Research Case Study of a Local Leadership Issue (20% or 200 points)

A research case study is one of several ways of doing research whether it is social science related or even socially related. It is an intensive study of a single group, incident, or community.


For this midterm assignment you will do the following:

  • Identify a local (e.g., city or state) problem or issue with leadership
  • Find five local newspaper articles that discuss this issue. It’s better if they explore a variety of perspectives or timelines regarding the issue.
  • Use the relational model of leadership (or a model of your choosing from the textbook) to “diagnose” the problem and offer possible solutions.



Identifying a local leadership problem

The leadership problem you identify should be at the city or state level, and could involve political leaders, social leaders, non-profit organizations, etc. The point is that you should identify the problem first, and then explore the people involved in the problem second.

Conducting research

When conducting research, you will want to rely on local newspaper articles that each provide new information about the issue so that you can get a full perspective of the problem, people involved, timeline, contributing factors, outcomes, etc. (5 references minimum MUST be cited)


Diagnosis and solution

1. Read the articles thoroughly, making notes as you go.

2. Define the central issue. Many cases will involve several issues or problems. Identify the most important problems and separate them from the more trivial issues.

3. Compare the issues against the relational model of leadership. Which of the problems can be traced back to ethics? Inclusiveness? Empowerment? Was the original intent process-oriented? What was the overall purpose? Was it achieved?

4. Identify all the relevant alternatives and select the best. The list should include all the relevant alternatives that could solve the problem(s) that were identified in step 2. Use your understanding of effective leadership practices in coming up with alternative solutions. Even when solutions are suggested in the articles, you may be able to suggest better solutions.
Some of the common errors made when completing case study assignments include:

  • not understanding and accepting the facts of the case;
  • not explaining exactly what the problems are and why they have occurred;
  • using generalities, such as “they must improve communication;”
  • not integrating the various points into a preferred solution;
  • relying too much upon your own past experience or on “common sense” instead of using the theories, research, etc that you are studying;
  • seeking ways out of the situation (such as “fire them all”) rather than trying to solve the problems;
  • suggesting theoretical solutions that ignore the practicalities of the situation. Where practical difficulties are likely to occur in implementation, you should discuss these and suggest how they could be overcome.

The Report

The report should be 2-3 pages double-spaced plus an MLA-formatted Works Cited page listing the articles you used in your research. A well-written report would contain the following elements:

1. Executive summary. This is a concisely written statement, less than a half a page, placed at the front of the report. It briefly summarizes the major points of the case and your solution. It should describe the major issue, the proposed solution, and the logic supporting the solution.
2. Problem statement. Present the central issue(s) or major problem(s) in the case here. Make sure the connections to the Relational Model of Leadership are clear. (see Course Documents)
3. Alternatives. Discuss all relevant alternatives. Briefly present the major arguments for and against each alternative. Be sure to state your assumptions and the impact of constraints on each alternative.
4. Conclusion. Present the analysis and the logic that led you to select a particular solution. Also discuss the reasons you rejected the other alternatives.
5. Implementation. Outline a plan of action that will lead to effective implementation of the decision so that the reader can see not only why you chose a particular alternative but also how it will work.

Grading Scale:

ID of problem – 20 points

Diagnosis and Solution – 60 points

Research material – 50 points (5 references minimum)

Works Cited – 10 points (5 references minimum)

Report – 60 points