When it is deemed desirable to learn from the experience of others, researchers often resort to the case study. In this comprehensive description and analysis of one or a few situations that are similar to the one being studied, the emphasis is on an entire organization with great attention paid to detail in order to understand and document the relationships among circumstances, events, individuals, processes, and decisions made.
In order to obtain the information required, it is usually necessary to conduct a depth interview with key individuals in the organization as well as consulting internal documents and records or searching press reports. Observation of actual meetings, sales calls or trips, negotiations, etc. can also prove insightful, since "actions speak louder than words", even when it comes to understanding how decisions are made in an organization or why some organizations are more successful than others.
However, caution must be exercised in transferring lessons to other situations: there is no "formula" that can be applied, but rather a context that must be understood and interaction among individuals that must be appreciated. Individual personalities, their vision and drive contribute as much if not more to the success of an organization than processes.
Related Readings (link to Library. Kumar, V., Aaker, D.A. & Day, G.S. (1999). Essentials of Marketing Research. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.)