to combine different data collection methods. • The method can bring out important data from the viewpoint of the participants, using a multiple sources of data. • Provides the basis for a more in-depth and holistic analysis