The Art and Craft of Case Writing (3rd ed)

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The Art and Craft of Case Writing (3rd ed)

The Art & Craft of Case Writing The Art & Craft of Case Writing THIRD EDItION William Naumes and Margaret J. Naumes

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The Art & Craft of Case Writing

The Art & Craft of Case Writing THIRD EDItION

William Naumes and Margaret J. Naumes

M.E.Sharpe Armonk, New York London, England

Copyright © 2012 by M.E. Sharpe, Inc.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., 80 Business Park Drive, Armonk, New York 10504.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Naumes, William. The art & craft of case writing / by William Naumes and Margaret J. Naumes. — 3rd ed. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-7656-2776-6 (hardcover : alk. paper) 1. Case method. 2. Textbooks—Authorship. I. Naumes, Margaret J. II. Title. III. Title: Art and craft of case writing. LB1029.C37N38 2012 371.39—dc22


Printed in the United States of America The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of American National Standard for Information Sciences Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z 39.48-1984. ~ IBT (c)╇╇ 10╇╇╇╇ 9╇╇╇╇ 8╇╇╇╇ 7╇╇╇╇ 6╇╇╇╇ 5╇╇╇╇ 4╇╇╇╇ 3╇╇╇╇ 2╇╇╇╇ 1

Contents Preface


Prologue: The Power of Storytelling Message Details Style Cases

xv xvi xviii xx xxi

Chapter 1. What Is a Case and Why Write One? Definition of a Case How Students Learn Case Types A Real Situation Facts, Not Opinion Research as Anthropology Reasons for Writing a Case Gap Analysis Serendipity Writing to Learn Summary and Conclusions

3 4 5 8 10 11 12 13 13 15 15 16

Chapter 2. Objectives—Key to the Case What Skills/Theories Do You Want to Develop? Marzano—The Thinking Process Bloom’s Taxonomies Fink’s Taxonomy of Significant Learning Case Characteristics and Educational Objectives Educational Objective Data Dimensions, Analytical Methods, and Value â•… Dimensions

18 19 19 21 23 25 26




Types of Cases Descriptive Cases and Other Story Problems Evaluative Cases Decision-Focus Cases Critical Incidents Research Cases A Practice Session Summary and Conclusions

30 30 31 32 35 36 38 39

Chapter 3. Finding a Case Site and Gathering Data Identifying Potential Case Sites Students as Resources Family and Friends as Resources Alumni as Resources Consortia and Research Groups Published Sources Consulting Contacts The Field Research Process Making Contact Gaining Access Releases and Promises Case Disguises Gathering Data Preliminary Preparation The Interviewing Process Triangulating Authorization for Release Library Cases In Conclusion

41 41 42 44 45 46 46 48 49 49 52 53 57 59 59 60 62 63 64 67

Chapter 4. Research Cases Background Advantages and Disadvantages of Case Research Methodology Institutional Review Boards Uses Hypothesis Development Hypothesis Testing

69 69 72 73 76 79 80 81



Preparation Presentation Style A Research Case Example Case Research to Case Teaching: The â•… Unbroken Circle The “Business Case” Summary and Conclusions

82 85 87 89 91 91

Chapter 5. The Instructor’s Manual, Part 1 The Importance of an Instructor’s Manual Who Should Write the Case Note? A Quick Outline of a Typical Instructor’s Manual Case Summary Objectives of the Case Basic Pedagogy Key Issues of the Case—“Student Take-Aways” Relevant Theory Questions for Student Preparation and Discussion Methodology The Practice Session Summary and Conclusions

94 94 97 98 100 101 103 105 107 108 112 113 116

Chapter 6. Organizing the Case Length and Straightforwardness Selection of Facts Appropriate Length “Red Herrings” and Extra Information Missing Information Students as Case Writers The “Hook” To Direct the Student or Not? Alternative Beginnings Case Organization Appropriate Style Point of View Ending the Case

117 117 117 120 121 123 125 126 126 127 129 129 131 132



Tone and Tense Objectivity Inserting References Past Tense The Practice Session Summary and Conclusions

133 133 135 135 136 139

Chapter 7. Testing and Refining the Teaching Case Releases Developing a Preliminary Teaching Plan Testing Your Case in Class What to Tell the Class The Mechanics of Class Testing What You Learned from Class Testing Evaluating the Educational Objectives Double-Check for Data Getting a Second Opinion (and a Third . . . ) Other Readers, Other Case Writers Reviewers Other Teachers Workshops and Other Collaborative Formats The Speed to Market Trade-off Revising and Updating Cases The Practice Session Summary and Conclusions

142 143 144 145 145 147 149 154 156 156 157 159 160 162 166 166 168 171

Chapter 8. The Instructor’s Manual, Part 2 Refining the Discussion Questions Answers: Sample or Suggested Responses Refining the Learning Objectives and Key Issues What You’ve Learned from Class Testing The A Student/C Student Split Timing Board Layout Other Uses Teaching Techniques Double Checks for the Case’s Completeness

172 172 175 180 183 184 185 185 187 188 190



The Role of Opinion Exhibits for Instructor’s Use Supplemental Exhibits Data Workouts Bibliography, Recommended Readings, Other Resources The Epilogue The Practice Session Summary and Conclusions

191 192 192 194 195 199 200 203

Chapter 9. Notes, Case Series, and Other Supplements When a Case Note Makes Sense Technical and Other Notes Cultural and National Notes Sources of Information for Notes Does the Note Need an Instructor’s Manual? When It Makes Sense to Divide a Case (Create a Series) Time Series Cases Multiple Approach Case Series The Practice Session Summary and Conclusions

205 206 209 210 213 215 216 216 220 222 224

Chapter 10. Alternative Case Formats: Video, Multimedia, and Live Case Studies Choice of Technology Video Supplements Video Cases Benefits of Video Cases Problems of Video Cases Multimedia Cases Benefits of Multimedia Cases Problems of Multimedia Cases Development of Internet Cases Case Documents Internet Access Live Cases Summary and Conclusions

226 227 227 228 228 231 232 232 235 236 238 240 241 242



Appendix Appendix Appendix Appendix

I. Case Example—First Draft II. Instructor’s Manual—First Draft III. Case Example—Published Version IV. Instructor’s Manual—Final Version

References For Further Reading About the Authors Index

245 247 251 261 279 285 299 301



The third edition of The Art and Craft of Case Writing, like its predecessors, is intended for case writers, present and future, in a variety of disciplines. Its purpose is to help you develop effective cases, particularly those intended for teaching. If you have never written a case before, we will help you take an idea and develop it into a document that you can use in class. If you have written only a few cases, this book can help you refine your cases, create the accompanying instructor’s manuals, share them with others, and perhaps even publish them. This edition aims to keep cases and case-based learning relevant as our students become more and more accustomed to a digital world. Even an experienced case writer may find some ideas of value, just as we continue to learn from other participants every time we attend a case-writing workshop. Let us introduce ourselves. Bill Naumes has been writing cases for virtually his entire career. Trained in strategic management at Stanford, he has taught with cases for more than thirty years. His case-writing skills were developed with the assistance of the Intercollegiate Case Clearing House (ICCH) Case Workshops. Bill’s cases have been published in a number of texts including five of his own. They have also been published in refereed journals. He is co-author of a case that won the prestigious Curtis E. Tate Jr. Case Writing award in 1990, as well as the Emerson Award for the Outstanding Case in Business Ethics in 2003 and the North American Case Research Association (NACRA)’s Gold Award in 2004. He was editor of the Case Research Journal and is a past president of the North American Case Research Association. Bill is a Fellow of both xi


NACRA and the CASE Association. He has lost count of exactly how many cases he has written. Peggy Naumes learned to write cases by helping Bill with the instructor’s manuals for his textbooks, starting with the case summary and working up to the questions, “suggested responses,” and finally cases themselves. Originally an economist trained at Stanford, Peggy enjoyed the real-world stories that cases tell, and has used the case method of teaching extensively in a variety of management courses. Some of her favorite case ideas have been suggested by class projects in which her students have researched and written cases for their classes. Cases co-authored by Peggy have won the Curtis E. Tate Award (in 2002), and the Emerson and Gold Awards (in 2003 and 2004). Her term as editor of The CASE Journal gave her a new appreciation for all aspects of the case-writing process. Collectively, we have written a wide variety of cases. Many have been lengthy and complex, to help students develop their decision-making skills in courses in strategic management and entrepreneurship. Others have been short end-of-chapter cases, only a page or so, which are intended for students to use to apply concepts from the material that they have just read. Many cases have been field researched, through extensive interviews and onsite visits. Others, particularly those focused on ethical questions, have been “library cases” written from published sources. We have learned that different purposes require different styles of cases. We’ve practiced these skills at workshops at regional and national professional meetings throughout the United States and Europe. We’ve taught and worked with faculty in Europe and Asia, as well as the United States. We continue to mentor and coauthor with faculty, at our own institution and elsewhere. This book grows out of our experiences in case writing and case teaching, our casewriting seminars and mentoring, and the many questions that we have been asked over the years. The outline of this book leads you through the process of writing a case in a series of stages. The first two chapters ask you to explore your reasons for wanting to write a case, and help you decide what type of case to write. The next step is to gather your information, and Chapter 3 offers advice on making contacts, xii


obtaining releases, and finding additional sources for data. Chapter 4 discusses cases that are written primarily for research; their style and format, and even the types of information they require is quite different from a teaching case. The remainder of the book focuses on cases that are designed for teaching. Although many beginning authors write the case first and then an Instructor’s Manual to go with it, we believe that case writing is an iterative process in which the Instructor’s Manual and the case are written together. In order to begin writing, the case author must have already determined his or her reasons for creating a case; these objectives, key issues, and basic pedagogy that form the first part of the Instructor’s Manual are covered in Chapter 5. The author must then organize a multitude of data into a coherent, readable case, the subject of Chapter 6. Once drafted, the case should be class tested and refined, as described in Chapter 7. The Instructor’s Manual can then be expanded to include specific information for other users, based on the input from actually teaching the case, and expanded to include materials that will make the case more “user-friendly” (Chapter 8) and potentially publishable. Chapter 9 covers notes, case series, and other supplemental materials that can create a more in-depth learning environment. Finally, Chapter 10 describes alternative formats for cases, including live cases as well as those formatted for video, multimedia, and the Internet. Throughout the book, we have provided extensive examples and stories of our case-writing experiences as well as examples and aspects of case writing from many nonbusiness disciplines, including education, political science, chemistry, medicine, and health administration. We have emphasized the development of students’ learning skills, an aspect in which cases provide significant pedagogical value. We have also provided a complete example: the first draft of a case and its Instructor’s Manual, found in Appendixes I and II. We will end many of the chapters with an analysis of these drafts, including an evaluation based on the ideas in that chapter, and what the drafts need for improvement. We hope that you will use the chapters and the outlines and checklists that are included as exhibits to chapters 5, 7, and 8 to evaluate the drafts and refine your diagnostic skills. The final published version xiii


of the case and an updated version of its Instructor’s Manual are included as Appendixes III and IV. A number of people have contributed to this book in a variety of ways. We offer heartfelt thanks to our editor, Harry Briggs, who believed in and pushed for this project. Thank you to the editorial and production staff of M.E. Sharpe. Thanks also to Janice Nath, Gina Vega, Laurent Lapierre, Anne Lawrence, Marie Rock, Carol Cumber, Hans Klein, Lee Seidel, Jeff Harper, Stuart Capper, Elizabeth Jordan, Chetan Sankar, Mikael Søndergaard, Todd DeMitchell, Achilles Armenakis, and John Seeger for their help and advice. John is also our inspiration for the “bad” case and note. The opportunities provided by the Prasetiya Mulya Foundation of Jakarta, Indonesia, and the University of Odense of Denmark gave us the opportunity to articulate and refine our vision of the case-writing process. We have also learned from the participants in many years of workshops and seminars, and their input and questions have also contributed to our knowledge. Finally, we thank our relatives: Andrew Oyaas, who confirmed that everyone has at least one story to tell, Joanna Hoch and James Naumes who put up with years of “work-talk” at home but turned out okay anyway, and especially Alexa and Hunter, our “digital generation,” who have inspired us to continue to think about teaching and learning—we love you all, and thanks!


Prologue: The Power of Storytelling Long ago, people gathered around campfires, or in the hall of the clan chief, to listen to legends and stories. These stories might be told by a minstrel or a bard, or by the shaman or wise woman of the tribe; they might be spoken or sung; they might be new or almost known by heart. But in whatever form, these stories drew listeners, so much so that many are known today. Schoolchildren of today study Native American tales and, later, Greek and Roman mythology. The exploits of the ancient Scandinavian gods and of Beowulf’s battle with Grendel are still known, more than a millennium later. Above all, the epic tales of Homer, The Iliad and The Odyssey are still read, and fresh translations made, nearly three thousand years after they were composed. What do myths and storytelling, or Homer’s Odyssey, have to do with case writing? A great deal! Writing a case is telling a story—the story of a company or an institution or a situation. Like any story, a case has a beginning and an end. It has sufficient detail to enable the reader to picture what is being described, whether events or people or relationships. A case, like a good story, also has a theme or a message, something for the listener or reader to take away and continue to think about, once the story has ended. Like stories also, some cases are “better” than others. They are more memorable. When this occurs because their message is more useful or thought provoking, not just because of the vividness of their details, the writer has created an effective and powerful case. There are several reasons for the power of storytelling. The specifics of the story itself, the details, draw in the listener or reader and make the scenes vivid and the characters live. There is power also in the story’s message or theme, if it explains our xv

Prologue: The Power of Storytelling

world or teaches us something about ourselves. In the oral tradition, there is power in the telling itself. The best storytellers know how to weave spells with words, through rhythm and repetition. All three of these aspects—message, details, and style—work together to create a memorable experience for the listener. All three are also necessary for a successful case. The intent of this book is to assist the case writer, novice or experienced, with development of a stronger case—more appropriately targeted in its message, abundant but not obscurant in its details, and clearly written. But case writing, like storytelling, has elements of art. It must be experienced and practiced. We can provide techniques, and editors can provide grammar, but each author will provide his or her own unique style.

Message Part of the power of storytelling lies in the theme or message of the story. In preliterate societies, these tales played an important role in the transmission of the group’s history and culture from one generation to the next. From the legends, one learned many lessons: how the world was created, humankind’s relationship with other species, what makes one’s own clan different from (and superior to?) all others. Natural phenomena could be explained: lightning as Zeus’s or Thor’s thunderbolts, or how the curious coyote let loose the sun and moon from chests stolen by the eagle from the kachinas, in a Zuni story (Hulpach, 1965). In addition to its primary story, The Odyssey contains many examples of good (and bad) behavior, most notably the faithfulness of the hero’s wife, Penelope, despite twenty years of separation and the demands of a host of suitors that she remarry. Stories could also serve as oral history. Many of the places described in The Odyssey have been found thousands of years later by archaeologists, while bards in medieval Europe carried news as well as legends. Storytelling appears to be as old as humankind, or at least older than any written language. People still read tales that were told in ancient Egypt, Sumeria, and Israel, and from India and China two millennia ago. African tales were told by the griot and passed down long before their languages were written. The stories xvi

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themselves might differ (and in fact there are many similar tales in diverse cultures) but they served the same human needs: “Curiosity about the past, the search for an understanding of beginnings, the need for entertainment and the desire to keep alive a heroic past. . . .” (Baker and Green, 1987, 1). Over time some of these stories became tales to be told in their own right, valued for their entertainment. But even Pecos Bill and Paul Bunyan tell us something about our own culture. They are larger than life, American folk heroes, native to America, and their exploits illustrate the untamed nature and the possibilities of the American frontier. Some stories are more obvious in their messages than others. Aesop’s Fables were short vignettes. The characters were animals: a fox trying to reach a bunch of grapes, a tortoise, a hare. Yet their activities were very human. The rabbit knew that he could win a footrace with very little effort, so he allowed himself to become distracted. The tortoise knew that a race would be very difficult to win, so he concentrated on achieving his goal. After trying repeatedly to reach the grapes, high over his head, the fox decided that they weren’t worth pursuing and were probably sour anyway. Aesop made sure that the reader/listener would not miss the point, however, by providing the lesson or “moral” at the end of the tale. Although the listener would indeed be left with a message, she or he would not have to work for it. Legal cases are frequently of this type. They are rich in the essential details of the case, including all key evidence on both sides, but the lesson is spelled out for the reader by the judge’s verdict. The legend of King Midas, whose greed was so intense that he wished for and was granted the power to turn everything he touched into gold, is longer than Aesop’s short stories, but its messages are almost as obvious. The king’s “gift” backfired when he touched his daughter, whom he loved, but who was turned into a golden statue. Two lessons that can easily be drawn are: “People are more important than riches” and “Be careful what you wish for.” However, the listener or reader can’t simply jump to the end to find the “right answer” but must learn it from the details of the story. The story of Persephone is more complex. In Greek myth, Persephone was the daughter of Demeter, the goddess of corn and the xvii

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harvest. Persephone was snatched by the lord of the underworld to be his bride. Her mother mourned for her and refused to let the crops grow until Zeus, king of the gods, arranged a compromise that allowed Persephone to spend two-thirds of the year with her mother. The story can be enjoyed simply as an adventure, with love and loss, conflict and mystery: where has she gone and how does her mother get her back? On another level, the resulting compromise offered an explanation for the regular and orderly change of seasons, when the earth’s rotation around the sun was not yet understood. On still another level, the characters illustrated basic human desires and behaviors, even when attributed to the gods, thus reassuring the listener about human nature. Most listeners would be able to recall the plot, and many would remember the explanation of the seasons. Different people might take away varying interpretations of the characters, however, and might not consciously think about this aspect unless questioned. These responses represent different levels of analysis and learning from the same story. A well-written integrative teaching case often displays these same characteristics. It allows students to identify issues and important relationships for themselves, and to draw their own conclusions, but is “rich” enough in detail to allow for more than one interpretation or depth of analysis. The Odyssey represents the most complex example of all. This tale contains many shorter stories, each describing a set of characters and events, all of which are connected together by the passage of time, the years following the end of the Trojan War, and an underlying common theme, Odysseus’s desire to regain his home, despite all obstacles. In contemporary case writing, this is analogous to the medical case history of an individual, or to a study of the same business enterprise as it responds to a variety of situations over a period of time.

Details The specific details included by the case writer or storyteller also contribute to the power of the story. They give it life, vividness, and memorability. When a griot describes “Anansi” the spider, a frequent subject of West African stories, as a “trickster,” the xviii

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audience gets a glimpse into the character and begins to understand why he acts in a particular way. The cliché of “a dark and rainy night” creates a mental image of a foreboding and threatening atmosphere. When the Great Spirit underbakes or overbakes the clay figures, we gain a vivid and lasting picture of how a Native American tribe saw itself (“just right”) compared with other races. The details also affect the message itself and how it will be perceived or learned. The storyteller decides how much description to include. The choice may depend on the time or space available, on the format, and on the audience. A myth that explains the seasons, or a fable with a moral, would be relatively short and concise. In keeping with the strong theme or focus, the fewer the details, the more obvious the point. A story for children would be shorter and would have less detail than one for adults, who have longer attention spans and more experience in building mental pictures. The more abundant and varied the description, the more complex the listening or reading becomes, and the more possibility there is for people to combine and select those details they feel are most important. Too much detail, however, can confuse listeners and cause them to lose track of the story’s point, while too little detail can make the point or plot obvious and boring. Thus, the amount of detail and description is an important choice that the storyteller must make. The storyteller also has the power to choose which specific details to include. Not all descriptions are equally relevant. Without the description, the reader might well assume that Paul Bunyon’s blue ox, Babe, was brown or some other color that is normal for cattle. Knowing that Paul wore brown boots, however, does not add to his uniqueness and is probably unnecessary. The baking details in the story of the Great Spirit making humans out of clay are necessary to understanding the point of the story, while details about cooking time would be irrelevant in many other settings. A detailed description of how children are disciplined or conditioned to follow the group’s rules would be very important in understanding a society’s values. However, the story of Peter Rabbit contains only one sentence telling the reader that Mrs. Rabbit made Peter Rabbit go without his supper when he disobeyed. In a story or xix

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case about a corporation, it may be necessary to include details concerning how its product is made, even though the main focus is on competition, so that the reader can better understand the capabilities and limitations of that company. In addition, real situations take place in a world that is so complex and rich in details that it would not be possible to include them all. Instantaneous access to information from the Internet and other media increases the level of complexity still more. Thus, every storyteller must make choices as to which to include and which to leave out. Some details are essential, or the story will not make sense and the message will not be understood. The storyteller may choose, however, to stick to the essentials only, or to incorporate information that is not absolutely necessary but will add to the vividness, the memorability, of her or his word pictures. Sometimes, he or she may not be sure how much detail is enough, or exactly which pieces of information each listener/ reader will find useful. He or she may also choose to include details that are irrelevant, designed to create false trails (“red herrings” in the language of mystery stories). In cases designed for educational use, this information gives the student an opportunity to evaluate the details and determine which ones are in fact most useful. The fewer the details, the clearer the relationships will inevitably be. More, even too much, information forces the readers to identify these linkages for themselves.

Style What can we say about style? Every person has his or her own. No two people will tell a story the same way. As evidence, consider family accounts of the same event, such as a vacation or a “disaster.” Each person will have a slightly different point of view and will include different details. The result will be two, or three or more, stories that are similar but not the same. A person’s recounting may even change with each telling, depending on memory and the receptiveness of the audience. Although style is individual, there are some guidelines that make writing, or storytelling, more effective. One noted storyteller described the importance of the pace of the tale: “Put your xx

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mind to it and you will see how definitely certain stories call for a marked timing. Some stories, heroic ones, march from beginning to end. Other stories go quickly, on light feet; they call for the suggested rhythm, the delicacy of touch of a Strauss waltz” (Sawyer, 1962, 145–146). Her mentor described the impact of a pause: “With children it means an unconscious curiosity which expresses itself in a sudden muscular tension. There is just time during that instant’s pause to feel, though not to formulate, the question: ‘What is standing at the door?’” (Shedlock, 1952, 34). Some stories use repetition or rhyme as a key ingredient. Think of the “Three Little Pigs” and the refrain/dialogue: “Little pig, little pig, let me come in.” “Not by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin.” “Then I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house in!” The line of the story is also important: “Action unfolds through word pictures, maintains suspense, and quickly builds to a climax. Each incident must be related in such a way that it makes a vivid and clear-cut image in the listener’s mind. One event must lead logically and without interruption to the next” (Baker and Green, 1987, 20). Younger, less-experienced listeners in particular need a clear structure to the tale. So, too, with cases. For novice learners, a more structured, more focused style is necessary, while more mature case users can cope with more detail and more complexity of meaning.

Cases Cases represent a particular type of storytelling. They are written, rather than spoken. They are intended primarily as teaching tools to provide students a realistic look at their world and an opportunity to practice their skills in an environment with few consequences. They should also be based on concrete facts, rather than imagination. Although style may seem less important in a fact-based case than in fiction, there are still some conventions that should be observed. Even if a case is being written as the situation occurs, it should be written in the past tense—because, to its future readers, it will take place “ . . . once upon a time.” It should have real people who, like the characters in a story, are allowed to speak in their own words, whose actions are described. xxi

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The amount and vividness of the details will vary, depending on the needs of the story or the case, as we have already discussed. But for each type of case, each purpose, some formats will be more effective than others. Our intention is to help the writers of these written stories, these cases, to be as effective as the storytellers of old.


The Art & Craft of Case Writing

1 What Is a Case and Why Write One?


ase studies form an important pedagogical tool in many fields of study. The use of case studies allows students to participate actively in the learning process. To be able to use the case method in our courses, we must have a continuous source of fresh case studies to maintain the interest of our students. Cases must also provide value to the learning process. The ideas for case studies can come from a wide variety of sources. Case studies are more than teaching tools, however. Using examples from real experiences, we can show the links between theory and actual occurrences, and can bring our research into the classroom. Cases also provide the data for in-depth traditional research, and are particularly useful for exploring causality and other linkages behind survey data. Both teaching cases and research cases can be submitted to refereed journals (though still, for the most part, different journals). There must be an objective in developing a case study for it to make sense. Many times, there is a gap in our knowledge or understanding of a specific concept that should be analyzed and explored. There are also gaps in the range of suitable materials available for student learning. Locally based cases not only catch students’ interests, but also help involve them in their region, its politics, economics, culture, organizations, and issues—and, on occasion, may enable them to meet the characters from their readings. Bringing your own work into class can be very rewarding. Students build on your obvious interest in the topic. One of our objectives is always curiosity; we want to know more about each issue or how the case’s organization really operates. For all of these reasons, we write cases. 3

What Is a Case and Why Write One?

Definition of a Case A case is a factual description of events that happened at some point in the past. Fictional stories may meet some pedagogical objectives, but they do not have the intellectual rigor of a case based in factual research, although they may be appropriate and acceptable in some disciplines. The case is designed to meet specific pedagogical or research objectives of the case writer. As such, the case must provide sufficient material concerning the situation and the environment surrounding it to meet those objectives. Since the 1800s the case method has been used in a variety of forms as a pedagogical tool in medicine, psychology, sociology, and law. In these fields, the vehicle used is a case history of an event, individual, group, or decision. The case history frequently includes the results of the actions as well as the actions themselves. Based on the use of case studies in those fields, the method was adapted for use in the study and teaching of managerial decision making. Cases were first used for this purpose at the Harvard Business School in the early 1900s. The school developed a series of case studies based on field research and used them to study decisions in all of the functional areas of a typical business program. The method spread, to the point that it is now used not only in most business programs, but also in other fields including agriculture, education, political science, nursing, chemistry, engineering, project management, and others. A case study is designed to elicit discussion and analysis of a particular situation. A case may first be used to allow students to learn how to evaluate a situation or identify problems in a variety of settings. Based on their analyses, students can then make predictions about future events. In teaching, as in research, cases can also be used to explore the relationships within a setting or organization, or to observe changes over a period of time. Cases are also designed to provide the basis for analysis of the decision-making process under a variety of conditions. This is true for many disciplines. Students can develop their ability to determine appropriate criteria by which alternative solution sets can be measured. The students can then develop those alternatives and perform the analysis to develop an appropriate solution. 4

Definition of a Case

Finally, the case can be used to help students develop an understanding of the problems involved in implementing the selected solution. In this manner, the case can be used to follow the entire decision process from analysis through to implementation. As an example, teachers can learn how to understand and react to different issues or problems that may occur in the classroom. Of greatest importance, cases can be used to help students learn how to think, plan, and reason. Case studies provide a means by which readers can learn through the discussion of actual situations and circumstances, by following the actions and analyzing the thoughts and decision processes of real people, faced with real problems, in real settings. This is true for heuristic decisions where there may be no “best answer,” as well as for algorithmic models, which are designed to provide an optimal solution. Students are often uncomfortable with cases’ ambiguities, the lack of a single “right” answer. Understanding how to evaluate a situation or make a decision, however, is often as important an outcome for students as the specifics of her or his discussion, even more so if modern students prefer hands-on learning by doing (see Brown, 2000). As a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has stated, “You want them to think about complicated things” (Turkle, 2010). From the analyses of a series of such cases, students can develop the ability to apply these processes and extrapolate their understanding of the underlying concepts and theories to situations they encounter in the future. They acquire the ability to discover the nuances of similar but different situations and how to adapt their decisions to those differences. The case method is an active pedagogical process as opposed to the passive process that ensues from lectures. Students, therefore, learn by performing all the various analyses and activities themselves, instead of being told how it is done. For most students and purposes, learning by doing provides far better and more lasting results than learning through lectures.

How Students Learn The goal of any instructional material was defined by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development as: “To stimulate 5

What Is a Case and Why Write One?

and nourish students’ own mental elaborations of knowledge and to help them grow in their capacity to monitor and guide their own learning and thinking” (Resnick and Klopfer, 1989, 4). As will be discussed in Chapter 2, cases lend themselves to this process. A case is a form of teaching in which the student must involve himself or herself in order to learn. What is taught is not just a set of facts about a specific situation, but also a process of thinking, of analysis, of problem solving, and even of evaluation and judgment. Students learn these skills by practicing them in a “real” situation, the case, thus developing the thinking tools that will be needed when their experiences call for real decisions. One approach to teaching students how to think is to embed “thinking” in the regular content of a course. Many instructors explicitly outline the process of how to approach a problem (or a case), and then give students the opportunity to practice that process. Cases provide a rich environment for this type of learning. Each case presents a different set of details, yet students may apply a similar type of analysis. Once mastered, students are ready to move on to more complex skills as well as more advanced course concepts. Many educational researchers are coming to favor an immersion approach to the development of thinking. Although there is no precise definition of this approach, Prawat (1991, 8) summarizes its main arguments: “There is general support, for instance, for the view that ideas, as opposed to skills and processes, should be assigned the highest priority in promoting thought and understanding in the classroom. There is also general agreement that discourse plays a key role in this regard.” The immersion approach is based on the concept that students learn best when they derive the underlying ideas for themselves, out of the material presented. They are learning how to think by thinking, rather than being told how to approach the subject. Cases are among the educational materials best adapted to allow students an active role in their own learning. Action research, a form of learning used extensively in fields such as education and medicine, takes the further step of having students develop their own cases based on their experiences, then using those cases to apply analytical techniques and derive meaning. 6

Definition of a Case

Cases are also versatile in their adaptability to the ways in which different students learn. Most people have a preferred learning style or way in which they approach experiences and develop meaning from them. There are a number of models of this process. For illustration we will use the model developed by David Kolb (summarized in Kolb, Osland, and Rubin, 1995, 48–54), which identifies four basic learning style types: converger, diverger, assimilator, and accommodator. A converger relies most heavily on abstract conceptualization, which is an analytical, logical approach, and on active experimentation. His or her strength is the practical application of ideas. The diverger prefers concrete experience, which looks at every situation as unique and tends to make judgments based on personal feelings and reflective observation, which takes an “objective observer” approach. She or he is likely to be strong in imaginative ability, and to be able to see a situation from many perspectives. The assimilator relies on abstract conceptualization, like the converger, and on reflective observation, like the diverger. His or her strength is the ability to create patterns out of discrete observations or facts, and is likely not to be particularly interested in applications. An accommodator prefers concrete experience and active experimentation. She or he likes to learn by doing, and is likely to solve problems by trial and error, rather than through logical reasoning. Anecdotal research suggests that those students of the twenty-first century who have been immersed in technology for their whole lives (“digital natives”) would be accommodators, due to their preference for experimental learning (Brown, 2000). Cases work in a variety of ways that make them adaptable to more than one learning style. A converger could apply theories or concepts to the facts in the case, to bring order and meaning to the situation described. A diverger is likely to be intrigued by the multiple details and viewpoints in the case. The assimilator can look for patterns in the data of the case, and develop his or her own hypotheses about what has led to this point and what will happen next. The accommodator is most likely to appreciate the “real-world” aspects and the opportunity to practice her or his decision-making skills. It may not be possible to use each case to 7

What Is a Case and Why Write One?

involve all of these learning styles. However, cases can be used effectively for a wide range of educational objectives, as will be discussed in Chapter 2.

Case Types A case is, essentially, a research study with a sample of one. The “one n” sample is the particular event, situation, organization, or selection of individuals that is presented in written or other forms. It provides readers with a vehicle to discuss, analyze, and develop criteria and potential solutions for the problems presented in the case. There are many ways to categorize cases: factual versus fictional (which, as already noted, we would argue are not cases at all), field researched versus library researched versus personal experience, teaching versus research, evaluative or analytical versus decision focus. Cases also come in a wide variety of lengths and complexities. They vary from one or two paragraph stories found at the end of textbook chapters to twenty plus page descriptions of an entire corporation’s strategic decision making or of the negotiations for an international treaty. There could also be a series of cases that explore events over time or in different aspects of the organization or issue. In disciplines such as anthropology or medicine, cases are written after extensive personal observation in the field. Many cases in business, political science, health care, and engineering are also based on interviews and personal observation. In some fields, where the focus is on objective data or where members of the organization have been unwilling to talk “on the record,” or where there are significant ethical or legal issues that create problems of confidentiality, research may be done primarily through published or public sources. Cases can also be written from the author’s own personal experience, although it may be difficult to present the material objectively. Issues of data collection will be discussed in Chapter 3. As already noted, there are many potential objectives in writing a case. The greatest difference is between cases written primarily as a vehicle for research and those that are written primarily for the 8

Definition of a Case

classroom. Research cases, discussed in more detail in Chapter 4, are intended to develop or test a hypothesis. These cases present both the data on a situation, an organization, or test subjects, and the analysis of that data, including linkages to the relevant theories or hypotheses. Teaching cases, which are the primary focus of this book, present only the direct observations and facts, serving as a vehicle for students to apply their skills in analysis and decision making. The author of a teaching case is, however, expected to provide a detailed analysis in the form of an Instructor’s Manual, which includes both pedagogy and theory. The organization and content of cases and their supplements (such as case series and extended explanatory notes) will be covered in Chapters 6, 7, and 9. Instructors’ Manuals will be developed in Chapters 5 and 8. The match of length, data, organization, and objectives will be explored in detail in Chapter 2. A major pedagogical distinction may be made between evaluative and decision-focus cases. A case may be designed primarily as a description of events and decisions that have occurred in the past with the intent of having the readers learn lessons from the results of those actions. These cases are often referred to as evaluative cases, since the major or even sole purpose is to have readers analyze and evaluate the events described in the case. This is the analog of using case studies to replicate previous research, or to test previously proposed hypotheses. An alternative, and usually richer form of a case study is one where the readers are expected not only to analyze and evaluate past events, but also to develop criteria and decisions for future actions by the principals presented in the case. These cases are often referred to as decision-focus cases. They are the analog of using case studies to develop hypotheses and theories. Critical incidents are a short, highly focused form of decision-focus cases. All of these types of cases have many factors in common, however. They are descriptions of real events and situations. Moreover, a case presents the events and situation in a factual manner, much in the same way that a reporter describes an event for a newspaper. In a teaching case, value-laden judgments and statements are left to the Instructor’s Manual, much as newspapers leave this approach to the editorial page. In a research case, however, 9

What Is a Case and Why Write One?

the value judgments are essentially analysis of the facts to prove or develop hypotheses, and may be interwoven with the factual content, as will be discussed in Chapter 4.

A Real Situation By the definition of the North American Case Research Association and many other groups of case writers, including the authors of this book, a case is a description of a real situation. Although the case may disguise some or most of the facts, the basic situation is neither changed nor invented. Case studies are a form of research, whether intended for teaching or developing or testing hypotheses. There is no form of research where we invent or mask material such that it does not match what actually happened. Case studies are meant to involve the readers in the decision process. To do that, the situation must be realistic. It is rare that fiction actually seems truly real to the reader. In their paper on writing engineering cases, Kardos and Smith (1979, 6) state: “To write a truly believable fictional case requires a much greater talent than required for normal case writing.” We read fiction, more often than not, to escape from reality. As Mark Twain noted, “Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn’t” (2004, 56). We used some fictitious cases in a course, at one point, because they seemed to meet the specific needs of the points we wanted to present. The students saw through the fiction in the cases and stated, almost unanimously, that the cases simply lacked realism. They eventually spent as much time analyzing what was unreal about the cases as they spent studying the situations and applying the concepts from the text and readings to the cases. However, we realize that there are some disciplines where fictional cases are the norm. These cases may be developed to meet a specific course need, such as a systems analysis and design problem set in a concrete, but fictional context (Cappel and Schwager, 2002). They are more likely to be accepted by students in these situations. They are far less likely to be accepted as professional publications, as noted above. In some fields, including medicine and education, composite cases may be used, often for reasons of privacy. Composite cases 10

Definition of a Case

are aggregates of several real situations. Although the individual pieces are real, the aggregation is still fictitious. This approach is not quite the equivalent of a full disguise of a single situation. Some disciplines accept composites as cases and publications, since the component background and data are real.

Facts, Not Opinion Case studies are a presentation of facts. Not only are the facts as presented real, they are as close to what actually occurred as is possible, given the reporting process. You, as the case writer, are not expected to interpret the actions or events that have occurred. As noted above, you are to act as a reporter describing as closely as possible what has occurred. However, you have to rely, typically, on the recollection of other people who were either a party to the events or at least witnessed them. As a result, there may be bias in the way they remember the incidents or situations. The way to overcome this is to follow the same procedures used by reputable reporters. That is, you should try to find corroborating evidence concerning the events discussed in the case. This effort usually requires the supporting statements of one or more people other than that of the person providing the principal account of the situation. Triangulation can also sometimes be accomplished from published sources. One exception to the need for triangulation is a case based on personal testimony or experience. Personal cases are clearly presenting a one-sided and therefore biased point of view, but this viewpoint needs to be identified in the early sections of the Instructor’s Manual. Another method of building information for a case study is to use Action-Based Research. This form of research uses an iterative approach to fully develop the information to be used in the final document. Typically, you start with a basic idea and seek information to test the idea. Based on the resulting document, further information is developed to flesh out the initial description. This process continues until the research (or in our situation, the case study) is complete. The material describing the incident usually comes from interviews, either primary or secondary, from people involved in the 11

What Is a Case and Why Write One?

situation. There is another danger in reporting this �information. That is, that you will paraphrase the material in writing the case. In doing so, you may inadvertently introduce bias into the description. It is always best to let the words of the people providing the information speak for themselves. In this way you are letting the readers provide the interpretation of those words. The incident, described in the words of the people who actually lived it, typically has far greater impact than when restated by the case writer. Allowing the patient/client/constituent to speak in his or her own voice also provides additional input that comes from how, as well as what, is said. By presenting the case in this manner, you are adhering more to the principle of reporting facts, instead of interpreting the events.

Research as Anthropology Case research is much like that presented by anthropologists. Case writers are preserving situations, actions, or decisions as a history of events that have occurred. Much like the anthropologist, you are saving the description of the events so that others may learn what occurred. Because the purpose of the case method is to provide a realistic means by which readers can learn from actual events through analysis, discussion, and providing solutions, you should be attempting to present a variety of such events from which we can learn. By observing similar events in an assortment of backgrounds and environments, readers can apply the concepts and theories widely. Anthropologists look at different societies and try to extrapolate how these societies and other cultures developed. From this extrapolation, researchers then try to determine the impact of various cultural and environmental factors on that development. They also look at the interrelationships and complexities of the situation, and issues of cause and effect. Similarly, we analyze a variety of events and try to determine the common themes that led to the actions, decisions, and results produced from those situations. As the environment that affects our disciplines changes, we find it necessary to study new events. These new situations become the case studies from which we develop and refine our perceptions 12

Reasons for Writing a Case

of the theories and concepts defining our disciplines. Essentially, we are analyzing and explaining the cultural development of our fields. By then presenting these cases to our students, we help them to learn the field’s theories and concepts. From the analyses of these different cases, students gain an understanding of the complexity and changes facing people in our various fields. We can also use case writing to develop a greater understanding of our own and our students’ experiences, as will be discussed later in this chapter.

Reasons for Writing a Case There are many reasons why you might decide to write a case, ranging from “because it was an interesting situation” to “I had access to the data” to “I want (or my dean wants me) to publish” to “It’s a requirement for a course I’m taking.” Any pretext that gives you the incentive to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard is worthwhile. New case writers often start either because they can’t find a case to fit a particular topic, or because an abundant supply of information on an interesting situation was available. Curiosity is an important attribute for a case writer!

Gap Analysis We often find that there are gaps in the supply of case studies as we prepare our class syllabus. We find that there is no suitable case to present a particular aspect of the theories or concepts in our courses. This is especially true as we widen our knowledge of our respective fields. New concepts and theories require the development of new case studies. It is even more true for research cases, which are typically written to expand knowledge of a new area by studying the “why” behind the data or to develop new theories. We want students to be able to learn from the experience of those who have been faced with the environmental factors that help to define and explain these theories and concepts. Therefore, we need to close the gap between theory and pedagogy, as described by Naumes, Merenda, and Naumes (2002). 13

What Is a Case and Why Write One?

One way to close these gaps is to search out and develop case studies based on relevant situations appropriate for that analysis. This is a form of research that provides us with a better understanding of how the theories and concepts we develop are applied in the real world. Case studies help us to better explain these concepts and theories to students. We are also able to help students learn directly as well as indirectly from these newly described experiences. In this manner, we are able to close the circle between theory, research, and teaching through the development of case studies based on actual occurrences. We consciously seek out these new case incidents to close the gaps in our pedagogical and research activities. One of the authors was teaching a course in strategic management during the mid-1970s. At that time, the conglomerate business structure necessitated a new approach to strategic management. Unfortunately, there were few case studies dealing with this organizational form that also explored the interaction of managerial values and corporate objectives. The author decided that to teach that segment of the course effectively, it would be necessary to write a case study that incorporated those factors. An analysis of the conglomerates at the time led to the selection of Gulf & Western Industries (G & W) as an appropriate subject for a case study. Fortunately, and this entered into the decision, the chief executive officer of G & W, Charles Bludhorn, liked to talk to the business press. It was a rather easy task, therefore, to develop an effective case study of the company from published sources. Of equal importance was the fact that the company was considering two acquisitions that fit the education objectives of the course. The author was able to write a case study that included all the major components needed to teach students about the conglomerate form, including strategic objectives and the importance of managerial values on the decisions made by the people within the firm (Naumes, 1982b). The case was subsequently published in other writers’ texts. It turned out that others also saw the need for such a case study and used this case to meet those objectives. A gap in the teaching literature was determined, in this situation, and a case study was written to fill that gap. 14

Reasons for Writing a Case

Serendipity Sometimes, we write case studies simply because we are presented with them by fate. For some reason, a situation presents itself that seems too good to pass up. We start to develop the case simply because it appeals to us as a good teaching vehicle for presenting a particular idea, even if there are other case studies that already present that idea. Often, these cases are the result of discussions with colleagues, friends, students, and managers. Colleagues, while comparing notes and “talking shop,” may describe interesting experiences that they have used to fill in the gaps. Friends and former students have, typically, been introduced to the case method in classes or through other sources. They describe events that have occurred to them, at some time in the past. Sometimes, the events are current. That is, the people are currently involved in the situation and the decisions that are needed are being made. This often takes the form of an attempt at free consulting, much the way we might describe a current illness when we start talking to a physician at a party, or talk about a legal problem when we run into a lawyer. The people, once they discover what we do, describe the situation, in hopes that we might be able to provide some guidance to them. In this situation, we often ask them if they would be willing to have a case study written describing the events. Although we do not offer the free consulting that they desire, we do note that simply seeing the situation in written form often helps to better understand the decisions that have to be made. On occasion, this process does even lead to a consulting engagement. But the case study is always in the backs of our minds, whatever the outcome of the discussion.

Writing to Learn Although the primary audience for this book is the person who is developing cases as teaching tools, students also find value in writing cases. Assigned as part of the learning process, case writing allows students to gather their own data. They learn from the process of deciding what information would be necessary and 15

What Is a Case and Why Write One?

significant to achieve their case’s objectives. They also develop research skills by doing their own research, and analytical skills by learning to analyze and interpret data that they already have. This process builds on the skills students have developed in “the multi-dimensional digital world to which most learners have now become accustomed” (Jackson and Crawford, 2008). The previously noted action research has been described by Nath, Sikka, and Cohen (2004) in their evaluation of techniques for training in graduate education programs.

Summary and Conclusions The purpose of developing a teaching case is to enhance the pedagogical experience for our students. Case studies are used to involve our students in the learning process. By becoming an active participant, students are more likely to retain what they have learned. Students with a variety of learning styles can be included in case discussions through various means and still gain from the experience. Moreover, case studies need not have a decision point for the students to learn from them. Even evaluative cases can provide a valuable lesson, as will be shown in Chapter 2. Case studies are descriptions of real events. They are the equivalent of anthropological research. They are, in essence, a research study with a sample of one. They allow the researcher to explore a situation in depth, looking at such issues as linkages and causality. By exposing our students to these studies, they are able to see, ideally even develop, the link between theory and practice. This process provides a sense of reality to the theories and concepts that we present in our classrooms. Case studies are written from the perspective of an objective observer. They should be factual accounts of what happened, with the provision of corroborative evidence to support the facts as presented. We save our perceptions of the meaning of these facts for the Instructor’s Manual. A case study frequently comes from our need to fill a gap in our teaching needs. We find a subject or topic where there is no effective case study designed to analyze that topic. We then seek 16

Summary and Conclusions

out a situation that, when presented as a case study, would help us to study that set of issues. On occasion, a situation presents itself that is simply too good to pass up. We write up this situation as a case study simply because the opportunity presents itself, not necessarily because we set out to meet a particular pedagogical objective. Case writing can lead to a satisfying experience for the case writer, the teacher, and the students. You, as the case writer, have the opportunity to investigate and learn. The real situation that you are studying adds to your understanding of your field. If you can write up both the case and your experiences with it, you can provide an effective tool that can be used by other teachers. Students are able to become involved and interested by a real situation, to which they can bring the tools and theories that they have learned from text and lecture. Effective case studies meet the needs of all those involved in the teaching process.


2 Objectives—Key to the Case


nce you have an idea for a case, your next big challenges are to find and collect the necessary information, and to organize it into a meaningful format. But how do you know what information is necessary? There is often a myriad of details and data about a situation. The case could be the entire length of a book if you include everything. Yet, whether the case is for research or teaching, it is important to select all of the appropriate information if you are to accomplish your purpose. To do this, you must have a clear concept of what that purpose is. Even if your reason for embarking on the case-writing process is to fill a gap in the materials available for your course, you still will need to take into account what you want the case to accomplish. You will have to consider both the specific types of knowledge students should take away from the class discussion and the types of intellectual processes they will be developing. Your choice of objectives, particularly in terms of the analytical tools that students will use, will have a strong impact on the facts, and even the organization, of the case. If the case idea came to you through serendipity, because an opportunity to do research presented itself, then it is even more important to focus first on your case’s potential objectives as a means of focusing and organizing the information. In a research case, the objectives will, of course, relate to the hypotheses you are testing or, alternatively, to the phenomenon you are investigating, if you are engaged in theory building. In later chapters, we will talk about how to locate and collect information for your case, how to establish the specific ideas and key issues that the case will illustrate, and provide guidelines for 18

What Skills/Theories Do You Want to Develop?

organizing your material. This chapter focuses on the process of choosing your objectives, the fundamental purposes for which you are writing the case. These objectives are rooted in your pedagogical (or research) goals. They, in turn, will shape the case’s length, its complexity, and even to some extent its style.

What Skills/Theories Do You Want to Develop? Before discussing the types of objectives that are appropriate for different types of cases, it is helpful to have an understanding of how a person’s thinking process is developed, from basic knowledge to complex analytical skills. There have been many writers in the fields of education and psychology who have studied this process, with differing approaches. We will give you a brief introduction to three of these approaches, as background to the discussion of choosing your case’s objectives.

Marzano—The Thinking Process One approach looks at the processes involved when we learn to think about a new subject or discipline. This process of thinking is composed of two parts: acquiring knowledge, and producing or applying knowledge. Marzano et al. (1988) consider knowledge acquisition as the basis for learning any discipline. They identify three components of knowledge acquisition: concept formation, principle formation, and comprehension. “Concept formation” is integrally involved with learning the vocabulary that describes the key ideas of a discipline. Once a student knows the basic concepts, she or he can go on to form in her or his mind the principles or rules that explain the relationships among those concepts. “Comprehension,” the final aspect of knowledge acquisition, is collecting and understanding specific information and its meaning, in the context of that discipline. However, Marzano et al. emphasize that the acquisition of knowledge is useful only if it can be used either to apply to a real situation or problem, or to produce new knowledge (Mar19

Objectives—Key to the Case

zano et al., 1988, 64–65). The important processes in knowledge production or application are composing, problem solving, decision making, and research. Each of these takes basic information, concepts, and relationships and uses them to achieve a new outcome, or at least one that is new for the student. “Composing” is, essentially, the reinterpretation or rearrangement of ideas into a new format, whether written or artistic. An example might be a summary of the important facts of an existing case. Students involved in problem-based learning could be composing by creating their own personal case from the facts of their situation. “Problem solving” involves more than plugging the right facts into an existing formula, although that may be a stage in this process. More advanced students learn to identify and define the problem from a poorly organized set of information of variable quality, to discern among information sources, and to select a strategy for reaching a solution. “Decision making” requires the student to choose between two or more solutions to the same problem. An important component of this process is the development of criteria against which to compare the alternatives. “Research,” the fourth process, is the act of finding explanations and making predictions by creating hypotheses and testing them. Although this is usually associated with the sciences or social sciences, students in subjects such as literature often create mental models of how characters will interact or what certain images represent. In history, students may theorize about the underlying forces that caused important events. Cases as an instructional tool are well adapted to foster students’ thinking processes, in particular those relating to knowledge application or production. A final thinking process, which can be used to learn all of the other processes, both knowledge acquisition and knowledge application, is “oral discourse” or “dialogue.” By interacting with other students and with the teacher, the student collects information, sees how it relates to what he or she already knows, is able to form and test ideas about these relationships, and learns to come up with solutions and explain or defend them. An instructor who teaches with cases relies on class discussion to stimulate students’ learning, from the case and from each other. Dialogue can also occur online, either synchronously or asynchronously, 20

What Skills/Theories Do You Want to Develop?

as students respond to posted questions or work collaboratively on case assignments. Although students may or may not retain specific facts about the situation or company in the case, they are developing thinking processes that will help them not just in school, but also in the “real world.” As Marzano et al. state, “Thinking processes often begin with an unresolved problem, a need, or an indeterminate situation. . . . The teacher’s challenge is to see opportunities for using thinking processes to enhance student learning in any content area, teaching the component thinking skills as necessary” (1988, 67). The thinking processes are goal related; students learn to compose, to solve a problem, to conceptualize. Thinking skills, on the other hand, are means to achieving those goals. Marzano et al. identify twenty-one core thinking skills, which they group into eight categories: focusing skills (defining problems and setting goals), information-gathering skills (observing and formulating questions), remembering skills (encoding and recalling information), organizing skills (comparing, classifying, ordering, and representing), analyzing skills (identifying attributes and components, identifying relationships and patterns, identifying main ideas, and identifying errors), generating skills (inferring, predicting, and elaborating), integrating skills (summarizing and restructuring), and evaluating skills (establishing criteria and verifying) (1988, 69). Although there is a rough progression from focusing through evaluation, any of these skills may be used and combined in the various thinking processes.

Bloom’s Taxonomies A more hierarchical approach is exemplified by Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives (Bloom, Hastings, and Madaus, 1971). Bloom defines “the art of teaching” as “the analysis of a complex final product into the components which must be attained separately and in some sequence” (1971, 13). His taxonomy is a classification system for educational objectives, in which “each category is assumed to include behavior more complex, abstract, or internalized than the previous category” (1971, 39). There are, in fact, two hierarchies: one (the cognitive 21

Objectives—Key to the Case

domain) classifies levels of intellectual objectives; and the other (the affective domain) describes levels of feeling, emotion, or acceptance of key values. (For a brief summary of both aspects of the Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, see the appendix to Part 1 of Bloom et al., 271–277. A more detailed explanation may be found in Chapters 7–10 of the same book.) The taxonomy of the cognitive domain begins with objectives related to “Knowledge.” Here, knowledge is defined as the ability to remember. At the first level, knowledge can be simply recalling specific facts, or can extend to abstract principles or even knowledge of ways to organize and work with other information. However, “Comprehension,” or understanding what is being communicated, represents a higher level of skill. The third level is “Application,” in which the student begins to be able to move from the specific material to general principles or abstractions. “Analysis” is one level higher because it involves working with the information. This could involve breaking the information into components to clarify the relationships among the ideas, or delving into the organization or structure of the material being learned. “Synthesis,” the fifth level, involves building on the analysis to create a new whole. This can be a summary of the important points, or a reaction to them, or the development of a plan or a new set of abstract relationships. The final level is “evaluation,” in which the student learns to make reasoned judgments about the material. These judgments can be quantitative or qualitative, based on internal consistency or external factors, measured against others’ standards or against criteria that the student develops for him or herself. The case method of teaching assumes that students are competent in knowledge and comprehension. This method is particularly well suited for analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. A case typically presents a depth of material that must be assessed for its significance, and understood in terms of its relationships. Students must use their analysis to identify problems and synthesize plans to deal with them. There is often more than one potential solution, so students must also learn evaluation skills. Objectives in Bloom’s affective domain involve emotion-based rather than intellectual skills, arranged in order of increasing power 22

What Skills/Theories Do You Want to Develop?

for the individual. The first level is “Receiving,” in other words that the student is willing to pay attention to the material. “Responding” is the next level, where the student is sufficiently involved with the material to do something with it. “Valuing” is the third level. The student determines that the material is important, as are the values or attitudes that it represents. Initially she or he may simply accept these values; however, some values come to be preferred to others, and may even be internalized and actively defended. When the student encounters multiple values that could apply in the same situation, he or she learns to categorize them, to form a value system. This is the “Organization” level. The highest level is “Characterization by a value or value complex.” The individual has learned to act according to that value system, and to extend it to new situations. As the value system expands, she or he is developing a philosophy of life, an internally consistent view of the world. In most disciplines, there is a set of beliefs or attitudes about what is important and how to approach new information. For a student to be a fully accepted and productive member of the field, he or she must learn these values; Brown (2000) describes this as the process of becoming part of the field’s community of practice. Cases present the opportunity to discuss not only specific situations but also the attitudes and reasoning, the values of the individuals involved. As students’ skills improve in intellectual objectives, they also learn to identify their own attitudes, and, in the process of discussing and explaining, they develop and clarify their value systems and their own unique “worldview.”

Fink’s Taxonomy of Significant Learning L. Dee Fink (2003) provides a taxonomy of significant learning that includes both cognitive and emotive elements. According to Fink, “significant learning requires that there be some kind of lasting change that is important in terms of the learner’s life” (2003, 30). Fink’s taxonomy is not hierarchal; each of the six categories can be pursued independently. However, significant learning is achieved when multiple types of learning are used together: achieving one type of learning can “enhance, not decrease, student achievement in other kinds of learning” (Fink, 2003, 33). 23

Objectives—Key to the Case

“Foundational knowledge,” defined as basic understanding and remembering, corresponds to the knowledge and comprehension stages in Bloom’s cognitive taxonomy. Knowledge may be both theoretical and methodological. “Application,” in Fink’s model, may take several forms. It may involve developing skills (including communication), learning to engage in different types of thinking (critical, practical, and/or creative), or managing projects. Application allows other kinds of learning to become useful. This definition of application is much broader than Bloom’s third level. The different types of thinking have counterparts in Bloom: “critical thinking” encompasses analysis and evaluation of information (Bloom’s fourth level—“analysis”); “practical thinking” involves answering questions, making decisions, or solving problems, similar to aspects of Bloom’s “synthesis”; while “creative thinking” involves new solutions to old problems or new ways to do something. “Integration” involves making new connections. These can be among ideas (particularly from other disciplines or areas), among people (developing learning communities), or among realms of life (especially academic and other). The “Human dimension” deals with the human significance of what students are learning, either about themselves (including personal competencies or development of a self-ideal), or about others (the stakeholders in the subject area under study). Learning about oneself, particularly one’s own values, can be related to aspects of Bloom’s emotive taxonomy, as can “Caring,” the type of learning that Fink describes as developing new feelings, interests, or values. “Caring” primarily relates, however, to generating excitement or involvement in an area of learning. The final category in the taxonomy of significant learning is “Learning how to learn,” developing the ability to become a self-directed learner and to continue learning with greater effectiveness. Cases are particularly well suited for the “Application” and “Integration” types of learning in Fink’s taxonomy. All six types of learning can be achieved with cases, although not necessarily with the same case. As in Bloom’s cognitive taxonomy, cases are not particularly well suited to the transmission of information; however, they allow students to develop foundational knowledge 24

Case Characteristics and Educational Objectives

through an understanding of relevant theories and models. Cases help students to develop critical thinking (analyze and evaluate, and also predict) and practical thinking (answering questions, making decisions, solving problems), and could provide opportunities for creative thinking (new solutions—at least new to the students—to old problems, or new ways to do something). Depending on the assignment, cases can be used to develop communications skills and skills in managing projects. Cases are also factual, integrating the “real world” into the classroom. They lend themselves to multidisciplinary courses, since the “real world” is not neatly segmented into discrete functional areas. Since student responses are not always predictable, cases encourage the development of a learning community of students. The instructor learns with the students, for example, by asking, “What more do we need to know?” Cases can be used to develop the human dimension of a subject, both through description and by putting the student in the role of the decision maker who must consider the human impact of any decision. In the process, students learn about their own values as they weigh what they would do in a similar situation. This process also creates involvement and, ideally, interest. By employing these other types of knowledge, students also are learning a process that will help them when faced with future situations. A medical student, for example, is not just learning which symptoms go together to create a diagnosis (developing a skill), but also what information is needed and what questions to ask to acquire the necessary information.

Case Characteristics and Educational Objectives One of the choices that you, the case writer, must make is the type of skills that your students will need to use in reading and analyzing your case. In an introductory course, your objectives might be simple: to introduce students to the important vocabulary and principles, and the techniques that will be needed. As students build this basic understanding, they will be ready to begin to perform their own analyses, looking at the data and deciding which facts are important and how to interpret them. At the end 25

Objectives—Key to the Case

of the course, or in more advanced courses, the students will be ready to solve problems, as well as to identify them. As they progress, the problems and the decisions will become increasingly complex. Their decisions will depend on the choices they make, based on their understanding of which factors are most important. Each of these types of learning has its own needs, in terms of the complexity and organization of the case. Both Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives and Fink’s Taxonomy of Significant Learning can be adapted for a discussion of writing cases as an educational tool. The educational objectives that you choose will have implications for other aspects of your case, including length and complexity, the quantity and types of data, the appropriate analytical methods, and the viewpoint or value system that is appropriate to the case. Case characteristics are matched to Bloom’s hierarchy in Exhibit 2.1. Similarly, Exhibit 2.2 matches case characteristics to Fink’s taxonomy of significant learning.

Educational Objective The educational objectives in the exhibit based on Bloom’s cognitive taxonomy proceed sequentially, from most basic to most advanced. The first stage in Exhibit 2.1 is knowledge, which is the ability to remember in Bloom’s cognitive hierarchy and is the lowest level in his affective hierarchy. Stage 1 could include recall of abstract principles and learning key vocabulary definitions for the field, Marzano’s knowledge acquisition and Fink’s foundational knowledge. These components are essential in the learning process, but it is not necessary to use a case to accomplish them. In fact, a case is an inefficient way to transmit facts and definitions, if this is its sole purpose. Cases are much better suited to the second stage in Bloom’s taxonomy, comprehension and understanding (see Exhibit 2.1), in which the facts serve as the basis for illustrating a concept. Many text chapters have brief examples that lay out how a theory applies in a real situation. Bloom’s Stage 3, “Application,” includes ways to work with basic facts and concepts. The short (one page or less) case at the end of a text chapter usually falls into this group. It does not explicitly match the chapter’s content with the real situation 26










(1) Judgment; (2) development of criteria for judgment

Building on analysis to create a new whole

Working with information

From specific to general principles

Comprehension Understanding




Educational objective



Reader determines

Reader determines

Problem solving

Learning how to learn

More than one possible


Explicit or implicit


Model/ theory

End of chapter or integrative

Short-end of chapter




Case Characteristics Based on Bloom’s Cognitive Taxonomy

Exhibit 2.1

All of the above, including personal values of reader

Also includes values of decision maker

Not all equally relevant; may be gaps and irrelevancies

Relevant, order logical but not matched to model

Relevant, order matched to â•… model

Relevant, structured


(1) Decision maker and stakeholders; (2) personal

Decision maker

May be multiple





28 Reader determines

Learning how to learn

Gaps and/or irrelevancies; Ambiguity length variable

Enough to allow for multiple Ambiguity views; long

Reader determines

Caring Reader involvement

Continued learning with greater effectiveness

Information about specific Relationships not people, including values, clearly drawn background; long

Relationships not clearly drawn

Facts of varying degrees of Relationships not relevance; length short to clearly drawn medium to long

Connecting ideas; realms Multiple Multidisciplinary; long of life

Implicit in choice of data

Human Understanding self and/or Implicit dimension others


Application Skills; practical, critical, and/or creative thinking

Highlights relationships among data

Model/ theory Data/Length Structure

Foundation Basic understanding of Explicit Primarily facts; short knowledge information, theories/models

Educational objective Use/Focus

Case Characteristics Based on Fink’s Taxonomy of Significant Learning

Exhibit 2.2



Personal (values of reader)


Multiple (implied)

May include explicit decision maker


Case Characteristics andEducational Objectives

described in the case. Students learn to apply models or techniques to new situations, with their choices guided by the case’s location and questions. In both of these categories, the student’s role would still be primarily knowledge acquisition, according to Marzano. The remaining stages, 4 through 6, correspond to the knowledge production or application processes in Marzano. In Stage 4, students determine the relevant models or techniques to apply, based on their own analysis. Stage 5 calls for students to build on their analyses to develop an action plan or otherwise synthesize or create something that is new to them. Finally, Stage 6 helps students learn to evaluate (in Bloom’s cognitive terms). Students gradually develop their own internal value systems (the highest levels in Bloom’s affective hierarchy) by dealing with situations that are complex and may have more than one possible “right” answer, learning to create and use criteria to make these choices. Cases with an ethical component could fall into these categories. The educational objectives of “Foundation Knowledge” and “Application” in Fink’s nonhierarchical taxonomy (see Exhibit 2.2) are similar to the corresponding stages in Bloom. Fink’s “Application” also includes Bloom’s “Analysis” (critical thinking) and “Synthesis” (creative thinking). The rich, descriptive format of cases provides opportunities for making interdisciplinary connections (“Integration”) and for understanding causes and impacts in the “Human Dimension” and in “Caring.” As in Bloom’s stages, students also are learning a process that can be applied to new situations, both in class and in real life. In fact, the ability to learn to ask the right questions and seek out new information is a key skill for professions ranging from law to medicine to social services. Cases also support learning the process of action research, with alternating periods of action (as described by the case) and reflection, which both critiques past actions and plans for the future. See, for example, Dick (1997).

Data Dimensions, Analytical Methods, and Value Dimensions The remaining columns in Exhibits 2.1 and 2.2 describe different aspects of a potential case. “Models/Theories” discusses the role 29

Objectives—Key to the Case

of theory or models in the case, and whether students are given or must pick the techniques or analysis to use. “Data” concerns the quantity and quality of information. Generally, the case’s length will increase as the amount of data increases. In Bloom’s taxonomy, the “Data” column also includes the way that the information is structured, to allow for increasing skill development. In Exhibit 2.2, however, the different types of learning in Fink’s taxonomy have disparate data needs. “Structure” is included as a separate column. Significant learning occurs when students become involved with the information; consequently, the theoretical relationships or models are seldom clearly drawn in the case itself, and the structure may even be ambiguous, allowing for multiple applications or perspectives. The final column, “Viewpoints,” describes the criteria that students will use to analyze the case. In Bloom’s lower categories, it will be clear how they are to interpret the case’s information, what point of view they are to use, and what they are to do. As they become more familiar with the field of study and more skilled in the use of cases, they will learn to identify the point of the case for themselves. Ultimately, they will be faced with multiple points of view and a diversity of values held by the people in the case. At this point, the students will have to choose among these values or build their own on which to base their decisions. Each of Fink’s types of learning implies that the student work from a particular perspective, although that perspective may not be explicit and may even be the student’s own.

Types of Cases Descriptive Cases and Other Story Problems The combination of the type and quantity of information, the amount of guidance given to the student, and the degree to which the student should acquiesce to or decide what is important determine the characteristics of an effective case. At the level of developing an understanding of concepts (Bloom’s Stage 2), the case is more of an illustration, since the concept is explained or “worked out.” The facts are chosen because they relate to the 30

Types of Cases

example, and they are arranged to make it easy for the students to see the relationships. “Application” in both taxonomies is similar in its degree of structure and information, but asks the students to make the application, instead of working it out for them. This is still essentially an illustration or “problemette.” Its length will vary, depending on the field and on the complexity of the concept. However, it is still essentially descriptive. It is useful for transmitting knowledge, particularly how a concept or theory might be applied in the “real world,” but does not ask students to take a very active role in their own learning. The case at the end of a chapter in a text is often of this type. Although the questions may ask the student to explain how the facts in a case apply to various theories, she or he knows which theories to apply and how to structure the analysis by looking back into this (and only this) text chapter.

Evaluative Cases The next levels of educational objectives require students to begin to apply theories or concepts for themselves. In cases based on Fink’s “critical thinking” analysis and Bloom’s Stage 4, it may still be relatively clear which concepts should be applied, but the choice is left up to the student. The relationship between the case’s information and more abstract concepts or theories is not as clear as in Stage 3 cases. The facts are not necessarily told in the order needed; they are grouped by topic such as “agricultural products of the region” or “marketing,” or often in the order in which they occurred. The dominant question is: “What’s happening here? Can you explain it, in terms of theories or concepts?” The focus is on evaluating the situation. Evaluative cases can be very simple and short. They can also be quite long and complex. An example of the latter would be a case on the grounding of the Exxon Valdez oil tanker in a pristine bay in Alaska, and the oil spill and environmental damage that it caused. Many issues are involved and must be described, ranging from personnel issues (Who was really on the bridge at the time of the accident? Had the captain been drinking on duty?), 31

Objectives—Key to the Case

the geology of the region (including the shape of the harbor and the distance of the oil fields from their primary markets), environmentalists’ pressures and the political and business reactions to them, economic pressures including the demand for oil-based products, and perhaps even technology (building tankers with a double hull had been discussed as a way to control potential damage from collisions). To understand the complexity of this event, students will need to draw connections between events and models from many fields, Fink’s “Integration.” Cases targeting learning in the “Human Dimension” are also likely to be evaluative, whether focused on others’ behaviors or on the student’s own self-understanding. An evaluative case is a good way to learn to apply theories. Students must look over the information in the case and mentally sort it, to choose what technique or concept seems to be the most relevant. Evaluative cases are also a good way to develop skills in analysis (another aspect of Fink’s “Application” and Bloom’s Stage 4). Students can use the case to explore relationships such as cause and effect. Not all of the information is equally important, so students must begin to weigh and interpret what they read. Data may also be incomplete or contradictory, as is often true in real workplaces and classrooms, giving students the opportunity to develop skills in considering what information they might need (“Learning how to learn”). An evaluative case may even give the student some opportunity to exercise his or her own values (Fink’s “Human Dimension”), by asking: “Do you agree or disagree, and why?” But the event has already happened; the important decisions have already been made. An evaluative case is therefore limited in its usefulness in developing other types of learning.

Decision-Focus Cases One important outcome of education is the ability to deal with new or unfamiliar experiences. We must understand the new situation, and that involves using analytical abilities such as those already discussed. It is not enough, however, simply to understand what is happening. The analysis serves as the basis for actions. Using the facts and concepts that we know, we make decisions and 32

Types of Cases

create plans. We also recognize that not all decisions are equally effective; we learn to evaluate them and make judgments. Just as cases provide a rich environment for students to learn and practice their analytical skills, these analyses become the basis for learning to make good decisions. A case that is intended to teach decision-making skills must be at least as rich as an evaluative case, because the student will need to perform her or his own analysis of the situation. At this level, Bloom’s Stage 5 and Fink’s “practical thinking,” the problem has not yet been solved, and may even remain to be identified. The student must move beyond analysis, to make predictions about what will happen, then to develop the sequence of actions needed to affect the outcome. He or she will soon discover that there is often more than one possible plan. The more difficult task may be to choose among the alternatives. This is a hard concept to teach, since each situation presents its own unique set of alternatives. As in Problem-Based Learning, the decision point itself may not be at all clear, allowing students to wrestle with defining the issue or problem for which to build a plan. Cases in Bloom’s Stage 5 are designed to give the student practice in making these decisions. They contain even more facts of varying importance, which could support a variety of plans, and even some information that may be of little use. If there is a decision maker in the case, the student must begin to put her- or himself in that person’s shoes. This means considering what factors are most important to the decision maker, and using them to weigh the alternative plans. Ultimately, students may be placed in the role of the decision maker. They must each determine for themselves what the most important issues are and evaluate how different alternatives would accomplish those goals. No one answer is necessarily correct, since each student may see the issues and the decisions differently. The important point is for each student to experience this process for him- or herself, to develop the power to evaluate and judge. As Lane (2007) states, “cases promote transfer. Active learning and engagement in solving problems causes students to better apply what they learn to similar problems in the real world.” Students are also “Learning how to learn” what they will need to know and do in future situations. 33

Objectives—Key to the Case

If your intent is to write a case with the educational objective of helping students acquire skills in developing an action plan, your case should include more than the minimum amount of data. The extra information will give students practice in analysis and problem identification, which they have already learned. It will also allow them to pick and choose among facts, to support their ideas. The information should not be structured to lead the students to a particular plan, because there is no single “correct” plan. However, it should still be relatively clear what the constraints are and what types of solutions would (or would not) be acceptable. The case should be told primarily from one point of view, generally that of the person who has to decide what to do. To learn to evaluate and choose between alternatives, students will need even more information. The case begins to represent the complexity that students would encounter in making a decision in the “real world.” This includes information that is not immediately useful, or that may seem more important than it really is. In a case written by one of the authors of this book, the decision maker’s immediate concern appears to be an ethical issue of how to deal with a competitor who was engaged in an illegal action. However, careful reading of the case reveals that the decision maker’s most pressing concern should be survival of his company, since it will be out of money within a month even if the unfair competition can be eliminated. A decision-focus case may also include more of a focus on individuals, in addition to “the organization” or “the situation.” The human dimension not only makes the case more interesting by giving students someone to identify with, but also helps them visualize the decision maker’s thought process and what is important to him or her. Students explicitly have to consider the values that underlie the decision process, and evaluate (the highest level in Bloom’s taxonomy) the acceptability of various alternatives. Cases focused on Fink’s “Human dimension” and particularly on “Caring” are concerned with developing more than a solution; their intent is to give the student the opportunity and skills to develop her or his own judgment and values. What is “acceptable” to one person may not be to another, even within the same organization. 34

Types of Cases

The “real world” is a very complex, often contradictory place, and a case written with this objective should reflect that lack of clarity and structure. It could also include more individuals and their opinions, creating multiple value systems that may have to be considered. This type of case makes the heaviest demands on the students, not only because of its complexity and (often) length, but also because they must weigh all data and all points of view. They must come up with a reasoned plan based on intangibles as well as on the facts. In short, they must exercise their good judgment. Decision-focus cases are often fun to write. There is a problem to be solved or an issue to be dealt with, around which to organize the data, but the information need not be tightly structured or limited to only what is immediately useful. The situation often includes important people, whose personalities may be revealed through quotes. However, a decision-focus case may also be difficult to write. Because it encourages multiple alternative decisions, it must have the information to support them. But not everyone will agree on what information is necessary, and it is difficult to avoid leaving out some key fact. It may be necessary to test and rewrite the case several times before it can achieve the educational and knowledge objectives you have set for it.

Critical Incidents According to the Society for Case Research (SCR), publisher of the Journal of Critical Incidents, critical incidents “briefly describe a provocative situation upon which the student brings his background and knowledge to arrive at a course of action.” In the business curriculum, a critical incident is posed as a description of an open-ended problem. While SCR describes critical incidents as “similar to cases but [providing] less information upon which to base an analysis,” we would argue that they are indeed cases, describing real situations but with highly focused learning objectives. John C. Flanagan, one of the founders of critical incident research, stated that “reporting should be limited to those behaviors which, according to competent observers, make a significant contribution to the activity” (1954, 355). In fields such as psychology, multiple 35

Objectives—Key to the Case

examples of critical incidents are described and studied, using a methodology called “critical incident technique.” Like a research case, critical incident reports in other disciplines may include both the description of the situation and its results. However Flanagan stated: “It should be emphasized that critical incidents represent only raw data and do not automatically provide solutions to problems” (ibid.). These short cases do not provide the depth of background and organizational information of the decision-focus cases described above; while they do provide opportunities for analysis and synthesis, their length means that all information is likely to be significant.

Research Cases In a research case, the choice of objectives is even more important than in a teaching case. Marzano et al. (1988) considered research to be one of their key thinking processes. In Bloom’s terms, the writer/researcher is engaged in synthesis through the development of hypotheses, and in evaluation when assessing the results. This iterative process is consistent with action research, which is the basis for much student-teacher research and teaching in the field of education. Although research cases are not included in the categories in Exhibits 2.1 and 2.2, they do have their own educational purpose. Their role is to stretch the boundaries of current knowledge in the field for the writer and hopefully also for other readers. A research case is generally written for one of two reasons. First, it allows the researcher to test hypotheses. Cases are effective for a different type of hypothesis than other forms of research, such as surveys. A case allows an in-depth look at a single organization, individual, or situation. Although this does not create “significance” in a statistical sense, it provides the opportunity to study a single sample in great detail. The researcher collects and sets down a multitude of facts about that specific sample of one. Moreover, he or she is able to collect the data interactively, asking additional questions in order to clarify the important facts and relationships. The case contains the raw material on which the hypotheses are being tested and describes the results of that testing process. 36

Types of Cases

The second reason for writing a research case is to develop hypotheses. The researcher may have noticed, based on observation, survey research, or the field’s literature, that there appears to be a relationship between certain variables. Sometimes it is possible to proceed directly to hypotheses about causality. In other situations, however, the situation is sufficiently complex that a simple explanation may not be possible. A given set of medical symptoms may be influenced by many different factors in the patient’s lifestyle, for example. Another classic example is the Edsel automobile, which was developed in the 1950s after extensive research into the features Americans said they would like in a mid-sized, medium-priced car. However, other aspects of the environment had changed: the car took several years to develop (a factor inside the company), while competitors moved quickly into the market by adding features or offering strippeddown models of their current automobile line. Other potential problems were the car’s unusual grill design, and its name. Case research allows the researcher to look at the interactions among these and any other facts, in order to understand the relationships. Based on that understanding, she or he develops hypotheses that can then be tested by further case research or even by survey or other “large n” means. This is also especially true of research in the field of education. Researchers can examine issues, theories, and concepts dealing with a specific issue such as effective teaching of English as a second language. They can then study different techniques and methods, based on observations of groups from different cultures and using different languages. The choice of objectives is the crucial starting point in a research case. Without an objective, the researcher does not know what type of organization or situation to study. If he or she wants to test hypotheses, he or she must carefully select the subject of the case in order to be able to collect the relevant information. If the purpose is to develop hypotheses, she or he must look for a situation that is sufficiently “rich” in information. The researcher must also look for cooperative subjects who would be willing to share in-depth information and will be open to follow-up questions. Although it is possible to write a research case based on published sources, it is difficult to find information in this depth. 37

Objectives—Key to the Case

These issues and others concerning research cases will be discussed in detail in Chapter 4, Research Cases.

A Practice Session Many of the chapters will include a section that gives you, the reader, an opportunity to practice the aspects of case writing that have just been described. Appendixes I and II are the drafts of an actual case and its Instructor’s Manual; the final (published) version appears in Appendixes III and IV. Read the case in Appendix I, and ask yourself: If I were a student, would I know what I was expected to do with this case? There are a variety of potential issues. It starts like a case in Human Resource Management, with issues relating to recruiting and hiring a new employee. Since Mr. Adams has already been hired, this implies that students will be asked to evaluate some aspect of the recruiting or hiring process although, since no purpose is stated, the case would probably be classed as Bloom’s Stage 4. Evaluation, a form of critical thinking, would be “Application” in Fink’s taxonomy. The second paragraph raises questions of employee behavior and motivation. Students could analyze Mr. Adams’ behavior, but again no decision is needed. It is possible that the focus of this paragraph is on “The Human Dimension,” developing an understanding of others. This is not the issue that is raised at the end of the case, however, when the partners are trying to decide how to respond to Adams’ leaving the firm and trying to take clients with him. This could give students the opportunity to make recommendations of their own, using skills in Stage 5, a form of “creative thinking” in Fink’s taxonomy. Although the partners’ concern is with maintaining customers, students might also raise questions about whether Mr. Adams’ behavior is ethical, demonstrating their development of useful attitudes or even mature judgment. However, according to Exhibit 2.1, a case in Stages 4, 5, or 6 ordinarily would include a variety of facts that are not selected or clustered to direct the students, and Stages 5 or 6 would also require an emphasis on the key decision makers. The case characteristics don’t match the author’s probable objectives. The Instructor’s Manual (Appendix II) does not make the author’s objectives any clearer. The opening paragraph talks in 38

Summary and Conclusions

general terms about “studying the interactions,” which might imply analysis as the educational objective. The discussion questions range from application of techniques (the stakeholder model referred to in Question 2) to analysis (Question 1) to development of an action plan (Questions 4 and 5) to the useful attitudes practiced in the consideration of ethical issues (Question 3). It is often pedagogically useful to start class discussion with lower-level skills and build up to the more challenging objectives. However, since the case itself does not give the student guidance, you would have to provide more explicit direction in advance or lead the discussion through the various topics. The later versions of the case (in Appendix III) and Instructor’s Manual (in Appendix IV) have much clearer educational objectives. At the end of the case’s introduction, Mr. Morrison asks, “What do we do now?” The student knows that he or she is being asked to develop an action plan for the partners. The case then moves back in time to show how the situation developed, and ends with the phone call that began the case. This gives the student a variety of facts, but the chronological presentation requires her or him to select those aspects of the case that are most significant. Although still relatively brief, the case now has the complexity that is appropriate to higher-level educational objectives. These objectives are also stated much more explicitly in the revised Instructor’s Manual, particularly in the “Basic Pedagogy” section. The questions are the same as in the draft, but they are now accompanied by a section on “Teaching Techniques,” which describes how the case could be used in different courses or to achieve different objectives.

Summary and Conclusions The idea for the case leads to the first decisions that you, the case writer, will have to make: the choice of objectives. Every teaching case has two purposes, the specific knowledge that students should take away, and the educational objectives in terms of more generalizable skills and abilities that they are developing. Although there are many ways to present specific knowledge to students, cases enable students to stretch their thinking, learning, 39

Objectives—Key to the Case

judgment, and human dimension skills. The skills of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation are increasingly important, given the sheer volume of information that is available to students. Your choice of educational objective will have a strong influence over many characteristics of the case, including the amount of information you present, how it is organized, and whether to include more than one point of view. These will be among the topics discussed in the next chapters. The objectives are even more important in a research case; without them, the case writer doesn’t have a clear picture of what to research. The choice of objectives determines the choice of research subject, as well as the types and quantity of information, data, to include. The particular advantages and demands of research cases will be discussed in Chapter 4.


3 Finding a Case Site and Gathering Data


oming up with an idea for a new case is often the least difficult aspect of the case-writing process. Ideas frequently come from frustrations in not being able to present a particular topic, issue, theory, or concept in a course setting. It is more difficult, however, to find an appropriate setting capable of fulfilling the case objective. This process becomes still more difficult when the case writer wants to use direct observation or field research for this purpose. While field research tends to be more effective in developing the objective, it is also more difficult to implement.

Identifying Potential Case Sites Field research involves interviewing the people who were actively involved in the situation being investigated. This process includes the ability to visit and describe the sites involved, since these environmental aspects can have a critical impact on how, when, and why a situation developed or a decision was made. As an example, describing a cluttered and overused manufacturing site where inefficient procedures are obvious can help to either lead readers to make a decision about the manufacturing process or to understand why a decision to change the process was made. Similarly, the layout, age, and style of a classroom may give clues to the dynamics of the education process. Also, visiting the site and interviewing the people who were involved in the decision helps to give life to the written word. Readers can now feel a sense of being part of the decision process instead of simply hearing about the results of the decision. This process, therefore, presents particular problems in bringing the case to a point where the case can be widely disseminated. The first of these steps is 41

Finding a Case Site and Gathering Data

simply finding an appropriate site for the case. We have found that there are a wide variety of sources for case sites.

Students as Resources Students frequently make excellent sources for finding case sites. First, they are intimately familiar with cases through their course work. They frequently have developed an innate feel for what constitutes an appropriate case site. Although they often cannot verbalize the factors that constitute an effective site, they can provide an example from personal experience of situations that exemplify some of the concepts presented in class. These situations may come from personal experiences they have encountered during their own work experiences. Alternatively, the students may offer examples they have either heard or seen directly or indirectly through family or friends. Nath, Sikka, and Cohen (2004) note in their research the effectiveness of having education students develop cases describing a variety of teaching issues and problems. Their students face these situations daily, but frequently feel that they are unique in facing them. Sharing the situations through a case study allows the graduate students to share their situations with each other and to try to determine methods to overcome the problems. Students provide several advantages when seeking access to case sites. First, as noted above, they already have an understanding of what constitutes a case study. This makes it easier to explain to the prospective case subjects how a case is used, and therefore what will be involved during the process of writing a case study based on those individuals or organizations. Second, the students make it easier to make contact with the appropriate individuals to be involved in the case. Third, the students can often provide initial insight into the environment in which the case writer will be soon finding him- or herself. This can help save valuable time and effort during the case-writing process. You must be cautioned, however, to realize that students often misunderstand the true dynamics that are occurring within the organization to be studied. Their statements need to be taken with a degree of skepticism. Finally, the student helps give credibility 42

Identifying Potential Case Sites

to the case writer, since it becomes clear to the individuals being interviewed that the case writer has both a degree of professional standing, as well as some form of expertise in use of case studies. As a caution, it is better to make use of these sites after the student has completed a course with the case writer, not during the course itself. This is to ensure that the student does not feel that there will be special consideration given in the course simply due to providing access to a case site. An example of a student-initiated case occurred when one of the authors was teaching a segment of a business course dealing with strategic management in a highly competitive environment. A student came up to the author after class noting that he was working for a small company in an industry with a large number of roughly equivalent-sized companies. He explained the situation. The author and student both agreed that the situation sounded promising for a case study. Once the course was completed, the author contacted the student to help set up an initial interview. The results of the interview were quite positive, since the student had already explained the purpose of a case study, and had spoken positively about the background of the case writer. The case was written, with few complications, and was subsequently published in two textbooks (Naumes and Schellenberger, 1983). Another, more direct use of students is to have students actually write cases, typically as part of their course requirements. Nath, Sikka, and Cohen (2004) discuss how they use this method in their graduate education courses. We have also frequently built this requirement into our courses. We have published several cases using student-prepared or assisted work. We have given a full range of attribution from written by (student names) under the Supervision of Professor, to co-authorship, to Prepared by Professor with the assistance of (students). In one instance, we simply attributed specific information as coming from students. It becomes a judgment call as to how to attribute the work of the students. There is also the question of the ethics of how and whether to use students’ work for publication. We are in a position of authority over our students. We always ask our students to sign release forms to allow us to use the cases they write. 43

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We do not require them to sign a release, however. In several instances, we were not able to use student cases because one or more members of a student group failed to sign the release, for whatever reason.

Family and Friends as Resources Another effective source for case sites comes from family and friends. Although the case writer may be closer to this group than to students, there are fewer of the former than the latter. Family and friends may provide situations that tend to be better known to the case writer, but they may be reluctant about baring their souls to those they know well. They may not want their relatives and acquaintances to know, directly, about the situation that occurred. This is often viewed as a bigger threat or embarrassment than telling a stranger what occurred. The individuals may want to be able to maintain distance with the case writer, which is often impossible when the case writer is a family member or friend. There is always the potential for bias in writing cases about family or friends. This bias could be either positive or negative depending on the relationship between the case writer and those being written about. A benefit, however, is that in this circumstance, the case writer often already understands the environment surrounding the situation, which can save time and effort during the interview process. A related danger is that the case writer, thinking that the environment is understood, may miss some of the nuances of the situation through a failure to ask probing questions. As has often been said, a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing. An example of how unexpected encounters may provide material for a case occurred to a colleague of ours, who related an incident where he was standing in a parking lot waiting for his child after a soccer game. An acquaintance, who was a manager for a regional power company, was also waiting for his child. The two started talking about the aftereffects of a recent, powerful ice storm. Power had been restored to many people after a long delay. During the discussion, the manager indicated that he felt that the delays were a direct result of recent changes in the 44

Identifying Potential Case Sites

organization. He expressed frustration over the rapid increase in the number of people reporting to him. He had appealed to cooperative electric companies throughout the region during the emergency. They responded quickly, but the manager found that policies in place were insufficient to cover a catastrophe of this size. Our colleague followed up on this discussion by writing a case study on the problems facing the manager when dealing with logistics, human relations, technology, and crisis management issues revolving around the response to the emergency (Harper and Kennedy, 1999).

Alumni as Resources Alumni can often be a better source of case sites than students. They have usually been exposed to a wider variety of situations. Also, similar to the current students, alumni may be familiar with case studies through their former course work. Their own experiences may provide an interesting scenario. They may also have the authority to gain access for the case writer to the relevant individuals and information necessary to develop an effective case study. As long as they have had an enjoyable, or at least an acceptable academic experience, they are more likely to be cooperative with someone from their alma mater. This connection also gives the case writer added credibility with the individuals being interviewed. We have followed this pattern at the University of New Hampshire. One of our graduates had actually written a business plan of his company in a course taught by one of the authors. When he was later contacted by that author, he was happy to discuss and participate in a series of case studies on his entrepreneurial venture. It took very little explanation to describe the case-writing process. Moreover, as a result of his positive experiences in his courses, he was enthusiastic about having his company used as a basis for class discussion through a case study. We continue to develop case studies about his experiences. A problem with the use of alumni as a resource is that they may not know what objectives a given case writer is trying to achieve, unless the two are in close contact. Often, the contact 45

Finding a Case Site and Gathering Data

is through a fortuitous set of circumstance. An alum may contact the case writer for advice concerning a relevant issue. This then leads to the development of a case. If, however, the alum took a course where case development was an integral part of the course, as with the material described by Nath, Sikka, and Cohen (2004), then he may be looking for ways to continue the process. Similarly, in medicine, physicians may refer an illness or treatment to one of their teachers to help future students learn from their experiences. In addition, a colleague may have heard of a situation facing an alum. This information may then be passed on to the case writer.

Consortia and Research Groups There are a variety of consortia whose purpose is to assist education institutions. The Southeast Advanced Technological Education Consortium (SEATEC) is an example. It has enlisted a group of public, education, and business groups to enhance technical education in the Tennessee area. This has led to a series of case studies in technology, education, business, engineering, and other disciplines. You can make use of these groups to gain access to different types of case studies. In most areas of the country, there are trade groups that comprise businesses, state and federal agencies, and education institutions. These groups can be used to find issues, situations, and information that may be useful in developing case studies in cross-cultural studies, international trade, government policymaking, and national development.

Published Sources Another source that both authors have used at various times comes from various print media. Although other media do provide initial ideas, print media have been more successful as leads to case ideas because of the ability to save the material concerning the individual, organization, or situation. Another advantage to this source is that the case writer is frequently provided with enough information to prepare background material for the case. 46

Identifying Potential Case Sites

The printed material also provides sufficient information to determine the appropriate contact person within the organization about which the case is to be developed. However, ideas from the news on radio or television can be followed up on the Internet. The authors keep a file of articles, printouts, and bookmarks about individuals, issues, and organizations that seem interesting. Although only a few of these ever develop into case studies, the material is there to allow for initial contacts at appropriate times. Another advantage of these files is that they may provide material for class discussions, even when they have not been developed into full case studies. These sources do provide for the development of critical incidents, however. These are very short cases that are highly focused and provide the ability to discuss one particular issue, theory, or concept. There is no need for the typical large amount of information required for a longer, more complex, traditional case study. A problem with this form of source, however, is that there is little direct information on the situation or individuals. What you know has been filtered through a third-party writer. Also, your initial contact often is made through a cold call. The person being contacted may be wary of the case writer. It also means that the case writer frequently has to explain his or her own qualifications as well as the process that will be used to develop the case. Additional time is required simply going through the amenities of becoming familiar with each other. Basically, a system of mutual trust has to be developed between people who had, until the initial meeting, been total strangers to each other. The process of gaining access to sensitive information becomes more difficult and time-consuming. The authors have followed this procedure in developing a case study on an ecologically based entrepreneurial venture in New Hampshire. The initial contact was based on a cold call that was the result of a newspaper article. The general manager did not have an understanding of the case-writing process, and had to be convinced of its effectiveness and value. The chief executive officer (CEO), whom we later met and interviewed, had been exposed to cases and was more willing to participate in the research process for the development of a teaching case based on his efforts and his company. 47

Finding a Case Site and Gathering Data

Consulting Contacts Consulting contacts provide a rich source for case opportunities. A major benefit is that the case writer is gathering material necessary to preparing the case at the same time as developing information to meet the needs of the consulting relationship. Consultants need to have enough information about their clients to be able to make effective recommendations concerning decisions within the company. The situation or decision points being analyzed can frequently form the basis for the case. Lawrence and Lorsch (1967), noted behavioral researchers and consultants, used these contacts for a series of cases that they then developed for a series of case and readings books. These situations can often be used as the basis for a case, even when you have not been the primary, or direct, consultant for the client. Faculty can often find such clients within their own university. Engineering and production and operations technology cases can be developed through contacts made at technology resource centers, incubator sites, and university-sponsored or affiliated technology parks. Business cases can be developed through access to sites such as the Small Business Development Centers and Small Business Institutes found at many business schools. Similarly, agriculture-oriented cases can be developed through use of extension agencies found at many schools of agriculture. The advantage to these sources is that the contacts already are aware of the organization, if not also the case writers themselves. There is already a predisposition to provide information to someone from the case writer’s institution. There is the likelihood that the client will have a positive feeling toward the institution, and, therefore, the case writer. Of course, this assumes that the consulting relationship has been positive. As already noted, much of the information necessary to write the case may already be available in the form of the consultant’s reports or notes. A problem with this type of source, however, is that the original relationship was developed with the understanding that all information would be held in confidence. The client typically comes to the consultant to resolve a problem and may be unwilling to share those problems with the rest of the world. Also, 48

The Field Research Process

even though a consulting contact exists, the issue leading to the consulting relationship may be inappropriate or may not meet the objectives of the case writer.

The Field Research Process Making Contact Once a site has been selected, an initial contact needs to be made. Towl (1969) notes that this contact is frequently critical to the success of the overall process. The initial contact sets the tone for the subsequent interactions and determines the ability of the case writer to secure sufficient information to write an effective case study. This initial contact is frequently a major factor in securing the final permission to publish or widely disseminate the case. It also sets the basis for a feeling of trust toward the case writer on the part of those who will be asked to release the information provided for the case. It is always best to have a point of access to the organization who is as close as possible to the source and can provide the ultimate release of the case information. Frequently you will be going directly to the individual who knows the situation best or who is responsible for the decision that you wish to describe in the case. Finding another person who knows that individual, a go-between, where there is no direct relationship with the case writer can often resolve problems before they occur. If this is not possible, you can approach the company or organization yourself. Find out the name of the head of the organization, and call him or her directly. She or he is the person that you will ultimately need in order to obtain the release to use the case. It is surprisingly easy to access that person, in some cases. If not, contact the person in the organization who is in charge of public relations. One technique that the authors have used successfully in making cold calls on potential case sites is to write an initial case using published sources. Although the case had been well received in its draft form, reviewers felt that additional information was needed to help develop the technical side of the decision. The authors 49

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contacted the president’s office, without any other relationship having been established. The president requested a copy of the case that had been written to that point. Upon reading the draft of the case, he referred the case writers to another source within the company who then provided the information appropriate to making the case a more effective description of the company’s situation and the decision process that was the original objective for the case. Having an intermediary who can provide an introduction when the case writer is not directly known to anyone involved with the situation to be studied is often the best approach to starting the process on a sound footing. As noted earlier, any number of sources may assist in this process. One of the authors was approached by a student who wanted to write an independent research paper to fulfill the program requirements for the graduate school. After discussing potential projects, the student mentioned that he was working for a company that had recently gone through a strategic management change and a planning process. The student had been placed in charge of developing the plan, a rather important project for a young man still in his MBA program. This intrigued the faculty member, and the two agreed to the development of a case study and analysis as the basis for the independent research project. The student had to gain the initial acceptance of the project by the CEO of the company, who had been newly appointed to that position by his father, the owner of the company. The faculty member then met with the CEO and further explained the project and the case-writing process. The CEO was enthusiastic about participating is such a project since he felt that his inclusion of a new group of young managers was instrumental in the development of his company. A case study based on the company met several objectives from the professor’s perspective. The company was small, and the new CEO was trying to institute an entrepreneurial, yet professional culture within the company. The CEO was also convinced that a new, strategic direction for the company was necessary if it was to grow and succeed. At the conclusion of the case research project, the CEO was asked to authorize release of the case study, as had been sought 50

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prior to the start of the project. With only minor modifications, the CEO agreed to the authorization. He was also asked to participate in a class testing of the case. He was told that his participation would certainly not be expected every time the case was taught, especially since it was hoped that the case would be presented at a case-writing meeting and potentially published in one form or another and might be adopted by other faculty. The case writer had assured the president that the final draft of the case would be made available to him for approval. This example demonstrates the effective use of an intermediary who is known to the person and who would ultimately be asked to release the use of the case. The student not only provided access and respectability for the case writer but also was instrumental in helping to describe how the case study would be used and its importance in the education process. The process by which a case is developed and subsequently written should be discussed at this time. As noted in the example above, this would often include the need for interviewing different people who might have been involved in the situation or decision to be analyzed. This process, in essence, follows the reporter’s rule of trying to find corroborating statements about any incident or situation. At this initial contact point you should identify what kinds of additional information might be needed. For example, in case studies that deal with strategic issues, financial information is usually required to understand the environment in which a decision is to be made. For a case study in psychology, confidential or medical information might be necessary. Education cases frequently deal with student-teacher relations or interactions, so there may be issues of privacy involved in divulging the relevant case information. The need for this information should be made clear at the earliest possible time. Both authors have found themselves with well-defined case studies that could not be completed or published because permission could not be secured for a key piece of information or because the information was simply not forthcoming at a critical stage in the case-writing process. At this point you should also inform the individuals that they will be able to review and give approval for release of personal information and quotes. If you are covered by an Insti51

Finding a Case Site and Gathering Data

tutional Review Board (IRB), you can provide your school’s Human Subject Consent form to the individuals you interview. This issue has become more important in recent years, and all case writers should strongly consider gaining approval from their IRBs whenever possible. Rock (2007) provides an example of an IRB informed-consent form. More will be presented on this subject in Chapter 4, Research Cases. Individuals who have not previously been exposed to case studies may need additional explanation as to how a case is used, especially for teaching purposes. People are especially interested to know who will be using the case studies, for what purpose, and who will be the expected audience. Individuals are often impressed when they realize that their experiences will become the basis for expanding knowledge by students. They realize that they will, in essence, become an active part of the education process, without the necessity of having to be physically in class themselves. The authors have found that a discussion of the proposed audience and use of the case can be an especially effective technique in securing the assistance of people at all levels of the organization in the development of the case study. Senior-level officials in any discipline or field especially like to hear that they will be studied by students at a variety of different institutions. This meets their ego needs; it’s a form of flattery that appeals to their sense of importance as a leader in their field.

Gaining Access Once the initial contact has been made, there are frequently issues that arise over access to other individuals and information that might be needed to complete the case study. Rarely are all circumstances predicted at the initial meeting. Questions then arise as to what additional information or interviews might be both appropriate and necessary. These issues also should be covered in the initial research letter. A question that frequently arises is whether there is a quid pro quo involved in the case-writing process. In many instances, individuals ask for what is, essentially, free consulting or counsel52

The Field Research Process

ing, in exchange for access to the material needed for completion of the case. This should be avoided at all costs. If the case writer becomes involved with the organization or individual as a consultant or counselor, his or her independence is frequently endangered. Although this may seem to violate the point noted earlier that a consulting engagement can lead to a case study, under these conditions the consulting aspect of the project needs to be completed before the case study is to be commenced. It should also be noted to the individual who raises such a question, that the completed case often can be as valuable as a consulting engagement. The individual or organization is receiving, hopefully, an unbiased and independent description of the incident, situation, or decision being studied. The case document can be effective in helping the individual or organization understand what was happening and why, and what the impact was. This, in itself, should provide a valuable benefit in exchange for the time and information being provided to the case writer. Also, as noted earlier, the value of the case study in the education process cannot be slighted. The individual or organization has, through the case study, assisted in the education of future decision makers in the appropriate field of study. Another important consideration is the confidentiality of information given to you by others in the organization, particularly subordinates of your contact. They should understand that you have the permission of their superior for them to talk to you, on the record. You should also ask each individual for permission to use any quotes or possible confidential material that he or she has provided, before including them in a version of the case for which you are seeking a release. That way, they know which of their information and opinions will be shared with others.

Releases and Promises A formal release must be obtained for field-researched case studies. The final draft of the case should be given to the individual within the organization who has the authority to grant release of the information provided in the case. Exhibit 3.1 is an example of a simple release form; an IRB may require more extensive 53

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consent (Rock, 2007, 13–14). Malcolm McNair noted that he suffered serious damage to a business relationship because of his premature release of information that had been given to him by an associate outside the Harvard Business School. McNair stated that he had thought that the information could be shared with his classes. Upon hearing that McNair had presented the information in the form of a case study, the executive cut off all access by McNair to the company. The executive made it abundantly clear that the information had been given in confidence and that McNair should have asked the executive’s permission before sharing it, in any way, with others. After that experience, McNair has always secured a formal release, even when there is a general understanding that the information is to be shared as part of a case study (Towl, 1969). The authors found themselves in an analogous situation when developing a case study on a privately held manufacturing firm. The CEO of the firm had stated that he was pleased to be able to have his company and managers participate in a case study, especially because it would help students understand how a supplier can succeed by working closely with its suppliers, a major objective of the case study. As part of the discussions, the CEO explained the value of his administrative and operating staff. He noted that without certain, specified personnel policies, he would not have been able to keep so many talented managers at a medium-size company. When he saw his statement in a draft of the case, he stated that under no circumstances could that statement remain in the case. He hadn’t even realized that he had made the statement until he saw it in print. Fortunately, the statement was able to be deleted before the case was shared with others. Although the full statement of policies would have made the case better, the deletion did not really harm the case. Also, the willingness of the case writers to immediately delete the sensitive information made the executive even more comfortable with the end product as well as the case-writing process in general. One of the authors was faced with a problem when he sought final approval of a case study that was written about an entrepreneurial venture that the student had developed while studying at Skidmore College. The student had described and analyzed 54

The Field Research Process

Exhibit 3.1 Case Release Form Professor’s Name Department University Address To [Names of Case Researchers]: This is to inform you that I give my permission to conduct a case study analysis of [company name]. I understand that I, or my assigned representative(s), will be given the opportunity to review the case for accuracy and will receive a copy of the final report for my use. I also understand that the information obtained may be used in the classroom, for presentation at professional conferences, and for publication in journals and/or textbooks. By my signature, I affirm that I am authorized by my company to grant such permission. _______________________________ Signature _______________________________ Name (please print) _______________________________ Title _________________ Date

the venture as a class project. During the discussions concerning the project, the student had stated that one of his goals was to become a millionaire before he was thirty. That quote was placed in the case as an example of the values of the entrepreneur. When the student saw the quote in print, he objected to its use, 55

Finding a Case Site and Gathering Data

feeling that it made him look “cocky.” The author deleted the statement, with regrets. Shortly before submission of the case for a conference, the author read a report in the Wall Street Journal on collegiate entrepreneurs. In the article, the Skidmore student made the comment concerning becoming a millionaire. Since the comment was now in print, the author was able to put it back in the case where it had previously been located. The case was well received at the conference and was subsequently published in a book on small business management (Naumes, 1990). When the author noted to the student his comments to the WSJ reporter, the student had to admit the statement was now public knowledge, and reluctantly agreed to its inclusion in the case. Preliminary release authorizations should be requested when the drafts of the case are shared with colleagues. This could be for the purpose of gaining outside views of the effectiveness of the case or for permission to distribute the case at a case workshop where it is to be reviewed as any research paper would be analyzed. These authorizations may be oral, as opposed to the traditional written authorization received at the completion of the case-writing process. It is always preferable, however, to receive all authorizations in writing. You should understand that there might be several steps where a release is sought. That is because of the case-revision process, as will be discussed in Chapter 7. There are times when, despite your best efforts, the person who should sign off on a case authorization decides not to provide the release requested. Regardless of the assurances originally given that a release would be granted once the case-writing process was completed, the relevant person may decide that the case should not be released. This may be due to simple cold feet about seeing the situation in print. It may also be due to late-breaking problems, including legal constraints. At these times, it is best to simply accept that the project is over and go on to another case study. It may be possible to revive the project in the future, but under no circumstances should you attempt to disseminate the case study without the approval of the relevant person involved in the situation being described. One of the authors was involved in the development of a case for use as a final project. The CEO of the company assured the 56

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students, after the case-writing process was described to him, that he would provide final authorization for release of the case. After the students had spent half of the term researching and interviewing managers within the company and presenting a draft of the case to the company, the CEO responded that he could not authorize release of the material in the case. The legal department of the company had advised him that, because the company was preparing a new stock offering, the authorization of the case could be construed as providing limited release of inside information and, therefore, could be illegal. There was nothing they could do but find another company that could be developed for the class project.

Case Disguises Sometimes, it is necessary to offer to disguise a case study to make it acceptable for release to the public. Although a disguise is acceptable as part of the case-writing process, it is often difficult to accomplish and still maintain the integrity of the case. Robert Katz wrote a case study in the mid-1960s based on a San Francisco company but decided a disguise was necessary to be able to put more information into the case. The additional information was probably worth the disguise for most students, but the details did create a potential problem. A key aspect of the case involved Italian immigrants who worked for the company and lived nearby. One option for the new owner of the company involved moving the company to a new site, with the approval of the employees. In the disguised case, the new location became South Boston. Unfortunately, as most students from Boston would understand, South Boston is a heavily ethnic Irish community. Although Boston is similar to San Francisco in many ways, Katz would have been better served stating that the company was to be moved to the North End or East Boston sections of the city. When the case was taught to students with a familiarity with the Boston area, the location became a major distraction from the key issues of the case and made it much more difficult to teach (Katz, 1970). Cases in education, health-care administration, and psychology often require that, at the very least, all names be changed. This 57

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often includes place names and descriptions. Health administration cases need to describe situations that would often lead to knowledge of the institution involved, so in this field it has become acceptable to aggregate data and information to develop a case that explores certain issues and problems. In this field, it is felt that effective disguises are not possible, so cases need to be developed by combining information and material from multiple sources and locations to create a single case. Other means to disguise a case frequently deal with the names of key individuals. This is usually not a problem as long as the case writer does not try to become too creative with the disguised names. Disguising the products or industry of a company can frequently be effective, but only if the industry data are not a key aspect of the case. Disguising financial data provides more problems, however. Often, the financial data are key to the discussion of business decisions. Disguises of financial data usually take the form of applying a constant multiple to the data. This may make financial analysis difficult to perform. Worse yet, it may provide a false indication as to the financial health of the company. Similarly, changing the age or ethnic background of a patient could lead to a different diagnosis. In other fields, this internal information might take the form of internal memos such as campaign memos detailing advertising, polling, debate strategy, and other decisions during a political campaign. Candidates, successful or otherwise, may be unwilling to share this information, at least until the campaign has been long over. Some may be unwilling to share it until after they have decided to leave office. Others may require changes to the information so that it cannot be traced back to a particular candidate. You have to decide whether this form of change or disguise makes the information worthwhile to your readers. In summary, case writers need to take especial care when trying to disguise a case. As Sir Walter Scott (1808) noted: “What tangled webs we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” One way to overcome some of the hesitation concerning release of actual data or information is to advise the person responsible for authorizing the release about the timing of the case-writing process. It often takes at least six months to perform all the interviews, write drafts, present them for approval, and prepare 58

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the final draft. After that, the case writer will often seek the responses of other case writers, as well as class-test the case, as will be discussed in Chapter 7. Often, by the time the case becomes available for widespread distribution, at least eighteen months will have passed. By then much of the data and information will be general knowledge, anyway. The time-lapse is lengthened when you realize that all of the material involves a situation that has already occurred. Most individuals who are not familiar with the case-writing process assume that the case will be available for immediate distribution. Once they understand the time that will pass between the actual event and ultimate publication or dissemination of the case study, they are more likely to provide a release without significant changes or disguises.

Gathering Data Once you have made the initial contacts and established the ground rules under which you will be allowed to study the organization, you can begin the process of collecting the actual data that will be included in your case. Although you could simply wander around and observe, or sit down with an individual and start asking questions, it is helpful to plan the data-gathering process. This includes both the types of information that you want to collect and the techniques you will use to collect it.

Preliminary Preparation The objectives outlined and defined in Chapter 2 should be used to help to develop the questions to be asked. As with any field research, case research relies on a core set of questions relating to the objectives of the case writer. It is best to outline those questions and to follow that outline. The case writer should allow for follow-up and in-depth questioning when responses from those being interviewed show promise in developing a greater understanding of the background, definition, and reasoning behind the situation being explored. Open-ended questions usually work the best. During this process, however, the case writer is often following a cautious path 59

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between too much and too little guidance in developing questions. Too much direction may lead to responses that are preordained and biased. This is equally true for a teaching case as well as a research case. Too little direction may cause the respondent to skip over material relevant to the full understanding of the situation. When in doubt, the case writer should always remember that collecting too much information is always better than not enough. It is always much easier to cut material from the case than to have to go back and get additional information at a later date. The authors were able to develop an award-winning case as a result of an offhand comment by the CEO of a firm, whom one of the authors was interviewing for an entrepreneurial development case. The CEO mentioned an ethical dilemma he faced as a result of an acquisition decision. Recognizing its educational value, he was willing to follow up with sufficient information for a case on ethics. The result was “The New Year’s Eve Crisis” case (Naumes and Naumes, 2005). The use of a standard set of core questions also allows the case writer and subsequent researchers to compare the results of the material across case studies. For teaching cases, this means that teachers will be able to use a series of cases in the same or a similar situation to demonstrate how different organizations adapt to the same environment in different ways. For research cases, this process allows researchers to develop and refine concepts and theories while holding as much of the research process constant.

The Interviewing Process The interviews should be conducted at the respondents’ place of business or operation. This helps the respondents to feel more comfortable because they are on their own turf. It also allows the case writers to get a better understanding of the environment under which the situation being studied occurred. We always readily and willingly accept tours of the site, whether it is a manufacturing facility, office, or service operation. A tour gives added insight to the environment and how it may have affected the situation. It also often causes the respondents to recollect information that 60

Gathering Data

might otherwise have been overlooked or forgotten without the visual cues of the workplace. Also, always remember that the respondents are doing you a favor by letting you interview them. Interviewing them at their site means that you are less of an imposition. This also makes it more likely that they will accept the interview request, since it will take less of their time than having to come to your site. It is preferable to have two interviewers while collecting information. In this manner, one of the case writers can focus on the actual questioning process, including follow-up and in-depth questions, while the other case writer can focus on an accurate transcription of the responses elicited during the interview. This latter process should include as many direct quotes as possible. Direct quotes often mean the difference between a rich, vibrant case and a lifeless, and sometimes boring one. If the respondents agree, it is preferable to have the interviews recorded. A tape recorder ensures that all of the responses are accurate and that the interviewers do not miss any important information. The ability to videotape some responses would be helpful. However, as we will see later in this book, successful videotaping can be difficult and costly. Whenever possible, find out what materials the respondents may have to support the case interview. These materials may include company financial statements. They may also take the form of other interviews that members of the organization may have given, especially during the time being studied. Other material may include original engineering calculations or drawings, schedules, memos, advertising by the organization, public relations material, policies and procedures statements, and a variety of data gathered by the organization concerning its customers, suppliers, competitors, and its own employees. However, case writers need to be careful that the material would have been available to the respondents at the time the case takes place. For example, while financial statements may come from the appropriate time frame, they are rarely available until at least a month after the end of the reporting period. Likewise, although written reports of the appropriate time frame may become available at a later date, if that information had not been available to the managers, it will 61

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probably be flagged by observant reviewers. The authors have been caught in this position on more than one occasion. We had to scramble to come up with time-appropriate versions of similar information to salvage these cases.

Triangulating Field research does require that the information gathered by the case writer be verified, in some form or another. One person within the organization making a statement involving judgment or values may not reflect the true situation within the entire organization. Where at all possible, information should be gathered from multiple sources. As with a reporter preparing an article for a newspaper, at least a reputable one, all facts need to be verified before publication. Some of this fact gathering may be accomplished by interviewing others within the same organization. Other means may include interviewing individuals outside the organization. This may include customers, suppliers, and even competitors to help validate information and claims by individuals within the organization. External validation can often provide alternate points of view to those presented by managers within the organization. Even if the original statements cannot be verified through these interviews with others, the readers are now presented with these alternate points of view. The readers can then determine for themselves which individuals to believe and which points of view to accept. There are a variety of external sources that can also be used to help in the verification process. Financial data can be found in published sources, especially for industry comparisons. This is especially true of not-for-profit organizations. State laws typically require that not-for-profit organizations’ financial statements become public record as part of their reporting requirements. In most developed countries, publicly held companies must also divulge their financial information. You may also be able to find published interviews and articles about the individuals, organizations, or situations being studied. This material may also be used to either verify or present alternate perspectives for the reader. Examples of other sources are discussed in the section on “Library Cases” below. 62

Authorization for Release

Finally, you may simply watch and record what is happening around you. This process has a long and rich tradition in field research to develop and validate hypotheses. Similarly, direct and nonintrusive observation can also be used to further validate information for the case. The problem with this method is that you have to directly filter and interpret the information before including it in the case. This adds to the potential for injecting bias into the case.

Authorization for Release Releases need to be received for all case studies that are developed through field research. Someone in the organization needs to authorize the use of the material in the case study. Where an organization is concerned, the authorization should be signed by the supervisor of the highest person mentioned in the case. Otherwise, the individuals involved in the case should be the ones to sign off on use of the case. There are times when, upon reviewing the final draft of the case, the person authorizing the case does not want some material to be released in the form presented. Rather than scratch the entire case, you can offer to disguise some material in the case. This may be as simple as disguising the names of the individuals and the organizations. Other disguises, as noted earlier, may require significant changes in the case. Whether the case is disguised or not, an authorization still needs to be secured. This is to overcome the likely problem that at some time, somewhere, someone will probably see through the disguise. A colleague once told us of writing a disguised case and releasing it for use. Another professor, in a distant state, used the case. One of his students immediately recognized the company from descriptions in the case. Fortunately, our colleague had secured a release from the company before allowing it to be used elsewhere. Interestingly, one of the authors was asked to disguise the names of the individuals and companies in two separate case studies. However, the heads of both companies did not require that the location, including cities and street numbers, be disguised. These were the weakest disguises that the authors have ever come across. 63

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Library Cases Most of the discussion in this chapter, up to this point, has revolved around the development of field-researched case studies. There is another form of research that has been alluded to briefly that deserves additional treatment. This is the case study that is developed solely through published sources, or, as it is sometimes described, the library case. The benefit of this form of case study is that it does not require direct access to the individual or organization. Instead, it requires access to sufficient material concerning the individual, organization, or situation that a reasonable discussion can take place through the case study. As noted in Chapter 1, one of the authors saw that there were a limited number of case studies on conglomerate forms of business enterprises during the early 1970s. With the assistance of a graduate assistant, he was able to find sufficient published information on Gulf & Western Industries, a major conglomerate of that era, to be able to piece together a reasonable case study on how and why they had developed their strategic direction. A major factor in being able to develop that case study was that Charles Bludhorn, the CEO and founder of Gulf & Western, was an outgoing individual, as was his president, John H. Duncan. Both made themselves readily available to the print media and were often quoted extensively in those sources. They took pride in their ability to succeed using the conglomerate organizational form. Therefore, they were happy to expound on their use of the form and the strategies that they developed to make their company a success, according to them (Naumes, 1982b). The success of this case, which was subsequently used in several textbooks, was based on the richness of the information that was available from a large number of sources. The author did not need to rely on one or only a few published sources. That is a potential problem with library case studies. If only a limited number of sources are used, the resulting case study may suffer from the bias of the authors of the original pieces. Also, if the case writer quotes too extensively from one source, there is the potential for copyright infringement. The case writer would need to receive permission from the original source to be able to 64

Library Cases

use the case study. This is often time-consuming and potentially costly. Additionally, definitions of “fair usage” vary from source to source. The Internet also provides access to a wide variety of information sources. The good news is that it is readily available, and, with a good search engine, should be easily found. The problem is that the validity of the information may be questionable. Also, it may be difficult to find the information in the future if the Web site changes or is updated regularly. This may cause a reference citation to be incorrect later, when the case is published. Another disadvantage of the library case is that it often lacks the depth of treatment and presentation of the values and thoughts of the individuals involved in the incident or situation being explored. In the Gulf & Western example, the two top officers of the company were more than willing to share their personal and professional views concerning the situation discussed. There was very little information concerning other managers within the company, however. This was very different from the position the authors were in when they developed the case study on the supplier-oriented manufacturing firm mentioned earlier in this chapter. In that situation, the authors were able to directly interview all of the top managers in that company. Those interviews indicated some disagreements among the managers as to the importance of some aspects of the strategy being followed by the company. One wonders whether all the managers at Gulf & Western were as committed to the conglomerate form as were its two top officers. There are many instances, however, when the library case is the only effective method of developing a study of a particular incident. This is particularly true where there are issues of illegal activities involved on the part of the individuals or organizations being studied. This was the situation with several case studies surrounding the gas leaks at the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India. The company was unwilling to participate in case studies of that incident because it was being actively investigated by several agencies in India and the United States, and faced potential lawsuits. To get a case study to press in a timely manner, case writers 65

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had to rely on published sources. Fortunately, the investigations were made on a public and timely basis. As a result there was a large amount of publicly available information on the incident itself, the situation leading up to the gas leak, and the response of Union Carbide management, both in India and in the United States, to the problem. This particular material could have been used in several disciplines, including public policy, government affairs, international relations, and public health. The accident caused death and health problems to several thousand people. In addition to ethical or managerial issues, a decision or evaluative case could be developed focusing on preventive measures or support measures, once such a situation occurs. You need to be careful, however, when drawing on information from published sources that you do not violate copyright provisions. Otherwise, you will need to seek permission to use the material from the holder of the copyright. One valuable source of information can be court documents and legislative hearings. Since many of the library cases involve sensitive incidents, these sources can prove invaluable, because much of the information is taken under oath. There are problems with this type of information, the major one being that not all information has to be disclosed. Also, the records are often not available until after the proceedings have ended, creating a time lag. However, these sources provide a source of direct input from the individuals involved in the incidents and are considered to be primary sources. Other valuable sources of information for the development of library cases are government documents. The various government agencies provide free and open access to a wide variety of studies. Cases in international affairs and cross-cultural studies may make use of the many country studies prepared by government agencies including the Departments of State, Defense, and Commerce. Documents of this type are also considered to be primary, rather than secondary, sources if they are based on field research. One of the authors wrote a case on an entrepreneurial venture on the island of Dominica, in the southern Caribbean. The case was based on and written with one of his graduate student’s knowledge of the entrepreneurial couple who started the venture. 66

In Conclusion

The faculty author had never been to the island, and had to rely on the knowledge of his graduate student for information and descriptions. Fortunately, there had been an extensive U.S. government report on the culture, economy, and politics of the island nation of Dominica. This helped the author to better understand the country and the environment facing the entrepreneurs. Parts of these reports were included in the final case study, with reference to the government reports (Naumes and Kane, 1988). Health-care or nutrition cases may make use of information provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Education case writers may use material from the Department of Education. In business case studies, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires that publicly held companies provide financial and legal data concerning the company. The SEC then publishes this data, making it part of the public domain and, therefore, available for use in library cases. Also, most major state universities are official repositories for government documents. This makes it that much easier for case writers to gain access to this information. The usual request of the government agency supplying the information is that the source be appropriately noted for the information in the case study.

In Conclusion Field-based case studies can have several advantages compared to library case studies. The field-based cases provide a richer depth of information than library cases. They allow the case writer to follow up on potential added issues. They enable the case writer to add dimensions to the case that reliance on published sources rarely provides. They also are more likely to be lively and interesting than library cases because the case writer has a better understanding of the individuals who are the focus of the case study. Field-based cases allow the case writer to delve into the values of the individual decision makers and their reasons for participating in the actions or situations being explored. There are a wealth of sources for field-based case studies. Most come from people with whom you, the case writer, have direct contact in one form or another, including family, friends, col67

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leagues, students, and other associates. Utilizing these resources in a positive manner can often lead to ease of entrance to the case site. Once entry has been established, the first dialogue with the individual around whom the case study will focus, will often determine both the effectiveness and overall success of the endeavor. The case writer must always keep in mind the objective defining the case study. Also, the case writer must always adhere to the necessity of securing permission at several points from someone who has the authority to provide a release for the information available in the case. Although disguises to case studies can make the process of securing releases from the individuals or organizations somewhat simpler, there is always a danger that the disguise will create more problems than it resolves. Library cases usually do not require release for sensitive information, because the material has all come from published sources. These cases, therefore, can be useful in developing studies of extremely sensitive material. It is rare with library cases, however, that more than one or two perspectives can be developed. It is also typical that library cases lack insight into the feelings and emotions of the key individuals that are available from a fieldbased case study. The case writer needs to keep in mind the original objective of developing the study. This is the determining factor in deciding which types of material to use, how to find it, how to secure it, and, ultimately, how to write the case study.


4 Research Cases


esearch cases share many of the same characteristics as teaching cases. The main difference between them is that research cases are designed to develop, expand, or test research hypotheses, and teaching cases are designed to achieve a pedagogical objective. As such, research cases have different styles and organization than teaching cases. Since research cases are designed to both explore and present analytical results, the development and structure of this form of case study have somewhat different constraints and opportunities than teaching cases. The popularity and longstanding use of research cases require that we discuss this important vehicle as a separate entity. In reality, teaching cases and research cases can be part of an unbroken circle of professional development and preparation to become better teachers.

Background Case studies have been used to develop and test research hypotheses in formal settings since the 1800s. Case studies were the foundation for research in fields such as psychology and political science. Freud and Jung developed their concepts of psychoanalysis through the study of individual patient analyses. These “single n” case analyses were presented to their students as examples of various illnesses. They were also used to demonstrate methods for treating these illnesses when discovered in other patients (Feagin, Orum, and Sjoberg, 1991). The work of psychologists was extended into the behavioral sciences by Wundt, Pavlov, and Thorndike, in part, through the use of case studies. Skinner’s work on operant conditioning was accomplished, es69

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sentially, through the use of a series of case studies of individual subjects (Kazdin, 1982). These researchers understood that field-based case studies provided an opportunity to extend hypotheses and concepts without the need to rely strictly on self-reported data such as surveys. Survey research data typically relies on the memories of individuals to state what happened and when. Case-based studies allowed the researchers to explore, to a much greater degree than possible with survey data, the full development of what happened in a given sequence of events. The researchers then had the ability to better understand some of the more subtle aspects of the situations. All of these factors give case researchers the ability to imply causality for the observed actions. Survey-based research, which relies on statistical analysis, demonstrates correlation but cannot imply causality. Case studies allow researchers to develop and test theories and concepts through the use of direct, trained observations, as opposed to indirect methods of research. Bock (1970) notes similar results in the field of political science. Early work in this area included research based on a combination of diaries, biographies, and direct observations. This method is similar to modern case research that might combine interviews, media accounts of events, and other personal statements presented elsewhere, such as annual reports, testimony before courts, and other legal hearings. Whyte notes that many of the most important studies in organizational behavior have come through the use of participant or observational studies. These forms of single and multiple case studies have gone a long way to extend knowledge in this field (1984, 29). Much of this work is historical in nature. Its value and interest come from its ability to study an organization or group of individuals and interactions over time. Longitudinal studies allow researchers to determine the pattern of these interactions and behavior through different environmental forces. Chandler used this method to study the relationship between organizational structure and strategy by analyzing the actions of four large firms over a long period of time. By making qualitative analyses of the similarities of these patterns of decision making and reactions, he 70


was able to develop his theory of strategic and structural change (1962). Porter (2006, 2) writes that “We need to keep this balance between rigorous methodology-based academic work and case research.” He notes that this balance has led him to be able to develop his theories concerning strategic development and the competitive advantage of nations. A current form of research involves action research. It starts with analysis, leads to understanding, and ends with change. It is defined by Dick (1997) as using an empirical methodology to determine effects of interactions studied. The methodology then proposes responses to the evidence gathered. This then leads to further studies to confirm the responses. This cyclical or iterative process leads to a better understanding of the concepts and actions being studied. Each of the research steps is often one or more case studies. Bock (1970, 5–18) continues by listing seven key factors that make case research such a rich tradition in the field of political science, and, by inference, in other fields as well. These factors include: 1. The ability 2. The ability Â�situation 3. The ability 4. The ability time 5. The ability 6. The ability 7. The ability

to focus on issues and subjects to focus on the dynamic interaction of the to study a situation at a point in time to study a series of actions over a period of to study the aspects of a situation to probe a situation in depth to corroborate theories

These same factors have led to the use of case research in other fields. These include medicine, law, and, more recently, education, business, and management. All of these fields use the advantages of case research to focus on the similarities and differences in individual instances. They can then use the case studies to prescribe methods to overcome or to take advantage of the situations. An example of this process was demonstrated by Rock (1998), who used a previously published case to define her dissertation 71

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proposal. She found a case that combined stakeholder phenomena in an environment that examined public policy within the context of political science and business-government-society theories and concepts. The original case did not specifically address the issues she wanted to study. It did, however, allow her to propose a model for extending theory. She then researched a series of very specific case studies that she could analyze to test her proposals, comparing the cases for the behavior of the alliances presented in the cases. This process allowed her to study these behaviors in depth and to compare and contrast these behaviors between alliances.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Case Research The opportunity to study an actual situation in a realistic setting is the principal advantage of case research. This type of research allows the researcher to determine not only what happened, but also why it happened. Case studies also allow researchers to study the impact of actions over time. As Dick explains, case-based �action research allows for the ability to develop solutions and then to test them in similar studies. Stake notes that many statements from the research case can be used to help explain the causal effects of the research, as opposed to having to infer this from traditional statistical analysis (1997, 18). Case studies also allow researchers to place the study in the context of the environment in which it occurs. Whyte observes that case research allows researchers to go into greater depth when studying responses than would be allowed through survey research (1984, 94). Finally, case studies allow researchers to study complex processes in their entirety. All of these factors provide significant advantages to researchers who use case research in their studies. There are, however, disadvantages to using case studies as the basis for research projects. The major disadvantage to case research is the difficulty of generalizing from the results of these studies. It is difficult to extrapolate from the results of single-case research into a larger context. This is especially true when environmental factors are taken into consideration. Yin argues that case research can pro72


vide analytic generalization, although not statistical generalization (1989, 38). Providing data and information from multiple sources also provides an added form of construct validity. The reliability of the results is similarly difficult to demonstrate, since the circumstances surrounding the research are so difficult to replicate. The data presented in case studies are usually analyzed using qualitative methods, even though nonparametric statistical methods can be used. The case can be presented to multiple researchers and, to the degree to which they arrive at the same conclusions as the original researcher, then the case research can be said to be at least partly reliable (Yin, 1989, 45). In any event, Stake argues, “The real business of case study is particularization, not generalization” (1995, 8). Moreover, the subjectivity of case research is both an advantage and a disadvantage. It allows researchers to use their background and knowledge of the situation to follow up on issues raised during the interview process. On the other hand, subjectivity opens up the research to potential bias. Whyte also notes that it is all too easy to get lost in the mass of information and data, especially given the subjectivity of the process (1984, 35). Finally, it is often noted that case research is expensive and timeconsuming to implement. This drawback is readily apparent when considering the amount of personnel time required to effectively develop one or more case studies. It is especially true of action research, which can require an extensive iterative process.

Methodology Research cases are developed in much the same manner as teaching cases. The main difference is that the researcher starts with a specific purpose in mind, whereas some excellent teaching cases have been written primarily because information was available (the “serendipity” mentioned in Chapter 1). The purpose of a research case is also usually more directed than that of a teaching case. This purpose determines the people, organizations, or situations that are studied. The researcher seeks out situations that meet the characteristics required by the hypotheses that are being developed or tested. The researcher tries to hold ex73

Research Cases

traneous factors to a minimum. Yin (1989, 35) explains that an effective design for research cases should include “(1) a study’s questions, (2) its propositions, (3) its units of analysis . . . (4) the logic linking the data to the propositions and (5) the criteria for interpreting the findings.” The questions during the interview for the research case are also more directive than those for a teaching case. Once again, the interview and the subsequent written presentation are driven by the purpose and objectives of the research study. Both pedagogical and research case studies take the form of a semi-structured interview, where the interviewer has a minimum set of questions for which responses are to be elicited from the individuals familiar with the situation being studied. It is the role of the case writer to gather information from the semi-structured interview without leading the individuals in their responses. The issue of interviewer bias is a critical problem with case-based research. It is all too easy for the case writer to develop questions that predetermine the responses, biasing the research findings. However, the same can be said of the development and analysis of survey questions. Equally important is that the case writer take care that the responses are presented in a factual manner. Critical factors cannot be withheld, even if they may bring the research into question. Similarly, the case writer should not try to paraphrase the comments of the respondents. As with the teaching case, it is always best to present the comments verbatim. This helps the readers to analyze the data and information for themselves. Yin notes that this is a particularly difficult process to learn, for which there is little in the way of external validation or training (1989, 62). Thus, an effective case researcher needs to be a good listener who does not intrude into the data-gathering process. The good case researcher is similar to a good investigative reporter. Just as a good investigative reporter does not let personal values, politics, or beliefs lead the investigative process, a good researcher does not allow the hypotheses to lead the research. Moreover, the case researcher needs to make sure that both verbal and nonverbal cues are withheld during the interview process (Whyte, 1984, 97–99). 74


Naumes, Merenda, and Naumes (2007) used multiple case studies to test and expand the concept of entrepreneurial growth proposed by Eggers, Leahy, and Churchill (1994). They used cases that they had previously authored, either singly or jointly, in their analysis, feeling that since they had written the cases for pedagogical purposes, the use of these cases for theory testing and development would not be biased by the hypotheses. This process demonstrates that the use of previously written case studies can be an effective tool for theory testing and development while at the same time overcoming bias problems when performing research. Researchers also need to determine, in advance, how they will manage the trade-off between sample size and ability to generalize the results of the study. A multiple case study can heighten the ability to generalize the results. As with Freud’s studies, if a larger number of cases is used, the researchers need to spend more time preparing the interview process and ensuring that it is implemented in a consistent manner. When analyzing the data from the multiple case studies, the researchers need to be sure that the causal patterns are also consistent. In the Naumes, Merenda, and Naumes study, the researchers felt that the use of five studies would be sufficient to test their hypotheses. This was predicated on the consistent analysis of all five case studies, which was ultimately accomplished. This, typically, requires the use of independent analysts looking at the same cases and arriving at the same conclusions (Miller and Friesen, 1982, 1024). In the Naumes, Merenda, and Naumes study, all three researchers analyzed each of the five case studies and came to the same conclusions. While the authors were not independent readers of the studies, they did analyze the cases independently and then compared their analyses. When implementing the interview process, as noted in Chapter 3, it is preferable to use a team of two or more people. In this manner, one person can be conducting the interview while the others are recording the responses from the interview. One becomes an active observer while the others become passive observers. While this is difficult to operationalize, it is the preferred approach. Freud, Whyte, and Margaret Mead took an intermediate approach by primarily observing, but also by participating in the 75

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process of decision making, proposing solutions to problems, or providing access to new ideas and thoughts. Similarly, the ability to record the interviews can greatly improve the validity and reliability of the data, if the persons interviewed will agree to this process. This cooperation makes it easier for the principal interviewer to follow up on appropriate responses. If the subjects will permit it, using a tape recorder in addition to the two-person team will allow for still greater precision; a tape recorder is even more important if the researcher must conduct his or her research alone since it will be the primary backup. After the interview, the researchers can compare their notes and recollections of the interview. This process provides a means by which interviewer bias can be reduced or countered. The final, written report should be a consolidation of the material provided by all members of the research team.

Institutional Review Boards Case research, by its very nature, involves the use and study of human subjects. From our discussions with a wide range of case writers we have found that few seek permission from their university’s Institutional Review Board (IRB). The mission of these groups is to ascertain whether researchers are guaranteeing the rights of their research subjects. This mission comes from a variety of sources. It can actually be traced to Hippocrates and his determination that physicians, above all, should do no harm. After World War II, it was found that physicians for the Nazi regime had been carrying out human research that placed the subjects at great risk of harm. As a result of the Nuremberg War trials, the Nuremberg Code was developed that affirmed that this type of research violated basic human rights. Further evidence, including the Tuskegee experiments, led to the formation of a commission, by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to develop guidelines to apply to research proposals that are funded or supported by federal grants or resources. The result was the Belmont Commission. The commission developed a series of rights, guidelines, and rules, the Belmont Principles (Office of Human Subject Research, 1979), 76

Institutional Review Boards

for the use of human subjects. Unless there are overwhelming reasons, the federal government relies on the Belmont Principles as a test of whether human subjects’ rights have been protected or violated. Henderson (2005) presents a good overview of the issues and history of informed consent. He notes that the Belmont Commission presented three basic ethical principles for those researchers utilizing human subjects. They are: respect for persons, beneficence, and justice toward the human subjects. These are to be applied through the use of informed consent, the ability to assess the risks and benefits of participation, and the appropriate selection of subjects. The concern of IRBs is that researchers follow proper protocols in their research and do not place the subjects at risk of harm, unless they are fully and effectively informed of all the risks involved in the research. Also, the IRB wants to ensure that undue pressure was not placed on the subjects by the researcher. Rock (2007) noted that the informed-consent form required by many IRBs may actually be detrimental to the interviewing process, due to the high degree of specificity involved in the form. Many human subjects become concerned about what will be disclosed after the interview and during the case-writing process. Unfortunately, the viewpoint of IRBs appears to vary by institutions. Anecdotal responses received by the authors have shown three different types of response by institutions. One set of schools feels that case writing is part of the exempt portion of the federal guidelines. A second group of schools feels that all case writing falls under the guidelines. The third group appears to feel that they do not know how to treat case writing and resort to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach. Basically, some feel that all research involving human subjects needs to follow their approval process. Others feel that as long as the subjects of a case study are apprised of their rights and that the researcher is not in a position of power over the subject, then the case study does not require IRB review and approval. Also, as Rock notes, since the unit of research is the organization, which is nonhuman, then the IRB has no jurisdiction. Another problem deals with the form of the interviewing process. Review by an IRB typically requires that all questions, either survey or interview, be preapproved by 77

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the IRB. Unfortunately, as noted earlier, the typical interview for case research includes a semistructured question set, whereby the researcher is able to follow interesting responses by the individuals being interviewed. This research process creates an insurmountable problem for the IRB process. Our discussions with IRB representatives at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) came up with a range of tests to determine whether IRB review was required. As long as the basic rules of harm and power were met, the determination of IRB authority rested on the purpose of the case study and the authors. We were told that if we were conducting the case research solely for classroom purposes, then we probably did not need IRB review. If, however, our purpose was to complete a case study, even one for pedagogical purposes, to enhance the professional development aspect of our goals and mission, then we needed to secure IRB approval. Therefore, if we were to include the subsequent case study in the research section of our resumes or annual reports, even if the case study were for classroom use, then we needed to seek IRB review. If we published the case study, then it would be assumed that the purpose of the study was for purposes of professional development, and not primarily for teaching purposes. However, since the published case would be used for pedagogy, we tried to argue that this met the guidelines for an exemption. That argument did not seem to sway the person with whom we were speaking. However, she did not pursue the issue further, despite knowing that we were actively publishing our cases. It should be noted that UNH is a Category I research-based university. Our discussions indicated that if your institution has an IRB and you are developing research cases, then you should be seeking IRB review of your work, prior to pursuing the research. One requirement of IRBs is that human subjects’ rights are guaranteed. IRBs usually provide sample consent forms to be used with human subjects. You should contact your institution’s IRB for these forms. If you are unable to find them at your own institution, or feel that your school’s form is not suitable for the case-research process, Rock (2007, 13–14) provides an example of an IRB form. 78


Uses Cases can be used to achieve several different research ends. They can also be developed in different manners. In each of these instances, the case study has to relate to both the research objectives as well as other theories relevant to those objectives. Schatzman and Strauss (1973) present a model that relates how field research using case studies can be used in anthropology and the social sciences. This model can also be adapted for use in other fields of research. The model presented by Schatzman and Strauss is based on the development of three types of field-based case research. They describe these field notes as: ON: Observational notes are statements bearing upon events experienced principally through watching and listening. They contain as little interpretation as possible and are as reliable as the observer can construct them. TN: Theoretical notes represent self-conscious, controlled attempts to derive meaning from any one or several observation notes. The observer . . . interprets, infers, hypothesizes, conjectures; he develops new concepts, links these to older ones, or relates any observation to any in this presently private effort to create social science. MN: A methodological note is a statement that reflects an operational act completed or planned: an instruction to oneself, a reminder, a critique of one’s tactics. . . . Were he to plan on writing for later publication about his research tactics he would take detailed notes . . .” (Schatzman and Strauss, 1973, 100–101)

Pavan (1988, 5) analyzes these forms of notes and states that they can be effectively tied together to form an integrated case study that “can be presented to the reader, be the readers students or professional colleagues.” The format in which the case is presented determines, according to Pavan, whether the study is a teaching or research case. The fully integrated presentation becomes the research case. Field research as presented in this manner, Pavan states, is particularly “amenable to the study of complex, poorly defined 79

Research Cases

problems, such as often confront business managers” (1988, 5). His description is equally applicable in other disciplines such as education, health care, and political science. In all these fields, researchers are trying to analyze and understand the effects of both internal and external factors on the decision maker, be it diagnosing disease, dealing with students, or winning an election. In particular, such case studies can be used both for hypothesis development and for hypothesis testing. In both situations, the researcher is searching for patterns in the case studies that indicate how they relate to the theories being developed or tested. Stake concurs, noting that case research allows the researcher to understand what is occurring. It also allows for a more personal involvement of the researcher in the process. Finally, the researcher is able to better construct theory through case research (1995, 35).

Hypothesis Development Case studies have been extended to the testing and development of theories, models, concepts, and hypotheses in entrepreneurship, among other fields. Yin (1989) proposed a model for the use of field-based case studies as a research method to be used either as a stand-alone method of research or to supplement more traditional forms of organizational studies. This has encouraged researchers to use this methodology in their studies. He notes that while the research design includes an understanding of the general concepts behind the development of the theory to be studied, they need not be fully established before the case data is collected. Based on this model, recent researchers have applied fieldbased case studies to the development of their research proposals. This is based on the need to develop hypotheses and theories concerning, for example, behavior and decision making. It involves studying organizations or situations facing new or developing environmental factors and learning how these organizations adapt to them. From these field studies, a theory of administrative decision making can take place. The theory can 80


then be tested through traditional, large-sample studies, including questionnaire research. Porter (2006) notes that his widely accepted theories of the Diamond Model and Cluster theory were developed based on carefully constructed case studies by several teams under his supervision. Lawrence (2010) used an extensive set of published pedagogical cases to develop a model of stakeholder management. Case studies provide a realistic vehicle for developing hypotheses or theories. Full-fledged case studies allow researchers to analyze a situation in its natural environment.

Hypothesis Testing An alternative model is to test a previously developed theory or set of hypotheses by intensively studying a small set of situations or companies facing the factors outlined by the theory. This type of theory testing is exemplified by the work prepared by Porter (1990) in his study of the development of competitive advantage among nations. A variation on this form of case research is to utilize case studies that have already been written by other authors in theory development and testing. Although this method takes considerably less time than developing the cases personally, it also contains problems that lead to potential difficulties in reliability and validity in the research process previously noted (Hofer, 1973). Of particular benefit is that case research can elicit the reasons why people act in the way they do. This helps researchers to attribute actions to specific stimuli and values. As Bennis and O’Toole (2005) note, management decisions are inherently complex and “messy.” The information available to managers is usually incomplete. They state that “statistical and methodological wizardry” cannot realistically deal with this kind of situation. Corley and Gioia (2011) agree, and note that researchers need to focus on pragmatic, or practical utility in theory development. This is consistent with Porter’s view of his research and the effective use of case studies. The case method can be especially valuable as exploratory research. It allows the researcher to investigate interactions of 81

Research Cases

behavior and decision making. It also allows the researcher to study the impact of personal values and the background of those being studied on their actions and decisions. This process can also be used to validate and extend other forms of research. For example, various researchers have hypothesized that entrepreneurs either are or are not responsible for the advancement of innovation and extensions of competitive advantage in developing industries. Case studies can help to explore these conflicting theories in a dynamic setting.

Preparation The case writer needs to prepare carefully before initiating a case research project. Similar to the teaching case, a site needs to be selected that is likely to achieve the research objectives. The individual, organization, or situation to be studied should meet the constraints and characteristics required by the hypotheses being proposed. Porter (1990), in his study of competitive advantage, looked for industries where the companies were clustered in a particular geographic area within a country. He then developed a structured approach to evaluating the history and environment surrounding these companies. Porter developed a team of case researchers to seek out information on these industries and companies. They then went into the field and studied the individual companies to determine whether and how they had developed distinctive competencies and advantage over their competitors in other geographic areas. The researcher needs to determine just what the focus of the research is to be. That focus determines what types of situations are to be studied. The focus of the research typically is grounded in the literature of the field to be studied. The literature helps to define the hypotheses. It provides the basis for proposing those hypotheses. The literature also helps to determine what type of individual, organization, or situation should be selected for the case research. Porter, in the previously mentioned studies, did not arrive at his hypotheses on a whim or out of the blue. If we were to study his previous work, we could see the genesis of his concept and hypothesis of competitive advantage. 82


Porter and his research team then studied economic and demographic data to determine which industries to study. This process then led them to approach particular companies for further in-depth studies. As can be seen, there are ways that the search for an appropriate research site can be made more efficient. A random search for a site should not be the norm. The characteristics of the type of site and situation should be clearly defined. These characteristics come from the definition of the hypotheses as well as the literature around which they have been developed. Porter and his research group also determined to test their theories through the use of multiple cases using the same questions and design. By doing so, the group was able to provide both validity and reliability to their research findings. In a following study on competitive advantage of New Hampshire–based suppliers, the New Hampshire Industry Group (NHIG) developed a model of how suppliers can create competitive advantage. Based on an analysis of the results of survey instruments as well as demographic data, the NHIG chose several industries from which to select firms for further study. This led to the selection of a series of firms in leading economic industries. A number of firms were contacted by members of the research group. The companies were approached through several different sources. One was approached through a contact developed through previous consulting contacts with one of the members of the research group. Another was contacted through the school because the head of the company was an alumnus of the school. A third was contacted because the CEO was a member of the advisory board of the school. A fourth was contacted through a personal contact of one of the research group’s members. Several of the firms declined to be interviewed for the in-depth case studies. Others indicated a willingness to participate, however. Members of the group then interviewed managers within these companies, using a structured series of questions that were designed to test the reactions and strategies of the companies in their relationships with their customers as well as their technological environments. The companies fit the profiles established by the prior research studies. 83

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In the previously mentioned study of the stages of entrepreneurial growth by Naumes, Merenda, and Naumes (2007), the researchers looked for case studies where there were clearly defined entrepreneurs who had guided their organizations through the stages outlined by Eggers and Churchill (1994). The authors studied how and why the entrepreneurs followed the paths they took in the development of their companies. They searched for case studies that would describe the values of these entrepreneurs and their impact on their decisions as to what direction to take their organizations. Nath, Sikka, and Cohen (2004) describe how they used a series of case studies within Action-Based Case Research to help present student teachers with a better understanding of student-teacher interaction. They formulated their hypotheses of key problems facing new teachers by talking with front-line teachers. They then found experienced teachers to develop case studies of their interactions with students that were similar to the issues presented by the hypotheses. These cases were studied to determine common aspects of interactions. Discussions with graduate teachers to determine effective means to overcome the problem were then used to further refine the cases. This iterative approach is the basis of action research. In this study, the researchers used their students to help to develop the hypotheses, gather data through case studies, and describe and analyze typical situations that help to test the hypotheses. As can be seen from these examples, a combination of sources is used to select appropriate case sites for research purposes. The first factor is, as noted earlier, a combination of the hypothesis and the relevant literature. A variety of demographic data as well as the results of previous research should also provide the basis for selection in the NHIG research. Finally, appropriate sites should be approached based on the likelihood that they will participate in the research. The criteria for securing access and release of information for a teaching case, which were discussed in Chapter 3, apply to a research case equally as much as to a teaching case. As noted in the discussion concerning the stages of entrepreneurial growth, previously published pedagogical case studies can be used to further research. New case studies may not be required 84

Presentation Style

to develop hypotheses or test theory. Yin further notes that there are a variety of other sources for such data. These include internal documents, reports, other studies, and material from published sources other than those noted above (1989, 85). In education, sources could also include exams, student reports, and grades.

Presentation Style The research case starts with its own version of the “hook,” the name given to a teaching case’s introductory paragraph designed to engage the reader. In a research case, the hook is a statement of the purpose of the research. Often this is found in an abstract. In other situations, the hook may be an introduction. In still other research, it may start with a statement of the hypotheses to be developed. The presentation of the case then becomes a combination of the statement of the case facts and the research project. In many respects, the research case is a combination of a focused teaching case and its attendant instructor’s note. The written presentation of the case study is more focused than that of the teaching case. Typically, only those aspects of the situation that relate to the research objectives are presented. These statements are not presented in a contiguous manner, however. Unlike the teaching case, the research case is interspersed with the material relating to the research objectives and definition. The opening statement, as noted, would be a statement of the research purpose. This might take the form of an abstract of the paper, as well as the statement of the research hypotheses. The basic situation would then be described. The segments of a traditional research paper would be presented with relevant segments of the case. An example would start as noted above. It would be followed by a general description of the situation being studied in the case. The literature review would then be presented, followed by more description of the case. The presentation of the case at this stage would involve those aspects of the situation that relate to the relevant literature. The literature review would then be followed by a statement of the research hypotheses or of the conceptual model to be tested. 85

Research Cases

At this point, a further description of the situation would be presented. This description would help to depict how the case applies to the model or hypotheses. It would include those environmental or extraneous factors that help to define the background, not just the direct aspects of the situation presented in the case. At this point, the case is enriched to include the data and information that would be needed to enhance an understanding of how the case relates to the hypotheses or model. In particular, appropriate quotes and information from other sources, both inside and outside the organization, would be presented. In this section, the case writer provides the data that supports, or fails to support, the hypotheses of the research. This is where the validity and reliability of the research are developed. Whyte notes that not all participants are of equal value, however. The case writer has the responsibility to ask questions that will indicate the level of importance and responsibility of each of the respondents (1984, 105). These sections are then followed by a simple statement of the methodology. Since the whole focus of this type of presentation is a research case study, a brief description of the role of case research is presented here. This is followed by a description of the rest of the case study. The description includes information on how, when, and where the information was collected. Also included are the individuals interviewed, including the method by which the questions were both developed and presented. The method by which the collected data is analyzed is also described. Basically, the analytical methodology is presented at this point. The presentation of this additional material is analogous to the presentation of research data in a more traditional research paper. As with any research paper, the methodology is followed by an analysis of the research case. At this point, the case writer demonstrates how the research objectives have been proved through analysis of the case. This analysis includes a restatement of the hypotheses and their proof if the case were designed to be explanatory in nature. If the case were to be used in an exploratory manner, then the results would describe the further development of the theories, concepts, or hypotheses that had been illustrated through the case. 86

A Research Case Example

The summary and conclusions repeat those aspects of the case that are critical to the research objectives of the study. The limitations of the research are also presented here. The results of the analysis are also summarized, with the addition of references to the case to provide added emphasis. During this recapitulation of the results, the fact that the study relies on an actual situation is stressed. Although the limitations of the study are noted, the fact that this analysis was based on field research should also be noted at this point, as well. The study, therefore, does not possess the same limitations of survey and similar forms of research. The positive as well as negative aspects of the case study are presented in this manner (Stake, 1995, 123, 131). It should be noted that colleagues in some disciplines do not place as much credence in case-based research as in more traditional, parametric statistical types of research. Although there is a long tradition of this type of research, there are universities where it is simply not as well accepted as the more traditional forms of large n–based research. The case should be presented in as complete a manner as possible and should be clear and adequately defined, while meeting the needs for brevity and efficiency. Moreover, the material in the case should be significant to the objectives of the research.

A Research Case Example Naumes, Merenda, and Naumes (2007) used this type of approach in their research on studies of the stages of entrepreneurial growth. This form has been followed in a variety of studies. The earlier editions of this book described studies by the New Hampshire Industry Group and its study of cluster groups and proximity to suppliers and customers. These studies led to the development of the theory of Problem-Solving Suppliers. A current study involving club management by the authors of this book, in collaboration with a professor of Hospitality Management, is looking at the strategic development and maintenance of women’s clubs in the United States. The researchers started by looking at how many women’s clubs might be available locally. They researched the literature 87

Research Cases

to determine what had been written about club management and women’s clubs, as well as not-for-profit strategic management. An initial message was sent to the managing directors of women’s clubs throughout the United States soliciting some brief information, but primarily to see whether they would be willing to participate in a study of women’s clubs in general and provide information on their clubs in particular. In-depth, semistructured interviews were conducted with the managing directors of the two city women’s clubs in Boston. One of these has already been translated into a pedagogical case study (Barrows and Naumes, 2010), and the second interview will be translated as well. Both sets of interviews have helped the authors to start developing a concept of strategic alternatives for this special niche type of city club. The vast majority of city clubs are now coeducational in membership. The authors intend to develop a set of hypotheses on strategic imperatives for maintenance of these specialty clubs. Based on these hypotheses, follow-up interviews with selected officers and members of the clubs will be conducted. Furthermore, the authors intend to develop a survey questionnaire to test the hypotheses on the larger population of city women’s clubs. The research will include the clubs’ financial statistics for comparison purposes. Fortunately, most of these clubs are notfor-profit entities, and their financials are public record in their states. As part of the initial research, a Web site was discovered that gives a complete list of most of the existing women’s clubs and basic information on the clubs. This has helped with the initial work on this project. A statistical analysis will be carried out on the survey results to further test the hypotheses. As can be seen from this example, research case studies can be used for a variety of purposes. Initially, the main purpose of the research case studies was developmental in nature. The research group will develop a conceptual framework based on the results of a series of interviews and survey instruments. There was a question in the minds of the researchers as to the causality of their research results. They wanted to be able to test whether the model actually worked the way that they had predicted in their model. Research and pedagogical cases will help develop 88

Case Research to Case Teaching: The Unbroken Circle

the explanatory nature of the overall results. This in turn will help the group to further refine their research goals and to develop a more elaborate definition of their model. It will also help the group to develop an enhanced model for this industry segment.

Case Research to Case Teaching: The Unbroken Circle Naumes, Merenda, and Naumes (2002) note that case research has an additional advantage for case writers. Research and teaching cases provide case writers with direct experience with actions from actual situations. The ability to analyze these situations in the context of a set of theories and hypotheses allows case writers to broaden their pedagogical repertoire. It is one thing to be able to present hypothetical concepts and situations from a theoretical perspective, especially those that have been developed by others. It is another thing to be able to discuss those theories and concepts when they are your own. It is more realistic to discuss your own ideas when you can refer to situations where the theories and concepts have actually been tested and applied. When these situations can be associated with real, identifiable individuals, the concepts and theories provide an even more believable teaching tool. The addition of the research case to the teaching process adds to the credibility of the teacher as well as the concepts being presented. As noted earlier, this can be especially effective in graduate programs, such as education. The case research developed by the authors and their collaborator, described above, has been used by the members of the research group in their teaching. They have been able to adapt their studies for classroom use. Not only has the research been effective for describing club management techniques in a lecture or discussion setting, but the studies have also been adapted into teaching cases. The Chilton Club has since been developed into a teaching case, as well as a research case. Similar studies have occurred at Harvard and other business schools, where the research studies have also been turned into effective teaching instruments. Research cases have also been prepared and developed into teaching cases in other fields 89

Research Cases

such as education, health administration, and medicine. Cases in the fields of agriculture, education, and health care have recently been presented at the annual meetings of the North American Case Research Association. Researchers in these and other fields have returned to the use of case research and have incorporated this type of research into their pedagogical repertoire. In order to successfully turn a research case into a teaching case, we had to disaggregate the factual information from the research results. In essence, we have split the material into the case and the Instructor’s Note. The way to do this is to go back through the source material and the interviews and develop a teaching case, as will be described in Chapter 6. The results of the research are then placed in the Instructor’s Note or Manual (the IM), while adding material to note the pedagogical purpose of the case as well as teaching hints, a summary, suggested questions and responses, and any additional analysis that is necessary to complete the IM. More on the structure of the Instructor’s Manual will be described in Chapters 5 and 8. The result is a case that has been developed from the same interviews that were used to develop and test research hypotheses. The researcher needs to enter the field research process with an understanding of the issues involved with developing both types of cases. This may require a larger number of questions in the interview process. The differences in style between the two types of cases involve the placement of the research results. In the research case the focus is the results. In this manner, the research case includes your opinions and judgments. In the teaching case, as will be noted, you are acting as reporter, withholding your opinions for the Instructor’s Manual. In the research case, there is no separate Instructor’s Manual. What we see here is the closing of the teaching, theory, and research circle for case writers. It has been noted that teachers can become more effective if they are able to incorporate their research into their teaching. If students can see that instructors’ research has direct application to actual situations in the fields and areas in which they teach, the effectiveness of the presentations is intensified. 90

Summary and Conclusions

The “Business Case” There is another form of research case that is presented to define and test business strategies and tactics. Management often refers to these studies as making a business case for a concept or idea. The purpose of these studies is to analyze the effectiveness of such a concept, tactic, or strategy. The NHIG was asked to study the effectiveness of the interaction between a prominent New England–based company and its suppliers in meeting the needs of one of its largest customers. The group interviewed the key suppliers of the company to determine their views of the information system as well as the contracting and design processes used during the product development and production process. The group developed a refined business model for these processes based on this research and analysis. They made the “business case” for the refined processes.

Summary and Conclusions Case research has a valid and valuable place as a research tool in the study of administrative disciplines, a place it has long held in many of the social sciences. It has developed as a means to develop, test, and extend theory. This method can be especially valuable for administration, education, health care, and other areas of research due to the dynamic nature of the research. It is also valuable because of its ability to demonstrate the interaction, over time, of actions and decisions with values and environment factors. Case research presents the added advantage of allowing the researcher to follow up on questions and issues that are developed during the interview process. Moreover, case studies allow researchers to study a variety of aspects of both the situation being analyzed as well as the theories and concepts under review. Case research has the advantage of allowing the researcher to study the concepts in a realistic setting. It allows the researcher to place the research in the context of the environment in which it naturally occurs. The disadvantage of case research is that it is difficult to replicate, because of the variety of extrinsic factors that are present in any real setting. Also, it is difficult, time-consuming, 91

Research Cases

and expensive to implement. Its validity can also be called into question, since it relies on the observations of a potentially biased observer. Research cases will also typically require the approval of Institutional Review Boards, where they are present, as with other research dealing with human subjects. Research cases are developed much in the same manner that teaching cases are developed. The focus and objectives of the research case, usually defined by the hypotheses or theories being studied, define the setting and constraints of potential case sites. An appropriate literature search also helps to determine where and how a case site and subsequent observation should be developed. A main difference between the teaching and research case is that case writers use more structured interview techniques when implementing the research design at the case site. Another difference lies in the writing style, because the intended audience are professional colleagues, rather than students. The tone of the research case is often more formal and structured, as well. The written research itself is a combination of the material that is found in a well-balanced and thoroughly developed teaching case and its attendant instructor’s note. The research case starts with an introduction or abstract of the concepts to be presented. A brief explanation of the case, similar to the teaching case’s summary, is presented. This is followed by the literature review used to develop the hypotheses, which are also presented. These are analogous to the Key Issues and Relevant Theory sections of the teaching case’s Instructor’s Manual, as will be discussed in the next chapter. The case description and data then follow this presentation. Next are the analysis, summary, and conclusions, including how the research relates to the situation being described in the case. Case studies can be used to validate and to extend current theories and hypotheses, as well as to develop new concepts and theories. There are numerous examples of each type of use in the research literature of many fields, including psychology, political science, organizational behavior, anthropology, education, medicine, and the administrative disciplines. The fact that case research can then be extended into an effective teaching tool only serves to demonstrate the overall value of 92

Summary and Conclusions

case research. Faculty in a variety of disciplines need to present and instruct on theories and concepts in their courses. The presentation of this material is made more realistic through the use of case research and studies. Pedagogically, it is more sound for the faculty member to have experienced the concepts directly through case research. It is also stronger pedagogically for the students to take an active part in the development of the concepts through their involvement in the analysis of issues and decision making in an organizational setting. In this manner, the use of case studies for research writing and teaching closes the unbroken circle of literature review, teaching, and research.


5 The Instructor’s Manual, Part 1


ritten guides to teaching cases, including the Instructor’s Manual or “Teaching Note,” serve a variety of uses and users. They are more than the last resort of an overworked instructor. They are memory joggers, class- and course-preparation guides, guides to linkages with theory, sources of teaching techniques, and may even provide additional information about the case. Unlike the research cases discussed in Chapter 4, a teaching case contains only the facts, the data; thus, the Instructor’s Manual must also serve as the “Analysis” or “Research” section of case writing and research. In this chapter we deal with the basics of the case note, in particular, those aspects of the case note that can—and should—be written along with the case. In Chapter 8 we will cover those aspects of an Instructor’s Manual that can best be completed after the case has been tested in class.

The Importance of an Instructor’s Manual The Instructor’s Manual (IM), or case guide, for a teaching case serves many different functions. There are at least four primary users of Instructor’s Manuals: teachers, the writer him- or herself, researchers, and readers who wish to evaluate the quality of the author’s case research process (this category includes tenure committees and deans, in addition to editors and others concerned with the validity of both research and analysis). Our focus will be on writing a case note suitable for the first three users. If done thoroughly, the result should also satisfy the fourth, evaluative readers. 94

The Importance of an Instructor’s Manual

The process of writing a case note should be an integral part of the case development process. Its initial role is to help the case writer organize material by forcing him or her to think in terms of the function of the case being developed. The initial question concerns the purpose of the case: How could the case be used? For what academic courses would it be appropriate? Are the issues relatively straightforward, symptoms of underlying problems that must be diagnosed, or complex and interrelated, requiring mastery of most of the course’s content? The body of information collected by the case writer may determine the answer (i.e., it’s hard to write a complex case from data that describes a single problem area). Often, however, there is sufficient information to write a small book! The problem then becomes one of selecting the details and areas that will be most useful to the readers. That choice requires a decision concerning who those readers will be and what learning objectives you have chosen, following the guidelines in Chapter 2. The Instructor’s Manual informs the teacher/user of the case’s intended uses. In the process, it serves as a marketing tool for the case, showing how it can meet the instructor’s potential needs. In addition to its role in determining the focus of a case, the case note can also contribute to the writing process. Barra Ó Cinnéide (1997) argues that the teaching note should in fact be written in detail before the case itself. This allows it to serve as a template for the composition of the case. Not only does he feel that this process of “front loading” makes writing the actual case more efficient, but he also believes that it makes training easier for new case authors. He notes, “This should mean more substantial and higher quality teaching and learning material and, consequently, better learning experiences, hopefully” (Ó Cinnéide, 1997, 6). The case note also provides an outlet for the case writer. It is human nature to evaluate, yet students will learn more if presented with the bare facts so that they have to perform that evaluation. The Visiting Professors Case Method Program at Harvard suggested that the case writer “carefully record what he saw and heard, then develop worksheets to help him discover the meaning of what people did, with whom they did it, and the value to them of this experience. . . . [C]omments [should] be separately recorded in an 95

The Instructor’s Manual, Part 1

analysis of the case and as a guide to teaching the case” (Towl, 1969, 112). If the writer has personal reactions or impressions, the teaching note is the appropriate place to express them. The case writer must be careful to leave evaluation to the student, not to include personal evaluations of the appropriateness of the actions or beliefs described. But the case writer does have opinions and access to extra information and understanding that even the experienced case teacher and case reader cannot match. One of the many functions of the case note is to provide a means of passing on that expertise to subsequent readers and users. The author’s biases, if he or she is aware of them, should be stated. More subtly, a case may have been written with a particular point of view or use in mind. For example, a case that appears to have sufficient information to be useful in an integrative strategic management course may, in fact, have been developed to illustrate the importance of market research, and may, therefore, not have the necessary depth to evaluate production or human resource ideas. Similarly, a public policy case may have been developed primarily for discussion of the role of lobbyists, and lack sufficient depth in discussion of governmental processes. Knowing the author’s vision of the case is not intended to limit the case’s usefulness, but rather “to help the professor who is building a course of his own know the possibilities of the new case” (Towl, 1969, 85). The case note offers the author the chance to record more information. Backgrounds on the culture, the geographic region, or the industry are some topics that might lengthen a case unduly, yet might be useful to some readers. Additional material of this type can be incorporated into the Instructor’s Manual in a format that allows the teacher the option to hand it out to students, for example as an appendix to the IM. Such additions should be clearly identified early in the IM, so that the instructor is aware that the material is not in the case. Similarly, the writer might give references that would provide supplemental information, or suggestions for related readings, as well as ties to theoretical material or even ideas for projects or further research. Most educators and case authors agree that the purpose of a case note is not to replace individual preparation by the inÂ�structor. 96

Who Should Write the Case Note?

“Teaching notes are written to increase the value of the case for classroom use. They are not a replacement for in-depth study required of the case instructor. A teaching note can increase the breadth and depth of thinking of the instructor by adding the case writer’s ideas and analysis” (Scott, 1980, 39). Case notes are not intended to make life easy for the lazy or to give correct answers as a mathematics text guide might do. They are intended to help the instructor provide students with the opportunity to experience a small slice of the real world. A case does not tell the student what is relevant; instead, it describes a situation and allows the students to figure out for themselves what the problems are and how to solve them. Each student’s approach may be different. The case note is a means to broaden the instructor’s horizons and better prepare him or her to lead students in this kind of learning, and to get the most learning out of this particular case. It serves to jump-start the class, enabling the instructor to teach the case as well as if she or he had taught it before.

Who Should Write the Case Note? As is evident from the previous discussion, a strong argument can be made that the case note should be written by the case’s own author. He or she has the strongest understanding of the material, having determined the objectives of the case and collected and organized the data. In the absence of an author’s note, notes for teaching cases are often produced by textbook authors or their assistants in need of explanatory material to accompany the cases they have selected or to create a note using the text authors’ own models of analysis. Many of us also have informal notes of our own concerning cases we have used in class: what questions worked best, points that are likely to come up or that should be tied to theory, further information that students are likely to need, and so on. The Electronic Hallway, an organization for curriculum development in public policy and administration, requires these less formal, action-oriented “User Notes” as well as formal teaching notes for cases submitted to its journal. All three types of notes may exist for the same case. They are each useful because each serves a different need, even though all are 97

The Instructor’s Manual, Part 1

ultimately focused on the classroom. A richly detailed case could also be used to provide data for subsequent analyses by researchers, who would then need to provide their own notes, tailored to their methodology and research questions.

A Quick Outline of a Typical Instructor’s Manual A typical Instructor’s Manual performs a variety of functions and is intended for at least three users: teachers who will be considering the case for their course, teachers who are preparing the case for class discussion, and the case author him- or herself. Instructor’s Manuals for business cases are perhaps the most formally structured. Their development has been driven by the growth of case distribution systems for business cases and the perceived responsibility to help other users to be successful with the case. Increasingly, the peer review process for business cases has led to inclusion of sections covering a wide range of topics. In fields such as law or medicine, where the instructor has been through rigorous training and is an expert in his or her field, such an extensive Instructor’s Manual might not be necessary. While the IM for a law case could include the objectives, case summary, and basic pedagogy sections, questions and responses would be structured around the process used in class, often abbreviated as IRAC: identify Issues and the Rules that apply, Analyze the case according to the rules, and draw Conclusions. An outline for a typical business case’s Instructor’s Manual is given in Exhibit 5.1. You will notice that there is overlap among the contents of the sections. This occurs because the sections will be used at different times, and it is important to have key information available whenever the instructor needs it. Although different authors may prefer other arrangements, this basic list of headings is quite comprehensive and includes those topics that case users and journal reviewers will expect to find. (The “Checklist for a Well-Written Instructor’s Manual,” Exhibit 8.1, is based on one created for reviewers for the Case Research Journal.) The Instructor’s Manual has increased greatly in size and 98

A Quick Outline of a Typical Instructor’s Manual

Exhibit 5.1 Outline of a Typical Instructor’s Manual

Case Summary* Objectives of the Case* Basic Pedagogy* Course Level (e.g., undergraduate/graduate/doctoral/executive program) Position in the course Prerequisite knowledge needed (including other readings to â•… be assigned) Research Methodology* Key Issues—List* (They may be incorporated into the sections on â•… Objectives and Pedagogy in the final version of the Instructor’s â•… Manual, or shortened to form the Key Words) Relevant Theory* Discussion Questions* Suggested Responses Teaching Techniques Time/class length best suited for teaching the case Board layout Other techniques/uses of the case Bibliography/“For Further Reading” Epilogue Exhibits for Instructor’s Use (at end for ease in removal for reproâ•… duction, etc.) Diagrams and models Data workouts Handouts (additional information that may be needed for some â•… courses, at the instructor’s discretion) *Discussed in Chapter 5. All other topics discussed in Chapter 8.

scope over the past decades; Miller (2008) argues that authors, and especially editors and reviewers, need to consider whether adding additional sections increases the value of the case package. In this chapter, we will discuss only those parts of the outline that can and should be written before the case itself is completed and tested. The remaining sections of the Instructor’s Manual are primarily concerned with preparing the case for classroom use. 99

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These sections will be discussed in detail in the second chapter on the Instructor’s Manual, Chapter 8. Although all of the sections shown in Exhibit 5.1 have relevance to the classroom, the sections on objectives and key issues of the case, linkages to theory, and basic pedagogy are also very useful for the case writer. Your reasons for wanting to write a teaching case, discussed in Chapter 1, are the beginnings of your discussion of pedagogy: what gap or need in your course are you trying to fill? What types of skills or learning do you want students to develop? What issues or topics are not covered in conventional readings, or could be better understood via class discussion? Often, one of the reasons for writing this case will be to illustrate how theories can be applied in the “real world.” Knowing how you want to use this case also gives you the first draft of your “key issues.” In deciding what type of case is most appropriate, in Chapter 2, you have established both educational objectives and the amount and types of data that you will need. All of these issues—your objectives, the teaching objectives, key issues or topics, and linkages to theory—are factors that you have already considered in beginning the case-writing process.

Case Summary Early in the Instructor’s Manual, some say as its first element, there should be a summary of the case itself. Its length can range from a paragraph to a page, depending on the learning objectives and complexity of the case. It should not be a point-by-point description of the case material. Since the case is not yet completed (and perhaps you have barely begun to write!), it may feel awkward to write a summary now. However, as with several of the other topics presented in this chapter, the intent at this stage is to help you organize the volumes of data you have collected, by asking you to state briefly what you think will be included in the ultimate case. If needed, you can rewrite this section later, to conform to the case’s actual organization and contents. Why include a summary in the Instructor’s Manual? It has several purposes. One reason is to offer more information to the potential instructor who is trying to decide which cases to include 100

Objectives of the Case

in his or her syllabus. As Brown (2007) says, “The synopsis is the ‘marketing’ part of the IM.” For a business case it would typically identify the setting—company or organization, industry, and geographic location (if important). It should identify the time frame: When does the case take place? Does it follow the situation over a long period of time, or does it describe a specific moment? The summary should also identify the decisions to be made (if any) and the aspects of the organization that will be the focus of the teaching objectives. Another major use for the case summary is to serve as a reminder for the instructor before going into class. Teaching schedules frequently call for the instructor to shift from one class or subject to another with very little time between for detailed preparation. The instructor will have studied the case carefully, but often will have had to prepare it a day or more before the class itself. For this reason, the summary should include the names of all important people who are featured in the case. It should also remind the instructor about the key details that will be needed to match the case with its theoretical linkages, or to discuss the key issues. There is nothing more embarrassing, or that makes the instructor look less knowledgeable, than to be corrected by a student during class!

Objectives of the Case From the viewpoint of the case writer, this is your reason or reasons for writing this particular case. The “Objectives” section of the Instructor’s Manual, however, serves multiple purposes. Your objectives help you focus your research on the types of information that will be needed. Once you have that information, your objectives help you organize it by providing the framework of what you want, or want your students, to learn from this situation. The amount and types of information and the degree of structure will have been determined by your choice of educational objectives, as was discussed in Chapter 2 and shown in Exhibits 2.1 and 2.2. The “Objectives” section is designed to give the prospective user a quick look at whether, and how, your case would fit into his or her course. This section is often called “Learning Objec101

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tives,” or sometimes, less accurately, “Teaching Objectives.” Student learning from the case will take two forms, content and skills. Objectives relating to content include specific knowledge of facts (for example, relating to a particular industry) or models or tools that could be applied. Objectives should also be stated in a way that demonstrates the type of skills that students will need to use or develop. Action verbs such as “apply,” “analyze,” or “recommend” are direct statements about skills and are preferable to terms such as “appreciate” or “expose students to . . .” If the degree of difficulty of these action-related objectives is too great or too small, or if the instructor already has sufficient teaching materials relating to your key content issues, then he or she does not need to read any further in the IM, much less the case itself. The objectives are usually presented in the form of bullet points, each with both content and skill components. The “Objectives” section of the IM should also make your objectives clear. The type of case should be evident from your set of objectives: Is it intended as an illustration of a theory or model? Is it evaluative, designed for students to analyze what actually happened or critique the decisions that were made? Or is it structured so that students will be able to make their own recommendations? Where does it fit in Chapter 2’s case characteristics based on Bloom’s Taxonomy (Exhibit 2.1)? What types of significant learning (Exhibit 2.2) should students be exercising? What learning from the case, either content or skills, can be transferred to other situations? If appropriate, tell the reader in one sentence why you wrote about this particular situation—because of its uniqueness or its typicalness? Many business cases focus on well-known products or companies; for a different perspective, you might choose to write about a small manufacturing company. An example would be of the Post Manufacturing Company, where one of the authors was trying to demonstrate the problems facing an entrepreneur who had led a management buyout and then had to develop a strategy for expansion while faced with the constraints of heavy debt (Merenda and Naumes, 1993). A case can also be used to illustrate a particular theory or to apply a specific model. It also can give the student an opportunity to sort through a complex situation and define for him- or 102

Basic Pedagogy

herself the important issues. The authors wrote a case (Naumes and Naumes, 2005) on the situation facing an entrepreneur who, after buying his largest competitor, discovered that the other firm had been producing tainted food for several weeks prior to the purchase. Although none of the product had yet reached the public, the entrepreneur needed to decide how to handle the situation. There was a strong possibility that proper handling would destroy the bacteria in the food during the cooking process. There was a small risk that people might become violently ill if the food were not properly prepared. There are issues of legal versus moral responsibility in this case. There are also issues of personal values and how they were developed. Finally, there are issues of how to implement a recall and retention of a customer who has been shipped tainted food. The development of the Instructor’s Manual is critical to helping the teacher to prepare effectively for this complex set of issues. The statement of objectives helps the instructor to determine whether this case is appropriate for the course, or, potentially, if it is simply too complex.

Basic Pedagogy Case writers often forget to include this very basic information in their Instructor’s Manual—it is implicit in their reasons for writing the case. However, any teacher who is considering assigning the case could use a sentence or two identifying the course or courses for which this case is appropriate and when it could be most profitably used during the course (early—an introduction; at the end—because of its complexity, etc.). If you are writing the case to fill a personal need in a course, you will already know how you intend to use the case and where it would come on your syllabus. As a result, you will have determined what other topics will have already been studied, both in your class and in other courses that the students will have taken. However, even after reading your brief description, someone else might still not know whether this case was appropriate for his or her course and students. Do they need to have completed several previous courses to have enough background to understand 103

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this situation? Or is it relatively simple to understand, suitable for introducing new topics to the reader? For what level of students is it most appropriate, for example, for college undergraduates, for older students who have more “real-life” experience, or for students in a graduate degree program who have completed more advanced course work? If your case is developing from a serendipitous situation, you will have to make a conscious decision about the type of course and level of students for which you are writing. In either situation, it is important to consider the models and theories that students will already have studied at that point in the course. Having designed the course, you have an intuitive feel for the students’ academic preparation and are writing the case based on assumptions about what students do and do not already know. Another instructor, however, would not have this knowledge unless you provide it. It will also be helpful to you, once you start to write, if you can be specific about the background that students need in order to use the case “correctly” according to your objectives. Some previous topics or models in the course may not be needed; if so, you do not need to include information that would be used primarily to do this analysis. By identifying the prerequisite concepts that are necessary or useful, you are helping any other instructor, and you are also clarifying for yourself how the case will be used. This will help you decide what information must be included. You may also know of additional readings or other materials that could usefully be assigned along with the case. Cite them in this section, early in the IM, so that that instructor has time to locate and/or assign them. As you write the case, and particularly as you begin to teach it, you may find that your initial ideas change. Students may need more information than you have provided to accomplish your initial objectives. Or, the case may be less complex than you had anticipated and consequently could be used earlier in the course or with less background. Sometimes students will find relationships in your case data that you had not thought about, or not expected them to identify, given their background. Don’t be concerned if this happens. It is always possible to redefine your objectives and rewrite these sections of the Instructor’s Manual if necessary. 104

Key Issues of the Case—“Student Take-Aways”

Key Issues of the Case—“Student Take-Aways” We have already stressed the importance of knowing your objectives for the case, in terms of the type of learning that you want students to experience. In the previous section we have also begun to talk about the specifics of students’ learning, by identifying the subjects that they already need to know before tackling the case. The Instructor’s Manual should also contain a brief description, often in the form of a list, of the important issues or concepts raised by the case and also of theories or models that students could be expected to apply. While a “Key Issues” section is not required by case publishers, it is useful in several ways. It allows you to give more information about content than could be presented in your “Objectives.” This list of “Key Issues” also serves as a checklist for the potential instructor to match the case with concepts in his or her course. On the “Key Issues” list there should be two or more short phrases or words, each referring to a topic that could be discussed, using your case. If you can think of only one phrase, either your case is very simple, hardly more than an example, or you are thinking too broadly. The phrases in this section should be longer than the “Key Words” used in many journals and databases. The phrases are intended to be a guide to important points for class discussion, so they should be specific enough to identify when or how the case will best fit the instructor’s syllabus. They should include any theories or models that could be applied to the case’s information. Some examples could include “the role of interest groups in the public policy process,” “management succession in a family business,” “cost/benefit analysis of alternative pesticides,” “Maslow’s hierarchy of needs,” or “managing change in a dynamic environment.” Using the “Key Issues” list, the instructor can learn more about your case than your brief description has provided. In a few situations it may be enough to have told the reader that this case is about leadership styles at Facebook. Any business student or instructor, and many other people, will recognize the name of the leading computer social networking company and most will already know 105

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that it was founded, and is still run, by Mark Zuckerberg. However, readers of your case may not have much prior information about the leadership of the organization. He or she will want to know what kinds of problems or issues your organization’s leaders might have experienced. “Leadership” as a key word is too concise. Is it a question of how to turn the organization over to a new generation in the same family? Or of a new manager trying to establish control over an unruly workforce? These topics would come at very different points in the course. So, for the instructor, it would be very helpful to find “Management succession in a family business” or “Dealing with a ‘Theory X’ workforce” in the “Key Issues.” The same principle applies also to other fields, such as law, medicine, or political science. For instance, if a court case is relatively recent, or the example is not the one that is most commonly used, it might be helpful to list the specific legal points or questions that distinguish this situation. This section gives the instructor an idea of the complexity of the issues, or whether in fact they are quite straightforward. A brief listing of the key symptoms and background factors that would be most important for diagnosis could be helpful, particularly to an instructor who is looking for relatively unusual situations or diagnoses for her class. The factual description of a particular event could lend itself to discussion of a number of different issues depending on the focus and the specific details that you, the case writer, have included. Your list of key issues will enable a potential instructor to determine quickly whether the case has the focus on behindthe-scenes politics that he wants, for example. The instructor, of course, may not be interested in all of the topics you list. He or she may prefer to focus on only one or two of them. If there is not enough information in the case to serve as the basis for a useful discussion, that topic should not be included as a “key” issue. The items on your list should each be identifiable in the case or easily raised in discussion. However, sometimes the interrelationships between the issues are also important. An instructor who chooses to focus more narrowly on only one issue should be aware that there are other aspects to the case, and should be prepared for the possibility that students will also be interested in these aspects. 106

Relevant Theory

Relevant Theory In addition to a brief mention under “Key Issues,” important theoretical applications also deserve a section of their own. What theories or concepts or models do you want students to apply? If the case was written to meet a specific need—a “gap” in your course—that gap is often the need for a case to illustrate a particular theory or concept. Many, if not most, other cases also describe situations that could be used as the basis for class discussion of theories or models. This section of the Instructor’s Manual outlines the links between the theory or model and the facts in the case. An important reason for writing a draft of the “Relevant Theory” section before you complete the case is to help yourself identify what information to include. If one of your reasons for writing the case is to discuss the personal characteristics of an entrepreneur such as Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Computer, then it will be necessary to include details of his actions, and, if possible, his beliefs. In the case, you will have to describe how he turned over the management of his company and its very successful product, the Apple II personal computer, so that he would have time to devote to developing an entirely new type of computer, later named the Macintosh. Then, after reading the case, students will have enough information to discuss whether Mr. Jobs was motivated by the need for achievement as opposed to a need for power, using McClelland’s model, or what stage of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs best applies. The “Relevant Theory” section is also an important part of the IM because no one knows your case as well as you. It would take several careful readings before an instructor would understand all of the details of the situation or company, whereas they are readily apparent to you. In this section, you are showing how one or more theories can be applied to this situation. This is not just to make the instructor’s life easier. It also ensures that he or she is prepared to help the class make these links between the “real world” and the models from their text or lectures. As you write this section and identify how a theory can be applied to your case situation, you are developing an idea of the class discussion 107

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that the instructor would like to have. You should be beginning to think of questions that you would ask to lead students in that direction, as will be discussed below. At this point, it is also helpful to develop a brief bibliography with specific references to the literature on which your theoretical linkages are based. This information is particularly useful if the theory or concept is not well known. A case coauthored by one of the authors involved the question of whether it was ethical to “blow the whistle” to the federal government on a competitor’s activities. Whistle-blowing is not a subject that is found in most texts. We had to research the literature to be able to analyze the options in this situation, even though we had collected the case data ourselves. It was then necessary to provide potential users of the case with references to the more useful articles, to supplement their understanding of the issue (Naumes and Oyaas, 1995). Even with better-known theories or issues, some instructors prefer to assign the original article, rather than have students rely on a textbook’s summary. Citing one or more sources for the theoretical links will make it possible for the instructor to identify and use them. The theoretical references may also be listed separately in a “For Further Reading” section in the Instructor’s Manual along with other references, as will be discussed in Chapter 8. Just as research cases are developed in conjunction with theory, a teaching case may apply and test theoretical models. Cases, both research and teaching, have become more accepted as a form of research precisely because they are based on theory and are testing theory. For teaching cases, however, this relationship is not obvious in the case itself. It must be made explicit in the “Relevant Theory” of the Instructor’s Manual for the teaching case to be considered as evidence of valid research, rather than simply storytelling.

Questions for Student Preparation and Discussion You have already thought about your case’s key issues and how the situation might be tied to one or more theoretical concepts. 108

Questions for Student Preparation and Discussion

A set of discussion questions is the means to translate the case’s educational objectives and key issues into student learning. It may seem early in the case-writing process to be developing specific questions. These questions can, and probably will, be changed once you have written and tested the case. However, writing them now will help you determine the specific information that students will need in order to perform the type or analysis or make the type of connections with theory for which the case is intended. You will probably find it easiest to start with the most advanced questions. These would be the questions that challenge students to apply theory or to develop their own recommendations or any other educational objectives that you have just identified. From these complex questions, you will need to work backward. How should the discussion develop in order to get them to carry out your objectives and analyze the key issues you, as the case writer, have included? How should the discussion start—what will get the students involved with the case and willing to talk? Students at more advanced levels may be able and willing to jump right into a discussion of the most important issues. A question such as “So, what do you think of Mr. Jones’s actions?” may be all that is necessary to start the class talking. This type of introductory question works best with students who are experienced in learning via the case method. It also is more effective for cases that have some kind of conflict or controversial issue than for a case whose objective is primarily application of theory or development of analytical skills. Many students need more guidance, however. It may be that they are simply shy or less willing to commit to an idea in front of others. Or they may not have thoroughly prepared the case or identified and thought through all of its implications. In either situation, it will be helpful to structure the questions in such a way that the analysis is built up from simpler concepts to more detailed and complex ones. We often start case discussions in the Strategic Management course with the question, “What business is this company in?” This, in most situations, is quite obvious. For some cases, however, it can be a critical issue, for example, the 1997 decision of the U.S. government that office supply superstores such as Office Depot and Staples were in an industry 109

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of their own, competing primarily with each other rather than more generally with all places where office products could be purchased. The question of “what business” leads directly into a discussion of Michael Porter’s Model of Competitive Advantage (1979), which describes the impact of forces inside and outside an industry on the individual firms in that industry. The first question for the “Mikhukhu People” case on change in a dynamic political environment (Page and Day, 2005) asks the student to consider the mission statement of her or his own organization before evaluating that of the agency MIPESA using Moore’s strategic triangle. It then uses that analysis as the starting point for discussion of the impact of change, and finally for recommendations. In both cases, a simple, almost obvious question leads to a more complex, theoretically oriented discussion. One additional benefit to starting with a basic question is that it will allow the less aggressive student to prepare a response ahead of time and feel more confident about entering the discussion. The types of questions should be varied. They should not all begin with the same wording, for example, “Evaluate . . .” or “What is. . . .” or “Solve. . . .” Identical beginnings mean that the students are being asked to perform the same type of analysis for each question. They are not being asked to demonstrate other levels of learning. Not all questions need to be at the highest level of learning objectives. Professor George Lombard, speaking to participants in the Visiting Professors Case Method Program at Harvard University, gave guidance to note writers and case users: I have come then to realize that there are five or six different action questions. First, what did X do? Second, what might he have done? Third, what will he do now? Fourth, what would you do? Fifth, what should be done? . . . The first, it seems to me, is descriptive, the second deals with possibilities, the third is predictive, the fourth personal, and the fifth normative. (Towl, 1969, 186)

Each of these questions represents a different type of thought, a different approach to learning, as was discussed in Chapter 2. It can be helpful to build the analysis from simple to more complex questions, as noted above. It is often necessary to use lower-level skills such as analysis (Stage 4 in Exhibit 2.1 or “critical thinking” 110

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in Fink’s Taxonomy, Exhibit 2.2) before being able to “solve” or “recommend” a solution. The Gustavson Farm case (Noetzel and Stanford, 1992) concerns a farmer whose fields are being threatened by grasshoppers, which will devour everything green. He has several alternative courses of treatment, at different costs and effectiveness, that he could use. But the grasshoppers are coming from vacant fields owned by someone else and any treatment will be effective only if they can be prevented from crossing into the farmer’s land. Before students can make a recommendation they must consider both the cost-effectiveness data and the ethical issue of whether the farmer has the right, or the obligation, to treat the neighbor’s fields also. The question about cost-effectiveness represents a Stage 3 or 4 educational objective, a somewhat complex problem with the method of solution fairly evident. The ethical issue requires thinking at Stages 5 or 6, where opinions and even value systems will vary among class members. Both types of reasoning are needed before the students can make an informed recommendation. In terms of significant learning, cost-effectiveness involves application, while the ethical issue involves the human dimension and caring. The number of questions will vary according to the complexity of the case itself and the needs of the students. Since the case writer cannot possibly anticipate the preparedness of every instructor’s class, he/she should provide questions appropriate to the courses and position in the course identified in the “Basic Pedagogy” section of the IM. There should be at least three or four questions. If there are fewer than three, it is probably because the questions are each quite broad. Consider whether you are asking the student to perform several types of analysis or accomplish several objectives in the same question. Every learning objective should be covered in the discussion generated by the questions. There may be more questions than objectives, however—for example, if multiple theories are to be applied. Generally, each key issue will have its own specific question, unless the issues are highly interconnected. Vary the wording of the questions so they appear to be different, even if the skills involved are quite similar. For example, “Solve for the best. . . .” could also be written as, “What do you recommend and why?” This also gives the instructor a way to reword what she/he is asking the class if the first question did not generate sufficient 111

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discussion. If the questions build logically on one another, carrying students deeper and deeper into the implications of the case, the final question or questions should call for the highest level of skills that students are being asked to develop. The questions should be listed together in a separate section of the Instructor’s Manual. This list should ordinarily not be included with the case itself, once it is written. If it is included with the case, as often happens in textbooks, students will tend to focus only on the issues specifically raised by the questions on the list. Having the list of questions only in the IM gives the case’s instructor more flexibility in how the case is used. She/he may assign all of the questions to the students in advance or may proceed through them systematically in class. The instructor may, however, prefer to start the discussion with a more difficult, higher-level question and proceed back to the analysis to support or develop students’ ideas. The instructor may also prefer not to follow a fixed format, but rather to ask one question and let the discussion evolve. The instructor may even be using the case in a different course context than the one for which the questions were developed. In all of these situations, a list of questions packaged with the case would make it more difficult for the instructor to manage the discussion in the way she or he preferred. However, in cases where the analysis must be developed step by step, questions embedded in the text of the case may help the student to master one part of the material before moving to more complex issues. Embedded questions or exercises may also be useful in a multimedia or electronic case, where they provide opportunities for students to make electronic linkages that lead to theoretical linkages with the case material. Electronic and multimedia cases will be discussed in Chapter 10. These draft questions will be tested along with the case, as described in Chapter 7. For now, they will serve you as a guide and a reference as you sort through and structure your information and begin to write your case.

Methodology A good case, as has been noted, is based on research. Whether by personal observation, by interviews, or from already published 112

The Practice Session

information, the case writer’s task is to collect data from the real world. It is important to let the reader know what types of research you used. In a teaching case this is usually just a sentence to let the reader know whether the case was researched in the field. This includes information about your sample size, specifically whether information came from one, or more, sources, such as interviews with multiple people. If material from published sources was also included, this should be noted. As discussed in Chapter 3, “Finding a Case Site and Gathering Data,” information from published sources has already been filtered by previous data collectors and writers, while field research is based on personal contact. This section also gives you the opportunity to thank those people who helped you with the research, particularly if they provided the opportunity for on-site or personal research.

The Practice Session In this section, we will concentrate on Appendix II, the draft of the Instructor’s Manual, and compare it with the final version found in Appendix IV. We have already read Appendix II, hoping for guidance on the case’s objectives, as discussed at the end of Chapter 2. This time, when you read the draft IM, look for the features discussed in this chapter: an explicit section on objectives, the case summary, basic pedagogy, theoretical linkages, and methodology. (You may also want to skim the case draft in Appendix I to refresh yourself on its details.) Even a careful reader of Appendix II will not find much useful information on these topics. There is only one short paragraph before the author plunges into specific questions to ask. The only statement of purpose is that the case may be used to “study the interactions” among a series of topics. This gives the impression that the case is useful for evaluation only, though the questions clearly ask for students to make a decision. It gives the instructor no guidance, however, as to the basis, theoretical or otherwise, that should be used in that analysis. The ideal instructor’s note would include a brief summary of the case, including the decisions to be made by any key characters. This IM doesn’t contain any summary, although the case itself is 113

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so brief and with so little detail that it itself is little more than a summary of events. There is only a brief summary of basic pedagogy. Four different courses are listed, which is too many. It is unlikely that any case can be used effectively in this many different settings. The level of students is not given. Not all cases are equally appropriate for undergraduates and experienced practitioners. As written, the best audience is probably upper-level accounting students, who should understand the professional standards involved, or graduate students who are more likely to have experience with the interpersonal dynamics of a small work organization. Position of the case within that course or courses? Prerequisites, if any? There is no guidance for the instructor as to when in a course to use the case or what background the students will need. What should students learn from discussing the case? The draft IM summarizes the key issues in the first paragraph: the hiring process, professional ethics and standards, personnel review procedures, and customer relations. All of these are potentially important issues, but as written, the case will not support an extended discussion on any of them. There are no links given to any theoretical framework, and no potential ancillary readings. However, it will be easier to develop these linkages once the focus of the case is clearer. Alternatively, the author could decide on one or two theories, and rewrite the case to provide enough information to explore them. Question 2 assumes that students understand the concept of “stakeholders” (anyone with a “stake” in the events of the case), which is a model generally introduced in advanced management courses. The questions follow a relatively logical progression, with questions 3 through 5 asking for more complex thinking than the first two questions. Question 2, on stakeholders, is a simple list; Question 1 asks students to determine cause and effect, a more complex concept. Perhaps these two questions should be reversed. Finally, there is no description of the research methods employed. Since this is a small, local company, it is most likely that the case is based on field research, but this fact should be stated. 114

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Now look at the final version of the Instructor’s Manual, Appendix IV. It begins with an extensive summary (“Case Summary”), possibly somewhat longer than necessary, especially in a case this short. It is followed by a section on “Objectives of the Case.” The objectives are clear in terms of the concepts that students will learn (professional ethics, stakeholder analysis, effective management procedures); they also call for the skills of analysis and synthesis (“develop alternative approaches”). This section is followed by “Basic Pedagogy.” The first paragraph of this section identifies the courses in which the case could be used. The section then identifies the basic subject of the case, professional ethics, and the degree to which the discussion can be generalized beyond its setting in an accounting firm. The next paragraph deals with the types of learning that students will use. The ethical issues are described as “somewhat muddy,” which would imply a high-level educational objective, according to Exhibit 2.1. Two other issues are summarized in terms of the types of knowledge that students will develop. A section on “Research Methodology” has been added. The next section, “Key Issues,” contains most of the same points that were mentioned in the draft IM, but presented in an easy-to-read format, and with the inclusion of the stakeholder model. There is a section on “Relevant Theory” that briefly summarizes stakeholder analysis and models of ethical reasoning. At the time that this case and IM were accepted for publication, a separate section on theory was not required, as long as the relevant concepts, ideas, and models were thoroughly discussed in the suggested responses. However, this section is now one of the most important in the IM, not only for pedagogical reasons but also as part of the research focus, and Appendix IV has been updated to reflect the new standards. The questions included in the revised Instructor’s Manual are substantially the same, and in the same order, as those in the draft IM. The only difference is that the wording of Question 2 has been changed from “Who are the stakeholders?” to “Develop a stakeholder analysis.” Instead of asking students for a simple list, they are now being challenged to relate that list to the issues they identified in Question 1. 115

The Instructor’s Manual, Part 1

Finally, the section on “Teaching Techniques” identifies where the case could be used in the course for which it is intended. This section identifies the target audiences, MBA students and undergraduates, and the length of the class. It outlines how the instructor might approach the case, including follow-up questions designed to draw out students’ responses. It also summarizes the types of learning that students should take away from the case discussion, an aspect of pedagogy that will be discussed in Chapter 8.

Summary and Conclusions All of these sections of the Instructor’s Manual are concerned with subjects that the case writer is, or should be, thinking about when beginning the case-writing process. You already established the methodology for your research when you chose what types of sources would be used. Establishing your educational objectives and the key issues for the case helps to clarify its focus, as does a consideration of basic pedagogical information on the type of course and the level for which the case is intended. The key issues, theoretical linkages, and discussion questions also aid in determining what information is necessary if students are going to achieve the objectives that you have set for them. Theoretical linkages, in combination with the brief section on methodology, also demonstrate that your case is truly a form of research, comparable to other professional papers. These sections are not necessarily in their final form, however. This is a first draft, subject to change as you actually organize and write the case, and especially as you begin to use it in class. You may find new issues, and new linkages, as you work with the information you have gathered. Other readers, particularly students, may give you new insights, or cause you to rethink your objectives or pedagogy. However, the benefits of writing these sections early in the writing process, as outlined in this chapter, make it worthwhile to proceed, even though they might turn out to be only your first draft.


6 Organizing the Case


riting the case becomes the most difficult aspect of the case-writing process. Although this may seem like an obvious statement, many case writers forget this maxim. You, the case writer, need to remember that simply securing information, facts, and pieces of data does not mean that the process has been completed. Information gathering is frequently the most fun and enjoyable aspect of case writing, but it is the finished product that makes the process a total success. Case writers should follow some reasonable guidelines in actually writing the case study. While these will not necessarily ensure success of the endeavor, approaching the writing process in a systematic manner should help to ease this difficult aspect of case research. Issues such as the appropriate style, length, focus, and actual material to present in the case must all be carefully considered. You will always need to consider the audience for which the case is intended.

Length and Straightforwardness Selection of Facts Case writers are often confronted with a mass of data, information, and facts when they are finally ready to write the case study. They have gathered material from a variety of sources. Some of it may even be contradictory. A question soon develops as to exactly what material should be put into the case. Typically, the selection of material to be included will be determined by the objectives and focus that drove you, the case writer, to start the entire process. 117

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The first draft of the case is the hardest to write. Case writers Jim Clinton and Jim Camerius describe it as “the agony of the first draft” (Clinton and Camerius, 1997). As with other forms of writing, it is helpful to begin with an outline. Before gathering your data, you have already identified one or more issues that would be useful for class discussion. Begin your outline with a section identifying those issues (to be modified into the “hook” as discussed later in this chapter). Then organize the key facts into a series of sections. Once your outline is drafted, check to make sure that you’ve included the information that you feel students will need to understand and analyze the issues. Now you can “cut and paste” information from your interview transcripts and notes to create a rough draft. The objectives of the case, as discussed in the exhibits to Chapter 2, help to determine just what material is to go into the case. A case that is designed to develop technical skills in the use of specific techniques, such as quantitative algorithms, may require little more than a basic description of the data that is to be manipulated, as well as a simple description of the use for which the data is intended. There need not be much in the way of descriptive information concerning the overall context, for example, the organization or its decision-making process. Quotes from the decision maker provide added interest to the reader, but they need not be extensive in this kind of case. As the purpose of the case becomes more complex, however, additional information is needed to provide the reader with a better understanding of the context of the situation or decision. At this point, quotes from the key players in the situation become more important to the reader. Quotes help provide a feeling of reality to the case. They also help the reader feel he or she is observing a living person. Of equal importance, the addition of quotes provides a description of the environment or situation in the words of the people who are directly involved. Medical students, for example, learn to make diagnoses from the patient’s own descriptions, and they experience the whole human context of that patient’s illness. By using quotes, you, the case writer, are not filtering the information that is provided to the reader. There is less likelihood that your values or opinions will be introduced 118

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directly into the case. The use of quotes allows the reader to analyze the situation directly, as opposed to having the case writer perform the analysis through the distillation of the material that is presented in the case. One of the authors wrote a case study concerning the interaction between the two owners of a firm and a recently hired subordinate. The original version of the case was reviewed for publication, and the reviewers all stated that the case had much merit but was considered “dry” and “lifeless.” They were also concerned that the case writer had introduced his own interpretation of the events when paraphrasing the statements and thoughts of the owners. The case writer agreed with the reviewers’ comments, and rewrote much of the case by simply putting the owners’ own words back into the case. Since the case had been initially developed from these interviews, the solution to the reviewers’ concerns was relatively simple. The revised case, with all the owners’ direct quotes substituted for the case writer’s summaries of their comments, was accepted for publication and was subsequently reproduced in a textbook (Naumes, Wilson, and Walters, 1995). The reviewers commented that, now, not only did the quotes give the case “life,” but they also allowed the readers to draw their own conclusions concerning the appropriateness of the actions and responses of the principals to the situation they were facing. For complex decision processes, you will need to add sufficient material to the case to help the reader understand the total environment facing the decision maker. Frequently, for cases that are designed to help students develop skills in unstructured and complex decision making, material from outside the organization must be added. In case studies dealing with agriculture, as an example, the reader may need to know the composition of the soil and potentially relevant government regulations, as well as the personal values of the farmer concerning the use of pesticides and other materials. Education case studies may include the type of school, its organizational structure, students’ backgrounds, and the amount and type of governmental interaction surrounding the decision that is being analyzed. Other examples would include the need for information on competi119

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tors and the legal environment for cases dealing with strategic management or environmental issues. The case writer, as has been noted earlier, needs to keep in mind the purpose, as well as the intended audience, of the case.

Appropriate Length There is no simple answer as to how long the case should be. The only answer is that it should be as long, and only as long, as is necessary to meet the concerns noted above. Some case studies that are designed to focus on the practice of a technique, such as problems dealing with straightforward quantitative methods, can be relatively short, possibly only one or two pages. Others, dealing with the development of unstructured problem-solving capabilities, can often extend to twenty or more pages. Even this relatively simple prescription can be misleading, however. There are situations where a case study can be developed in a relatively short space and still meet the objectives of the case writer. Ken Hatten wrote a case study of less than one page that was designed to describe discrepancies in managerial style (Hatten, 1987). The case describes a conversation between the case writer and a manager who states that his style is to know and understand the needs of all his employees. While walking through his plant, he stops often to talk with employees. He comes to one of his employees, calling him by his first name, as he had done with other workers, and asks how his wife is doing. The case ends, approximately two-thirds of the way down the first page, with the man’s response, “Still dead, sir.” The case author has clearly and concisely presented a case study that met his objectives of noting that there are often differences between the stated and actual styles of a manager. Other cases dealing with this same issue may cover several or more pages to be able to provide the student with similar information. In Hatten’s situation, the conflict between belief and reality was presented succinctly in one incident. In other situations the case writer may need to present the same issue by developing a series of such incidents. A case study was developed by Thompson (1993) to achieve a similar objective concerning the management and decision120

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making style of Ted Turner, the media mogul, that was in excess of twenty pages. One way to hold down a case’s length and improve its readability is to use exhibits. One journal editor, in his call for cases, said, “if a picture is worth a thousand words then a good exhibit must at least be worth five hundred” (Chrisman, 1994). Data, such as historical statistics on rainfall or temperatures in an agricultural economics case or balance sheets and cash flow projections in an entrepreneurship case, would be difficult to present in paragraph form and also uninteresting to read. However, the raw data, presented as an exhibit in the form of a table, provides opportunities for student analysis without distracting from the flow of the case “story.” Charts, maps, diagrams, and photographs are among the types of exhibits that may be usefully included in a case. They also provide a visual contrast to blocks of text and appeal to different learning styles. While you may have found interesting and valuable material online, links from the case to supplementary material are problematic, as information on Web sites may change. Exhibits can be used to provide in-depth information on topics from the case. It is important to refer specifically to the exhibits, not just to expect that the students will know when in the case to seek them out. Directing students to an exhibit will also help them make a mental link to the relevance of the exhibit material and the type of analysis that should be done. Although the case writer and the instructor intend that the extra material be used, not all students will choose to go beyond the basic material in the body of the case text (another source of the “A student/C student split” discussed below).

“Red Herrings” and Extra Information There are times when the case writer may decide to add information that is not absolutely necessary to the analysis of the case. The most common situation where this occurs is when you are trying to make the case as realistic as possible. In any real situation, there are many influences at work simultaneously. It is often an art to be able to sift through the overabundance of material 121

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and use only that information or data that is truly useful. Included in the information that is needed to make an effective decision or carry out the necessary analysis is what is called “noise.” This is information that is more of a distraction than helpful. It is, however, the kind of material that is frequently found in real life. To help students become more adept at performing the sifting process, adding extraneous material to the case can be a worthwhile exercise. Another reason to add information is to make it more difficult for the reader to determine the underlying reason, or purpose, of the case. This process is similar to the mystery writer who adds potential suspects or misleading information to a crime at the early or even middle parts of the story, only to provide information that clears the innocent suspects as the story progresses. This is done so the instructor can use the case to determine levels of effectiveness of different students. Our colleague John Seeger often places a hint to what appears to be an easy or obvious solution to the situation or decision in his cases. His intent, as he states, is to be able to distinguish between the “A” and “C” students. The C students will see the obvious solution and stop there. They will accept the “red herring” and go no further with their analysis. The A students, on the other hand, always ask more questions during their analysis. They ask the “why” and “how” types of questions to determine if the apparent answer is the best one, or even an appropriate one for the case. Although these procedures may add to the length of the case, they are also valuable teaching tools. They help the instructor to further develop the skills of the students using the case, as well as to provide a sounder basis for evaluating those skills. You, as case writer, should always keep in mind that merely adding information for the sake of a longer case is never a good idea. There should be a sound reason for the additional information. Students who are already multitasking will be even less likely to focus on what they see as irrelevant. In particular, if a case exhibit is not used in the Sample Responses, it may not be necessary to your learning objectives. As with the example of the mystery writer above, you should always provide sufficient information for the reader to be able to work out an acceptable 122

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solution for the problem presented in the case. If there is one and only one correct answer for the case, as in an algorithmic problem, then the student should be able to sift through the extraneous material and arrive at that solution. Where the problem is heuristic in nature, or one where there may be a wrong answer but several or more acceptable answers, then the reader should have sufficient information to be able to arrive at one of them.

Missing Information There are situations where the case writer may deliberately leave out information that is critical to the analysis or solution of the case. This is done when your objective is to help the student develop external research skills. Although there may be a significant amount of noise in the decision-making environment, there is rarely sufficient information to be able to make a perfect decision. This situation is especially true for complex decisions. Students, especially undergraduates, often come into advanced courses assuming that all case studies are self-sufficient and that there is no need for any external analysis. However, Kardos and Smith (1979) point out that “the objective is not to tell all the facts and results but to give just enough facts for students to become involved in the case. What is left out is often as important as what is included.” Requiring students to seek additional information from sources outside the case can be a valuable teaching tool. This kind of exercise can be as simple as requiring students to determine what the external environment was like at the time of the case. Since all case studies take place in a time frame earlier than that in which the class discussion is occurring, students may need to have an understanding of that prior time frame, possibly including the economy, laws, or even societal norms existing at the time of the case. This research helps the reader to fully understand the context in which the action took place, or in which the decision was to be made. Students come to understand that different environments produce different actions and decisions. In essence, it helps them to develop a contingency form of analysis and decision making. 123

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A more aggressive form of objective in which information is deliberately left out of the case involves a situation where it is the purpose of the case writer to have the reader develop information search and research skills. As noted, there is rarely sufficient information readily available to a decision maker to come to the optimum solution without assessing external data or information. A case study may be developed where the reader has to perform this type of research in order to fully analyze the case. This outside research frequently requires the use of library resources, the Internet, and World Wide Web skills. Such a case study forces students to develop these skills in order to complete the case analysis. Once again, the extent to which they fully utilize those skills can be a part of the process used to evaluate students. The caveat to the use of these types of cases is that all potential readers of the case must have access to the information necessary to complete the analysis. The appropriate information cannot be accessible to only those readers who happen to be close to the original location of the case study. Also, all libraries are not created equal. Not all libraries are depositories for government documents, for example. Access to databases or to interlibrary networks may also differ. This can make it difficult for some students to be able to acquire critical information or data necessary to complete the analysis of the case. Web-based research also may yield material of varying quality and accuracy, depending on the skills of the researcher. A related learning objective could then be the ability to assess the validity or viewpoint of an information source. These issues do not mean that this type of case is inappropriate. They simply mean that if you are writing this type of case, you need to take extra care to ensure that information is available to the average student. You should also state in the Instructor’s Manual what types of information students would need to secure from outside sources. The need for outside research should be noted early in the IM, for example, in the section on “Position in the course,” so that the instructor knows to include the research assignment when assigning the case. It would also be kind of you to provide samples of the appropriate material or sources to teachers in the Instructor’s Note. This is not to imply that the teachers are incapable of securing the information themselves, but 124

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simply that time is a precious commodity for most teachers and providing the information in the Instructor’s Manual is a time- and labor-saving device. It is also usually appreciated.

Students as Case Writers Another method of achieving the learning objective of having students hone their research skills is to have them write their own cases. Here, our student case writers are asked to first decide what the problem is. Then, they have to find the situation and material that cover the issue or problem. In action research, our students would interact with us and, possibly with the other students, to fully develop the case on an iterative basis. In other situations, we may wait until our students have prepared a complete draft before providing input toward the draft. Although one may argue that the latter may also be designed as action research, it really isn’t, as the objective in the case-writing process is somewhat different between the two situations. In action research, the focus is on identifying and reflecting on important issues. The benefits of assigning students to write a case go well beyond their research techniques. According to Paul Swiercz (1998), the case-writing experience allows students to integrate theory and practice, build tolerance for ambiguity and incompleteness, think critically and integrate material disciplines, distinguish between significant and trivial information, learn cooperatively, generate original thought, and develop writing skills. Gina Vega (2009), whose entrepreneurship undergraduates write field-researched cases, cites flexibility and adaptability, development of creativity skills and openness to innovation, communication skills, personal assessment of the student’s own willingness to take on challenges similar to those being studied, and experience in many aspects of self-organization, self-direction, and leadership through the teambased case project. Having students work in teams is consistent with their preference for collaboration and makes this complex, comprehensive project manageable for undergraduates, as well as simplifying the process of giving extensive feedback. The problem here is that most of our students have little to no experience writing cases. They need to be given explicit direction, 125

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especially as to the structure of the case. When we use this method in our courses, we often provide our students with a template for a typical case. We have even provided our students with an extra session that deals with how to write a case. Basically, we give our students a brief case-writing workshop. We also expect them to turn in drafts of their cases so that we can provide them with feedback. We are willing to do this as often as necessary, within the time constraints of the course. In this manner, we are following an approach similar to action research. Mockler (1995) notes that he provides extensive and specific guidelines by which students should develop their cases. He provides them with previous cases to study, as do we, to help them develop their cases. Vega (2009) and Swiercz (1998) also provide detailed guidelines with frequent opportunities for feedback and self-assessment.

The “Hook” To Direct the Student or Not? The “hook” is a statement at the beginning of the case intended to get the reader interested in the case. Many management case studies start with a description of a manager facing a perplexing or difficult situation. Often the hook is presented as “John Smith, CEO of Pocahontas Industries, stared out the window of his office at the gently falling snow. He was concerned about the fallout from allegations by an environmental action group that his company had polluted the environment near its largest manufacturing plant. He knew that he had to develop a response to the allegation, but was unsure as to what his next actions should be.” This introduction presents a focus for the case. There is a problem statement that should be consistent with the issues or concepts to be developed in a course. The statement provides enough interest to motivate the reader to continue with the case. The introduction presented above also provides a person with whom the reader can identify. There is a decision maker who has become an integral part of the process. In addition to all of this, the basis for the case has been developed. We now know that there is a problem dealing with pollution control, involving 126

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a specific company, and a manager who has to confront the various parts of the internal and external environment. The reader has an individual, an organization, an issue, and an opposing force to act as a guide during the rest of the case. This helps the reader fully develop and analyze the case as it is presented. In a situation that is likely to be complex and even contradictory, the hook helps the reader focus attention on those factors that are critical to the objectives of the case. In terms of Bloom’s affective taxonomy, the reader is willing to receive (pay attention to) the case and respond (become involved). We sometimes hear the argument that a hook can provide too much focus for the reader, however. The case writer needs to walk a careful line between providing enough information to interest the reader and providing so much information that there is little left for the reader to analyze. The hook should be sufficiently vague that the case allows for an interesting as well as informative discussion. The classroom interaction should allow the students to be able to learn from their discussion, not to just follow the logical sequence of events as signaled by the hook.

Alternative Beginnings There are alternatives to this approach, however. One is to simply introduce the principal players and the organization or situation to the readers. The issues are developed through the telling of the case. There is no attempt to present the readers with any focus, other than the facts of the case. The readers are left to their own devices to determine the focus of the case. This approach certainly allows students the maximum amount of learning potential from the discussion of the case. The major difficulty with this form of introduction is that it can often be quite dry. It also can be difficult to draw the attention of the readers into the case. Students who have not developed analytical skills may have trouble determining their own focus. The authors have noted this as more of a problem as we see the members of the digital generation enter into the academic process. They are used to quick action and information that has been edited and presented in small doses. They are also more accustomed to visual cues as 127

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opposed to written cues. The lack of a hook that draws attention to the issues may cause a problem with their development of the analysis and discussion. Another type of an introduction is a more direct form of the red herring discussed earlier. In this situation, the introduction describes the individual and the organization, but presents an issue or a decision that is not the primary focus of the case. One of the authors used this format in a case that involved issues of family transition, growth strategy, and reaction to larger competitors. The introduction, however, described the executive vice president of the company, not a member of the owning family, concerned about the impact of the closing of its original store on the image of the company as well as the surrounding community. Although this was indeed the VP’s concern, it was not the true focus of the case as envisioned by the author. It did, however, allow the development of the true issues through the discussion of the store closing. The better students were able to determine the actual problems, while the average student focused only on the red herring of the store closing, a good example of the “A student/C student split.” This approach proved to be worthwhile. The case was subsequently widely adopted by teachers (Naumes, 1982a). This approach is, once again, a fine line to follow. Too much of a red herring and the reader may not be able to recover and follow the development of the desired objectives from the case. If this happens, the case may not achieve the educational objectives proposed by the case writer and desired by the instructor. The author should warn the instructor of this potential problem, this A student/C student split, in the Instructor’s Manual. The recommended questions should provide the route for the instructor to guide discussion back to the case’s actual learning objectives. In the worst scenario, the red herring in the introduction may be so distracting that the reader loses interest in the case and does not develop even a minimal understanding of the issues through the discussion of the case. Overall, a well-constructed introduction with an interesting hook is probably the best way to start the case. A hook that provides some, but not full, direction for the reader is most ef128

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fective. The hook should include enough information about the individuals, organization, situation, and issues that the reader is motivated to continue reading the case and to fully develop the analysis and discussion of the case.

Case Organization An effective case is an interesting story. The case should be written in a manner that grabs and holds the interest of the reader. This calls for a presentation style that is informative, meets the objectives of the case, and is also interesting.

Appropriate Style In a relatively short, focused case study, it is best to present the situation in the time sequence in which it developed. The length of the case does not permit you to develop much in the way of digressions from the focus of the case. You need to get to the point of the case as quickly as possible, in order to establish the information or data needed to meet the case’s educational objectives. This is true for cases that are designed to develop specific technical skills, such as a statistical technique or even an analytical skill such as analyzing a behavioral concept. The main point of the case is to provide a context within which you provide the basic data, information, or description of the situation in a way that both appeals to the reader and meets the objectives of the case. A case where the objectives are more complex can take different forms, however. There is more information that has to be presented. This can often mean that a combination of styles is appropriate. The use of a time-frame context is the easiest for the reader to follow. Most people comprehend situations in a sequential manner. However, as the situation and objectives become more complex, and as you develop a case further on down the learning curve, information may need to be presented out of chronological order so that it makes sense to the reader. In these more complex cases, such as those used in courses dealing with strategic management, political science, or other areas 129

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of decision making, telling the story in other ways may be more appropriate. Cases dealing with multiple functional disciplines can often be told better by describing each of the functions separately. In strategic management or international business cases, the description could start with an overview of the situation beginning with the hook. The next section, or several if necessary, could provide information that students will need to achieve the case’s key objectives. The case could then go on to describe different functions, such as finance, research and development, manufacturing, personnel and other areas, in a sequential manner. Within any given area, however, the description may take the form of a time-sequence discussion of the events that take place within that function. An example would involve the process by which Intel developed its policies of continuously improving its computer chips. This process was developed early in the history of the company by Andy Grove, Intel CEO, who devoted the research focus to double capacity approximately every eighteen months while holding prices stable. This policy required a highly focused research strategy that constantly looks generations ahead in the product life cycle. The process could be described by having the CEO and then the head of research and development each relate how the company arrived at its dominance of the personal computer chip market through the development and continuation of this policy. The case would thus follow the product development process from the perspectives of both people over time. It might require a case study that goes back and forth between the two individuals as well as over time in their respective discussions. In essence, a point and counterpoint discussion might ensue, although in this example, there would probably be more consistency than counterpoint between the telling of the story by the two principals. In a similar type of case study involving a societal issue, protagonists might well be providing alternative views of the same situation. An example of this latter type of case might involve a situation where two or more organizations dispute an action and the discussion takes place through testimony before a federal agency or congressional committee hearings. In this type of case, you 130

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might follow each of the points presented by the government with presentations from the people or organizations disputing one or more sides of the issues. In this manner, each of the issues briefly becomes the focal point of the case. The reader is able to analyze each issue separately. She or he does not have to constantly shift back and forth between the presentations of different individuals or organizations to determine the different points of view on each issue. It is still left to the reader, however, to determine how all the presentations and issues impact each other from the perspective of the various protagonists. In this type of case the reader may be asked to analyze each of the perspectives and develop a plan of attack for one of them to follow after the testimony has occurred. In a complex case, particularly one that is not organized chronologically, it is very important to provide frequent headings and subheadings. Headings serve several purposes. In addition to alerting the reader to a change in topic, they “break up the plot into discrete, easily digestible portions” (Paraschos, 1997). They also make it easier for students to go back into the case at a later time, such as during class discussion, and locate specific facts to support their arguments. The more complex the case, the more important it is to consider your audience. Students vary in their reading comprehension based on many factors, of which one is experience with the case method. Inexperienced readers need more obvious structure and simpler language. Students with experience in your field, including mature learners and graduate students, may already understand its specific vocabulary or jargon, while the meanings may have to be explained and more details given for less experienced readers.

Point of View In most cases, the point of view is that of a neutral observer or a reporter who is describing the situation. Sometimes, however, you may want to write a case with a particular point of view. Organizational behavior is one field in which cases of this type are useful. The case is intended to tell its story from the point of view of one person, revealing that person’s version of events, 131

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preferably in his or her own words. Other examples would include a teacher’s classroom dilemma, or a new patient’s symptoms and medical history. The case would most likely not contain multiple points of view or data sources, to remain true to its vision of the situation as experienced by a particular individual. If this type of case is written in the third person, you, as the author, should still take care to be objective in descriptions that are not in the subject’s own words. Cases are sometimes written in the first person, with the aim of having the reader closely identify with the subject and the situation. The career-planning case Jonathan Langston (A) (Schlentrich and Naumes, 2003) is an example of a first-person narrative, as Jonathan tries to decide how to respond to a totally unexpected job offer. In first-person cases, an important consideration is not to present information that would not be available to the narrator, or that he or she would not yet know.

Ending the Case A good case tells an interesting story. In talking about using cases to teach science, Clyde Herreid (1997) summarized, “But when we do choose to use cases, we are responding to the child in all of us, who once demanded there be heroes and heroines and mysteries galore in our stories at bedtime.” Like a good story, the case should ideally build to a climax. The final paragraphs of the case generally return to the issues raised in the opening paragraphs. They may take place only moments after the scene set in the hook. If time has passed, students may be misled, having analyzed the intervening information as it related to the initial time frame, or may be confused as to when the decision needs to be made. Essentially, this structure is similar to the advice to public speakers to “Tell the listener what you’re going to say, then say it, then tell the listener what you’ve said.” One technique that is often used in decision cases is to return to the decision maker, who is now pondering specific questions about the central issues or is debating between a set of possible alternative actions. In a longer, complex case, such a concluding section reinforces the students’ direction. Some instructors feel that it may also tend to limit students’ analysis to those issues 132

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or alternatives, however. Your personal style and your feelings about the needs of the students will determine how much direction to give.

Tone and Tense Objectivity A major concern that has been alluded to earlier involves the issue of the objectivity of the case writer and, therefore, of the case itself. This is a twofold problem. The first involves the way material is included in the case. Many readers, especially undergraduates, tend to believe what they see in print. Case writers, therefore, need to be careful how they present material. It is inappropriate for case writers to lead the readers in the interpretation of data, information, and facts. Adjectives are particularly problematic. A reader may form an impression even from a single word such as “successful” or “friendly.” Instead, the situation should be described as it occurred. Value-laden statements, such as “the manager made an excellent choice, given the situation” should be avoided. Readers should be allowed to analyze the situation as presented and determine for themselves the effectiveness of the decision in this example. After all, the purpose of the case is to involve the readers in the learning process. By presenting them with the prejudged statement that the choice was excellent, you would have made it much more difficult for the instructor to develop a balanced class discussion. Allowing the people in your case to describe the situation in their own words provides an even better approach to developing an effective case. Having the principals present the situation in their own words or with the actual raw data also adds life to the case. The combination of direct quotes and objective observations has been shown to be the best way of presenting a case study. The issue of objectivity becomes even more of a problem with the development of a library case. The material has already been filtered at least once by the authors of the source materials used for the case. Moreover, the case writer then has to paraphrase, 133

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reduce, and combine material from these sources. This process leads to a greater potential for subjective statements in the case study. Since published sources will typically contain fewer direct quotes from the principals in the situation, it is more difficult to present the case in the words and direct actions of those principals, thereby removing a primary means of overcoming the objectivity problem. A second problem that may be more difficult to observe as well as to overcome is that of affecting the case’s objectivity through the selection of what material to include. As has already been noted, there is frequently far more information available than can be readily accommodated in a reasonable case study. It is up to you to determine just what will be included in the final version of the case. But this choice can bias or reduce the objectivity of the case study by selecting details that favor or exclude one interpretation or point of view, errors of both commission and omission. This, however, is a problem shared by anyone taking on a reporting role. Problems of objectivity can be difficult to spot. You, as the author, do have a definite purpose in mind and have to select the information that is appropriate to that purpose. You also have probably formed a personal opinion about the situation, as is only human. Sometimes it may be evident in your use of a single word, particularly an adjective (“an excellent manager”) or adverb (“undoubtedly”). If, for example, either of these comments were the opinion of people in the case, then it is again better to quote them than to paraphrase their remarks, thus making clear whose opinion it is. If you have no direct evidence among your data, these simple words most likely reflect your own reaction to the situation and compromise the case’s objectivity. This is one reason why it is very helpful to have other people look at your case. They read with a fresh eye and their own opinions. Trying out the case with students in class is one way to receive valuable input, particularly concerning whether there is enough, or the right, information. Other outside reviewers, particularly those who are also case writers, also read with a critical eye and will give you feedback, including identifying those spots in the case where your editorial opinion is in evidence. Both class testing 134

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and outside reviewers will be discussed in Chapter 7, “Testing and Refining the Teaching Case.”

Inserting References As noted in Chapter 3, even a field-researched case is likely to make use of published sources to triangulate or to supplement interviews and field observations. A library case is derived entirely from published sources. In either situation, it is necessary to give appropriate citations for the outside material. Most publishers now prefer that brief citations be embedded in the body of the text, with the full reference in the bibliography at the end. However, when there are a large number of quotations and other materials drawn from outside sources, the frequent citations may distract from the flow of the case material, the story. Citations for Web materials often are extremely lengthy, and may be difficult to abbreviate briefly. For readability, one of the authors prefers endnotes when she writes library cases on issues of corporate social responsibility. Choosing between embedded references and endnotes or footnotes is again a matter of personal style combined with the requirements of your choice of venues for case distribution or publication.

Past Tense Your case should be written in the past tense, except for direct quotes. All of the events presented in the case have already occurred. Using the present tense, therefore, is potentially confusing to the reader. Students often have difficulty understanding the time frame of the case when it is all in the present tense. For example, when describing a situation, “the managers now want to make changes to the compensation policies” brings into question the time frame being used. The reader has to decide just when “now” is. Your intent is that the situation be analyzed in the context of the time frame in which it occurred. Students may, however, interpret in terms of the time when they are actually reading the case, thereby shifting the action to a future period and potentially completely changing the analysis. 135

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Changes in external factors involved in the case are likely to have occurred between the time that the situation actually occurred and the time frame when the case is analyzed in class. Such factors could include technology, the economy, legislation and regulations, societal norms, and competitive factors. The degree of interaction with these and other external forces may also have changed. Also, the principals may have changed over time, leading to added confusion on the part of the reader. At the very least, the discussion would diverge from the original intent of the case. In the field of political science, a few years’ difference in perceived time may also mean a more liberal (or more conservative) power structure. In education, there could be a substantial difference in the type of home background that a typical child would have, depending on the date of the case. If the case study took place during a recession and involved a discussion of corporate downsizing or outsourcing, the analysis would be quite different from that if the analysis took place during a later or earlier period when the economy was booming. Placing the case in a specified time frame makes it clear what the environment was like. It helps to anchor the subsequent analysis and discussion and minimize the use of twenty-twenty hindsight. Direct quotations that are included in the case and displayed in quotations should be presented in the form in which they were spoken by the individual, however. This simply follows traditional rules of writing. An important corollary to the use of past tense to set the time frame is that all information in the case should be consistent with that time frame. Students, as analysts or decision makers, should not be given information from after the date of the case that the case protagonists could not have known. Not only the facts in the case but also the sources and references must be checked for chronological consistency.

The Practice Session An observant reader may have recognized that the discussion of using quotes, at the beginning of the chapter, used an example that sounded familiar. The case situation presented is actually the 136

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story of our case draft (in Appendix I). The revised and published version of the case may be found in Appendix III. This Practice Session will compare these two versions according to the concepts discussed in this chapter. The very brief case draft (“Meyers & Morrison: A Question of Professional Ethics”) in Appendix I has potential. There is at least one character with whom students can identify, and there is a very graphic image that should help students to visualize his behavior. Unfortunately, we are asked to take the role of his employers to determine what they should do next. The case draft is a very short, chronological presentation of a situation that developed over a two-year period. The case is probably too short. In the Practice Session in Chapter 2, we have already concluded that the author’s objectives are not clear, and appear to change as the case progresses. This has important implications for the amount and types of information that are needed. If the original issue, recruiting and hiring at Meyers & Morrison (M & M), is to be analyzed, students will need more background on Mr. Adams’ qualifications, as well as on the position. To discuss behavioral or motivation issues, students would also have to know more about his personal life, or at least his job responsibilities, and the partners’ expectations. Information on his performance reviews would be helpful. Even more helpful would be an interview with Mr. Adams, so that readers could understand his frame of mind. The final question and its ethical implications require that readers understand how an accounting firm operates. Is it illegal for Mr. Adams to be soliciting his former employers’ clients? How loyal are M & M’s clients likely to be? We are not recommending that the case include information on the human resource issues, motivation, ethics, and decision making. Rather, once the objective of the case has been decided, it will be possible to determine which additional information should be added. As written, the draft is a series of red herrings, without the data for students to be able to follow through with any of them. Mr. Adams is a vivid character, primarily due to the image of his biting his fingers until they bleed. We also know that his wife is unhappy. All we know about the partners is their approximate ages and that they are accountants. The case is primarily told 137

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from their point of view. To be able to recommend a course of action for the partners, however, a reader will need to put him- or herself in the partners’ position. This means that the reader must understand the partners’ expectations, both for the firm and for Mr. Adams. Allowing the characters to speak in their own words would be very helpful, as well as giving them personality. Quotes may well be available. The author says that “Mr. Adams stated to the partners” and that the office staff stated they were uncomfortable. He is paraphrasing their comments, instead of letting them speak in their own words. The case does not begin with a hook. In fact, it tells us that it is going to be about recruiting and hiring, and the first paragraph is a brief history of the partners and Mr. Adams. This does not “grab” the students’ interest and is also misleading as to the real issue of the case. The draft is organized chronologically. This does not mean that the timing of events is clear, however. In particular, the reader doesn’t know when the meeting with the partners took place— whether it was during the tax season mentioned in the second paragraph or sometime later. The reader also doesn’t really know why the meeting was called or even who called it. The partners asked for time to consider, but “shortly after,” they heard about the letter. Was this a matter of days or weeks? The timing surely affects the interpretation of the partners’ willingness to consider Mr. Adams for partner. The case would be clearer if the exact timing could be established. The tone of the case is objective. There are no obvious value judgments by the author. All opinions are credited to someone in the case: the partners, the office staff, or Mr. Adams himself. For the most part, the case is in past tense, except for the last sentence. This may have been intended to give the students a feeling of urgency and importance. However, the decision has certainly been made by the time students are reading the case, so the last sentence should also be in the past tense. Overall, the case is actually rather dull. It has one vivid image, but even that does not give the reader a lot of insight into the characters involved. More details—whether about the job requirements, Mr. Adams’ personal motivation and situation, or 138

Summary and Conclusions

the clients and the partners’ expectations—would help readers put themselves into this situation. In contrast, the revised case is still quite short but much more lively. The hook puts the focus on the decision makers, Mr. Morrison and Mr. Meyers. They have just received a phone call from a client, a situation that gives insight into the (now clearly defined) central issue. Quotes from their conversation also give insight into their expectations, as well as introducing the controversy and the other main character, Mr. Adams. The case writer has maintained his status as an objective reporter, but the case is now told from a definite point of view, that of the partners. Mr. Meyers and Mr. Morrison are quoted extensively. Mr. Adams’ views are summarized by the partners, who also contribute their observations concerning his behavior. Except for the quotes, the case is entirely in the past tense. It also now contains background information on the company and on industry norms, interspersed with the chronological sequence of events. It concludes where it began, with the client’s phone call to Mr. Morrison, refocusing the reader on the central issue of the case. The actual letter from Mr. Adams, which was the pivotal event in both the finished case and the draft, is now included as an appendix. Also included is an appendix with excerpts from the accountants’ professional code of conduct. This is potentially an important input into a discussion of the ethics of Mr. Adams’ behavior.

Summary and Conclusions Case studies should be written with the reader in mind. The objective of the case should also drive the presentation of the material. These factors help to determine the length as well as the material that is included in the case. A relatively focused, unidimensional case study would probably be short. The material would be limited to that which is necessary to describe the situation. Extraneous material would not be included. The purpose of this type of case is to help students understand and practice specific techniques and tools, such as mathematical models and quantitative methods. As the case objective becomes more com139

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plex, the length increases. Also, the case might include material not directly relevant to the analysis and class discussion. The case writer might want to deliberately include irrelevant or even misleading information or data, in order to make the case as lifelike as possible. It is rare in real life that issues are clear cut and obvious. Putting such information into the case provides realism. It requires the reader to go through analysis similar to that which would be required in the actual setting. This format can also be used as a tool for developing research skills for complex decision making on the part of the students. The reader needs to be drawn into the situation at the outset of the case study. Providing an introduction that presents a hook to secure the interest of the reader is an effective way to start a case study, especially one where the issues are complex and the case is likely to extend into many pages. Most students do not want to wait until they are halfway through a lengthy case study before they have a clue as to why they are reading it. The case writer needs to consider just how much direction the hook provides to the student. Too much direction and the subsequent analysis becomes limited and possibly even eliminated. Too little direction and the reader becomes frustrated, leading the student to lose both interest and involvement in the issues and the case itself. There are, however, only a few general rules for case writers. The case study should be written in the past tense, since all of the events that are presented in the case have already occurred. Presenting the case in any other form can be misleading and lead to discussions that fail to meet the objectives of the case. The length and presentation style of the case should match the objectives of the case. Highly focused and limited objective case studies are likely to be shorter and limited in style. More complex case studies are likely to be longer, with more extraneous information provided to the reader to make them more realistic and lifelike. Finally, the case needs to be written from the perspective of a reporter, rather than that of an editorial writer. The case writer should be objective in style. Value-laden statements have to be avoided so as not to lead the reader during the analysis. The 140

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material should be factual in content. The reporter’s guidelines of “who, what, when, where, why, and how” often provide a useful framework. Direct quotes lend both interest and factualness to the case. The case study is designed to be used as a teaching tool to develop analytical and decision-making skills and students’ skills in learning. An effective case study is one that is both interesting and leads to a discussion that meets the objectives of the case. The appropriate style for writing the case is the one that meets your objective for the case. This is where the case-writing process becomes an “art.”


7 Testing and Refining the Teaching Case


nce the facts are collected and organized, and committed to paper or computer disk, there is a tremendous feeling of satisfaction: you have written a case. The case is not yet complete, however. You do not yet know whether it is effective. How will it work in a classroom? The next step is to evaluate your case to see whether it can accomplish the educational objectives that you have set. Based on this critical look, you may need to refine your case. Changes may take the form of adding or reorganizing information. It might also mean that you reconsider the case’s possibilities and find that it can be used in ways that you didn’t expect—and as a result modify your educational objectives and key issues. There are a number of different ways to learn about your case’s effectiveness and potential. At this stage, however, you will need to allow your case to find other readers. No one knows it better than you, but that knowledge is now potentially a problem. You know what each paragraph, and each sentence, is intended to convey. You selected the details that you felt would guide students to your key issues and help them develop the skills that you envisioned. Now the case needs someone else to read it, discover its depths, perform its analyses. These new readers will give you the feedback you need to improve it and make it more effective. The ideal test for a teaching case is for it to be taught. Since students’ learning is the reason for writing the case, it is highly appropriate to learn from them. Other readers, including other case writers, are also a valuable resource. Some case writers prefer to have their case critiqued by these colleagues before taking it into the classroom. This chapter will explore various techniques 142


for acquiring feedback, and will offer recommendations on how to interpret what you learn about your case.

Releases At this point in the process, since other people will now be reading your case, you will need to make sure you have at least a limited release for the material in it. We always explain to the leading principal in the case that, while the material in the case will be made available to reviewers, these people cannot use the case without our permission. We make it clear that we are looking for feedback on the case and that we will not release the case without going back to the principal first. We ask for different types of releases for different types of exposure such as for in-class testing as opposed to presentation at a workshop. In the first situation, there is the problem that our students may actually know the company, if it is not disguised, since we often write about local companies. However, the case information is typically limited to very local distribution. In the second instance, the case becomes known over a much wider area, but to a few colleagues who are unlikely to know the people involved. Also, our colleagues are much more likely to adhere to our requests to maintain the confidentiality of the draft case, whereas our students often do not really understand the concept of strict confidentiality. They often share with their fellow students things that they have read or heard in class, despite any admonitions about confidentiality. The simple release form in Exhibit 3.1 (on page 55) can be adapted to cover partial releases for different purposes. Later, when the case has been revised, based on class and workshop information, we return to the principal for a final release. It is here that we remind the principal that we expect the case to receive widespread dissemination. We also remind the principal that there will be a lag between the end point, and, therefore, the information in the case, and its actual publication. We also remind them of the original promise of release. By this point, we have also received permission to use direct and attributable material from all relevant people in the case. As we can see, there are several points during the development of the 143

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case that authorization for release is sought. They are quite often different forms of authorizations, from a simple verbal one to a very formal written authorization. (See the discussion of releases in Chapter 3.) During this entire process, the purpose of the release is to ensure that the people interviewed are protected and that they understand what will become public information in the case. Top management also needs to understand and accept what organizational information will be made public.

Developing a Preliminary Teaching Plan If you have been following the format of this book, you have already devoted time and thought to considering what your case is expected to accomplish and how it is likely to be used. What you need to do now is to develop a plan for converting those objectives into actual student learning. You want to find out whether students can identify the key issues. You want to see if they do develop and apply the reasoning and skill levels that were your educational objective. You also want to make sure that there is enough information, and the right information, in the case for the students to conduct their analysis. Answers in these areas will not automatically flow from student discussion of the case. Even if you are the person who will be testing the case in class, you will need to set specific goals for the discussion. This means translating your key issues into questions, if you have not already done so in your draft of the Instructor’s Manual (described in Chapter 5). You will need to go into class armed with a list of three to five questions (fewer for a focused case, more for one that is complex and interconnected). Writing the questions in advance, rather than “winging it” in class, enables you to direct the discussion. If it begins to stall or to move off course to other topics, you are prepared to refocus it in the areas that you feel are most important. Having the questions in writing will also make it easier for you to make notes on the discussion, as will be discussed below. These questions and your notes will also form an important part of the Instructor’s Manual for your case. 144

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You may also want to plan your summary of the case, to be used at the end of the discussion. This would be a list of the important points that should have come up during class. Essentially, it is a list of the key issues. They should, however, be described in terms of significant details from the case. Instead of focusing on relevant theory, as you did in the “Relevant Theory” section of the Instructor’s Manual, the summary should highlight how theory can be applied to the situation in the case. You may want to prepare a list with these summary points to take to class; perhaps more important than its use in the summary is its availability, lying there among your notes, to remind you and to make sure that nothing important is missed. Since this is your first experience teaching with this case, it is all too easy to stay too long on one point or to skip over something of importance in the excitement of the class discussion. Similarly, a board plan with the most relevant theories or models outlined or diagramed can serve as a reminder to you as well as a prompt for the class.

Testing Your Case in Class What to Tell the Class One issue that has been raised concerning testing a new case is what to tell the class. Some case writers like to inform their students when they assign the case that it is new, and ask for their input. Others simply teach it like any other case and ask for feedback after class, if at all. There are arguments to be made on both sides. However, there are many other sources who can check your writing for clarity and completeness, but few others where you can test the case’s effectiveness as a teaching tool. Generally you will learn more about teaching the case by treating it like any other assignment. A related question is whether to tell your students that you are the author. Students may be reluctant to critique you, the professor. If you feel that their input would not be as brutally honest as you would like, give them the case without any author identification. When you ask for their comments, tell them that the author has requested some feedback, so that he or she can include their reactions in improving the case. 145

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If the reason for writing this case was to fill a “gap” in your syllabus, this will be the logical place in the course to assign it. Schedule it in, with the same type of advance assignment that you normally make and to which your students are accustomed. If your syllabus lists specific questions to consider, provide them. If you normally give students verbal directions during the previous class, follow your usual procedure. Your goal is to have the students treat the case with the same seriousness and thoroughness that they normally would apply. You will learn more about what students typically can learn from your case if you don’t emphasize its importance or encourage your test class to work harder than usual. If there is not an obvious gap in your syllabus, you will have to decide when the case would be appropriate. You have already considered the prerequisite knowledge needed and, based on that, the most likely position for the case in the course. Testing this case may mean replacing an old favorite whose classroom effectiveness you know and appreciate. Only you can decide if this trade-off is worthwhile. Another possibility would be to use the new case for an exam or group project, where cases are seldom repeated from semester to semester. You will still learn a great deal about your case, although not necessarily the same things as if it were subject to students’ discussion and interaction. If you are not currently teaching the course for which the case would be appropriate, you may want to have it tested by another instructor. It is also OK to ask students for their feedback after the case has been used in class. If so, it is important to make the request immediately, while the case is still fresh in their memory and before they have gone on to another topic or situation. Students may be more willing to offer feedback if it is anonymous or might lend you back their copies of the case with whatever markings they made. They may be able to identify sections or sentences that were unclear, or information that they would like to have had. There are other ways to find out these same points, however, without relying on the goodwill of the class. An exceptional group of students may be able to handle both the case and its critique. This would be most likely if they are experienced in the case method and have demonstrated their ability 146

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and motivation in class. Students typically enjoy being included in the case-writing process. It makes them feel as though they have expertise to contribute—and, in fact, they do since they are the ones who will be trying to analyze and learn from the case. However, if you ask the students in advance to provide feedback on the case itself, you are running the risk of distracting them from their regular preparation. You will learn about the case’s readability and level of detail, but may sacrifice some of the depth and intensity of the class’s discussion of its issues.

The Mechanics of Class Testing The first decision that you, the author, have to make concerning testing your case in a class is whether to teach the case yourself or have someone else test it for you. There is a basic trade-off involved. If you teach the case yourself, you have the ability to direct the discussion where you want it to go, bring it back on track, or explore a new area that the class uncovers. However, you are actively involved, which will mean that you can’t be recording your observations. If another instructor teaches your case, you may have the opportunity to observe and note the class’s responses. However, you will not be able to follow up on specific issues or test your ideas on how to teach the case. Although you will learn a great deal about some aspects of the case, they will not necessarily match your educational objectives and key issues for the case. In this section, we will assume that you have decided to classtest the case yourself. Teaching the case will give you the opportunity to test your key issues and see whether your educational objectives can be accomplished. There are a number of things you can do to overcome or minimize the difficulties of recording what you learned. One approach is to tape the entire class period during which you first teach the case. Video is not necessary, since you are primarily interested in the content of the discussion rather than making a record for future presentation. Video recording also requires a camera and a person to operate it. Unless you routinely videotape your class, this will be an intrusion that the students 147

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are sure to observe. If it makes them self-conscious, it may affect their willingness to talk about their analysis. An audiotape is less obtrusive. However, to be effective, it must be positioned where it will pick up as many student responses as possible. This means that it must be centrally located and unobstructed, and, once again, probably quite visible. There may also be privacy issues or university regulations concerned with either kind of taping. Check with your media department to determine if it is necessary to have the students sign consent forms. Another alternative is to find someone to observe and make notes for you. Like taping, this method involves having someone in class who is not part of the usual dynamics, and may affect the spontaneity of the discussion. However, the effect may wear off as the class gets involved; a human observer may be less threatening than a recorder. The other alternative is to take notes yourself. You need to do this as soon after class as possible. Make sure to schedule a few minutes of free time immediately after the class, even if it means delaying lunch or the start of your office hours. It is very important to make your notes while the discussion is still fresh in your mind. Even stopping to talk to students after class, particularly if it is about next week’s assignment rather than today’s case, will allow other ideas to overlap with your recollections. Find a quiet spot and write down the students’ answers to the questions you asked. You may not remember everything, but write down as much as you can. What’s important are the key points that students made in response to a question. Start with the last questions. They will be the clearest in your mind. If you structured your questions to build from simpler to more complex analyses, the last questions will also have been the most difficult, the best test of whether students can use your case to accomplish your educational objectives. Often, once you start to make notes, one point leads you to remember another, and you may find that you have recalled more details of the discussion than you thought possible. If your questions did not already cover all of your key issues, you will also need to make notes about these additional issues. It would be helpful to make a copy of your key issues list before 148

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class, leaving room for your comments. Note also which issues were not covered. If any new ideas grew out of the discussion, write them down as well. These notes, both specific to the questions and more generally concerning discussion of the key issues, will be very helpful in determining what, if any, changes need to be made in the case. The notes will also form the basis for the expanded discussion of teaching techniques for your Instructor’s Manual. Immediately after class you should also make note of what is on the board. The details that you’ve written there will help jog your memory of students’ responses to the case’s issues. It’s not just the words on the board that are important, however. The order in which you wrote down students’ ideas and the way you grouped different ideas may suggest linkages among them that you will want to remember. Chapter 8 will describe “Board Layout” as one of the aids that you might give other teachers in the Instructor’s Manual. Copy the board, both words and their relative locations, as precisely as possible. Better yet, take a photograph of the board. One additional source of observations may come from your students. After class or at the next class period, if you have someone in class who takes good notes, ask her or him if you may borrow and reproduce them. This may yield additional details about students’ responses to the questions you asked during class. A student’s notes may even reveal other issues that were discussed. Students’ class notes should not be a substitute for your own immediate recollections, however. They are useful primarily as a backup and enrichment to the notes you yourself make. If you ask a student in advance to serve as a recorder, you will get more in-depth observations, but you have encouraged that student to step aside from becoming personally involved in the discussion. This could interfere with that student’s learning from your case—and could eliminate the insights that she/he would have contributed.

What You Learned from Class Testing Based on your notes and your recollections of the class’s discussion of your case, you should be able to evaluate whether the case 149

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accomplishes the goals that you have set for it. You may need to make modifications in the case to improve its effectiveness. You may also have found that the case is richer or more complex than you had anticipated. If so, you may want to rethink your pedagogical objectives. It is possible that you may discover that the case is “easier” than you had planned. In that event, you should consider whether to modify the case, the objectives, or both. It is easiest to begin with the key issues. Review your notes on students’ responses to your questions and those you made concerning discussion of the key issues. Ask yourself whether students were able to identify each issue and to find its relevant details and linkages. If the answer is “yes” your case has passed its first test of effectiveness. This does not mean that it is finished; as will be discussed later in the chapter, a case may be effective for you but not yet for other instructors. If a key issue was not fully analyzed, or not discussed at all, it is important to explore the reasons why this did (or rather, did not) occur. There are several possibilities. The issue may have been omitted because the class ran out of time. Analysis could also have been limited or inadequate because students were confused or because the case itself was too complex. Each of these possibilities has its own implications in terms of the ability to teach the case effectively. If the class never discussed one or more key issues, one result is that you do not yet know whether the case will be effective for addressing those issues. This can be remedied when the case is next used in class or via one of the other techniques that will be discussed. However, you can learn much about your case from examining the reasons why the class never got to this issue. How did they spend the time during class? An interesting possibility is that they found things to talk about that were not part of your initial plan. One student’s response may have inspired another student to come up with a linkage or relationship that led in a new direction, which stimulated further discussion. This new direction may be worth exploring, particularly if it were one that appeared to be very interesting to the class in general. Did it lead to discussion of an important topic? Did it have the potential to lead to an important issue or to link with a theory? Because the 150

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case describes a real situation and reality contains many different elements, you may have included details that make the case much richer and more versatile than you had expected. This won’t require any further changes in the case itself, but you may want to add the new topic to your list of key issues. If this unexpected discussion allowed students to go more deeply into the case and demonstrate more complex levels of skills, you may even want to include it in your educational objectives for the case. The class may not have discussed one topic because they spent more time than expected on one or more of the other issues. Again, the reasons need to be explored. One reason why the class may have spent the extra time is that they had difficulty analyzing that issue. They may not have had enough information to complete the analysis. In the process of organizing the wealth of details you collected, you had to make choices about what to include and what to omit. The “missing piece” may be a single detail whose importance you had underestimated or overlooked. In testing one case, the authors found that students repeatedly had difficulty with one of the key issues. The central character was the son of the company’s founders; he had recently been put in charge of the company when his parents moved to Florida. Among other issues dealing with the change in management and future plans for the business, students should have been able to discuss problems that often occur in the transition between generations in a family-owned business. However, this part of the discussion never went as expected, until the authors added a detail that had been omitted: that the parents called him from Florida every day to see how the business was doing. Suddenly the students could see that the son, while formally in charge of the company, was still having to run it under the close supervision of his parents. It is also possible that there is enough information to discuss a particular issue, but that the information appears to point in conflicting directions. Although this is very characteristic of the real world, students may not know how to evaluate the divergent details. One way to deal with this confusion is to provide the case’s readers with a way to weigh the conflicting items. Within the case, an impartial observer’s opinion should be considered differently from that of someone who is highly involved in the situation, for 151

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example. The observer could be someone from outside of the situation: an observer from another culture, an industry analyst speaking about a company in her industry, a school guidance counselor. The social ranking of the different individuals within the situation might be another weighting tool. As was noted in Chapter 6, any opinions should be those of the people involved in the situation, not those of the case author. Alternatively, you may feel that part of the challenge for the students is to determine for themselves how to weigh the conflicting evidence. This is a sophisticated skill that should be built into your educational objectives. In the Instructor’s Manual, you should warn the instructor about the potential confusion and provide some guidance for helping students come to a conclusion. Finally, the class may not have analyzed all of your key issues in depth, because there were too many of them. The case may be too complex and may present too many potential areas for discussion, more than can possibly be achieved during a single class session. You could, but probably don’t want to, rewrite the case to make it more focused or simpler. This approach would require eliminating some of the issues and the information specific to them. The other alternatives involve reconsidering the pedagogy of the case. Consider whether the case would be effective later in the course. At that point, students might be able to move more quickly through some of the simpler issues. They could then focus on the case’s complexities and interrelationships. Another possibility would be to tell future instructors how to segment the case, either to use it over several class periods or to focus on a more limited set of issues. It is possible that the material should be addressed a little at a time, with additional information being made available as students need it. (Case series, which are designed to be analyzed and discussed in segments, are discussed in Chapter 9.) The Instructor’s Manual would need to include a breakdown of which topics should be covered during each class session. Alternatively, it could divide the key issues and the corresponding questions into groups, with each group focusing on a different set of key issues. One author finds that she frequently writes a very detailed, complex case regardless of the topic. This style is appropriate for an advanced, integrative course, but the 152

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author has learned to provide a more limited set of questions that allow the case to be used in other courses. When taking a course dealing with ethics, the students probably do not need to consider the full implications of the company’s financial survival, including performing a complete financial analysis. However, if they are studying strategic management, it is important that they do a complete analysis of the company’s situation, including its finances as well as its ethics. Any theory or model that could be applied to your case should undergo the same type of analysis as you devoted to your other key issues. You are looking for feedback on whether the case provides an effective means of discussing the theory or applying the model. If students never reached the theory or model during class, as with the key issues, this would usually be interpreted that they spent too much time on other aspects of the case. However, sometimes the class may be resistant to applying theory. They may be more interested in practical problem solving, or feel that the situation in the case is more “real” or relevant than any theory. While students may uncover important issues themselves through the flow of discussion, it may be necessary to lead them to making associations with more abstract concepts. Look at your questions: Did you ask the class about the theory, whether or how it applied? Did you ask questions that led them to the relevant details in the case and expect them to make their own connections to their other readings? Or did you wait for them to discover those connections without your explicit guidance? If you did not explicity ask questions or provide strong guidance, students who are inclined to segment their knowledge (“that was in the text, not the case”) may have succeeded in avoiding the topic entirely. If the relevant theory would have led them to a better conclusion or suggestion for management, the case has demonstrated the value of that theory. This is an excellent—and uncommon—teaching point! When you revise your Instructor’s Manual, you may want to include it as an explicit part of your key issues and pedagogy. If you did ask the question and received only a partial analysis, there are several possible explanations. Either the students did not see the connection with a theory as vividly as you did or they were uncertain as to how to apply it. You are the best 153

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judge of your students’ theoretical background. If they have not been asked to match abstract models with real situations, they may not know how to decide for themselves whether there is a theory that could be applied. Your question in class may be the first time they thought about this connection. As a result, they wouldn’t be likely to come up with a full set of case details that could be applied. There is also the possibility of confusion. As with the key issues, students may find information in the case that can be applied to the model or theory in more than one way. They may also feel that they don’t have enough information to make complete theoretical connections. Look carefully to see if the case includes enough of the details about the situation to apply the “Relevant Theory” that you had proposed. It may be widely scattered throughout the case, which places the burden on the students. However, if the necessary details must be drawn from different sections of the case, it is possible that one or more of the necessary points was left out when the case was written. If there are important details that can be used in more than one way or that contradict each other, note how you handled this during class. If your objective was to have students evaluate and make a judgment, you probably let them argue with each other. However, you may have given them more background or some other way to resolve the conflict. If some of the “problem” facts are not crucial to the case, it may be easiest to drop them. If the discrepancies disappeared once you provided more information, make sure that information is included in the case. Otherwise, you will need to prepare other instructors for the potential for contradictions, in the Instructor’s Manual. When describing the theoretical linkages or providing sample responses to your discussion questions, include a short section that indicates why the difference in opinions will occur and your recommendation on how to handle them.

Evaluating the Educational Objectives The success of the case’s educational objectives is less directly observable. You will have to reconstruct the types of learning displayed by the class, based on your recollections and your 154

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notes. One place to start is to examine the type of learning that is embodied in each of your discussion questions. A question that asks students to show how a theory applies to the case’s situation calls for a lower level of skills than one that asks them what theories might apply. The first question calls for matching specific details, while the second calls for more abstract reasoning. If students were asked for their recommendation or their judgment, a still higher level of skills and attitudes would be needed. If they successfully responded to these questions, they were able to demonstrate the appropriate level of learning. You may also have observed skills beyond those specifically asked for: students integrating facts, drawing comparisons, searching for linkages on their own. Your case is truly effective if these skills match the educational objectives that you set for the case. If you wanted these higher levels of learning skills but didn’t observe them, as with key issues and linkages, you will need to determine whether students were confused or otherwise unable to accomplish your goals, or whether the questions and discussion didn’t probe deeply enough. Similarly, if students were focused too heavily on the human dimension at the expense of analysis or vice versa (Exhibit 2.2 on page 28), the questions should be reexamined. A discussion that ran too long for the time available, as noted above, may indicate that the case is more complex or more difficult than appropriate for this position in this course. The reverse, a discussion that finishes easily in the time allowed, may also have several causes. The questions that you developed for class testing may have proved to be too easy or too obvious. Were there issues that were not explored in class? If so, then revising the questions may be all that is needed to bring the case to the level of learning you anticipated. But it is also possible that the case itself is less complex, the linkages straightforward. There may be additional information that you can add, that is relevant but that will give students the opportunity to decide for themselves what is important. The alternative is to reposition the case earlier in the course, when students are still developing the relevant skills. Finally, testing the case in a classroom setting will have told you a great deal about its pedagogy. You will have a greater appreciation for the nuances of the case, how students will respond 155

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to your questions or whether new questions are needed, how to tell the “A” students from the average, how to lay out the board for maximum effectiveness. All of these will be important aids that you can provide to future instructors, as will be discussed in Chapter 8.

Double-Check for Data Several times in the previous section, you were asked to take a critical look at the information in your case. This is a technique that you can use even if you are not able to test the case in a class. Start with your list of key issues. For each of them, go through the case and note the details that you would expect students to associate with that issue. This is not as easy as it seems. Since you collected the data and wrote the case, you have a wealth of information about the situation, but students will have access to only that part of the information that is in the written case. You are checking the case against the list of key issues to be sure that students do have all of the details that they will need. The same is true for any theoretical linkages. If students will be expected to apply a model, either theoretical or quantitative, work through the model yourself, using only the data in the case. Then go back to the case and include any information that your double check discovered to be missing.

Getting a Second Opinion (and a Third . . . ) At this point, you have gone as far as you can go in testing your own case’s effectiveness. As already noted, you know too much about the situation; it is difficult not to mentally supply any missing information. There are a number of possibilities for additional feedback, each offering different inputs and having different advantages. Other readers who know nothing about the situation can help to identify any topics—or sentences—that are not clear. If those other readers are also case writers, you will receive more than just editorial feedback. Another possibility is to give 156

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the case to a colleague to teach, to find how her/his experience in the classroom compares with yours. The most intensive, but often very exciting and motivating approach, is to take the case to a workshop or other collaborative format, in which a number of other case writers work with you to improve your case, as you work with them on theirs. It is not necessary to use all of these techniques. However, you will probably find it helpful to use at least some of them. You may even prefer to have colleagues critique the case before it reaches the classroom. This step would help ensure that it is clearly written and contains all the information that students will need, before they have the opportunity to become frustrated by it. When should you enlist these other forms of assistance? It depends on what you want to learn, as well as which of these resources you have available. It is not required to have a completed Instructor’s Manual to benefit from other readers’ or teachers’ input on the case. However, if you have at least a draft of your Instructor’s Manual to offer other teachers, they will be able to build on your ideas and techniques, rather than starting from zero. Another case writer would be able to give you feedback on the Instructor’s Manual as well as the case. And most, if not all, of the collaborative formats require the draft of an IM as well as the case. For eventual publication, both the case and the IM will be subject to extensive reviews. Chapter 8 will cover the rest of the Instructor’s Manual in detail.

Other Readers, Other Case Writers Even a purely editorial reader has value in the case-writing process. Your students didn’t tell you which sentences were unclear or which transitions were poor; their feedback was in the areas of content and teaching effectiveness. An editorial reader can help you polish your style and improve the flow of your case from one paragraph or topic to the next. The only sentences that should not be open to modification are direct quotes from the principal figures in the case. A reader who is also an experienced case writer brings another dimension to the process. He does not need to be an expert in 157

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your area of expertise, but should be familiar enough with the subject to be able to offer more than just a stylistic critique. Even if you have a draft of your Instructor’s Manual, this type of case reader will most likely go over the case first. Since the case is the only document that students will see, it must stand on its own. The case writer–reader will check for flow and clarity of expression. In addition, essentially “playing student,” this reader will try to identify the critical points, the questions and key issues that a student would be asked to find. Only after carefully going through the case itself will this reader turn to the Instructor’s Manual, if one is available. Then he will be able to compare his impressions with your expectations concerning key issues and educational objectives. He will also look critically at whether there is enough information, and the right information in the case, for students to be able to do what you would assign. A reader whose background differs somewhat from yours can sometimes provide unexpected insights. He may see linkages to theories or concepts that you would not have been looking for. You had in mind a particular student background and set of theoretical or pedagogical objectives when you wrote the case. Reading the case without knowing them, the reader will make their own connections. The case may or may not contain enough data to be able to explore these new ideas thoroughly. If it does, you may want to include a reference, at least, to these new perspectives when you write the Instructor’s Manual. If the case does not have all the details needed to analyze these new concepts thoroughly, you will have to consider whether to add to your case to accommodate this new direction or to maintain its focus on your objectives and issues. One rather unusual example of the impact of diverse backgrounds was experienced by one of the authors. She was reading a case that described the problems experienced by a social service agency. Each department had different information needs. These were complicated by the fact that each department had been responsible for tracking its own data and had developed its own system, hardware and programming, to manage that data. The agency realized that it had outgrown its current systems, but was uncertain as to what type of system to buy. Information technol158

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ogy is not this author’s area of expertise, but she was immediately struck by the degree to which each department had been allowed to “go its own way” and wondered whether simply purchasing a common data system would solve the agency’s communications problems. With the same case information but a different set of questions and key issues in the Instructor’s Manual, the case has had an additional life for discussion of issues of designing a more effective organizational structure (Certa, 1991).

Reviewers There is one category of readers who can offer a very intensive critique. They are the reviewers for the journals that publish cases and for conferences where cases are presented or discussed. By submitting your case for either of these, you are opening it to intensive scrutiny. Both publications and conferences typically use a blind review process. The reviewers receive your case without any indication of who the author is, nor will you know who were the reviewers of your case. Reviewers, either for a conference or for a journal, are experienced case readers and usually also case writers. This means that you will receive knowledgeable, intensive, feedback. Journal reviewers in particular, however, being experienced, have read other, possibly better, cases and will be very demanding. Carroll (2004) provides an in-depth look at the review process from the point of view of a reviewer. A reviewer may also disagree with you about the importance of your case’s situation or even the need for another case on this issue. The price you may pay for this form of intensive critique is discouragement. It may also present a challenge, or even encouragement—very few cases are accepted for publication after the first review. If you agree with and are able to follow through on their recommendations, the result may be publication in an academically reputable publication. If you send your case to a journal for review, make sure to proofread it carefully and format it according to the guidelines of the journal before submitting it. It may seem obvious, but these steps will keep your case from being rejected outright. Once you have received your reviews, consider them carefully, both good 159

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and bad, as you make your revisions. Editors will often ask that you also write a response to the reviewers that describes the changes you have made. If a reviewer has said something that you disagree with, you can respectfully present your viewpoint—but remember that the editor will not publish a case if the reviewers are not satisfied with it. Vega (2010) provides an editor’s perspective on the submission and review process. The readers who review submissions for case-related conferences are usually more likely to look at your case as a “work in process.” Although readers’ critiques may be intensive, they will not only provide feedback, but also (we hope) provide you the opportunity to present your case. Conferences provide the opportunity to talk about your case in an interactive, collaborative environment. We will talk about conferences in a separate section.

Other Teachers Class testing your own case yields many benefits, but it also may have one significant problem. One of the authors had written a case about a small company that constructed replicas of classic cars. The company’s founders were as interesting as the products they made for a select group of customers, and the case was accompanied by film clips of an interview with one of the founders and of one of the cars that was used in the made-for-TV movie Topper. However, the discussion did not flow, despite the students’ experience with the case method. The author found that he was having to feed the class additional pieces of information. Some were details that he had not felt were crucial enough to include in the written case, but some were facts that he, in fact, thought he had included. Because he knew so much about the situation, he was able to achieve his teaching objectives—but another instructor, without that detailed knowledge, would not have been able to use the case successfully. The hazard of testing the case yourself is that you may, consciously or unconsciously, be feeding the class the extra information that they need in order to complete their analysis. If you were able to tape yourself when you tested the case in class, you will be able to see if you had to offer additional infor160

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mation to the class. Listen carefully to your role in the discussion. When you talk about details from the case, usually you will be summarizing students’ observations. However, if these facts were not introduced by the students, you are most likely feeding them additional information that is not in the case but that they seem to need. If you spot this on the tape, check your written case to make sure these details were included, and, if not, add them. Having someone observe and take notes while you teach the case does not work as well for this purpose, because these additional bits of information are often not obvious and are slipped into the discussion in the course of accomplishing some other pedagogical aim. The ultimate test of whether your case is effective is whether someone other than yourself can teach it successfully. By now, you have done whatever you can to find missing information and improve the case’s clarity. Now, ask a colleague to test the case for you. You will have to provide at least basic information about the case’s objectives and key issues, so that he knows where and how the case will fit into his course. This is also an opportunity to get feedback on your preliminary Instructor’s Manual. Your colleague may also want to know about your experiences with the case, what questions you asked, even how the class responded. What you need to know, in return, is how the case worked in his class, with his students and with his teaching skills. It would be ideal if you could observe the class, without being a distraction. In this ideal situation, you would learn a great deal about your case’s effectiveness. You will be able to see whether more information is needed, more clearly than when you taught the case, because this instructor does not have that information readily available. You will also observe his teaching techniques, follow-up questions, even board layout. All of these can add depth to your Instructor’s Manual. Most of all, you will be reassured that your case will be effective for others, not just for you. And, since every class finds something different in every case, you may well find that there are ideas and linkages in your case that even surprise you. It is often not possible to observe the case in action, particularly if the colleague is testing it at another institution. In this situation, you will have to rely on your colleague to provide feedback on the 161

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case’s performance in class. Make this request as specific as possible, preferably in writing before teaching begins. The best time to record impressions from a class discussion is immediately after that class. It is all too easy for the instructor to become occupied with students, preparations for another class, or any of academia’s other distractions. By asking for information on specific aspects of the class testing, you are giving your request more importance than if you say, “Let me know what happened,” or “any feedback would be appreciated.” The instructor also has something specific to focus on, rather than having to try to reconstruct the entire discussion (a lengthy process) or to guess what you would like to know. Potential requests could include what other information would have been useful in the discussion, did the instructor have to ask additional questions to lead students, what was the most surprising aspect of the discussion, or any other aspect of teaching the case that you would like to know more about. This can also be accomplished by a phone call within a few days of the class’s discussion. This does not mean that you won’t get any useful feedback if you don’t have the opportunity for immediate follow-up. However, it is up to you to take the initiative—your colleague is, after all, doing a favor for you, even if he or she is also making use of a potentially effective new case.

Workshops and Other Collaborative Formats There are a number of workshops and even conferences devoted to case writing. They typically provide a wealth of feedback in a supportive, interactive climate. The concept behind a workshop is that almost any case can be improved. Workshops typically require that your case be accompanied by an Instructor’s Manual, at least in draft form. In a round-table workshop, each participant reads all the cases in his or her session, in advance. The IM helps him or her to understand your objectives and to prepare a critique. When your case is the topic of discussion, you hear these critiques (and often receive written notes), but also have the opportunity to respond. Sometimes this takes the form of explaining why you wrote this case or how you use it. You can also ask for input on specific aspects of the case or IM. Because 162

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your readers are also participants whose cases will undergo the same process, the atmosphere is mutually supportive: “how to improve” rather than “what’s wrong.” When possible, workshop organizers will generally mix new with more experienced case writers. Those who have written cases and participated in workshops before will be comfortable with the process, and will have useful insights for the novice. Participants who are experienced case teachers can visualize how they would use the case and often come up with new perspectives. But beginning case writers can also contribute their input on the case’s clarity and style, and whether there is sufficient information to achieve the author’s objectives. The workshop format is used extensively by several of the associations of case writers, including the North American Case Research Association (NACRA), the Society for Case Research (SCR), the CASE Association, the World Case Association (WACRA), and various regional associations. These organizations, while predominately made up of business school faculty, are open to anyone who is interested in case writing and have included workshop sessions for cases in the fields of education, agriculture, hospitality and tourism, and engineering. Several publish their own journals, notably the Case Research Journal (NACRA), the The CASE Journal, and the Business Case Journal (SCR). The Ivey School at the University of Western Ontario also offers workshops for new and experienced case writers. Other professional organizations also may have sessions or tracks related to case writing. As the acceptance of cases as a teaching tool increases, more professional organizations are including sessions relating to case writing at their annual meetings. The broadest (covering virtually all business disciplines) and oldest of these sessions may be found at the annual meeting of the Decision Sciences Institute. Many other professional organizations, in fields ranging from public school teaching to law to medicine to information technology and ethics, offer workshops in locations throughout North America and in Europe, Africa, and Asia. If your organizations don’t have a workshop for case writing at their annual meeting, an Internet search for “case writing” + “workshop” will produce an extensive list to browse. 163

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Another type of case session is the panel or “VIP” session. This features a team of experienced case writers, often including individuals who have also been journal editors, text writers, or are acknowledged master teachers who can share their perspectives. The panel reviews several cases and presents its critiques, typically allowing the cases’ authors the opportunity to respond briefly. At some professional meetings, there are case sessions where the author presents the case, as she would any research paper, with a discussant given only a few minutes to respond with a critique. In these authors’ opinions, these sessions are the least effective for the case writer, because of the limited opportunity to collect feedback to improve the case. However, presenting your case in this format may inspire a member of the audience to ask for your case to use in a course, enabling you to find “other readers” or “other teachers.” The advantage of a workshop or even a panel session goes beyond the specifics of the feedback that you will receive on your case. A collaborative format such as a workshop is an exercise in creative thinking. As issues are raised, you have an entire session of people who will interact and brainstorm to find possible solutions. They may see potential in your case beyond the issues and concepts you had included. They may recommend new approaches, perhaps an industry note or a series of cases on the same organization. When you don’t agree with their critique, which does happen, you have the opportunity to explore the reasons why, both theirs and yours. The authors have experienced this on more than one occasion. There are not enough cases that have a decision focus in the area of Business/Government/Society (BGS), so they have written several to be used in their own courses. However, their feeling is that, to make an informed decision, the student must understand the company’s financial position. Consequently, their cases include more background about the company and particularly its profitability, than is normal in the BGS field. This has caused intense discussions in several workshop sessions. Sometimes, we have conceded to the other participants’ views, but sometimes we disagree—and have to acknowledge that we are probably going to be the primary users of that case. And, it is worth noting, the other participants have included some of our very good friends. 164

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If your professional organization doesn’t currently have any sessions devoted to cases, think about the possibility of organizing one yourself. If you can think of two or three colleagues who are also interested in cases, you could jointly submit a proposal for a roundtable workshop. The logical conference track would be any dealing with teaching issues, since your case is intended as a teaching tool. If accepted for the conference, you exchange cases in advance, as you would for a session with research papers. Each reads the others’ cases and develops a critique for them; you meet at the conference at the appointed time and exchange notes. It is helpful to ask someone to take notes for the author when the case is being discussed, so that she can focus on the feedback. And, as noted above, you brainstorm . . . about what other information would be useful, what other teaching paths you could follow, etc. Once it is listed in the program for the conference, you will probably find that other people drop in to see what is happening. Get their names for next year’s session. Once you have shown that your session adds value to the conference, you may be able to get your workshop preapproved for next year, and send out a “call for cases” as part of the organization’s preliminary materials for the next annual meeting. This same roundtable technique can be used with any group of colleagues who are interested in case writing, including other faculty at your school. If the feedback seems overwhelming or contradictory, or if you are uncertain as to what to do next, one option is to seek out an experienced case writer to be your mentor. This should be an ongoing working relationship, so it is important to find someone who feels your case has potential, who has similar courses or academic interests, and whose philosophy of teaching is compatible with yours. You should be prepared for questions such as “Have you thought about this aspect?” and for serious questioning about how the case would be used to stimulate discussion. A mentor will also serve as a resource, offering suggestions when asked. As a mentee, you need to be willing to listen to your mentor’s input with a positive attitude. You need to remember that writing a good case, like any craft, takes time and effort. Ultimately, the decisions about the case will be yours, whether or not you take 165

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a mentor’s advice or use feedback from colleagues or reviewers. If aspects of the case or instructors’ manual are outside of your expertise, you may want to seek a coauthor who can assist in those areas.

The Speed to Market Trade-off There is a concern that students are only interested in situations that are current. It is easy for us, as instructors, to convince them that course material is relevant when it is in the news. The demand for relevance poses a problem for case writers, particularly with regard to revising their cases. There is a potential trade-off between speed to market and case quality/effectiveness. This trade-off is even more pronounced between speed and academic rigor; even the fastest blind-review process takes time, especially when the reviewers request revisions. Online journals do decrease time to market somewhat, but are still dependent on the speed with which their reviewers read and comment. As the author, you will need to decide which of these aspects—academic rigor, classroom effectiveness, or recency—is most important to you. This choice also determines the type of outlet that you seek for your case. If acceptability to academic groups such as tenure committees is important, then your ultimate goal will be a journal. If having your case viewed as research is not a key factor, presentation at a conference or workshop will help you enhance your case’s effectiveness in the classroom. Case databases and clearinghouses are the best option if you are most concerned with having your case reach an immediate audience, as they have the least rigorous (or no) review process.

Revising and Updating Cases As long as the case is still in draft form, you can continue to revise and make changes. Unless you have added a substantial amount of new material to the case, you probably don’t need to have a new release for each draft. The authors have found that it can be a major challenge to keep track of drafts—what is the newest version, or when were a set of revisions made? 166

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We have learned the hard way to date every draft, every time we work on it! Once you have a draft that you feel is well written and meets your educational objectives, then you need a “final” release, as discussed in Chapter 3. Potential publishers will typically ask for this release before sending your case out for review. Sometimes an author finds that a case needs further revision, even after it has been released for others to use. By all means, the case should be revised if it is missing information that students will need, or if there are other problems with the case that would limit its effectiveness in the classroom. Text authors who are looking for new cases for their new edition may be willing to take a case as presented at a workshop, or with minimal revisions; you may decide later that more work is needed before releasing the case through a clearinghouse. However, this newer version should be labeled as “Revised” in order to prevent confusion. Otherwise, instructors who have used the text version may be surprised to find extra information or even a change in focus when they assign the case through a clearinghouse. If you revise the case, the Instructor’s Manual should also be revised to be consistent. We have heard people recommend that an older but effective case should be updated, since students may be more able to relate to material that they perceive as current. Some cases are timeless, either because the relevant facts of the specific situation do not depend on a particular date or context, or because the issue is so compelling. Cases involving rapidly changing areas such as technology are difficult to update; your energy would be better spent in developing a new case based on a current situation. It is possible to change dates to make the case seem more current, however often it is not enough to simply move up the timeline. Laws and regulations, politics, social norms, scientific breakthroughs, or the economy may be significantly different now than they were at the original time; these factors would then also need to be updated. However, such a change may alter the context for the case’s issues, similar to the issues that may arise in conjunction with a disguised case. If the case is being presented as “research,” the data is also no longer factual. 167

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The Practice Session The case draft in Appendix I on page 245 was critiqued extensively in Chapter 6’s Practice Session. Exhibit 7.1 contains a checklist of questions that are commonly asked by workshop and journal reviewers. All of these topics were covered in the analysis of the draft case, although not necessarily in the same order. This time, we will concentrate on the final version of the case (Appendix III, page 251), which was published by the Case Research Journal, a highly regarded, peer-reviewed journal. The message of the case is much clearer than in the previous version. There is a hook, in which two of the central characters, the decision makers, introduce both the third character, Mr. Adams, and the issues, both ethical and interpersonal. Students should be able to identify professional ethics as one of the key issues. It should also be obvious from the hook that the accounting firm has a human resource problem. However, only careful analysis of the partners’ and Mr. Adams’ expectations will identify the source of that problem. This sets up the potential for an “A student/C student split,” as described in Chapter 6. There are no explicit linkages to theory. However, the case does contain an exhibit on professional ethics in accounting, drawn from the professional association’s Code of Conduct. The stakeholder model (described in “The Practice Session” in Chapter 5) can be used to determine who will be affected by Mr. Adams’ actions and the partners’ decision. The hook ends with a question that indicates one level of educational objectives chosen by the authors: “What do we do now?” According to Exhibit 2.1 (page 27), this is asking the students to build on their analyses and develop a recommendation (Stage 5). They are using creative thinking, a form of “Application” (Exhibit 2.2, page 28). When students debate the ethical question of whether Mr. Adams is acting unprofessionally, they are learning to evaluate according to the values of the partners and the accounting profession, using skills that are developed in Stage 6 and that demonstrate learning in the human dimension. Although quite short, the case does contain enough information to speculate on Mr. Adams’ expectations and motives, as well as the types of discussions that were involved in recruiting and hiring 168

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Exhibit 7.1 Elements of a Well-Written Case â•… This is not an all-inclusive checklist, but is intended to help you identify some of the most common trouble spots in case writing. Depending on your objectives for the case, not all of these questions may apply. Message ___ Is there a hook? ___ Will students be able to identify the key issues or learning objectives? ___ Are there linkages to theory or models in your field? ___ Do the case characteristics match your chosen educational objectives? (See Exhibits 2.1 and 2.2) Details ___ Is there sufficient information for students to carry out your desired analysis? ___ Is there more information than needed? If so, is its purpose • to lend realistic complexity? • to add interesting details? • to allow students to follow “red herrings” and make judgments? ___ Are there characters with whom students can identify? ___ Do the characters speak in their own words, when possible? ___ Is the material organized in a logical fashion? ___ Are there exhibits, with detailed explanatory material? If not, should there be exhibits? ___ Is the timing of events clear?

Style ___ Is the case entirely in past tense (except for direct quotes)? ___ Is the tone objective (i.e., no value judgments such as “obviously,” “excellent manager,” etc., unless they are in direct quotes)? ___ Does the case have “life”?


Testing and Refining the Teaching Case

him. However, these are not clearly spelled out, so students must judge for themselves what is important. This is appropriate for a case in the higher categories of educational objectives. There is sufficient information for students to analyze the probable cause of Mr. Adams’ behavior. This should give them a basis to discuss whether he deliberately acted unethically. We have background on the firm, which includes its reputation and the services it offers, and also a copy of the letter sent by Mr. Adams to M & M clients (Exhibit B). This should be sufficient for students to develop recommendations for Mr. Meyers and Mr. Morrison. There is very little, if any, extra information. The case has three principal characters. For each, there is enough information about his background that a student should also be able to determine his values. Mr. Meyers and Mr. Morrison are allowed to speak in their own words, not only in the hook but throughout the case. Mr. Adams is seen primarily through their eyes, except for the letter that is in his own words. However, the description of his chewing his fingers should give students a very vivid picture of his state of mind. After the hook, the case is organized in a logical sequence, first describing events as they had occurred prior to the phone call in the hook. The case then provides additional background on the industry’s norms and the company’s philosophy, both important to understanding Mr. Adams’ and the partners’ points of view. The case ends with a confrontation between the partners and Mr. Adams over his future with the firm, and returns to the phone call and Mr. Adams’ letter. Except for the industry and company philosophy sections, the organization is chronological. Although there are few specific dates, the timing of events should be relatively clear. “During his second year,” “before the end of tax season,” and “a few days after the meeting” give a good indication of how much time has elapsed between events. The two exhibits, as already discussed, provide additional details that the students will need in their analysis. Except for direct quotes, the case is written entirely in the past tense. The tone is objective in most sections, notably company philosophy and the sections on competition and the industry. Parts of the “Background” section may not seem entirely objective. It is clear whose point of view is represented, however. 170

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Sometimes it is stated to be that of co-workers. More often, as in the hook and the final section, the case is told from the point of view of Mr. Meyers and Mr. Morrison, often in their own words. These quotes are part of what gives the case reality, as though they were telling their story to the student. The vivid descriptions of Mr. Adams’ behavior and the letter itself add to this feeling of immediacy and reality and give the case life.

Summary and Conclusions As with any document, the first draft of your case is not the final one. On your own, you can work on the organization and style, and check to make sure that there is sufficient information to answer the questions you would ask. Exhibit 7.1 is a checklist that should be helpful for this purpose. However, if the case is to have a life of its own, apart from your own classroom, it must be subjected to outside scrutiny. There are many different possible sources of feedback, ranging from having the case taught by colleagues to editorial review to critique by experienced case writers through a workshop or even a journal’s review process. You will want to know more about how well your case can be read and how complete the information is. You will also want to make sure that it is an effective teaching tool, first for yourself and then for other instructors. You will also want to collect as much information as possible for the Instructor’s Manual, which will be discussed more thoroughly in Chapter 8. There are two important things to remember about the whole case revision process. One is that no one enjoys revising her/his own work. Rewriting is never fun. It is hard to forget the implicit assumption that you didn’t do it right the first time, but you need to focus on the fact that rewriting is intended to perfect your creation. The second thing to remember is that all case writers face similar problems. As a result, they are always looking for collaborative, rather than critical, sources of feedback concerning their efforts. Working with other case writers is immensely satisfying and stimulating. In the words of an Indonesian colleague who was exposed to the process, “Once you get started, everything looks like a case!” 171

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ow that you have actually written the case and exposed it to other people, especially students, you can complete the Instructor’s Manual with confidence. This includes making any necessary revisions in the sections you have already written: the Summary, Objectives of the Case, Basic Pedagogy, Key Issues, Relevant Theory, Questions, and Methodology. Based on your experiences with class-testing the case you will now be ready to provide much more information for the instructor, both in terms of how to teach the case effectively and how to evaluate students’ responses. In this chapter, we will discuss the remaining sections that are typically included in an Instructor’s Manual. As shown in Exhibit 5.1 (page 99), these include Suggested Responses for the discussion questions, Teaching Techniques, Other Case Uses, Further References, an Epilogue, and Exhibits, for the instructor’s use.

Refining the Discussion Questions When you tested your case in class, as described in Chapter 7, you were also testing your draft of the questions for discussion. Trying out the questions showed you how well your case works for students and how the case might need to be revised. The same process also gave you insights into the questions themselves and whether they help guide students through the case to achieve your educational objectives. Based on what you observed in class, you may have discovered that your questions did not lead to the responses you expected. If the case contained all the necessary information, the class probably did not answer incorrectly. Students’ responses may 172

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have been incomplete, however. First, check your case, and if it did contain the information they needed, then you may want to revise or add to your list of questions for student preparation and discussion. One sign that an additional question might be needed is a discussion that simply fails to move on to new points. Students may not be ready to make the leap to the next concept, based on the analysis so far. A question that bridges this gap, or gives them more guidance as to how to approach the new idea, would be helpful. The instructor is always free to skip the bridging question if the class does not need the extra assistance. Sometimes the problem might be that students did not understand the question as it was originally asked. Some wordings work better than others; a question that may be clear when read may be difficult for students to follow when it is spoken. In general, a simple sentence structure works better. If the issue involved in the question can’t be simply expressed, it should be broken into two questions. Another alternative would be to offer a “back-up” question that the instructor could use if the first version did not generate the right kind of discussion. If the students didn’t fully answer one of the questions, or took a long time to get through their analysis, the question may be too broad, allowing them to go in a variety of directions. The question, or the analysis it requests, may be too complex for most students to answer without more guidance. A more specific question might be more effective. Sometimes, however, the point is to encourage students to wrestle with complex, unstructured issues. Rather than simplify the question, you may want to offer the instructor some ideas for structuring the discussion, either in a section on “Teaching Techniques” (to be discussed later in this chapter) or in your sample responses. An instructor can always omit or adapt the question if it is too direct for the class. When students are having difficulty relating the case to its relevant theories, the problem may be similar to questions that are too broad. Cases with more limited educational objectives may be relatively easy for students to match with an appropriate theory or model, particularly if that theory is well known or in most texts. 173

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However, cases designed for more complex objectives may be more difficult for students to unravel. Review the types of learning that your questions utilize. Do the questions ask for students to apply different skills, or are they simply variations on the same types of learning? If many of your questions start with the same words, such as “why” or “analyze,” they are likely to be asking students to use the same techniques repeatedly. This may also be true if the students’ responses are very short. Class testing may have given you ideas of other types of questions to ask. You can also go back to Bloom’s taxonomy (Chapter 2) to identify other types of learning that may be Â�appropriate. The text of the case may also raise explicit questions, particularly in the introduction or “hook,” or in the concluding paragraphs. These questions arise out of the description of the situation in the case itself. They are the concerns of the case’s characters, particularly its decision maker. Generally, these questions require a high level of student skills; they jump straight to “what should I do?” They are also extremely unlikely to call for any type of theoretical discussion. They are part of the description of the case’s decision maker, and his or her frame of mind, rather than intended as instructional tools. Students should be encouraged to think about these issues in one or more of the instructional questions included in the Instructor’s Manual. However, students should also be helped to realize that the decision maker does not always ask the “right” questions. He or she may be thinking primarily of short-term, immediate problems when it is also necessary to consider the broader picture, or may be focused entirely on the long run, when there are immediate issues that must be dealt with. New questions may also be needed to take advantage of new directions that were uncovered during the class discussion. If you decide to change the key issues or learning objectives, there should also be new questions to correspond to these new class directions. In situations where the new issues are quite different from the old ones, but both are potential directions for the case, it is possible to include a second set of questions for the new focus. These should be clearly identified and matched with their key 174

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issues. Using the example of the law/leadership-motivation case, they could be labeled “Questions for use concerning legal issues” and “Questions for use in management or organizational behavior.” Some of the questions, particularly those covering basic analysis, may be on both lists. There should also be suggested responses for the new questions. The key issues could also be divided into two lists, but this is usually not necessary, as the list is short and, based on the case, the students may potentially bring up any of these issues. It should be noted that reviewers and editors often prefer IMs that are focused on one use or course. If you believe strongly that your case should be considered for multiple courses or uses, the pedagogical material must be equally strong for each. Case analysis that uses concepts from several courses will also require a strong rationale statement in its learning objectives. The questions should be listed together in a separate section of the Instructor’s Manual. This list should not be included with the case itself. If it is included with the case, as often happens in textbooks, students will tend to focus only on the issues specifically raised by the questions on the list. Having the list of questions only in the IM gives the case’s instructor more flexibility in how the case is used. She/he may assign all of the questions to the students in advance or may proceed through them systematically in class. The instructor may, however, prefer to start the discussion with a more difficult, higher-level question and proceed back to the analysis to support or develop students’ ideas. The instructor may also prefer not to follow a fixed format, but rather ask one question and let the discussion evolve. The instructor may even be using the case in a different course context than the one for which the questions were developed. In all of these situations, a list of questions packaged with the case would make it more difficult for the instructor to manage the discussion in the way she or he preferred.

Answers: Sample or Suggested Responses The Instructor’s Manual should also contain a section of “suggested” or “sample” responses to the list of questions. This represents a kindness to the instructor, as well as an opportunity to 175

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demonstrate the research that the case writer has done. Some case writers substitute a general discussion integrating the key points of analysis from multiple questions. Any instructor teaching a course in which the case would be used should be capable of doing the analysis and answering the questions. However, the authors prefer to match analysis to specific questions for several reasons. Everyone tends to use a case more effectively the second time than the first. Sample responses should not only remind the instructor of the important points, but also transmit what you have learned through testing the case. The suggested responses section will be particularly valuable to the harried instructor who teaches under less-than-ideal conditions. As noted before, teachers may have multiple course preparations in the same semester, including one or more that are unfamiliar. They are even sometimes assigned to the course at the last minute, as late as the first day of classes. Both of these situations have been experienced by the authors. The time pressure to select and prepare cases for class is intense. Suggested responses from the case writer, matched to the discussion questions, give these harried instructors the opportunity to teach the case with authority and with an idea of what kinds of issues will most likely be raised by a particular question. The students benefit from being exposed to the full educational richness of the case. It is also very helpful for the instructor if, at the beginning of each response, the question is repeated. The first response will typically be on the same page as the questions, but subsequent answers would otherwise require flipping pages repeatedly or scrolling back to the question list. These responses should be specific and detailed, and in a format that makes it easy for the instructor to find the most important points. The answer could take the form of a table or an outline if that will provide sufficient detail. However, it is also appropriate to answer in complete sentences and paragraphs. The response may be brief if the question can be answered in a short, straightforward manner. Bullet points can be used for straightforward material, provided the points convey enough information. The response should not be kept short merely for the sake of brevity, however. It should be as long as is needed to 176

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answer the question thoroughly. In some situations the responses may be so complex that the Instructor’s Manual is longer than the case! A good example is the published version of the Meyers & Morrison case (Naumes, Wilson, and Walters, 1995, also found in this edition in Appendixes III and IV), which has a seventeen-page instructor’s manual (single spaced) for a case that is ten pages long including its two full-page exhibits. A complex answer, such as those discussed below, may require a more complicated response. If your discussion becomes too lengthy, it will be harder for the instructor to locate the key concepts easily. One approach is to underline, italicize, or bold the key words to make them stand out. Another is to organize the material by category or relationship in an exhibit for the IM. The response section should then summarize key linkages to theory or important pedagogical points, and refer to the IM exhibit. For a numerically oriented question, it is appropriate to have a full step-by-step workout in an exhibit with the difficult steps and teaching points noted. If the question pertains to a theory, the linkages between the theory and the case should be explained in detail in the sample response. The suggested response may be very similar to what you have already discussed in the section on “Relevant Theory” (Chapter 5), since both the theory and the situation’s details are the same, but the intent of this discussion is different. The focus in this section is on helping the instructor identify relationships that the students should be able to uncover. The theoretical discussion in the sample response section will be longer than in the section of the IM specifically devoted to theory. The “Relevant Theory” section doesn’t need to tie in detail to the specifics of the case; the point of that section is to alert the instructor as to how the case could be used. The suggested responses, on the other hand, should tie the theory extensively to the case’s facts. When writing for the instructor, it is more useful to assume that most students will have only a very basic knowledge of the theory and that this will be their first attempt to apply it in a “real” setting. If the students are being asked to apply a particular model, for example a statistical technique or a framework for organizing data, the sample response should work out the model completely. The 177

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full response, as already noted, can be in an exhibit if that format would be more effective. The steps should be given in order. Along with each step, there should be a brief discussion of which information from the case should be used in connection with this stage of the analysis. Again, this is not to replace preparation by the instructor. However, it will serve as an aid for the instructor who is teaching an unfamiliar course or topic. It can be used as a guide to developing assessment tools for the case. It can also be used during class as a reference if the students’ discussion does not seem to be coming up with the “right” answer, or to check for the completeness of their data. It also ensures that the focus will be on the discussion, not on computational errors. Questions that ask students to “analyze” cannot possibly be fully answered in the Instructor’s Manual. Students frequently make connections and uncover relationships that even the case author had not anticipated. Even in a “typical” class there may be diverse opinions concerning the weights to be given to different factors in the analysis. This situation is particularly likely when the instructor is using problem-based learning, where students are expected to develop the clarification of the issues and the direction of the analysis. If there are a limited number of “usual,” but competing responses, it may be possible to include the basic points of each, together with a brief discussion of the students’ assumptions that cause them to differ. It would not be realistic to include all possible interpretations or variables when writing a “sample response” for a question of this type. Instead, concentrate on the points that need to be covered for students to be ready for the next level of the learning process. One problem that is often raised by students is that cases don’t seem to have a “right” answer. Not true! There are often a number of answers that are possible or “right” for a question of this type, depending on the weights given to different factors and perhaps the assumptions students make. The students are being asked to do more than simply state relevant facts, a relatively low-level educational objective. They are being asked to make judgments about those facts, to think creatively, to form opinions or hypotheses about them. As a result, members of the class are likely to come up with more than one “right” answer, possibly including some 178

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that surprise even the author. While the “Suggested Responses” in the Instructor’s Manual cannot anticipate all of these, it should identify any likely wrong answers. These would be based on assumptions that are unworkable or unrealistic. Sometimes, as described in Chapter 6, while organizing the Case, the case writer will deliberately include facts or ideas, “red herrings,” that could mislead the student into making these assumptions. It is only fair to warn the instructor of these potential student pitfalls. The most difficult “Suggested Responses” are those for questions that ask the student to build on his analysis. These include those questions that call for him to “recommend” or “develop.” The specific weights and assumptions of the analysis are the starting point for that recommendation and may, therefore, vary considerably from class to class. Here, however, students are being asked to develop a complex solution, using their insights and creativity. The result is the possibility of an even wider variation in responses to this type of question. This is a situation in which class testing becomes extremely valuable. You do, in fact, have a sample of typical responses. Although repeated class tests may produce a few new ideas, there will usually be a limited number of proposals that appeal to the students. These should at least be identified in the “Suggested Response” to the question. If there are comparatively few “usual” recommendations, it should be possible to outline the important points of all of them. Where students become more creative and diverse in their ideas, one, or preferably more, should be worked out with the level of detail that is appropriate for the case’s course level and objectives. In situations in which there will be as many recommendations and ideas as there are students, it would still be useful to attempt to categorize the types of responses that might be anticipated. For example, a student who is asked to recommend a new strategy for a business could come up with a universe of ideas, including new products, new markets, whole new lines of business that could be investigated, etc. In this situation, it would be easiest to discuss the ideas by category. The sample response could identify the advantages and concerns for the business of developing a new product (of any type) and compare them with the advantages and concerns raised, instead, by moving into a new market or 179

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looking for a new group of customers for its current products. Again, this analysis could be in the form of bullet points or even an IM exhibit. One approach to providing the instructor with useful insight into questions of this type is to include actual student responses. This approach is not intended to replace the case writer’s own response, but rather to supplement it. If the case’s class test involved a written assignment, one or more of these papers may be suitable to illustrate what can be expected of students. Rather than incorporating them directly into this section of the Instructor’s Manual, they are usually attached as an exhibit at the end of the IM, with the instructor being referred to the exhibit to see what might realistically be expected from a student. It would be appropriate to ask the students, whose responses you would like to use, for their permission. They will be happy to oblige, knowing that you think enough of their answers to use them as examples for others. It is also appropriate to include the comments that you wrote on the student papers.

Refining the Learning Objectives and Key Issues Sometimes, after class testing or input from other readers, you begin to think about whether the case can be used in other ways, or perhaps cannot be used exactly as expected. In either situation, you should consider whether to revise the case to achieve the original objectives or to change the objectives that you originally had stated. Case revisions based on the results of class testing and other readers’ comments were discussed in the last chapter. How do you decide whether the case or the original learning objectives need to be changed? One way is to ask yourself: When the case was used in class, did it accomplish what you had intended? This can refer to either the key issues or the types of skills that students demonstrated. If students were prepared and eager to discuss the case, but did not talk about one or more of the key issues that you had identified, the case may not contain the right information to make that issue 180

Refining the Learning Objectives and Key Issues

seem important. It may also be that the issue was too obvious for much discussion. The case writer then has several options. One is to add information to the case that will help the students understand the relevance of this issue. A quote from someone who is involved with the situation is a particularly powerful way to stress the idea’s importance. The issue could be repositioned within the case to receive emphasis from being one of the first— or last—sections read by the student. It could even be given a subheading of its own if the need seems strong enough. The case may also be either too complex or not complex enough for the types of learning for which it had been written. If the case is not complex enough to fit your objectives, students will quickly complete discussion of your topics, finding the information easy to locate and analyze or the recommendations obvious. If your objectives are not dependent on having studied a particular theory or model that will be introduced later in the course, the simplest solution is to recommend repositioning the case. If the position cannot easily be changed, then the teaching objectives should be revised to reflect this more straightforward analysis, perhaps Stage 3 in Exhibit 2.1 on page 27 (application of theory to a structured business problem) rather than Stages 4 or 5 (which are more complex), or Stage 5 (relatively unstructured, but with a clear emphasis on action) rather than Stage 6 (complex, unstructured, and with a variety of different viewpoints within the case). If the case is too complex, students will most likely react by being confused. They have too much information, given their background or their expectations as to how they are to use this case. In this situation the case may be positioned too early in the course. Students may have studied the necessary theories, but still lack the sophistication that comes with practicing analysis. Your objectives are more likely to be achievable if the case is taught later in the course or in an advanced level of that course. A second option is to modify the learning objectives and accompanying discussion questions to call for a higher level of student skills. The case may be more than an end-of-chapter or integrative case where the student applies concepts and analyzes a relatively straightforward set of data (Stage 4 in Exhibit 2.1, or practical and 181

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critical skills in Exhibit 2.2). It may be more appropriate for use in Stages 5 or 6, where the student must display the judgment to decide which facts and which problems are most important or where they must use skills relating to the human dimension as well as integration. A third option is to revise the learning objectives to explicitly include several levels of analysis. In a case about a simpler situation, this two-step process would not be necessary. However, if the case is too complex for the students to handle as a whole, it may be necessary to make sure that they have successfully completed the analysis phase before attempting the more advanced objectives. If you have added or revised questions to improve the flow of discussion, you will need to make sure that the objectives and the questions still match. The original “key issues” may also have been less interesting than other topics that the students found in the case. This may have led to unexpected insights when the instructor asked for relevant theories or concepts and the class identified linkages or issues that had not been anticipated. If the case has sufficient information to support these new ideas, they should be added to the list of “key issues.” They should also be incorporated into the learning objectives, particularly since the case is now richer and more complex, and potentially more flexible than in the original description. One of the authors co-authored a case on a small company that was having trouble getting contracts (Naumes and Oyaas, 1995). The CEO knew that one of his primary competitors was pricing its products very low because it was not making social security or tax payments for its workers. He wondered if he should “blow the whistle” and report his competitor. The case was initially written for a discussion of ethics or for use in a course on the relationship between Business and Society—what would be the ethical course of action for the CEO and why? Financial information had been included in the case only to give an idea of the pressures that the CEO was facing. However, in class, the discussion of ethics rapidly gave way to concern as to whether this company could survive at all, even if the competitor were eliminated. This shift completely changed how the case could be used. It was, it 182

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turned out, more appropriate for a course in Entrepreneurship or Strategic Management where it raised the issue of survival and secondarily ethics. The type of learning had also changed from consideration of the ethical pros and cons of different courses of action (Stage 4, with a focus on the human dimension and caring) to in-depth analysis of the firm’s current financial situation and predictions for the future (Stages 4 and 5, with the focus on the application of critical and creative skills). One of the authors, when reviewing a case for a journal, found herself out of her area of expertise. As written, the instructor’s manual described the case’s objectives in terms of U.S. laws on employment discrimination. The manager of a restaurant was “involved” with a teenage employee, although the nature of that involvement was not made clear, the issue being raised primarily by the employee’s mother. Not being an expert in legal matters, the reviewer could not determine whether the case could be used to meet its author’s objectives. However, the case also contained a description of how the employee and her friends behaved, not doing the work they were told to do and hanging around with teenage customers. There was enough information, in fact, to have a good discussion on the employees’ motivation, and on the leadership implications of manager/employee “involvement.” The case could still potentially be used as the author had intended, but had an abundance of additional topics that have consistently led to lively discussions in other courses. The case, untouched but with the Instructor’s Manual radically revised to reflect these new issues and objectives, was accepted for publication in one of the leading case journals, and has been reprinted in several texts (Neese and Cochran, 1990).

What You’ve Learned from Class Testing Even if students’ discussions revealed precisely the learning objectives and key issues that the case writer had anticipated, class testing should have provided more detailed information concerning the pedagogy of the case. It may be necessary to add 183

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additional questions in order to have the discussion go smoothly. You have also learned something about how students are likely to answer your questions and can offer the instructor insights into evaluating their responses. You will also be able to make recommendations on several other aspects of using the case in class. These recommendations should be incorporated in a section of their own, which could be called “Teaching Techniques” or “Pedagogical Suggestions.”

The A Student/C Student Split Sometimes in class discussion it becomes apparent that there are questions that are more difficult for some students to answer than for others. Students may see relationships that are relatively obvious or conduct the first steps of an analysis but miss the more complex points. Better students, however, make the connections or understand how to complete the analysis. John Seeger, former editor of the Case Research Journal, calls this “the ‘A’ student/‘C’ student split” (A/C). One case writer who specializes in instructors’ manuals goes beyond the A/C split to give five levels of student responses (Sherman, 2005). It is very useful for an instructor to know in advance when this split might occur in class. How will the student with minimal preparation respond, compared with the person who has done a careful analysis? A properly structured set of questions should be able to bring virtually everyone along with the discussion, but if class testing has revealed a concept or question that could be used to discriminate between levels of understanding, it should be highlighted in the “Suggested Response” to that question. In the whistle-blowing case example already discussed (Naumes and Oyaas, 1995), a C student would be likely to focus only on the ethical question that was raised by the manager in the case and will respond in terms of its impact on his company. However, an A student will realize that the company does not have enough money to survive, even if the competitor were eliminated. In the Gustavson farm case (Noetzel and Stanford, 1992), discussed in Chapter 5, the C student will look at the combinations of cost and effectiveness and recommend a grasshopper-control treatment plan on that basis. The A student will also look at the implications 184

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of each choice in terms of its impact on the farmer’s neighbors and his reputation in the community.

Timing An important part of using a case effectively is knowing how long a discussion it is likely to generate. Few cases can stand up to intense scrutiny for the full length of a three-hour, once-a-week class. However, many cases are too complex to be covered completely in a 50-minute or one-hour class. Thus, matching the case to the class’s length is a potential problem for the instructor. Generally, the author will test the case in only one class format, whatever length is most common at her or his school. The case should work well in that length of class, since you will most likely have written a case similar in length and complexity to those that you already use. Based on the discussion, it should be possible to predict whether the case will work in a class of a different length. If there are points that could have been explored more fully, then the case could also be used in a longer class. If the discussion felt stretched, or was completed very thoroughly in the time available, the case could potentially be used in classes shorter than the ones in which it was tested. The Instructor’s Manual should include these estimates about teaching time. If the discussion of a longer case could be divided into two parts, tell the prospective instructor which questions or parts of the analysis fall into each group and give the estimated teaching time for each. This gives the instructor the potential to divide the case and use it over several class periods. If the case is used with some other technique, as discussed below, give the timing for the different parts. In action research, or problem-based learning, the case is developed over a period of time. There are, typically, several points to discuss during the class. This may lead to a shorter or longer class discussion, depending on your objectives as an instructor.

Board Layout Many instructors like to plan out their discussion in advance. This does not mean that they can predict exactly what will be said, 185

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or by whom. They know what key issues they wish to emphasize and what case facts will reveal or will be significant in these discussions. Chris Christiansen of Harvard University, a master teacher, liked to think through exactly how his board would look at the end of class, perhaps even at intermediate points, as part of his preparation for teaching a case (M. Taylor, personal communication, 1990). If the discussion flows freely, important points may come in any order with the supporting details revealed over a period of time. If you are the one who class-tested the case, you have a good idea of which points will be revealed and which are likely to come most easily, as already noted. How should those ideas be organized as they are independently presented? One effective way is to determine in advance how they will be grouped on the board once the discussion is complete. Then, as each important issue is identified, or supporting fact is given, it can take its place in its proper location. The instructor may also use a different color for each issue. This may create a “random” or patchwork effect early in the discussion when only a few of the items have been mentioned. However, as the discussion progresses, the board will fill up and the pattern will become apparent. Having developed the learning objectives and the questions, you are in the best position to know what the student should be able to “take away” from the discussion and how to organize the board to make the final summary easier. This section of the Instructor’s Manual can be very brief or very detailed. The brief version would be a list of headings that could be written across the board, either to direct the discussion or, afterward, to identify the groupings that have been created. A more detailed version might include a table or graphic showing not only headings but also the expected relevant details. It could also include any circles, arrows, or other markings used to demonstrate relationships between points in different columns or locations. The board layout need not be rectangular, left-to-right. It might be more striking if, perhaps, the key points could be laid out in a circular pattern or a grid. Many models are designed to structure information for comparison, for example, on a continuum of ethical behavior from “unethical” to “law abiding” to 186

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“extremely ethical,” so the model could serve as one axis of a grid into which case facts could be placed.

Other Uses A general class discussion is not the only way to use a case. Cases may also be used as the basis for written analyses, either an exam or a paper, or for presentation. Some are not complex enough to form the basis of a major group project. Although a case is most likely to be class-tested in the general discussion format, you may have some opinions as to other ways in which it could be used. Only a very short, relatively straightforward case should be considered for an examination in which the student receives the case in class to read and evaluate, since time is limited and students’ reading speeds vary. However, if the case is to be handed out in advance, students have time to study its facts thoroughly and prepare for whatever questions are asked on the exam itself. For this use, a case could be longer and more complex, similar to those used for class discussion or for the assignment of an individual paper. Cases are a valuable tool for assessment of students’ critical thinking and communications skills. They allow students to demonstrate what they do—and do not—know. Since a case does not have a single correct interpretation but rather many possibilities, assessing or grading student responses can easily become subjective. It is helpful for the instructor to prepare a rubric or guideline for grading. Your learning objectives, and the responses to your discussion questions, are a good starting point for evaluating both content and skills in students’ work. If you have developed a rubric for your case, include it as an exhibit in the Instructor’s Manual. See Wolcott and Lynch (2001) and Leach, Vega, and Sherman (2008) for examples of case-based rubrics. A good case for presentation might be one that has multiple issues or several points of view. Class discussion might be able to cover everything, but many times the length of the class period will constrain the focus to only some of the topics. Assigning the case to a group, either as a written assignment or for presentation, allows it to be thoroughly analyzed. A case requiring substantial outside research might also benefit from the extra time and re187

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sources of a group. Presentation has the additional benefit that the group members are forced to coordinate their activities and hear each other’s analysis, while the class is exposed to the possibility of multiple interpretations or competing views. Students generally enjoy presenting their work, particularly if allowed to use their creativity in format or media. The discussion during class testing of the case may give an idea as to whether the case might be useful in these other class formats. It is probably also suitable for an exam if the key issues were identified and fully discussed during the class period. If, on the other hand, the class was productively involved in discussion throughout the entire period and still had issues to cover, or more supporting details to develop, the case would be a likely candidate for a group project. A sentence in the pedagogy section of the Instructor’s Manual is probably sufficient to identify either of these possibilities. In a case where there are multiple points of view, the class could be asked to role-play the leading characters or viewpoints. In this technique, the instructor assigns an individual or group to each major viewpoint. That individual then analyzes and discusses the case as if he or she were that character and held those views and values. The class learns to understand the different impacts that these diverse stakeholders and values can have. Students also generally enjoy this change of approach to a case. The case writer can identify whether the case has potential to be used in this way and whether there are less obvious stakeholders or viewpoints that should be represented. If the case is suitable for role-playing you should sketch out the main characters or viewpoints and whether the roles can be assigned during class or students need to prepare in advance. Not every Instructor’s Manual has information about these alternative uses. Many times class testing will not provide clues as obvious as those just described. If not, then just omit this topic from the pedagogical section of the IM.

Teaching Techniques There is an increasing need to explore alternatives that will appeal to media-savvy and media-saturated students. While they still need 188

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to develop learning skills, particularly in analysis and evaluation, they may be more inclined to want to take action (a recommendation) immediately or to link to other information sources (see, e.g., Brown, 2000). Descriptions of techniques that appeal to these students include groups, presentations, additional research and links, frequent feedback, creativity, and transferability. One of your educational objectives might be to have students determine for themselves what other information they need and where to find it. Alternatively, the case might be extremely long if it included all relevant information. In either of these situations you should provide a paragraph for the instructor on “Recommendations for Students’ Further Research.” This should identify the types of information that students would need to look for. It should also give an idea of where the information could be found. Students, left to their own devices, will often accept the first information they find, whether on the Internet, in the popular press, or in their own textbook. Where else would you expect them to look? This is particularly important if the sources are not usual ones. Make sure to add early in the IM, preferably in the section on learning objectives or on the course position and uses, that additional research will be needed, so that the instructor knows to assign it in advance. At one workshop, a case author presented a case based on personal experience. She described the process that a relative had undertaken in making a career decision. The case included details about his background and experience, but not much information about the companies he was considering. One was a division of a large, publicly held corporation, while the other was a regional, privately owned company. Students were expected to search out information about both companies as if they were the person looking for the job. This was relatively easy for the corporation as there are many sources that analyze and provide statistics for publicly held companies; in fact, the company itself is required to provide a wide range of information to the stock market’s regulatory agency and to the stockholders. The other workshop participants raised the question of whether students could also find the necessary information on the smaller company. However, the author demonstrated that it was possible to locate information on 189

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the company through regional newspapers and press releases via listings on the Internet and searches of computerized databases. Her Instructor’s Note was revised to include a description of these types of sources and how to locate them. Another way to engage students is to incorporate social media such as blogs, discussion boards, or wikis. One of the discussion questions may lend itself to out-of-class debate. It could be posted in advance of class for students’ comments, with the subsequent class meeting devoted to applying analytical tools to strengthen their arguments. Students could also develop their case analysis in group wikis, coming to class already prepared to compare, critique, and build on those analyses. Alternatively, the class period could focus on creating a common analysis, with discussion boards or wikis being used after class for students to develop recommendations. Class testing may have given you an idea of which discussion questions could be used collaboratively. If you or your colleagues have found other creative ways to use the case, you can include them in this section. Provide enough of a description that another instructor will understand what you did and can replicate it with his students.

Double Checks for the Case’s Completeness When writing sample responses for the Instructor’s Manual the case writer often tries to make the answers as complete as possible. You, as the writer, have full knowledge of the facts of the situation and are able to make a thorough analysis. However, it is quite common that the answer may be more complete than the case. This occurs when a complete answer requires facts that are not in the case. When new facts appear for the first time in the “Suggested Responses,” the instructor is faced with a problem. It will be impossible for the students to fully answer the question since the case they read does not contain all of the necessary information. The instructor must settle for a lower-quality response or must provide the extra information during the class discussion. This puts him in 190

The Role of Opinion

the position of “playing God,” having superior knowledge about the company or the situation. Class testing should have revealed any major gaps in the information in the case as discussed in Chapter 7. However, it is a good practice to go over the case as though you were a student. This process is particularly important if you have not been able to test the case in an actual class. Can you find all the information? Can you make the connection with the theory or model and support it with all of the relevant details? When you look at a case as a student would, do you come up with the answers that you, as the case writer, had expected? If not, then you will need to do one of two things. If the missing information is important to the case’s learning objectives, then add it to the case. Otherwise, rewrite your sample responses to contain only information that the students would already know. There are three exceptions to this general principle. Students may give responses based on their personal experiences. If you are assuming that they will know this type of information, state clearly what you are assuming. An instructor whose students may not share the same backgrounds, for example, older versus younger students’ knowledge of popular culture, could then adjust the discussion accordingly. As already discussed, sometimes the students are expected to search out their own additional information. If this is the situation, it would be friendly to divide the suggested response to separate the part of the answer based on material in the case from the part based on student research. The third exception, an epilogue, is discussed below.

The Role of Opinion Throughout our discussion we have repeatedly stressed that the case itself should be written objectively. The only opinions in the case should be those of its characters, preferably expressed in their own words. However, as an outsider, you may very well have formed opinions about what you have observed. Sometimes this can be incorporated into your sample response to a question. For example, you have observed that there is an inconsistency between what people in the situation are saying and what they 191

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actually do. If this information is in the case, students should also be able to spot the inconsistency. However, if it is subtle (perhaps the kind of issue that would constitute an “A/C student split”), you might want to include your observations in the sample response. If you have a strong opinion relating to the case or to the situation or people it describes, it is not inappropriate to include it in the Instructor’s Manual. Your opinion should be a brief paragraph in a separate section of the IM, preferably after the pedagogical material. Be careful in writing this section. It should not be a diatribe or an occasion for venting your feelings. If you include a section on your opinions, it should be a reasoned explanation of how you feel about the situation and why. This lets the instructor know about your viewpoint, which could represent a bias that she may or may not share, and which might affect her interpretation of the case.

Exhibits for Instructor’s Use In addition to sample responses and teaching suggestions, there are a number of items that can be added to the Instructor’s Manual to make life easier for the eventual instructor. These items range from materials designed to aid preparation for class to ideas for further reading and research for either the instructor or the student to “what happened next.” They may be written as separate sections of the IM, or they may take the form of exhibits. In general, these materials are very focused and specific and are at the end of the Instructor’s Manual. They may even be labeled as “Teaching Note Exhibit 1,” and so forth.

Supplemental Exhibits One likely subject for a supplemental exhibit would be any model or theory that will be linked to the case, particularly if it is not in standard texts for the course. It could be a simple statement or outline of the main points of the theory. If it can be laid out to be more visually interesting, as a diagram with a diamond or star shape, for example, this would be an effective use of the visual 192

Exhibits for Instructor’s Use

media. Complex models can be fully filled out with case facts to clarify or visualize the discussion in the response to a question, as already noted. Another good subject for a supplemental exhibit is any relevant mathematical or statistical analysis. In a strategic management or finance case this could be an exhibit of financial ratios. A genealogy of characters and their relationships could be fully diagramed in an exhibit of this type. Some cases present unique problems for which a supplemental exhibit would be useful. A complex case might benefit from a time line. For example, a study of the issues surrounding silicone breast implants involves the developers’ research, marketing, and management decisions, medical discoveries, changes in the regulation of implants, and a series of lawsuits. Each of these headings has multiple events, many of which overlap. The story becomes quite tangled, even if the emphasis is on ethics, unless the reader constructs a time line so as to see the precise chronology and what was known at what time. The instructor either can take the prepared time line to class to use when the class discussion becomes confused between events or timing, or can assign the students to prepare one for themselves. Essentially, this type of extra exhibit serves as a resource to be used primarily to refocus class discussion if necessary, but the time to prepare it is in advance. A similar resource might be a chart of the key individuals and their relationship to each other, for example, a corporation’s organization chart of top management or a government agency’s levels of authority and responsibility. Either the time line or the organization chart should, of course, be constructed only from information that is in the case itself. Alternatively, the same exhibit could also be duplicated as a class handout. The time line might be particularly useful for this purpose. Another potential handout, for some cases, would be a glossary or definition of terms. Every business or organization has its own special terms that serve as a shorthand for the people who understand it, but that may be difficult for outsiders to follow. Students typically cannot picture a “flexible folder-gluer,” which, in its industry, is the machine that folds and glues sheets of cardboard to make boxes. A case set in another culture may contain words or concepts that are unfamiliar. If the terminology is 193

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particularly confusing, this exhibit should probably be an appendix to the case rather than reserved for the Instructor’s Manual. Case sequels and notes that are intended as supplemental handouts will be discussed in Chapter 9.

Data Workouts If the case has mathematical or statistical computations that are necessary to achieving its educational objective it would be helpful to the instructors to provide a worksheet of these calculations. This has two potential benefits. For instructors who have been thrust into a course that is not their specialty, such a detailed workout ensures that they will be able to help students through the computations and reach the educational objectives of the case. Even for the experienced instructor, the worksheet provides a resource to take to class as a reference. The exhibit should also identify the sources of the necessary information—where in the case the data may be found—especially if they come from more than one table or exhibit. It is not necessary to do simple arithmetic, since every student seems to have a calculator. However, if there is a sequence of calculations, as, for example, in the financial analysis of the health of a company or in the application of a forecasting model, the case writer should provide a carefully worked-out set of numbers. When students work through complex calculations it is easy for an error to creep in, which then can be multiplied (or divided) throughout the remainder of the problem. Two common sources of errors are mistakes in multiplication (one of the authors has a particular problem with 8 × 7) and the student’s inability to read his or her own handwriting (“1” mistaken for “7,” or “4” confused with “9,” for example). It is also easy to misplace a decimal point. Although the instructor should be familiar with the model or process, your clearly presented set of computations makes it easy to check the steps of the calculation for these small, but deadly, errors. Another situation in which data workouts are useful occurs when the students are asked to compare alternatives, whether for timing, cost, efficiency, or other criteria that involve some 194

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mathematics. Since the quality of their recommendations will be greatly affected by the specific numbers they generate for each alternative, it is very important that the calculations be correct. Here, again, it will help the instructor to have a complete set of calculations carefully worked out and presented so that the different alternatives can be readily compared and students’ computational problems can be found and corrected easily. A data workout could also be used to make a handout, if the instructor desires. It should be placed on a separate page at the end of the Instructor’s Manual for ease in copying. If the information in this exhibit is needed earlier, for example, as part of one of the “Suggested Responses,” summarize the conclusions in the response and refer the instructor to the worksheet (“Exhibit TN2”) for the detailed computations. If the question’s focus is on the model or computations, use the answer to discuss how the computation meets your learning objective and outline the steps in the process, then refer to the exhibit.

Bibliography, Recommended Readings, Other Resources Another useful addition to the Instructor’s Manual is a section of recommendations for further reading. These could be readings intended either for the instructor to increase his or her depth of knowledge about some aspect of the case or as suggestions for supplemental readings to be assigned to students. This is also a good place to include other sources of materials that could be used to supplement the case. If a reading should be assigned along with the case, it should also have been mentioned in the early sections of the IM, preferably in a section on pedagogy such as in connection with a “position in the course.” A reading list for the instructor is particularly useful in situations where the main theoretical link or model is not yet well known, or where one of the key issues of the case is not sufficiently covered in textbooks. One example mentioned earlier was the case involving a competitor’s illegal behavior and whether the subject of the case should “blow the whistle” to the Internal Revenue 195

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Service (Naumes and Oyaas, 1995). Although corporate, and even government, whistle-blowers are frequently mentioned on the evening news, there was very little literature discussing the ethical issues involved or even how to “blow the whistle” effectively. Consequently, the author included those few references in a list “For Further Reading” for the instructor. For a library case, or a field-researched case that also draws heavily on published sources, this section could contain a bibliography of the most important references used in researching the case. Although the specific sources should be cited in the case itself, a general listing here in the Instructor’s Manual enables the instructor to evaluate the thoroughness or potential biases that may be embedded in the case. Although the case writer has an obligation to be as objective as possible, library research limits the sources available, and every periodical or Web site has a particular viewpoint, whether pro-business or representing a key group’s specific interest, such as critical of the abuses of capitalism, or focused on a single industry. For both library cases and those field cases that have a library research component, the bibliography also gives the instructor an opportunity to carry out further research on the topics. If students are to be assigned a research project later in the course, the case’s bibliography also provides a basis to discuss issues of bias and appropriate sources. Even for a case that was researched entirely in the field, a section titled “For Further Reading” may be helpful. One approach is to list readings or sources that would provide additional information related to the organization or situation in the case. This could include concise articles about competition in that industry for a business case, or background about a particular geographic region or political system. It should not be an extensive or exhaustive list, only those items that would substantially aid the instructor’s understanding should she wish to explore the case’s environment further than the material in the case itself. If you know of other cases that take place in the same setting or on a similar subject, it would be appropriate to list them, as some instructors like to assign related cases. This gives the student the chance to study several situations in depth, but economize on the time spent learning about their shared background. Posi196

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tion this type of “For Further Reading” section closer to the other teaching-related material, rather than at the end of the Instructor’s Manual, or refer to it under one of the sections dealing with pedagogy, preferably in connection with your case’s “position in the course.” This earlier location or referral is also appropriate if your suggestions are for additional readings for the students. Students could either be given these references to seek out on their own or the instructor might prefer to include these readings as part of the syllabus. Perhaps you know of an article that provides an interesting complement to the case by discussing one of its key individuals or describing a similar situation. A concise reading or video containing background on the organization’s environment or the development of an issue could also be included in a list of this type. An article on the underlying theoretical concepts, particularly if it is also well written, would be very useful to those instructors who like to assign original readings rather than rely on textbook summaries, and in situations where the theory is still emerging or is relatively new. The bibliography or “For Further Reading” need not include only printed material. Students are increasingly relying on the Internet when doing library research. You may be able to point them toward important Web sites that they could use. Ideally, your recommendation should be a balanced list, containing more than one point of view, for example, that of the organization itself and that of any major stakeholder. Since Web addresses are often long and their authors not specifically cited, it would be helpful if you were to annotate this list with notes on the actual source and its interests or point of view. One author had students who were writing their own case and recommendations about a company and the allegations that it was exploiting workers in third-world countries. The students rapidly found a source on the Web that gave detailed information about working conditions, hours, and other aspects of making the company’s products in Indonesia and Vietnam. They referenced only the Web address, and did not know what organization or individual had posted the information, much less whether it was an impartial observer or someone with a strong viewpoint. It was with great difficulty that the author 197

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even persuaded them to look for the company’s own point of view in response to the information found on the Web. “If it’s on the Internet, it must be true” appeared to be their philosophy. An additional concern, both for you and for the instructor, is to identify Web sites that will not be changed or updated. Other types of resources may be available for the instructor. If you know of a video that could be used in connection with the case, this is a good place to list it. Many organizations will provide brief film clips that describe themselves or give their point of view on an issue that affects them. During the intense controversy over preserving the endangered spotted owl, one of the companies that had been involved in logging the owl’s oldgrowth forest habitat made a short film. It showed the company’s positive impact on the environment, including its role in planting new forests and the ways in which it attempted to log selectively, so as to limit its impact on the spotted owl and other endangered species. Television news programs will often study an issue, and for a fee, sometimes quite substantial, will make transcripts or video clips available. Public broadcasting stations may be another good source of shows that relate to your case. They may provide lists of videos that are available or can refer you to the producers or distributors. There are also organizations that produce short films for educational or training purposes. Examples include documentaries on a particular region, training films on topics such as how to negotiate with your boss in another culture, and programs about science or animal life. The Web is also a fruitful place to look for this type of information. If you have found a video or link that could be used with your case, briefly describe how it could be used in class, including its length and whether it should be used in segments or run all at one time, with appropriate ties to the case itself. Also, include the information that the instructor will need to obtain the video, including URL or address, phone number, and price, if applicable. Do you know of other interesting sources? Are there government agencies that might publish documents related to your topic, for example, a report on educational testing at the preschool level or standards for testing the quality of different products? If you include items of this type in your “For Further Reading” list, be sure 198

The Epilogue

to identify the name of the government agency or bureau and the publication’s identifying number. Every state has libraries designated as U.S. government depositories, which receive copies of all federal publications; however, it would also be useful to include an address so the instructor can send for the publication directly. An instructor is likely to look only at the early part of your Instructor’s Manual when developing the syllabus for his or her course. As a result, the “For Further Reading” section may not be read until she/he is actually preparing for class. This is too late to order materials or make additional assignments to the students. If there are readings that should be considered in advance, be sure to mention them earlier, rather than in a section close to the end. One way to do this is to footnote the key articles in your section on “Relevant Theory,” as well as in connection with “Position in the Course” in your “Basic Pedagogy” section. If they are designed for optional understanding or research only, leave them near the end of the Instructor’s Manual so the harried instructor can focus first on those sections necessary to decide whether and how to use your case.

The Epilogue In a case that focuses on decision making, students often ask, “What happened next?” or “What did they decide?” If you know what actually occurred, help the instructor who wants to answer these questions. Write a brief summary of the actual events and include it at the end of the Instructor’s Manual under the heading “Epilogue.” Not all instructors want to tell students about the actual outcome, since students might interpret this as the “correct answer.” They may have already found some information on the Web. However, “what happened” is not the same as “why”; if there has been a thorough class discussion, students are more apt to be curious about how closely their reasoning and analysis matched those of the decision makers. An epilogue is particularly useful when there is an element of the unexpected. If the decision maker chose an alternative that is not one of those you have developed through your analysis and “Suggested Responses,” you should explain not only the 199

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decision but also the reasoning behind it, to the best of your ability (in a library case, the decision maker’s own thought process may not be available). Sometimes outside events affected the actual outcome and these should also be noted, particularly if they were unforeseen by the people in your case. If both are true, or if there were several outside events each with its own impact, you might want to label each separately, for example, “Epilogue #1” and “Epilogue #2.” In the whistle-blowing case, the first epilogue explained the manager’s actual decision, which was not to report his competitor, based on the small number of companies in his area and the likelihood that someone would be able to identify him as the whistle-blower. The second epilogue reported that the competitor had gone out of business a few months later. In addition to satisfying the students’ curiosity, the epilogue can also be a valuable teaching tool. It can demonstrate the complexities of the “real world” situation and the need to be prepared for the unexpected, as well as illustrating the impact of different value judgments concerning the importance of various factors involved in the situation. It may even have a brief “teaching note” of its own, with one or two questions or applications of theory. Naumes and Naumes (2005) used this approach to have students compare their predictions with the small business owner’s actual response to an ethical crisis. If the epilogue is to be used in class, it should have its own page, for ease of distribution to students.

The Practice Session This Practice Session continues the analysis that was begun in Chapter 5. In that chapter, we looked at the draft Instructor’s Manual (Appendix II) and the final version (Appendix IV), and talked about the sections on the case summary, objectives, basic pedagogy, key issues, relevant theory, questions, and methodology. In this chapter, we will discuss the remaining sections of the Instructor’s Manual: suggested responses to the questions, refining the learning objectives and key issues, what you learned from class testing, opinions, exhibits for instruc200

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tors’ use, further readings, and the epilogue. A typical Instructor’s Manual will probably not contain all of these sections, but you should think about which of them are appropriate for your case. There are potential responses in the draft (Appendix II), but they are very brief. The response to Question 1 contains a useful analogy for explaining symptoms and problems. It does not follow through in terms of the case, however, merely citing two possible issues for discussion. The response to Question 2 is a list with no further discussion, exactly as the question asks. However, if the students understand stakeholder analysis, this may be all that is needed. Response 3 is short and relatively obvious, probably adding little to students’ appreciation of professional ethics. The response to Question 4 is, again, in the form of lists with no discussion; in fact, the second list has been mislabeled as #5 when in fact it gives potential alternatives as requested in Question 4. There are no notes for Question 5, probably because it asks students to come up with their own ideas, which could be very diverse. For several of these questions, there is not sufficient information in the case. However, Question 3 assumes a clear time sequence, which is information not available in the case. Contrast these responses with those in the final version (Appendix IV). The response to Question 1 now contains an extensive discussion of the symptoms, in terms of Mr. Adams’ behavior and other facts from the case, which have led to the situation in which the partners now find themselves. It has also been revised, probably based on class testing, to include an “A Student/C Student Split” between average students recognizing symptoms and above-average students who will be able to identify the underlying problems. Question 2 has been reformulated to ask for an analysis of the stakeholders, rather than a list, and the response reflects this change. The response to Question 3 has been expanded. It now elaborates on both professional and ethical conduct. The response to Question 4 still contains the criteria, but they are now explained, rather than listed. Several alternatives (probably not an exhaustive list), are now included, each with a brief list of advantages and disadvantages. There is now an answer to Ques201

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tion 5. Students may or may not agree with the choice of this alternative. However, the response gives the instructor an idea of the level of detail that he or she should expect. The sections on learning objectives and key issues have been substantially revised from the draft to the final version. In fact, as discussed in Chapter 5, the draft IM combined them into a very brief introductory paragraph. The draft IM does not have any hints learned from class testing, such as a board plan or the time to teach the case, probably because it has not yet been tested. There is no summary of key issues; since the focus of the case is not clear, a summary would be hard to develop at this point. There are no data workouts or exhibits, and no epilogue. In short, aside from the questions and some sketchy responses, this version of the Instructor’s Manual offers very little support for the instructor. The Instructor’s Manual in Appendix IV contains much more information for the instructor. There are now separate sections on the case’s Basic Pedagogy and Key Issues. The section on Teaching Techniques, following the Discussion Questions and Potential Responses, continues the discussion of pedagogy. It includes the time needed to teach the case effectively. The author then describes the flow of the class, including probable student responses (“Many students will feel uneasy with this question,” for example). Key points are identified, which could be converted into a board plan by the instructor, for example, matching the expectations of Mr. Adams and the partners. The author provides a wrap-up for the class, noting that students should not be allowed to end by treating symptoms only. The revised Instructor’s Manual does not include several of the subjects covered in this chapter. There are no “Other Uses” given, although the case is possibly short enough to be used for an exam and has characters that might make an effective roleplay. However, if the author has not tested these alternatives, he or she may not feel comfortable including them as possibilities. A section on the author’s opinion is rarely necessary. This case does not have a wealth of technical details, or numerical data to be analyzed, and the timing of events is clear, so exhibits for the instructor are probably not needed. 202

Summary and Conclusions

Students are expected to be familiar with some form of basic ethical analysis, as is indicated in the sections on Basic Pedagogy and Teaching Techniques. The case provides an exhibit with quotes from the relevant professional Code of Conduct. This should be sufficient background for the students, without the section “For Further Reading,” although additional references on professional ethics or codes of conduct might be useful. An epilogue is also optional; since the author does not provide one, it is probably safe to assume that the obvious happened: Mr. Adams went into business for himself, and the partners did not make any major changes in their practice. The authors have used this case in class, and students have never asked, “What really happened?”

Summary and Conclusions All of the sections of the Instructor’s Manual that have been discussed in this chapter concern helping teachers to use your case effectively. They are not intended to do the instructor’s work for her/him. Their intent is to enable the teacher to go into class knowing what to expect from the discussion and how to help students make the connections to theory or develop the intended skills. As the authors of one instructor’s manual described it, “These notes represent our best efforts with the case—what we’d tell you, were you to turn up in our offices, about our experiences with it” (Hatten and Hatten, 1987). At the end of this chapter you will find a checklist of points to consider when writing an Instructor’s Manual (Exhibit 8.1). It does not cover every possible situation that you could encounter, but should serve as a reminder of the important points from this chapter and Chapter 5. Use it as a reminder when you write your own notes. But do not forget to continue to learn about your case. When other people use your case in class, ask for their feedback. In our experience, we have learned something new about a case almost every time we use it. Your Instructor’s Manual should continue to evolve to reflect these new ideas.


The Instructor’s Manual, Part 2

Exhibit 8.1 Checklist for a Well-Written Instructor’s Manual This is not necessarily an all-inclusive list that will catch every possible problem. Use it as a guide to help you identify areas where your Instructor’s Manual could be strengthened. Not all questions will apply to every Instructor’s Manual. ___ Is there a brief description of the research methods employed? ___ Specification of the course or courses where the case fit? What level students are targeted? ___ Position of the case within that course or courses? Prerequisite concepts that students should have studied, if any? ___ Learning objectives: What should students gain by discussing this case? List the key issues on which students might take sides. ___ Links to theoretical frameworks of the field, including potential ancillary readings? ___ Brief summary of the case, including decisions to be made by key actors (if any)? ___ Are there assignment questions for student preparation? Do they flow logically? ___ Complete analysis and answers to the assigned questions, including points differentiating outstanding students from others? (What should an “A” student see that others might not?) Is there information in the Instructor’s Manual that is not in the case? ___ A plan for the flow of discussion, with sample discussion questions and expected classroom dynamics? (A board plan is optional here, but often useful.) ___ Time needed to teach the case effectively? ___ Time schedule for use of audiovisual or multimedia materials, if any accompany the case? ___ Potential topics for summary remarks at the end of the case? ___ Other potential uses of the case? ___ Data workouts or other explanatory exhibits? ___ Epilogue (what really happened) if known? ___ Specimen of an outstanding student paper, from a written case analysis assignment (including assignment question)? Source: Adapted from a form developed by John Seeger, editor, for the Case Research Journal.


9 Notes, Case Series, and Other Supplements


here are times when a single, stand-alone case is insufficient to meet the objectives of the case writer. At such times additional material or information is needed. Too often, case writers simply expand the length of the case to include this additional material, or require (or hope) that students will do outside research. While students may enjoy surfing the Web, they may not find the depth or balance of information that the case analysis will require. There are a variety of additional ways in which you can provide this information. There are situations when the background data provided in the case is not sufficient to fully explain the interactions within an industry. The country or area where a series of cases take place may need to be better described to students not from that area, but who are interested in some aspect of the area, such as economic or political development. There have been a series of case studies set in different countries in Southeast Asia as well as in the former communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Some of these cases deal with economic development. Others deal with political change. Still others deal with changes in the education and business systems. Rather than repeat the country or regional information in each case, a country or regional note may be developed and published to act as background information for a wide-ranging series of cases. Sometimes, the information may be highly directed, such as a description of the political process and parties. Others may be broader based and include historical, economic, legal, and cultural information. 205

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The industry in which a company being studied belongs may have an impact on the situation being examined. An industry note may have to be developed to fully explore the interaction between the organization and its industry. Similarly, there may be other, environmental factors that impact the individuals or situations being studied. These factors could include economic, cultural, and legal aspects. They also could be developed as appendixes or even additional notes to accompany cases. There are other times when a single case cannot bring out the full richness and details that were generated by the initial interviews and material. At these times a series of cases needs to be developed. The series could either explore the issues in a time sequence or relate to different issues that were found during the exploration of the situation. A case series can better develop the material to meet these objectives than you could achieve in a single case.

When a Case Note Makes Sense The most common type of note is one that defines and describes a particular industry, state, country, or region. These are typically developed to support a series of cases that are all found within the same field, discipline, or industry. There are different purposes for writing an industry note. The first reason is efficiency when writing each of the cases that the note is designed to support. Typically, the situations that are being studied in each of the individual cases are impacted by a variety of factors within the environment. Rather than present information in each case, all of which would be quite similar, a single note can be prepared for the series of cases. In this manner, the individual cases are actually shorter than they would have to be if the common environmental information were presented in each one. Overall, there is efficiency in preparation through use of an environmental note, since it only has to be written once for all the cases that are developed based on the same, or related, industries. Once the note exists, it may be possible to develop additional cases more quickly, since the background research has already been done. 206

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The efficiency extends also to the readers, since they are able to read the cases in a more efficient manner. They are not distracted by the inclusion of the external, environmental material in the body of each of the cases. If they are asked to read the background note before the case, the readers then have the advantage of already understanding the environment and can relate the specific case to it. An example of such a note is one that was developed for the ice-cream industry (Thompson and Strickland, 1993). Several case studies were developed on companies in this industry, including Ben and Jerry’s and Häagen-Dazs. The industry note includes information that describes the different market segments that companies can attempt to develop. Information on methods of manufacturing, marketing, and distributing the products was also included in the industry note. This allows the students to read the material once for two or more cases. The material can be applied to each of the cases in a balanced manner. The student can then develop similar techniques to develop analyses specific to each of the company cases studied. Another purpose in writing a case note is to allow the case writers to include more material on the external environment than would otherwise be appropriate in a stand-alone case. There are situations where a large amount of data and information is needed to be able to fully understand and analyze the situation and issues developed in the case. To provide all this material in the case itself would make it unwieldy and extremely long. The length would make it unlikely that students would read it, and, therefore, that it would be adopted by other teachers. Writing a separate case note would make it more likely that students would read both the case and the accompanying note. It is also more likely that the case and note would be adopted by other teachers. An example of this type of accompanying note would be where one of the objectives of the case is to have the readers prepare what is referred to as a Porter Five Forces Industry analysis for the company. This involves examining how the firm relates to its competitors, suppliers, customers, substitutes, and potential new entrants (Porter, 1979). To be able to perform this type of analysis 207

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effectively, the readers need to have sufficient information about all of these different factors. To place this information in the case often would make the case extremely long. Setting up a separate industry note helps the readers to better focus their attention on the information that is relevant to the desired analysis. A separate industry note also helps the case writers to be able to provide sufficient information so that the readers can achieve the objectives of the case. Typically, an industry note would include information that helps define and describe that industry. This would include data and information about the major and, potentially, the lesser competitors involved in the industry. Information such as sales revenues, profits, market shares held, as well as geographic and product markets served would be included here. This would help readers to understand the degree of competition within the industry, especially as they are trying to analyze specific cases dealing with individual companies in the industry. Using this information, the readers could determine the relative position of that company in the industry. Other information could include production and service procedures used. If there were special factors that were evident in the industry, these would be defined. In the previous example of the ice-cream industry note, the process by which ice cream is produced was described. This included an explanation of how differences in the ingredients and the production process used helped determine into what niche a company would be placed. Similarly, price levels, demand patterns, and historical growth patterns for the different segments would then help readers to be able to analyze past strategies as well as develop future directions for the firm to take. As part of this information, constraints such as supply shortages and limited sources for inputs would be included to help readers determine the effectiveness of potential strategies. Other topics discussed might include methods of distributing the products or services, legal guidelines, issues or regulations peculiar to the industry, or patent or brand-name strength. All of these factors would provide useful insights to readers as they try to analyze the total environment facing any one firm that is operating within the industry. 208

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Technical and Other Notes As we have discussed, notes may be written describing a variety of topics. One such topic would be a technical note. This type of note would be appropriate where there are issues and information that are peculiar to a type of product or process that makes it difficult to fully comprehend the product or process without an extensive explanation of the issues surrounding it. Information in a technical note usually includes the specific language used in the development and production of that product or service. This might take the form of a couple of paragraphs of prose or a glossary, placed as an exhibit or appendix to the case or note. In any industry or area, there is always language, sometimes simply jargon, whose definition is specific to that area. Some of this language may involve commonly used words that have taken a different definition from the standard, dictionary definitions. To a financier, leverage involves the use of debt versus equity in the financing of the purchase of an asset. To a physicist or engineer, leverage means the use of a lever to decrease the power needed to move an object. To a physician, OB means obstetrics. To a management professor, OB means Organizational Behavior. We have used the lack of understanding of that distinction to some success when our two children were born, since the delivery room is staffed with OB (Obstetrics) nurses and we have taught OB (Organizational Behavior) in a university with a medical school. There are many other, similar examples of terms that are used by two groups but with different meanings. These distinctions have to be defined so that readers of cases will understand what is being said in a case. In other situations, there are terms that are simply not defined as normal words. The people dealing with that product or service have invented words to better describe the various aspects of the functions surrounding or related to that product. Although most of these terms are related to the development or production of the product, they may also relate to marketing, personnel, or other functional areas. One of the authors wrote a case on a company that manufactured box-making machinery. There are a variety of terms that 209

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are used in the industry to define the products and the manufacturing process. Terms such as “flexographic printing” have been used to define a process where flexible rubber printing plates and fast-drying inks are used in the printing process for shipping boxes. Also, we had to define the term “chip” as it is used in this industry, since it has several connotations in other industries. In this industry, the term chip is used to designate paperboard that is made from waste papers. We included a glossary of key terms as an appendix to the case to help readers to better understand the case. The glossary was referenced early in the case. The reader was told to use the glossary to help understand the technical terms that were used by the various principals and notes throughout the case. In this manner, we did not have to interrupt the flow of the case by including definitions within the body of the case. Instead, we were able to place all the definitions in the appendix. This placement also helped to tie the terms together. In this manner, the readers were also better able to put the development and production processes in a clearer light since the definitions were presented together. The definitions now became a coherent and cohesive whole (Merenda and Naumes, 1993). This type of appendix or note can also be very important in engineering, science, technical, and math-oriented cases where some of the terms may either be new, complex, or have multiple meanings. If you are seeking to develop a series of cases on manufacturing processes, or engineering dynamics, you may want to develop a single technical note to provide the background information for the cases, rather than to include that information in each case.

Cultural and National Notes There are times when there is the need to describe the culture, economy, or other aspects of a country or region for a reader to understand the intricacies of a case. Cases that take place in a foreign environment may require information about that environment for the readers to fully understand the issues that are the object of the case. Foreign environments frequently involve differences in culture, laws, economies, and physical environments that are not well understood by the readers of the case. An objective of 210

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this kind of case is to introduce the concept of decision making and behavior under different environmental circumstances. The objective cannot be achieved, however, without an understanding of the environment surrounding those decisions and actions. Student learning would be facilitated by the development of a note to describe those factors. Factors could include cultural norms relating to the interaction between employers and employees in a job setting. In some countries, the cultural norms might indicate that a supervisor’s decision is always accepted, regardless of its consequences, simply because of the authority relationship of the decision maker. In other cultures, the decision needs to be based on at least an appearance of consensus building by the supervisor. In yet other cultures, the background of the decision makers with respect to their caste, clan, education, or other factors may determine whether their decisions will be accepted. Similarly, some forms of advertising and promotion may be acceptable in some cultures, but be unacceptable in other cultures. Also, similar to the discussion above under industry notes, language can be a contributing factor to decisions and actions. General Motors realized too late that when they named the Chevrolet Nova, it means roughly “no go” in Spanish, thereby creating a problem with promoting the car in Southern California and Southern Florida, as well as in Spanish-speaking countries. Other issues that may need to be defined include the weather and other environmental conditions. It could make a significant difference as to what the climactic conditions are, especially in fields such as agriculture and leisure management. Economic factors may also need to be described. The economic background surrounding the situation may have a significant impact on decisions that are made by individuals. Job decisions are frequently different when there is a recession and jobs are tight as opposed to when the economy is booming and jobs are plentiful. Similarly, investment decisions are different during periods of high consumer demand versus periods of low consumer demand. Also, the economic policies of the government have a significant impact on business-related decisions. This type of material is often necessary in cases dealing with foreign aid, international development, and foreign trade. 211

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Other factors such as regulatory and legal systems may need to be defined, as well. Many American students do not realize that there are different legal systems. In English-based countries, the legal system is based on the concept of common law. In other countries, where France had a dominant role at some point in their past, the Napoleonic Code is the basis for the legal system. The differences may be significant to individuals involved in situations in those countries. Much of this information can be found through government sources. The U.S. Department of State frequently develops country reports detailing the culture aspects of countries as well as a variety of demographic data. The Department of Commerce also offers reports and projections on different countries. Also, the Department of Defense prepares and publishes a small series of reports detailing the cultural as well as geographic aspects of countries where it expects to be involved or is actually involved. The governments of the countries themselves also publish a variety of reports. These are usually available through the embassies or consulates of these countries. All of these can be useful sources for developing a note to accompany a case study on a country or region about which most case readers would not be informed. There was a time, not long ago, when use of this type of information required access to a library that was a repository for government documents. Most state universities are such repositories. However, much of this data and information is now available on the World Wide Web and can be retrieved directly by anyone who can access the appropriate government agency Web site. Still more can be accessed through online collections and database memberships held by college and university libraries. One of the authors was involved in the writing of a case that took place on the island of Dominica, in the Caribbean. The case involved the attempts of two American entrepreneurs to set up a plantation to grow the aloe plant on part of the island. Critical factors in deciding how, when, and where to set up the plantation were dependent on the economy, regulations, and culture of the island nation. The facts that the country had high unemployment, support from the United States government due to the then-recent invasion of the island nation of Grenada, an almost unique set of 212

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weather characteristics, and cultural interactions between various groups on the island all affected how the entrepreneurs should have made decisions as well as what decisions should be made in the future. We included a country note that gave information on all of these factors. The note was intended to be used by the readers of the case to help both in the analysis of the past actions as well as how, when, and why future decisions should be made. A cultural “trap” was included in the case and national note that indicated that groups on the island had different norms concerning how they lived and worked together. These factors should have been taken into consideration when developing the living and working conditions on the plantation. They also should determine what actions the entrepreneurs needed to take to make the operation a success. Similar information was provided to help readers, who would not ordinarily understand the peculiarities of Dominica, to be able to analyze and make recommendations for the case. By including the national note, the case could then be used by readers, regardless of whether they had access to information about the island nation of Dominica (Naumes and Kane, 1988). Similarly, a case set in Belarus (Ivanova and Winn, 2010) included a note on “Background on Post-Soviet Belarus” as an exhibit.

Sources of Information for Notes There are a variety of readily available sources for these types of information. Many of them come from the government documents center of major libraries or from government Web sites. The Statistical Abstract of the United States provides basic statistical data on the economy of the United States for any given year. This material can be used to provide background information on the economic climate and conditions in place at any given period of time. Other data, including population statistics, legislative agendas and climatic conditions can also be developed from this source. Similar material can be found for other countries and regions from their own national sources or from the United Nations, Regional Trade Groups, or the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). 213

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Industry information can also be developed from a variety of sources. Industry trade associations are a common source of information. Whenever there are several companies in an industry, they are likely to form a trade association. In the United States, this is due, partly, to the antitrust laws. Trade associations provide a convenient method of sharing information between companies without violating these laws. The trade association is the vehicle for collecting information from the companies, aggregating that information, and then feeding it back to the individual companies. In this manner, the companies can share information legally. Granted, the information is typically presented in the form of averages. However, this is often sufficient for purposes of comparative analysis. You can find these groups listed in the Encyclopedia of Associations, which gives the name, address, and other relevant information of these groups. An alternative source for this information is the National Trade & Professional Associations of the United States. The Federation of International Trade Associations has a service named Really Useful Sites that provides a variety of sources of international issues and topics. A particular association that provides relevant financial data on industries is the Risk Management Association (RMA), which publishes the RMA Annual Statements. These annual compilations provide aggregated data on a wide variety of industries, separated by four-digit SIC codes. The data is in percentage format, by company size, and historical base. The data is provided by the association’s members, who are bank commercial loan officers. Members send data on companies seeking loans to RMA, which aggregates and averages the data and sends it back to the loan officers who then use it to compare the data with companies seeking loans. This source is especially effective when seeking data on industries with smaller, privately held companies. Since these companies do not have to provide data to the stock exchanges or the Securities and Exchange Commission, there may be no other way to secure this kind of information. Other sources for business data include Standard and Poor’s Industry Surveys and Moody’s Investors Services Industry Review. Both of these provide both quantitative and qualitative data on companies and industries. This information is mostly historic in 214

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nature. It provides a capsule of how the companies and industries have performed in the past. These sources also provide some forecasts for future activities through both internal as well as external research analysts’ reports. DRI/McGraw Hill provides similar forecasts in United States Industry & Trade Outlook, annual reports for a variety of industries, on a private basis. Where the companies in the industry are publicly traded, data can be secured from both the company and the regulatory bodies with which the companies have to deal. Annual reports of most publicly traded companies can be found online, as well as directly from the companies themselves. The Securities and Exchange Commission also requires all companies that are publicly traded in the United States to publish a variety of other reports, including the 10-K form, which provides more detailed information on these companies. More complete data on companies and industries can also be found in Business Information Sources, as well as Business Information Desk References. Both are used by most business reference librarians as a first source for locating data for these purposes. Many of these sources can be accessed on the Internet. There are problems with Internet-based information, however. Once accessed and presented in the note, there is no guarantee that the referenced source will continue to be available to users of the case. Conversely, it is quite likely that students may access this or similar sites to try to update information and gain an advantage in developing analyses and solutions for cases that use notes. Similar studies and compilations can be found in the publications of other trade associations. There are associations representing professionals in most disciplines including health administration, education, political science, medicine, and many others.

Does the Note Need an Instructor’s Manual? Sometimes an industry or cultural note can be used for a standalone pedagogical purpose. In addition to serving as a supplement to cases, the very comprehensive note on the ice-cream industry, discussed above (Thompson and Strickland, 1993), could be used to apply a variety of analytical models in a busi215

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ness strategy course. If you are writing a note that can be used independently, it would make sense to provide the instructor with an Instructor’s Manual. It should begin with “Pedagogical Objectives” and “Relevant Theory,” to show potential adopters how they might use your note. It should also contain “Teaching Techniques,” either in the form of a general discussion of how relevant theories or models should be applied, or as discussion questions and responses. The case or cases with which the note can be used should also be listed, preferably near or as part of the “Course and Objectives” sections. If the note is intended only for use with cases, as a source of supplemental information, it does not need its own Instructor’s Manual. However, the case’s Instructor’s Manual should list the note as an additional assignment in the “Basic Pedagogy” sections. You should also indicate how the note’s information would be used in students’ analysis and discussion. If your note is to be used with cases by other authors, you may want to develop a brief version of the Instructor’s Manual just described, indicating possible cases and how your note would fit with their objectives.

When It Makes Sense to Divide a Case (Create a Series) There are times when the information that has been developed through interviews becomes too confusing for the original purpose of the case. Although that purpose may well be developed effectively in one case on a particular situation or company, the subsequent events may open up the reader to other, equally interesting and relevant, situations and decisions. These can occur when there are multiple issues or decision points presented through the material developed for the case.

Time Series Cases Multiple decision points occur for a variety of reasons. They are inherent in the action learning process, for example, which calls for the writer to reflect on a problem or situation, in turn leading 216

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to gathering additional data, leading to creation of a new case. However, as a case writer, you are probably considering a time series for different pedagogical purposes. One reason would be due to a change in the situation’s decision maker or viewpoint. For example, the product-development process in an organization occurs across several departments whose decisions are often sequential. The most common reason is that the decision maker simply makes an interesting or incorrect decision, for one reason or another. The first decision point, therefore, involves the original set of circumstances. Frequently, this is what initially drew you to the situation. You may then find that the circumstances that led to this decision were actually a series of decisions, each leading to another, sometimes even worse, set of circumstances. The question then becomes one of whether to present all of the decisions as part of a single case or to split them up into a case series. If the decision is to present them as one case, then the case becomes a combination of an evaluative and a decision-focus case. The events leading up to the final decision provide an opportunity for students to analyze why and how the events and decisions occurred. You could also build into the Instructor’s Note questions asking what could have been done to keep the situation from getting worse. The problem with a single case with a series of sequential decision points is that the readers can readily determine what happens after each point by simply reading the next section. They have the luxury of analyzing the situation with perfect hindsight. This usually limits the discussion and the analysis of the case. By splitting the decisions into separate cases, readers can be asked to evaluate each occurrence, sequentially. As long as the subsequent cases can be kept from the readers until the previous decision has been analyzed and discussed, the full range of issues and decisions can be expected during the class discussion of the case. Each subsequent case should be distributed to the students after the previous decision point has been discussed. However, this process can often create problems. A major problem is that the subsequent cases usually need to be short enough that they can be read in class without detracting from the flow of discussion. This type of case series is best used 217

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in the analysis of relatively straightforward, qualitative situations. Examples would include cases dealing in subjects such as organization behavior and ethics. Cases in medicine and education can also be developed into a series since one missed decision typically leads to a new set of problems and issues. Maddux, Reed, and Ritchie (1999) took this approach in the Leon Christian Medical Center case series. The director examines the results of a work audit at the hospital. There are several potential options available to her. Students are asked in the first case to develop these options and to select a reasonable and acceptable solution. The second case asks students to develop a plan to implement the option that is selected by the staff. Here, the issue of acceptability of changes in staffing procedures in a professional setting becomes important. Another example of this type of case would be the FallonMcElligott case study (McDougall, 1991), dealing with management responses to a letter of complaint over the actions of one of its managers. A female marketing professor attends a seminar where a manager for the Fallon-McElligott advertising agency makes what the professor feels are insensitive remarks. She writes a letter to the founders of the firm objecting to these remarks. The first case ends with the initial letter of complaint. The second case presents the responses of the founders, which are viewed as even more insensitive. The third case describes the reaction of the professor, and others, to these responses. At the end of each case, readers are asked to analyze what has occurred and what the various parties should do in response. Each subsequent case is brief enough that it can be read and discussed in the same class session as the first case, without detracting from the overall flow of the class. The alternative is to discuss each case in a separate class session. At the end of the discussion and the class, the next case in the series would be distributed to the students. They would then use the time between classes to study and analyze the next case in the series. This type of series would allow longer cases and more careful reading, and would best be used with complex decision-focus cases such as those dealing with strategic management and policy-oriented issues and situations. 218

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An example of this type of situation can be seen in some of the case series developed by Jeff Timmons (1990). Jeff has written several case series designed to demonstrate the problems facing entrepreneurs as they proceed through various phases of the development of their ventures. One such series depicts the start, growth, and development of the Jiffy Lube chain of oil change centers. Timmons wanted to show different financing and marketing, and the potential for strategic partnerships for a rapidly growing, entrepreneurial enterprise. Since the entrepreneur involved had to proceed through a series of strategic financing changes during the development of the firm, Timmons wanted to present readers with all of these decisions, sequentially. The purpose of the case series was to have the readers try to analyze the pros and cons of the potential alternative courses of action at each decision point and to develop their own solutions. Each case in the series looks at the issues during one time period. A potential problem with such a series is that if, as Timmons desired, all of the cases in the series were to be used in a single text book, then readers could jump ahead to the next case in the series to determine what was actually done and the effects of that decision. In that manner, they could at least eliminate one set of possible actions, if the actions that were actually taken were not effective. Or, if the decision were effective, even if only partially, the readers would have the ability to develop an effective solution set without having to perform a full analysis of the situation. Timmons overcame this problem in his book by giving each case in the series a different name. Instead of calling the cases Jiffy Lube (A), (B), and (C), he called them Jiffy Lube, Hindman & Company, and Bridge Capital Investors, Inc. In this manner, he was able to present all the cases in the series in the same text while reducing the likelihood that readers would be able to make their decisions about each situation with the use of perfect hindsight as to what actually happened. This can be an effective method for you to manage a case series so that students are hindered from trying to jump ahead and learn the solution based on what the decision makers actually did. Additionally, you should remind the instructor, in the Instructor’s Manual, to remind students that what the decision makers actually did is no guarantee that it might be effective. In the situation of 219

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a case series, what actually happened is frequently an ineffective action scenario. Students can readily find out what happened online, but if they have not done the analysis, they will not be able to discuss how that decision or action came about. The typical follow-up case issue is: now that a particular decision has been made, what do the decision makers do next, especially if they have potentially dug themselves into a deeper, or different hole. As noted earlier, if it is possible to include the follow-up cases as part of the Instructor’s Manual, the problem is overcome, since only you have access to subsequent cases in the series and can hand them to your students when you want to. The instructor still needs to have built in sufficient time for the students to be able to read and analyze the case as well as to propose solutions. This places pressure on you, as the case writer, to prepare the cases in the series in such a manner that they can be used effectively, without appearing to give away the answer. Both the cases and the Instructor’s Manual need to be carefully crafted, and you need to fully understand this problem.

Multiple Approach Case Series Another reason to develop material into a series might be to incorporate different types of focused decisions or analyses. As with the previous reason for a case series, the initial impetus to develop a case may have come from a specific incident, situation, or decision. You may start by looking at a managerial action, as an example, that is reasonably well defined. In business cases, this may start as an analysis of a production problem. In education, you may start with a complaint by a student or a teacher. In medicine or health administration, the initial symptom may be an unexplained illness or labor complaint. While conducting interviews, you may find evidence of other types of decisions that also could be made, revolving around the same basic situation. The question that you are now faced with is whether all of the different actions should be wrapped together and the readers asked to resolve all of the problems in one proposal. This, after all, is what real life is like. It is often complex and confusing. There are rarely simple, unidimensional issues and solutions in 220

When It Makes Sense to Divide a Case

actual settings. However, adding all of the other material into the case may distort and distract the attention of the readers from the purpose you intended in starting to develop the case in the first place. Under these circumstances, you may decide to ignore all but the material that is necessary to develop that purpose. Taking the approach of focusing on one issue would mean discarding potentially extremely valuable and interesting material, however. We have reviewed many case studies where we felt that the case might be used in a manner not originally intended by the author. We have, on occasion, recommended that, if additional material could be secured, then a case series might be attempted. On these occasions, we have felt that the material was sufficiently valuable, and that the different aspects were all of sufficient interest, that the case writer should split the material up and devote a separate case to each of the issues. The question then becomes one of determining whether each case should be self-sufficient or whether the material should be developed into a true case series where each subsequent case draws on the material of the earlier case. The former approach allows for each case to be used separately for its own purpose. The latter approach provides more efficient use of the material from the perspective of the reader. An example of the case series used to develop different objectives was found in a text by Pearce and Robinson (1994). They used a series of cases on the Coca-Cola Company to present a variety of issues relating to the strategic management of the firm. Each case was designed to demonstrate and analyze a different aspect of strategic management. The cases go through different functional areas of management, such as accounting, finance, marketing, manufacturing, and research and development. There are also separate cases on leadership, organization structure and process, as well as the process of strategy development and implementation. This series is often called a cohesion case. It is designed to pre� sent a way for the material in a particular chapter to be discussed through each subsequent segment in the case series. This meant that the readers of the text could analyze a variety of issues dealing with strategic management without having to learn and read about a new 221

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company each time they read a case. There were clear efficiencies for the readers through use of the series. There were also efficiencies for instructors using the text, as well. It was easier to structure the course. It was also easier for them to prepare for the individual class session. Moreover, the students were able to track the various aspects of the concept of strategic management through one company, instead of having to piece them together from a group of cases dealing with different companies, competitive environments, and time frames. This is simply an addition in the case toolbox, however. It does not preclude the need for more traditional, or individual cases, to integrate the various concepts of an area. Dealing with multiple objectives has become of greater importance and interest as more schools of business, health administration, education, public health, law, and others adopt a more integrative approach to teaching, especially in their graduate programs. Many such programs have changed their courses to provide an interdisciplinary approach, often including the use of team teaching. Where the approach includes case discussions and presentations, it creates a need for cases that take a multidiscipline approach to the material. A case series can often help in this type of program. In other situations, especially Executive MBA, Master’s in Health Administration, and Master’s in Education or Education Administration programs, there is a desire, and even a need, to provide more overall integration in the presentation of the material. This is due to the tighter time frame of such programs, where classes are frequently taught over two days or in a compressed manner. Having the students in such programs read one set of background material for a series of cases allows for better use of their limited time. This also shows that the faculty have given some thought to both the integration of the program as well as the efficient use of the student’s time. The integrative use of cases in this manner tends to develop a positive outlook on the part of the students.

The Practice Session The final version of the Meyers & Morrison case, as written, is focused on a single topic and is self-contained; the information 222

The Practice Session

that students would need is contained in the case itself and its exhibits. However, in the original draft (Appendix I), there is the potential for development of either of two cases: the ethics and professional standards case that was ultimately published, or the case that was introduced in the first paragraph, dealing with the recruitment and hiring of Mr. Adams. Even the original Instructor’s Manual doesn’t seem certain which case is being written. Since the two events occur at very different times (Mr. Adams left the firm two years after he was hired), it might have been possible to write that other case, creating a short series. What would be the objectives of that (chronologically) first case? Its focus would appear to be on personnel decisions: how a new employee was recruited and hired, and the nature of the contract he was offered. At this point, several years later, it is unlikely that the company still has records of any other unsuccessful candidates. The limitations of available information most likely mean that this case will be evaluative, rather than decision-focused, perhaps Stage 4 according to Exhibit 2.1 on page 27. Students should be given a description of the events, most easily organized by the order in which they occurred, and sufficient background to understand the accounting firm and its partners. It would be both vivid and revealing if one or both of the partners would personally describe his first impressions of Mr. Adams. They could be asked to explain in their own words why they decided at that point in time that it was time to look for a potential third partner. Their descriptions of the actual hiring process, particularly the offer that was made to Mr. Adams, would also be very useful. These quotes could be backed up by any relevant documents: the actual advertisement, the contract signed by Mr. Adams (which may be worded quite differently from the partners’ views of his responsibilities and career opportunities), and any file notes to which the partners would allow access. Professional firms often issue a press release to announce a new employee; this would make an interesting addition, and perhaps a third view of his role. Students would be expected to study the recruiting and hiring process in terms of the norms and models in their human resource management text. They should be encouraged to look for potential problems in the process itself (i.e., what the part223

Notes, Case Series, and Other Supplements

ners could have done better), as well as considering whether Mr. Adams was the right person for the job. The evaluation can be extended to a search for potential signs of trouble by including a brief epilogue or referring students to the second M & M case (Appendix III). The A students may be able to identify the difference in expectations from the new case alone; knowing the outcomes (Mr. Adams’ unhappiness and eventual departure), even the C students should be able to find the potential for problems in the human resource case. Could there be a third case in this series? It would certainly be interesting to discuss Mr. Adams’ actions over time, from a behavioral perspective. What was driving him to become more and more unhappy, and what work-related implications might we expect to see? However, this case would require access to performance appraisals and much more detailed observations from other individuals, if not from Mr. Adams himself. The case writer is unlikely to be able to get this information, in part due to issues of privacy, but also due to the passage of time—people’s recollections are likely to be colored by their knowledge of how he left the firm.

Summary and Conclusions There are times when additional material is needed to provide sufficient information for students to complete the case. Frequently, this is due to the need for material that defines an industry, technology, political situation, culture, or even a country. It may be appropriate to write a separate note to meet these needs. At times the note may be attached as an appendix to the case itself. At other times, it may be developed as a freestanding and separate note to be used in conjunction with one or more case studies that relate to the material in the note. Reasons for developing a note usually revolve around the need for sufficient information for readers to be able to fully analyze and develop potential solutions for the case. The specialized information about the industry in which a company operates may be difficult to incorporate within a typical case. Similarly, information about the culture, economy, religion, environment, and legal system in 224

Summary and Conclusions

a country may be added for the readers to be able to generate reasonable realistic alternatives for the problems presented in one or more cases. A topic such as genetically modified foods might require a note with explanations of the regulatory process in the United States and in the European Union, for example. A note may also be developed when there is more than one case dealing with the same overall environment. Instead of including the same basic material in each case, a separate document can be written that includes that material and is then available to the readers of any of the cases. Teachers can then use any or all of the cases dealing with this information while having the students analyze the material only once. The readers are presented with a more efficient way to prepare for the case analysis. Also, more information on the environment being studied can be included in a note than can typically be included within any single case. The information from these notes can be found in a variety of sources. Industry sources, government reports, and trade associations all provide ready sources for the kind of material that can be found in case notes. There are times when it makes more sense to split up the material that has been gathered into more than one case, rather than trying to put it all in one case. It may make more sense to set up separate cases where there is more than one area in which decisions have to be made. Writing a separate case for each of these different types of decision points may make more sense than trying to overload one case with all the relevant material necessary to develop all the points in the situation. The main problem to be overcome with case series is keeping the readers from gaining perfect hindsight into what actually happened in the situation. There are a variety of ways to keep this from happening, from distributing subsequent cases after the previous case has been discussed to calling each case by a different name. Finally, an increasingly popular approach is to include a video supplement to written cases. Although these supplements can add interest and value to a case, care must be taken to ensure that the material is sufficiently well developed that it actually adds, not detracts, from the effectiveness of the case. Video supplements will be discussed in more detail in Chapter 10. 225

10 Alternative Case Formats: Video, Multimedia, and Live Case Studies


echnology has now caught up with the traditional, paperbound, written case study. Students are immersed in technology in their daily lives. They are comfortable with computers and know their way around the World Wide Web. They are accustomed to multitasking, although it is not clear whether it affects their productivity (Rosen, 2010). These attributes make teaching cases even more challenging, if students are “turned off” by the two-dimensional paper case format, or come to class already knowing “what happened” after having done online research. However, the availability of video and multimedia techniques has also opened up new avenues for the development and presentation of case studies. Utilizing these technologies can offer an exciting opportunity for exposure to a wider range of factors that affected the people and situation in a case. It can also build on students’ interests and already existing media skills. As much as these technologies offer, they also need to be approached with caution. They are difficult to implement effectively. They also require skills with which many of us are unfamiliar. An effective technology-based case does more than simply use video and multimedia activities as visual supplements for what, in essence, is a written case. The objectives of the case study are carried out through the video and multimedia aspects of the case. The difficulties, as well as the benefits, of these types of cases need to be carefully considered before you decide to develop these potentially valuable teaching tools. 226

Choice of Technology

Choice of Technology The choice of what type of case to write, as always, is determined by your pedagogical objectives. There is a range of choices, from video supplements to full video cases to multimedia CD or DVD to Web-based, or even live cases. In addition to selecting the learning skill and content objectives, as discussed in earlier chapters, you must decide on the role that nonprint media should play. Thornhill, Asensio, and Young (2002) describe this process in terms of the three “I’s”: image, interaction, and integration. “Image” focuses on presenting a visual picture that allows students to see a person, process, or environmental factor. This type includes video supplements and video cases. “Interaction” refers to giving the student the ability to work with material in the case. A case on CD or DVD can provide choices for students, allowing them to access additional information about aspects of the case, choose from different types of material, and control the pace at which they proceed. “Integration” is a strength of a Web-based case, since the basic case content can be linked to other Web materials, both content related and materials that enable communication and collaboration. A live case need not be high tech, but is multimedia in the sense that students interact with one or more subjects of the case as well as with documents and other materials.

Video Supplements One supplement that has come into common use for cases is the addition of video material relating to the case. Frequently, this kind of supplement includes interviews or presentations by key individuals involved in the situation described in the case. This material is often designed to be used after the case has been discussed in class, to show what has happened since the decision point presented in the case. Sometimes the videos are designed as supplemental material for use during the discussion of the case to provide added emphasis to the presentation of the material in the case. At times, the video material is simply a visual presentation of the same material described in the case. There are a variety of other video supplements that are meant either to present material 227

Alternative Case Formats: Video, Multimedia, and Live Case Studies

that better demonstrates the situation as it occurred or to provide material that can be used as an epilogue for the decision and actions that actually were made and occurred. Although the format is different from the traditional printed supplements, the contents and uses are similar to those supplements described in Chapter 8. However, they share many of the same benefits and problems as longer, more complex video cases.

Video Cases The advent of widespread and inexpensive video technology has made it possible to capture a further dimension of “realism” in the classroom. A true video case is more than a series of camera shots of individuals discussing their views of the situation. It is a full compilation of all the factors involved in the case. When used appropriately, a video case can be an extremely effective teaching tool.

Benefits of Video Cases In the experience of Kinnunen and Ramamurti (1987), seven principal benefits usually accrue from using video: 1. The videos serve as updates or elaborations of case issues that students have spent a lot of time thinking about and discussing. They can be used as a video supplement or epilogue. 2. Students at all levels enjoy watching CEOs talk about their jobs and their companies, especially when they have read and analyzed a detailed case on that company. The students are more likely to critique the CEO when recorded than when in person. (One of the authors of this book remembers having a high-level insurance manager in his class shortly after a whistle-blowing scandal in another insurance company. The students were slow to ask critical questions about which of the people from the scandalplagued company the manager would hire. When he was finally asked, the students would not criticize or even 228

Video Cases

question his responses. When asked after the manager had left why they had not questioned his responses, the students said that they were nervous about criticizing him to his face.) 3. Videos add realism to the case; they truly breathe life into what is otherwise still just words on pieces of paper. 4. The videos add credibility to themes that recur in the strategic-management literature, but are not easily impressed on students. 5. The videos allow students to appreciate the importance of intangible aspects of general management. 6. The videos highlight the complexity inherent in a general manager’s job. 7. The videos provide a basis for discussion of additional issues. While Kinnunen and Ramamurti made their observations about the use of videos in a management course, their points are generalizable. The first of the benefits serves as an addition to the Instructor’s Manual. This type of video is really meant as a means for providing an update or epilogue, as mentioned in Chapter 8. It gives our students the opportunity to hear the people who were involved explain what happened and why. Our students can compare their own views with those of the principal players in the situations they have analyzed, discussed, and often tried to resolve. This use of videos is not limited to business managers. The case writer may record people and processes at any level of the organization, or products could be demonstrated rather than simply described. Videos can also be provided showing students in an education case, patients in a health-care case, or plaintiff and defendants in a law case. In this manner, the interactions within the case situation can be effectively presented. The ability to see and hear the people talking adds another dimension than simply reading about the person. The written word, even in the form of direct quotes, rarely conveys the intent or intensity of the spoken word. Having the person present the comments in his or her own videotaped words helps to demonstrate the feelings behind those words. The trick here is to get the 229

Alternative Case Formats: Video, Multimedia, and Live Case Studies

people who are being taped to really open up for the camera. The inflections, body language, and other visual and audio cues presented by the people being recorded are often as valuable as the words themselves. These videos are often used primarily as an epilogue. They can also be used effectively during class discussion, however, to allow the characters in the case to explain in their own words. The use of videos also adds a living dimension to the case. The words are seen as coming from living, breathing people. No longer can there be a complaint that the case is dry and lifeless. There is also no longer a complaint that the case writer has paraphrased the words or thoughts of the people involved in the case. They are speaking for themselves, in their own words, tones, and inflections. This “living” dimension can be extended to issues and processes as well. There is far less likelihood that our students will question the reality of the events presented in the case. There have been times when we have been confronted by students who, upon reading a case, remarked that this couldn’t have happened; no one would possibly do something or say something like that. They have felt that these words or actions are simply unbelievable. Having the people involved in the events relate their actions in their own words adds to the believability of the events. Videos are much more likely to be used in more complex, decision-oriented case situations. As such, having the people who were involved present their own views in a visual manner helps our students gain insight into why decisions were made. It also helps our students understand what factors caused the people to act the way they did. This typically occurs because the students are able to gain insight into the values and beliefs of the people concerned. Their words and visual cues help set the value-oriented parameters of the decisions and actions. This aspect is often difficult to convey with written words. It also helps bring together the complexity of the decisions surrounding the events. Finally, as Kinnunen and Ramamurti point out, the videos bring out discussions that would not otherwise typically occur in a class devoted to a traditional, written case. The demeanor of the people in the videos may lead to discussions about the 230

Video Cases

� effectiveness of these people as leaders, decision makers, or simply their believability.

Problems of Video Cases A major problem associated with a video case is that many people simply do not do well in front of a camera. Many people tend to freeze up when they are recorded. This leads to an unnatural look and feel in the resulting video. Similarly, many people, including seasoned managers, may be unwilling to make full disclosure of events on video, while they might be willing to discuss these same events in a traditional interview that would lead to a written case study. Both situations would lead to a very general video, or one that appears poorly made. It may also create a bias or view of events that is misleading, for example, stage fright creating a negative impression of someone who may be a skilled interpersonal leader. This could lead our students to doubt the value and credibility of the entire case. Another problem involves the cost and expertise required to develop a professional video. Trying to produce a video without the appropriate levels of expertise will rapidly show through in the resulting product. The proper use of a camera is an art in itself. One does not simply mount a camera on a tripod and begin taping a situation or person. This can result in a “talking head,” a very static image with little visual impact. Attempts to add other material to the interviews present more problems. This added material usually takes the form of video shots of items such as factories, stores, and office sites. These video pieces are even more difficult to produce than the interviews. They typically require moving shots, which call for more sophisticated equipment and expertise in setting the scene and operating the equipment. Moving sequences are simply far more complex to produce than stationary scenes. The technical aspects of an effective video require the kind of expertise and experience that is absent at many college and university communications and multimedia groups. Even when the expertise is available, it may be expensive. Although the expenses are usually a transfer cost within the institution, they still must 231

Alternative Case Formats: Video, Multimedia, and Live Case Studies

come out of someone’s budget. This cost factor is a major reason why one case clearinghouse reported that only 3 percent of their cases were accompanied by videos, even though those cases were among the most popular (ecch, 2009). This brings us to another problem. Simply putting the edited versions of interviews of the key individuals on tape is not sufficient to the development of an effective video case. A typical written case contains descriptions of places as well as events. It may also contain a variety of exhibits and numerical statistics and data, which are often difficult to present in video form. Talking heads can be quite boring, even when used as video supplements to written cases. Unless the people who are speaking display some form of animation or visual cues in their discussions, they have not added much, if anything, to the written version of the case. As noted earlier, however, these interview or speech-oriented presentations can be used effectively as supplements to written cases, as image portrayals of the key individuals in the case.

Multimedia Cases A way to overcome some of these problems is to combine the best aspects of various media formats. Video provides the clarity of presentation that is needed to maintain the interest of the students. Our students are accustomed to high-quality video productions. On the other hand, they are also accustomed to the use of interactive, computer-based routines and programs in their education activities, as well as in computer games and online activities.

Benefits of Multimedia Cases Multimedia cases allow for these qualities to be combined in one package. Instead of opening a textbook or course packet and reading, a student can call up a case on her computer. The opening scenes, like those of a conventional case, set the scenario. The student can progress from topic to topic, as in a written version of the same situation. However, at many points the student will also be offered the choice of jumping ahead, changing the �sequence. 232

Multimedia Cases

She can also ask for additional information, for example, an explanation of a chemical process or a report on competitors in the industry. These links need not be only to written documents. Video clips, such as interviews with the CEO and various other managers, enable the student to hear firsthand about their personalities and their concerns. A film tour of the plant would allow her to “walk through” the production process, or view the company’s TV and radio ads, not just those intended for print media. She could watch a mini-lecture and laboratory demonstration of the chemical process. All of these are possible because of the large memory available on a CD or DVD. Multimedia cases are multisensory and can be used effectively by students with different learning styles. Mbarika, Sankar, and Raju (2003) note that students appear to learn better and retain what they learn longer through the use of multimedia cases. The students seem to learn because they enjoy the style and format of the material, not necessarily because of the content itself. Students determine the pace at which they proceeds through the case and also control the quantity and types of information that they use in their case analysis. Computer-based systems allow for more interaction between the student and the material. Used properly, multimedia cases can give the students a feeling of being more active participants in case-method pedagogy. This can be seen in the ability to switch between text and graphics, video and static images, from one medium to another. It also is demonstrated by allowing our students to decide how fast and with what degree of intensity to review any particular piece of information. The traditional, written case usually assumes a relatively linear learning style. The true multimedia case allows our students to follow nonlinear lines of thinking. Models, formulas, spreadsheets, or other analytical tools can also be included among the resources on the CD or case Web site and linked to the case or its supplemental materials. This may make the student more willing to use these tools to analyze and interpret what he or she is reading and viewing. Going back and forth between theory and case does not require a physical move, a textbook to be retrieved from the shelf or a pencil located; it is as effortless as “point and click.” For technically oriented material, this could 233

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even allow students to engage in creative thinking such as “what if” scenarios or even simulations. In addition, the multimedia package may include more than the typical text, which may not include all of the models or tools that students want to apply, assuming that they bring with them a background of tools and theory from other courses. These tools and even theories can come from any discipline or functional area that is appropriate to the material it is linked to. Thus, a business case set in a foreign country could enable the student to explore the impact of currency changes (via financial spreadsheets and foreign exchange models), the likelihood of political change (via a written description or filmed expert’s explanation), or cultural factors that might affect the demand for a new product or employees’ behavior (via links to anthropological material). A history case can use the story of Lizzie Borden, reputed murderer of her parents with an ax, to link to population records from nineteenth-century Fall River, Massachusetts, actual trial documents, contemporary photographs, or descriptions of everyday life in 1892 (University of Massachusetts 1999). This type of cross-disciplinary learning is very difficult to achieve through conventional text-oriented means or even written cases. A multimedia case can be taught like a traditional written case, the main difference being that students prepare on computers rather than by reading a text. However, since each student may choose to pursue different information, there may be a wider dispersal of analyses and interpretations. This is not unlike a written case that was designed for students to use with outside research, an option that was discussed in Chapter 6, “Organizing the Case,” but with a wider range of information. Some students will be more adept at determining which information is most useful; others may find themselves more sidetracked than enriched (a definite source of an A student/C student split). The focus of the IM in an Internet case will be on skills development as well as specific content. A multimedia case simulates the complexity of a real-world situation, which includes “noise” as well as facts of varying degrees of relevance. A valuable part of the learning process from a multimedia case is learning how to filter and process information, as the real-world decision maker must be able to do. 234

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This type of case may lend itself to use in a distance-learning environment. Students in that type of environment, which is becoming more prevalent, are typically learning at different paces and conversing over varying distances. The ability to access information from different places may well solve problems related to multiple learning locations of the students.

Problems of Multimedia Cases There are many problems with the development and use of multimedia cases. The research and data gathering that go into a multimedia case are just as time-consuming as in any other casewriting situation. In fact, because of the need to search out and select materials to be linked to the main subject line of the case, even more research time and effort may be needed. There is no point in offering the student a link if that link doesn’t really offer the student anything new. Thus, topics that you, the case writer, might eliminate from a written case as being unnecessary or adding too much to the length, may have to be developed as if they were notes such as those described in Chapter 9. If extensive material is added from published sources, including Internet sources, you will also need to be aware of intellectual property rights. Multimedia cases require a great deal of sophistication and expertise to produce. Since the multimedia case combines the best aspects of each of the different media, development of such a case requires a combination of skills in many areas. The video aspects of the multimedia case need to be of the same high quality as the professionally produced film clips that our students are accustomed to from other sources. Students want graphics that are as good as they encounter in video games. And they want the ease of use that is always promised by software companies, but not always delivered. All this needs to be packaged in a format that provides for a high degree of interactivity. Finally, as will be described in the next section, developing a multimedia case requires a reasonable degree of proficiency with programming skills. This is necessary to be able to tie all of the different media parts together. Brown, Green, and Zatz (2001) provide guidelines for working with technical experts, who think primarily in terms 235

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of capabilities rather than learning objectives. All of these factors add to the cost and time needed to develop a multimedia case. The universities discussed by ecch, a leading worldwide distributor of business cases, as being important developers of multimedia materials have made significant investments in technology, specialized personnel, or both (ecch, 2008). Frey and Sutton (2010) have created a multimedia development guide that outlines ten steps in this process. Preparation for discussion of a multimedia case takes time, which may not be possible in a situation where computers have to be shared or Web access is limited for whatever reason, especially if downloads are difficult or time-consuming. This may make it very difficult, if not impossible, for all of our colleagues and students to take advantage of these tools. As the cost of the multimedia hardware and software decrease, and their availability increases, these problems should disappear. Until that occurs, however, the costs and benefits of such cases must be carefully evaluated before embarking on their development. CDs have the advantage that the case is self-contained and can be used independently of Internet access or download speed. Like any other teaching case, a multimedia case requires an Instructor’s Manual. In fact, the IM may be even more necessary, considering the wealth of information that is available to the student. This added information may substantially increase the time required for an instructor to prepare to teach a new multimedia case. In addition to its normal functions, the IM should provide summaries of the information in important linkages. It should contain exhibits and data workouts for linked information, where appropriate. For distance learners, there will need to be discussion questions that will involve students in online discussions. Once class-tested, the IM should also identify which links students are most likely to follow.

Development of Internet Cases The Web-based case is another case format that is being developed. In many ways, the case is similar to a multimedia case on CD-ROM. Organizations, companies, educational and nonprofit 236

Development of Internet Cases

institutions, governments, and even private individuals have their own sites on the Web, each with a unique address that enables it to be reached from other Web locations. Many of these Web sites contain information that is useful in case analysis; in fact, our students are generally turning to the Web, rather than the library, as their primary location for research. The Web is especially well suited for storing graphics. It not only handles text and the broad array of exhibits typically employed with cases but also accommodates photographs and illustrations in virtually unlimited quantities. Thus, in scientific, medical, and agricultural cases, images that are of significant diagnostic value can be included with other case exhibits. As more libraries and government organizations provide online access to documents, students can be directed to the original sources and determine for themselves what is important, rather than relying on a text’s or case’s summary. Access to additional, often original-source, information can give students a more realistic experience in which they are forced to take responsibility for acquiring and interpreting their own data. A Web-based case can, in turn, be linked with other study materials and with the course syllabus itself. Web-based sites can also provide the case writer with animated and video material to be added or linked to the case either as a direct component or as support material. Many of the constraints are similar to those of a multimedia case. Students need to have extensive access to the Internet. A slow download speed or poor Internet connection can affect the quality of the videos and other materials. It may also frustrate students who find it difficult to navigate between documents or links, or to proceed at a reasonable pace. As with multimedia cases, a student can proceed at his own pace and collect as much, or as little, information as he desires. This will have a similar impact in the classroom, except that students can go beyond the linkages built into the case and, with a Web browser, seek out sources beyond those that the instructor might anticipate. An advantage to a Web-based case, when compared with a CD, is the ability to modify the “finished” case. In fact, a Web-based case need never be completely finalized. New information can be uploaded, to provide a richer experience or to fill in gaps un237

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covered during others’ teaching experiences with the case (ecch, 2008). However, there need to be sufficient security measures to maintain the author’s control over the case material and to prevent “just anyone” from making changes.

Case Documents Normally, case descriptions are presented in a linear fashion with material organized under a series of headings and subheadings. Exhibits are inserted at appropriate locations within the body of the text or attached at the end of the document. Internet cases may be organized the same way; however, an alternative that takes fuller advantage of the way Web pages can be organized is to construct a home page for the case and hyperlink other pages. For example, the case page might include a general description of the case along with titles of subsidiary pages that provide more detailed information on several important aspects of the case. When these titles are constructed as anchors, linked to other Web sites or documents, they will be highlighted to make them stand out from the rest of the case text. The links can be to existing Web sites of other organizations or developed specifically for the case., at Kennesaw State University, was started to develop multimedia and Internet cases for use in chemistry and science courses. Its first case involved the development of Gatorade and the problems and issues relating to experimentation, testing, formulation, and ownership of the product. There is a basic written case that describes several of the issues and background of the project. There are a series of links that lead to the chemistry of the development process. There are also links to questions of ethical treatment of subjects, formulation of beverages, and legal issues of ownership of newly developed products (Peterson and Hermes, 2000). The Web sites range from simple written articles found in journals and other publications, to material prepared specifically for the case, to audiovisual clips that relate to the case. Several of the sites explain, in detail, the chemistry of the development process. Another discusses problems of attempting to formulate a consumer beverage product. Students can pick and 238

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choose which links they want to follow. The primary focus of the case involves the chemistry concepts faced by the developers. Side issues involve ethical use of human subjects, as well as the ultimate ownership of a product that is developed by inventors with the assistance of a university. The case includes graphics, pictures, illustrations, and charts. The case description and associated exhibits can be organized as an interconnected array of Web pages that can be accessed as needed with a click. The material can be introduced in a hierarchical organization of documents, enabling the reader to grasp the essence of the case from the information presented in the case page and to obtain more detailed information from the subsidiary pages. It can also be presented as a series of arrows pointing to related subjects, as in the Gatorade case. Obvious advantages of Internet cases are: the virtually unlimited amount of material that can be included in the description; the ease with which new information can be added or existing components modified by simply accessing the Web pages and making the changes at any time; and the opportunity to use a broad array of graphics, including pictures and video, as appropriate. Another component that could be included in the case page is a study materials section. This might be a set of articles or graphics-intensive instructional modules that provide students with opportunities to acquire relevant knowledge to better prepare them for analyzing the situation and developing solution strategies. The authors in the Gatorade case provide modules on the chemistry concepts, for example. Study materials could also include analytical tools such as the models and even simulations that were included in the discussion of multimedia cases. These materials could be custom-developed for the course or could be linked to other software programs. Specific assignments can be described in a subsidiary page that is linked to the case page. Students could be assigned to participate in a role-playing exercise, present an oral report to the class, or submit a written report to the instructor, just as with a conventional case. All of the cases used in a particular course can be accessed from a home page for the course. The cases may simply be listed by their respected titles as anchors or rep239

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resented by icons or linked pictures or illustrations emblematic of the case. The most difficult aspect of writing an Internet case, the “art” in this type of case writing, is to make the case flow smoothly from one topic to another. Much as the hard-copy case needs to flow smoothly so that students will want to continue reading the case, a multimedia case needs to be able to draw the students from one form of the case to another. If the flow is too choppy, the students will become bored with the case. If the links are too slow or difficult to access, then the students may not follow the appropriate leads to the information necessary to complete the analysis or decision development required for the case. Simply using software to set up the case does not ensure that the various Web sites are developed in a manner that leads to the clear and usable flow necessary to maintain student interest and involvement in the case. In an older case, even as little as a year old, it is necessary to recheck the links, because Web sites change their content or even disappear. It is also important to make sure that students who follow a link can easily return to the body of the case. Internet cases also require an Instructor’s Manual. The IM can be quite similar to one written for a multimedia case, with one important difference. If the case links are not all self-contained, or if the case asks students to find their own information, the Instructor’s Manual needs to help the instructor identify the most useful links and also those that might send students in the wrong direction. Many journals now require cases to be submitted electronically. If you want to publish your case in such a journal, you need to make sure that all links are clear and available to the reviewers.

Internet Access There are now online journals, as well as traditional printed journals. You need to know what the rules are for submission and access to online journals. As with printed journals, you need to know whether your Instructor’s Manual will be accessible to readers. You, and other teachers, probably do not want the Instructor’s 240

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Manual available to students. Also, you want to understand the revision process. You want to make sure that you have the ability to revise your case before it becomes widely available through the online journal. The benefit of the online journal is that it is likely to be more current, because there does not need to be a lag between acceptance and publication. The downside is that the security of the case and, especially, the Instructor’s Manual might be reduced. It is conceivable that your Instructor’s Manual may be inadvertently made available to students if it is not maintained in a secure file. Just as your case, and any comments you provide to students, could conceivably be found by others by simply running a sophisticated search using the name of the case, the Instructor’s Manual may also be found through use of a search engine.

Live Cases Another form of current case is the live case. This form has changed somewhat over the years, but the concept remains the same. The live case involves a description of an organization that is undergoing change or making a critical decision at the time of analysis. In the past, the live case would provide a base description of the organization, and then the organization would provide access to its financial statements as well as other internal documents. It would also provide access to its management team to, at the very least, answer questions directed to them by students gathering further information to complete the analysis and decision-making assignment. The assignment would frequently be presented as a report to the management of the organization. One of the authors was involved in the development of such live cases at Stanford University in the early 1970s and transferred that knowledge to a similar program at Clark University more than ten years later. More recently, the concept of the live case includes access to Web-based sites providing current information of the type that inside sources would have provided in the past. Instead of faceto-face interviews with members of the management team, they may be made available through the Internet, text messages, and 241

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other similar technology. The purpose and results are still the same, however. The students are exposed to current information on and in the organization. The intent is to eliminate the problem that the student knows what happened, as with a traditional written case. The problem is that the case has to be constantly updated to keep it current. Furthermore, faculty need to have access to an organization that is willing to provide access to current information and to its management team. This is both time consuming and requisite of a close working relationship with the organization, which may become tested over time. The benefit is that the students are exposed to current situations, problems, and issues.

Summary and Conclusions Written cases are limited by what can be presented on paper. There are often areas of information that do not lend themselves to presentation in this format. The use of video supplements can add realism, credibility, liveliness, and variety to the written case. They also help our students gain a better perspective of the key players involved in the case situation. Video supplements also allow for the development of a wider variety of materials in the case. They allow us to actually see the complete environment in which the case takes place. A complete video case, on the other hand, is designed to be used as a freestanding instrument. All of the material in the case is to be found in video format. The advantage here is that many of our students have become used to videos through television, the Internet, and computer games. There are problems with video cases that can be overcome through the use of multimedia cases. This type of combined format allows for the development of material that enhances a straight video case. This includes the use of charts, graphs, exhibits, spreadsheets, and data sets that would not be available through the use of only the video format, while providing the visual cues and experiences that are difficult to convey with the printed page. The use of a multimedia format, especially when combined with the Internet, also allows our students to proceed at their own pace and learning style. As such, it allows them to 242

Summary and Conclusions

feel more in charge of the learning process. This should enhance the overall educational experience. There are significant problems that need to be overcome with the use of these various media, however. The greatest problem is that a large amount of experience and expense is required to successfully implement a case in any of these formats. Without these factors, the advantages described above can easily be lost, counteracting whatever benefits could be accrued by the use of these various media. The fact that many people do not come over as sincere or lifelike before a video camera simply makes the need for this expertise even more important to the success of a multimedia case. When the use of multimedia is added to the overall equation, both the value and the complexity of the cases are extended. The decision to use these formats, therefore, needs to be carefully evaluated before choosing to adopt their use. The use of these new technologies makes the use of live cases somewhat more accessible. The live case provides a current situation to analyze and provide solutions. The live case requires a close relationship with the organization being analyzed. It also requires that management meet with students, either directly or through electronic interactions. Live cases are typically not repeated from semester to semester, due to changing issues and to the time commitment required from management. Thus, the time invested in setting up the necessary interactions has a limited impact beyond the participating classroom, unless those interactions can then be developed into a multimedia CD or Web-based case. One final note on the development and need for Web-based and multimedia cases. As worldwide communications become even more integrated, and students and decision makers worldwide become technologically more sophisticated, the demand for cases in these formats will increase. Student demand for technology shouldn’t be our only, or even our primary reason for learning to write cases for multimedia or the Internet. Our students will increasingly work in environments that are rich in information, both useful and noise, and where much more is just a mouse click away. Students will have to learn to filter and structure their environment. Cases have always been well suited to helping students develop their thinking skills as well as their knowledge 243

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base. Multimedia and Web-linked cases may be a logical step toward making the classroom environment even more similar to their future experiences in the “real world.”


Appendix I Case Example—First Draft Meyers & Morrison: A Question of Professional Ethics

This case deals with the events surrounding the recruiting and subsequent hiring of a new associate at a public accounting firm in New Hampshire. Meyers & Morrison was founded by Phillip Meyers in 1958. Michael Morrison was hired as an associate in 1972, after having served with Peat Marwick’s Boston office for five years. He was promoted to partner by the end of the 1970s. Despite some setbacks, the firm continued to grow. The partners decided to hire another associate during the beginning of the 1980s. After a search, they hired Stephen Adams, an accountant with another small accounting firm. He was hired with the expectation that, if he successfully met current client needs and secured new clients, he would be promoted to partner. At first, everything seemed to be going well. During the next tax season, in his second year with Meyers & Morrison, however, Mr. Adams appeared to all in the office to be irritable, nervous, and impatient, especially with his progress within the firm. He stated to the partners that his wife was unhappy with the Portsmouth area. His most visible symptom involved biting his nails and fingers, until they were actually bleeding. The office staff became more uncomfortable around Mr. Adams. They stated that his appearance was even a concern to clients. Mr. Adams, in a meeting with the partners, handed in his resignation, with only two weeks’ notice. During the discussion that ensued, Mr. Adams stated that he needed a substantial raise and 245

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that he was frustrated at not having been offered a partnership yet. The partners were in a quandary, since they had been expecting to offer him a partnership later in the year. The partners asked for some time to consider their options, and Mr. Adams appeared to agree. Shortly after this meeting, Mr. Morrison was told by a longstanding client that he had received a letter from Mr. Adams stating that he was leaving Meyers & Morrison and was soliciting the business of many of the firm’s clients, at lower rates than those charged by the firm. After receiving a copy of the letter sent out by Mr. Adams, the partners are considering what response to take.


Appendix II Instructor’s Manual—First Draft Meyers & Morrison Instructor’s Manual

The case can be used to study the interactions between the hiring process, professional ethics and standards, personnel review procedures, and customer relations. The case can be used in accounting, ethics, human resources, and organization behavior courses.

Questions 1. Analyze the symptoms presented in the case and the underlying problems relating to these symptoms. 2. Who are the primary and secondary stakeholders in the Meyers & Morrison case? 3. Discuss the ethical considerations of the actions taken by Mr. Adams. 4. What alternatives are open to Meyers & Morrison? Evaluate these alternatives against a stated set of criteria to be met through any changes proposed. 5. What actions do you propose Mr. Meyers and Mr. Morrison take in response to the situation presented in the case? How should they be implemented?


Instructor’s Manual—First Draft

Potential Responses 1. Symptoms and Underlying Problems All too often, students, and managers as well, confuse symptoms with the underlying problems in a given situation. It is helpful to relate this issue with a physical situation such as an allergic reaction. We often state that our “problem” involves runny nose, watering eyes, headaches, and sneezing. These are simply symptoms of the underlying problem of an allergic reaction to some environmental agent. Taking medication to reduce the symptoms may help, temporarily. The underlying problem remains, however. That will probably be the situation in this case, as well. The average student will be able to note the underlying problems and pose solutions for them. The issue of whether the actions of Mr. Adams are symptoms or problems should be discussed. Also a similar analysis of Mr. Adams’ behavior and expectations should be developed.

2. Who Are the Primary and Secondary Stakeholders in the Meyers & Morrison Case? Primary Stakeholders The partners Mr. Adams Mrs. Adams

Secondary Stakeholders Other employees Clients of Meyers & Morrison

3. Ethical Considerations What Mr. Adams has done, to date, may well be considered unprofessional, but are probably not considered to be technically unethical. He is leaving at the end of the tax season, the busiest and most important time of year for an accounting firm. Moreover, after he had implied that the relationship could be salvaged, through a higher salary and a clear statement concerning the partnership, he had apparently already planned to solicit the business of the clients of the firm. 248

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4. Criteria A. Maintain good client relations B. Avoid negative publicity C. Maintain dignity D. Maintain client base E. Maintain employee morale

5. Alternatives A. Do nothing B. Send letter to clients urging them to remain with Meyers & Morrison C. Send letter to clients to inform them of Mr. Adams’ departure from the firm, and wishing him the best of luck in his endeavor.


Appendix III Case Example—Published Version Meyers & Morrison: A Question of Professional Ethics

Michael Morrison, partner in the accounting firm of Meyers & Morrison, didn’t know what to think after the telephone conversation with one of his firm’s oldest clients. The client had stated that he had received a letter from Stephen Adams, an associate with Meyers & Morrison, asking the client to switch to a new firm that he, Adams, was about to start. Mr. Morrison remarked to his partner, Phillip Meyers, “I can’t believe that Stephen would actually do this. He hasn’t even left the firm yet. I thought he was going to wait to see what we could offer him to stay with the company.” Mr. Meyers responded, “This isn’t what I expected from someone in this office. We’ve always treated everyone like family here. This isn’t a big impersonal, public accounting firm. I thought we all got along pretty well. This doesn’t make a lot of sense.” Mr. Morrison paused and looked back at Mr. Meyers. “What do we do now?” —————Â�Â�———— By William Naumes, Whittemore School of Business and Economics, University of New Hampshire, and Michelle Wilson and Sherry Walters, students. Originally presented at the Casewriters Workshop, Decision Sciences Institute Annual Meeting, November 1993. This case was written solely for the purpose of stimulating student discussion All events are real, but names have been changed at the company’s request. The authors thank John Seeger and the anonymous reviewers of the Case Research Journal for their assistance and advice. Copyright © 1994 by the Case Research Journal and William Naumes. 251

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Background Phillip Meyers had started his own, small, Certified Public Accounting firm thirty years earlier, in the seacoast town of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. For several years, he worked independently, establishing a small, but loyal, customer base. As his business continued to grow, he realized that it was necessary to hire additional employees to capitalize on his firm’s excellent reputation. Thus, after ten years on his own, Mr. Meyers hired Michael Morrison, the son of one of his largest clients. Mr. Morrison was a graduate of the MBA program at Boston University, and had worked for five years for KPMG Peat Marwick in their Boston office. He had indicated, at the time, that he would like to move back to the Portsmouth area, however. He also noted that he preferred the style and feel of a small firm to that of being in a branch of a major, international accounting firm. Together, Mr. Meyers and Mr. Morrison continued to expand the client list of the firm through a concerted effort towards customer service. Their focus was on small business and professional clients such as Mr. Morrison’s father. Through the years the firm continued to grow. Mr. Morrison was rewarded for his effort and dedication by becoming a partner in the new firm, Meyers & Morrison. The staff was gradually expanded until there were ten employees, ranging from a computer operator, payroll specialist and staff accountants to a clerical staff. Only Mr. Meyers and Mr. Morrison were CPAs, however. A few years after Mr. Morrison was made a partner, however, the firm encountered some minor setbacks. One of their clients, which was responsible for over forty percent of the firm’s revenues, went into bankruptcy. The two partners were forced to lay off some of their employees in an effort to keep the firm profitable. After this incident they vowed to never become dependent on any one firm or client for a significant portion of their profits. Due to the combined efforts of the partners and the remaining employees, Meyers & Morrison regained the profitability they had once enjoyed. Eventually the firm was able to expand the staff to its previous level. As a result of the continued expansion of the client base and work load, the partners decided to hire an additional CPA. Mr. Morrison stated, “Our intent was to find someone who 252

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was like us and would be able to share some of this increased auditing and tax load. We also wanted someone who would help us to continue our expansion. Besides, my partner, Mr. Meyers wanted to slowly start to withdraw from active involvement with the firm.” As a result the partners hired Stephen Adams, a Certified Public Accountant to help service its current, as well as potential, client base. Mr. Adams was in his early thirty’s. He had an undergraduate degree in business from a local business school with a concentration in accounting. The partners, hoping that Mr. Adams would prove his ability, offered him a position that was designed to lead to making him a partner in the firm. Mr. Morrison stated that “the process of bringing Mr. Adams in was somewhat loose and informal, much the way we do everything around here.” The partners believed that the offer included an extremely generous salary and benefits package, compared to those of associates in other, small firms in the region. They admitted that they had not done a full salary analysis of the local market, however. Mr. Adams came to Meyers & Morrison from another small public accounting firm in Massachusetts. He was married, although he had no children. The adjustment into the firm appeared to go very well, according to Mr. Morrison. He stated that “Mr. Adams was looked upon very favorably by the office staff. He worked long hours serving the needs of his clients. He spent additional hours recruiting new business.” Mr. Morrison added that “After the first 12 months, all in all, we were very happy with Mr. Adams’ performance. Everyone in the office seemed to be getting along pretty well.” During Mr. Adams’ first tax season, during his first nine months with the firm, he had a chance to become acclimated to the area and to the policies and procedures of the firm, according to Mr. Morrison. His responsibilities increased, until, by the end of his second year with the firm, he was accountable for almost one quarter of the firm’s clients. Most of these clients were new, and had been brought into the firm by Mr. Adams. Mr. Morrison noted that Mr. Adams felt very confident during his first year with the firm. Mr. Adams admitted that his wife was finding things a bit more difficult. Mr. Morrison recalled, later, that Mr. Adams noted that his wife was miserable in the area, and was not making new friends to ease the transition. Mr. Adams noted to Mr. Morrison that she spent her time 253

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shopping and renovating the house that the couple had purchased. Mr. Adams occasionally joked that she was trying to drive him into poverty, but added that this was nothing new. The partners stated that they had been pleased with his performance, but began noticing small changes in Mr. Adams’ behavior during his second year with the firm. Mr. Morrison remarked that “He became impatient with his progress within the firm. This was difficult for us to understand, as he was only in his early thirty’s and had a very promising future with the firm. We estimated that he would make partner within the next couple of years.” Staff members in the firm reported to Mr. Morrison that Mr. Adams also began having difficulties handling crisis situations in the daily operation of the firm, by the end of his second year. Later, they reported that they had noticed that he had begun to chew at his fingers, until they bled consistently. The other employees stated that they were uncomfortable looking at his fingers. They were worried that clients might feel slightly disgusted having to shake such disfigured hands. They later told Mr. Morrison that when they questioned Mr. Adams about this, he told them that he bit his fingers to deal with the pressures of daily life. Mr. Morrison stated “he didn’t seem to have any pressure,” during his first year at the firm. The partners wondered what had changed.

Local Competition The accounting industry in the Portsmouth, New Hampshire region was primarily comprised of small to medium size firms. There were approximately thirty-five accounting firms or independent accountants listed in the area as certified public accountants. There were no major, national firms in the immediate area, although there were several with offices in other parts of the state. The closest national firm was based in Manchester, the state’s largest city, located 45 miles to the west of Portsmouth.

Industry Norms Industry sources noted that it was common for a firm the size of Meyers and Morrison to seek a third professional as the number 254

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of clients expanded. While there were no set standards for the time that it might take before a senior associate were offered a position as partner, in a small firm, this would typically occur during the first three years with the firm, especially if the associate had held a senior position previously with another firm. The decision to offer an associate a partnership would depend not only on the professional results demonstrated by the associate, but also on the people oriented skills of the professional. In a small firm, interpersonal relations and skills would be a critical part of the partner decision. There were also no specific standards concerning the amount of time that an associate was required to give the firm before leaving. Typically, it would be expected that the person leaving the firm would stay long enough to acquaint someone else within the firm with all the clients with which that person was working. There were no specific restrictions concerning expectations about who retains clients after an associate leaves a firm. The practical facts are that clients brought into a firm by an associate would probably want to stay with that person, since the accountant–client relationship relies on the personal relationship as much as the professional relationship. There are restrictions in the AICPA Code of Conduct concerning advertising, however. Solicitation of clients while working for a firm would have to be handled very carefully, not to violate the advertising prohibition. A summary statement of the Code of Conduct is presented in Exhibit A.

Company Philosophy Meyers & Morrison was considered a small, local firm, by industry standards. The firm worked hard to ensure a varied client base in an effort to alleviate the risks of relying too heavily on one industry or client type. Through these efforts, the firm became one of the most successful in the area. Some of the accountants working for Meyers & Morrison had waiting lists to take on new clients. This was astonishing, as the firm did not have an advertising or promotion plan in place. They relied solely on word of mouth from satisfied clients to expand their customer base. 255

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The firm claimed to be following a mid-range pricing policy. Average fees appeared to be on the upper side of most private firms in the area. The partners stated that they did not want to have a cost conscious client base. They were more interested in doing complicated corporate returns than simple personal returns. Jokingly, these personal returns were referred to by Mr. Morrison as the “H&R Blockers.” Also, the partners’ philosophy was that if no one was complaining then the prices must be too low. On the other hand, if everyone was complaining, then the prices must be too high. The partners felt that somewhere in the middle was just right.

The Confrontation One day, before the end of tax season, Mr. Adams asked for a meeting with the partners. At the outset of the meeting with the partners, he stated that he wanted to give his notice of resignation. This was accompanied by a formal letter of resignation. He said that he would be only available for two more weeks, leading just to the end of tax season. Mr. Morrison felt that “while this may be customary for most industries, it is rather short notice for the accounting profession.” The partners were shocked. Mr. Adams had been well liked and respected. Mr. Morrison stated that “He had been given every advantage, with the hopes that eventually he would become a partner.” In fact, the partners agreed that they would probably have offered him a partnership within the year. This would have entailed both greater responsibility and compensation for Mr. Adams. Basically, he would be sharing, on an agreed-upon basis, in the profits of the firm. This would, typically, require a financial commitment on his part to buy into the partnership, however. Mr. Morrison noted that some form of long-term financial arrangement could have been developed to allow Mr. Adams to pay for his partnership with a portion of his expected earnings from the firm. Thus, the partners asked Mr. Adams to explain just why he was resigning his position with the firm. Mr. Morrison noted that Mr. Adams stated that “the decision finally came down to one of money.” Mr. Morrison continued that “he claimed that he liked working at Meyers & Morrison, but he 256

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just couldn’t afford it anymore. His wife was spending money faster than he could make it. He also stated that he had become frustrated that he hadn’t been offered a partnership in the firm yet.” Mr. Morrison noted that “He said that he was not sure that he would be able to afford waiting much longer. However, he said that if the we (the partners) would give him a sizeable raise and a partnership he would be willing to stay. We told him that we needed some time to think over this proposition.” Mr. Adams did not tell the partners what he intended to do after he left the firm. After learning that Mr. Adams had planned to leave the firm, most of the staff, including the partners, wanted to ask, but felt that if Mr. Adams had wanted people to know, he would have told them. Mr. Morrison noted that the staff had learned of Mr. Adams’ resignation from Mr. Morrison’s secretary, when she was asked to file Mr. Adams’ resignation letter. The people in the office still were not sure what the partners were going to do about Mr. Adams’ request, at that time. It was while the partners were considering their options concerned with retaining Mr. Adams, a few days after the meeting with Mr. Adams, that Mr. Morrison received the phone call from his client. Mr. Morrison stated that “The client had received a letter in the mail from Mr. Adams, and was very upset about the contents (reproduced in Exhibit B). He thought that I should look it over immediately, and agreed to forward it by FAX.” He said that “after contacting a few of our other most trusted clients, we realized that Mr. Adams had probably sent a similar letter to all of our clients. At that point, we felt that some kind of quick action was needed to be able to reduce the impact of the situation.”


Case Example—Published Version

Exhibit A Summary of AICPA Code of Conduct Responsibilities In carrying out their responsibilities as professionals, members should exercise sensitive professional and moral judgments in all their activities.

The Public Interest Members should accept the obligation to act in a way that will serve the public interest, honor the public trust, and demonstrate commitment to professionalism.

Integrity To maintain and broaden public confidence, members should perform all professional responsibilities with the highest sense of integrity.

Objectivity and Independence A member should maintain objectivity and be free of conflicts of interest in discharging professional responsibilities. A member in public practice should be independent in fact and appearance when providing auditing and other attestation services.

Due Care A member should observe the profession’s technical and ethical standards, strive continually to improve competence and the quality of services, and discharge professional responsibility to the best of the member’s ability.

Scope and Nature of Services A member in public practice should observe the Principles of the Code of Professional Conduct in determining the scope and nature of services to be provided. 258

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Rule 502 Advertising and Other Forms of Solicitation A member in public practice shall not seek to obtain clients by advertising or other forms of solicitation in a manner that is false, misleading, or deceptive. Solicitation by the use of coercion, overreaching, or harassing conduct is prohibited.


Case Example—Published Version

Exhibit B Following is a copy of the letter that was sent to the clients of Meyers & Morrison. Dear Client: I am writing this letter to inform you of my impending departure from the accounting firm of Meyers & Morrison. Upon resignation, I will be starting my own practice in Dover, New Hampshire. The services which I will be offering include: Preparation of Individual Tax Returns—My rate is $100.00 minimum with a charge of $50.00 per hour. Meyers & Morrison have a $150.00 minimum with a charge of $80.00. Estate Planning—My rate will be contingent solely on my hourly rate stated above. This is true at Meyers & Morrison also. Corporate Tax Returns—My rate will be a $500.00 minimum. Meyers & Morrison charge a $750.00 minimum. At the present time I am not equipped to provide any auditing services. I hope to be adding them in the very near future. As you can see, my rates are much more affordable than those of Meyers & Morrison. In addition, it is my belief that you will find my service to be much more efficient and of higher caliber than the service provided at Meyers & Morrison. I would like to emphasize how pleasurable it has been to do business with you over the past three years. It is my hope and intention that you will follow my lead and bring your future business to my new office. Sincerely, Stephen Adams, CPA


Appendix IV Instructor’s Manual—Final Version Meyers & Morrison: A Question of Professional Ethics

Case Summary This case deals with the events surrounding the recruiting and subsequent hiring of a new associate at a public accounting firm in New Hampshire. Meyers & Morrison had been founded by Phillip Meyers in 1958. Michael Morrison was hired as an associate in 1972, after having served with KPMG Peat Marwick’s Boston office for five years. He was promoted to partner by the end of the 1970s. Despite some setbacks, the firm continued to grow. The partners decided to hire another associate in the early 1980s. After a search, they hired Stephen Adams, an accountant with another small accounting firm. He was hired with the expectation that, if he successfully met current client needs and secured new clients, he would be promoted to partner. At first, everything seemed to be going well. During the next tax season, in his second year with Meyers and Morrison, however, Mr. Adams appeared to all in the office to be irritable, nervous, and impatient, especially with his progress within the firm. He stated to the partners that his wife was unhappy with the Portsmouth area. His most visible symptom involved biting his nails and fingers, until they were actually bleeding. The office staff became more uncomfortable around Mr. Adams. They stated that his appearance was even a concern to clients. 261

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Mr. Adams, in a meeting with the partners, handed in his resignation, with only two weeks notice. During the discussion that ensued, Mr. Adams stated that he needed a substantial raise and that he was frustrated at not having been offered a partnership yet. The partners were in a quandary, since they had been expecting to offer him a partnership later in the year. The partners asked for some time to consider their options, and Mr. Adams appeared to agree. Shortly after this meeting, Mr. Morrison was told by a longstanding client that he had received a letter from Mr. Adams stating that he was leaving Meyers & Morrison and was soliciting the business of many of the firm’ clients, at lower rates than those charged by the firm. After receiving a copy of the letter sent out by Mr. Adams, the partners are considering what response to take. This case was prepared primarily from discussions with the partners of the accounting firm, with Mr. Morrison providing most of the detailed information. This case has been disguised at the request of the partners in the accounting firm.

Objectives of the Case • Develop an understanding of ethical, professional conduct. • Enhance ability to perform a Stakeholder Analysis. • Develop effective management procedures. • Develop alternative approaches in the face of ethical problems.

Basic Pedagogy This case is designed to be used in a course dealing with ethics or corporate social responsibility. Alternatively, it could be used in a course in human resource management, accounting, accounting ethics, and small business management. The comments presented here are primarily designed for a discussion focusing on the issue of professional ethics and managing in a professional organization. 262

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This case is designed to allow for the development of a discussion of definitions of professional ethics. Although this case deals specifically with an accounting firm, the issues presented here are generic enough to fit most similar situations involving a professional organization. Students are also expected to be able to develop an appropriate response to the issues in the case. The question of ethics presented in the case is somewhat muddy, so this case can be used to develop an understanding of various responses that students can prepare when confronted with ethical questions. Moreover, the effects of these actions can be related to a stakeholder analysis of the various groups interacting with the firm. To aid students in understanding the often murky aspects of defining professional ethics, an abbreviated version of the AICPA Code of Conduct has been included in the case. The Meyers & Morrison case can also be used to explore issues dealing with the recruiting, selection, and orientation process for professionals and managers. The owners of the firm have hired an associate without going through a full evaluation of his background. Moreover, it is unclear as to what expectations are held by both sides of this recruiting process. Finally, the case can be used to evaluate the exit process when a high-ranking employee decides to leave the firm. All too often, this critical aspect is ignored, leaving all concerned with bitter and confused feelings concerning the manner in which the relationship was severed.

Research Methodology This case was based primarily on field research. The case was initially prepared as a research project in a course taught by William Naumes and written by two of his students, listed as coauthors. The final version of the case and Instructor’s Manual was prepared by Professor Naumes. The student authors interviewed the principal partners described in the case, one of whom was the father of one of the students. We are indebted to the partners for their cooperation in the preparation of this case study. 263

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Key Issues 1. Ethics and professional standards. 2. Stakeholder analysis. 3. Recruiting standards in a professional firm. 4. Motivation and expectations for professionals.

Relevant Theory The case can be used to demonstrate various concepts and theories. The concepts include analyzing the difference between symptoms and underlying problems. The case also requires students to develop alternatives and select a solution based on analyzing and meeting various criteria. Finally, the analysis of the case, using the following theoretical constructs, helps to refine the overall process.

Stakeholder Analysis Most business, government, and society texts have sections dealing with Stakeholder Analysis, for example, Chapter 1 in Anne T. Lawrence and James Weber, Business and Society: Stakeholders, Ethics, Public Policy, 13th ed. (Boston: McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2011). A particularly good reference for other courses would be R.K. Mitchell, B.R. Agle, and D.J. Wood, “Toward a Theory of Stakeholder Identification and Salience: Defining the Principle of Who and What Really Counts,” Academy of Management Review 22, no. 4 (October 1997): 853–886.

Models of Ethical Reasoning Texts in business/government/society commonly discuss a few alternative models of ethical reasoning. A very comprehensive discussion, with more than a dozen ethical models, can be found in George A. Steiner and John F. Steiner, Business, Government and Society: A Managerial Perspective, 12th ed. (Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2009), ch. 8. A concept of ethical reasoning and behavior can be applied to the actions of the various principals in the case. 264

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Questions 1. Analyze the symptoms presented in the case and the underlying problems relating to those symptoms. 2. Develop a stakeholder analysis relevant to the issues of the Meyers & Morrison case and firm. 3. Discuss the ethical considerations of the actions taken by Mr. Adams. 4. What alternatives are open to Meyers & Morrison? Evaluate these alternatives against a stated set of criteria to be met through any changes proposed. 5. What actions do you propose Mr. Meyers and Mr. Morrison take in response to the situation presented in the case? How should they be implemented?

Potential Responses 1. Analyze the Symptoms Presented in the Case and the Underlying Problems Relating to Those Symptoms All too often, students, and managers as well, confuse symptoms with the underlying problems in a given situation. It is helpful to relate this issue with a physical situation such as an allergic reaction. We often state that our “problem” involves runny nose, watering eyes, headaches, and sneezing. These are simply symptoms of the underlying problem of an allergic reaction to some environmental agent. Taking medication to reduce the symptoms may help, temporarily. The underlying problem remains, however. That will probably be the situation in this case, as well. The average student will be able to readily define the symptoms. The above-average student will be able to note the underlying problems and pose solutions for them. One of the underlying problems involved Mr. Adams’ wife. Adams states that she is unhappy in the Portsmouth area and has few, if any outlets for her energy, other than shopping and fixing their house. Since the partners claim that this is supposed to be a 265

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close-knit group, why was she not considered during the recruiting process? Also, why hasn’t she been included in any other aspects of the operations of the firm? At the very least, she could have been included in social events by the two partners. Also, in this day of two-worker families, the partners could have inquired if they could be of help in resettling her, as well as offering Mr. Adams the new position. They do have to be careful, however, since this can be asked only after the offer has been made. It could be considered discrimination if they ask about his wife’s occupation or even about Mr. Adams’ marital status. At the very least, once Adams makes it known that his wife was having trouble adjusting to life in the seacoast area, the partners should have responded in a positive and helpful manner. It has long been felt that if the spouse of an employee is unhappy, some of that unhappiness will soon be reflected in the work of the employee. This was definitely the case in this situation. As Mrs. Adams became vocal about her difficulties, Mr. Adams’ performance and attention began suffering. His focus was not centered entirely on performing his job well, but only on his advancement within the firm. Another obvious symptom was the out-of-control spending that was being done by Mrs. Adams. Adams states that she is spending a great deal of money; more than he earns. A question that could have been asked was whether this had happened in the past or whether this is new behavior? One can infer from Mr. Adams’ comments in the case that this behavior may have occurred in the past, as well. This indicates that not all is right at home, however. The partners knew the income that Mr. Adams was receiving, and should have known that, unless there were mitigating circumstances, that the couple couldn’t afford her hobby much longer. This would lead most people to wonder about an unhappy home life or dissatisfaction with some realm of the couple’s current situation. Also, Mr. Adams started to become impatient with his progress within the firm. The partners had told him that if his good work continued, he would eventually become a partner. Yet, Mr. Adams could no longer wait for that. He wanted to be a partner now, not in the future. This, however, was not addressed directly by the partners. It was almost as if they thought that it was a phase that 266

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would soon pass. There did not appear to be any formal evaluation process. The partners note to each other that they were planning to offer Adams a partnership later that year, if everything continued to progress well. Yet, they do not seem to have told him of that decision. There is clearly a communication problem between the partners and Adams. Moreover, Adams does not approach the partners until he is ready to leave, or has even made that decision, already. Once again, this implies that there is no real communication going on among the professionals in the firm. Although Mr. Adams had once been able to successfully cope with the daily trials and tribulations of life in an accounting firm, he started to become a victim of stress. Other employees began to notice symptoms such as that Mr. Adams’ hands were bitten raw in several areas. Sometimes they bled openly at work. People handle stress differently, but this is definitely not the most healthy way to do it. One might have questioned the stability of Mr. Adams at this point. Clearly, Adams was suffering at that point. The employees even mentioned this to the partners, yet they did nothing. The partners are not controlling their workplace or maintaining a stable environment. These factors are affecting the entire office. The partners also didn’t seem to be curious about the length of Mr. Adams’ notice. Although most professions require only two weeks’ notice, it is generally accepted procedure for professionals to give at least one month, generally more. This is due to the difficulty of transferring clients to other accountants, as well as the seasonality of the profession. And, Mr. Adams’ resignation came right at the end of tax season. This would not be an ideal time for someone to leave who was responsible for the preparation of the tax returns of one-quarter of the firm’s clients. This indicates a lack of planning on the part of the owners. They are not thinking ahead and of the best interests of the other stakeholders in this organization. Perhaps if the partners had paid more attention to these symptoms, they would not be faced with having their clients solicited by Mr. Adams. What makes the situation even worse is that the letters were sent out while Mr. Adams was still serving out his notice with Meyers & Morrison. Although it might be expected that the clients that he had brought into the firm might leave, 267

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the partners were not prepared to have some of their oldest and best clients solicited. Clients that had been brought in by other accountants, and that Mr. Adams apparently had not even worked with were solicited. Clients who had no need to know that there had been any turnover in the firm were now exposed to the fact that there was a serious conflict going on between the partners and Mr. Adams. This leads to a question and problem of professional ethics and standards. The partners should be asking why Adams is taking such a radical and questionable step.

2. Develop a Stakeholder Analysis Relevant to the Issues of the Meyers & Morrison Case and Firm The Partners The partners need to be concerned about the reputation of the firm. If they decide to challenge Mr. Adams and his ethics, they might cause a public scandal that could irrevocably impact the firm. Also, clients now must wonder about the judgment of the partners for having hired such a troublemaker in the first place. In addition to these issues, some clients may leave, causing the revenues of the firm, and thus the partners, to decrease.

Mr. Adams Mr. Adams obviously wants the partners to let him go quietly. He is hoping that his firm will be very successful so that he might deal with his wife’s spending. On the other hand, he doesn’t want to irritate the partners, as his firm might fail and he may need them at some point in the future. He is hoping that a significant portion of his clients will leave Meyers & Morrison to become his personal clients.

Other Employees Should Mr. Adams successfully obtain a significant portion of Meyers & Morrison’s clients, their jobs might be impacted. There might no longer be a need for such a large office staff. Also, all 268

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the employees who remain might be looked at more carefully, and with less trust, making the workplace less enjoyable. Should the environment change, the quality of their work might be impacted, without their having any control over the situation.

Clients of Meyers & Morrison The clients of Meyers & Morrison have much at stake. If the partners perceive Mr. Adams to be a threat, they might lower their fees, making services much more affordable. On the other hand, if the firm does lower its fees, then they might feel that they have been overcharged in the past. Also, some of the larger clients that Mr. Adams worked with may find it inconvenient that he can no longer provide the full range of services he had when with Meyers & Morrison. Although clients might consider staying with the firm to be able to continue receiving these services, they might wonder what kind of a firm Meyers & Morrison is if such a problem developed. All of the clients are probably wondering how they should respond to both the partners and Mr. Adams, at this point.

Mrs. Adams Mrs. Adams now is in a very difficult situation. Starting up a new firm requires tremendous resources. She must curtail her spending so that Mr. Adams has available the resources he needs to make a fruitful attempt at starting his own firm. Also, she now must maintain a certain image. Her behavior will reflect upon her husband who, starting a new business, needs all the help that he can get.

3. Discuss the Ethical Considerations of the Actions Taken by Mr. Adams What Mr. Adams has done to-date may well be considered unprofessional, but according to the accounting profession, they are not considered to be technically unethical. The problem is that the partners never set clear standards for Adams to follow concerning the amount of notice required before leaving as well as approaching clients when leaving. Another problem is the partners’ failure 269

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to maintain communications with Adams concerning his future with the firm as well as problems he appeared to be having with the move and his new position. As noted, however, Mr. Adams’ actions do appear to be unprofessional at the very least. He is leaving at the end of tax season, the busiest and most important time of the year for an accounting firm. Moreover, after he had implied that the relationship could be salvaged, through a higher salary and a clear statement concerning his partnership, he had apparently already planned to solicit the business of the clients of the firm. None of this could be considered as likely to enhance his reputation if it became widely known. A standard that could be applied here would be to ask Adams if he would be willing to state publicly all the details of his actions. One would question his response. This question should also be asked of those students who take either side in this situation. One could question whether this would instill trust and confidence in his abilities and services as required by the AICPA Code of Conduct. A reading of that Code, however, leads the reader to realize how vague many such codes are when it comes to reacting to a situation such as this.

4. What Alternatives Are Open to Meyers & Morrison? Evaluate These Alternatives Against a Stated Set of Criteria to Be Met Through Any Changes Proposed Criteria Maintain Good Client Relations. It is very important to the partners that, no matter what, they maintain good relations with their existing clients. Infighting within an accounting firm is not looked upon favorably, as accountants have access to confidential information. Avoid Negative Publicity. The partners don’t want any negative publicity because they rely on word of mouth to gain new clients. If the reputation of the firm were to suffer, the partners might find it difficult to lead the firm toward growth. 270

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Maintain Dignity. The partners don’t want to look like they are being petty. Obviously they expect some of the clients that Mr. Adams brought into the firm to follow him to his private practice. If the partners decide to take any action they must be careful not to seem unreasonable. Also, the partners don’t want to look as if they are afraid that Mr. Adams could take away a significant portion of their business. Maintain Client Base. Although the partners recognize that losing some clients is unavoidable, their ideal goal would be to lose as few as possible. The partners have made sure that they are not dependent upon any one client for a significant portion of the firm’s revenue, but if they lost enough it, could seriously damage the firm. Maintain Employee Morale. The partners don’t want the other employees to feel as if they are being judged because of what happened with Mr. Adams. Happy employees are the most productive, and right now the firm needs all that they can get from their employees. Mr. Adams produced a significant amount of the work within the firm, and now his services are gone. Through a combined effort, the other employees must make up this difference. Â� Make Sure That This Doesn’t Happen Again. The partners have never had to deal with a situation like this before, and definitely don’t want to again. Gradually this could erode their reputation as well as their client base. Also, they would be ineffectual business people if they couldn’t even control their own business. One possible action could be to require a noncompete clause in any contract with a new associate. In this manner, if a subsequent hire decides to leave the firm, the ability of that person to take clients from the firm would be severely limited. Although these clauses cannot be all-encompassing, they can reduce the negative impact of such an occurrence. As noted in the case, most senior associates coming into a firm such as this would expect to be evaluated for partnership earlier and more formally than was done here. Moreover, some of these 271

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expectations would have been outlined in a contract between the firm and the associate. Although this was not done in this circumstance, it should be included in future negotiations.

Alternatives (1) Do Nothing Advantages • • • • •

causes no friction maintains good client relations avoids negative publicity the partners maintain their dignity maintains pricing strategy

Disadvantages • • • •

doesn’t maintain employee morale doesn’t maintain client base partners might look weak and afraid does nothing to prevent same situation from happening again with the next professional-level CPA employed

(2) Send Letter to Clients Urging Them to Remain with Meyers & Morrison Advantages • maintains pricing strategy • might maintain client base • might avoid negative publicity Disadvantages • doesn’t maintain good client relations • might not avoid negative publicity • might not maintain client base 272

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• doesn’t maintain partner dignity • doesn’t prevent situation from happening again • might appear weak and afraid (3) Send Letter to Clients to Inform Them of Mr. Adams’ Departure from the Firm, and Wishing Him the Best of Luck in His Endeavor Advantages • • • • • • •

maintains good client relations avoids negative publicity maintains dignity might maintain client base doesn’t look weak and afraid maintains employee morale maintains pricing strategy

Disadvantages • doesn’t prevent situation from happening again • might not maintain client base

5. What Actions Do You Propose Mr. Meyers and Mr. Morrison Take in Response to the Situation Presented in the Case? How Should They Be Implemented? After carefully considering all of the options available, the following appear to be a reasonable way out of the predicament faced by the firm. It is in the firm’s best interest to implement a combination of the alternatives described above. By doing this they have the potential to satisfy as many of their criteria, as possible. As for implementation, it must be very precise. Contact a lawyer to have a legally binding contract drawn up for your employees to sign. This should be checked for viability in different states, but does seem to be effective in most states. 273

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The partners need to become more communicative with their employees. They must explain to their current employees why they feel that this is necessary. When doing so they must be sure to stress that any clients they bring into the firm are exempt from the contract. The employees should be told that the partners recognize that they work hard to gain these clients, and don’t want to do anything to hinder their progress. As for the letter, it must be extremely diplomatic with no undertones. A sample letter that may be considered adequate is presented below. You may choose to modify it some. Dear Client: We regret to inform you that we recently received notice of resignation from Stephen Adams. He has been with this firm for three years, and we know that many of you have worked closely with him. Phillip and I are currently in the process of interviewing applicants to replace Mr. Adams. When we have decided upon a candidate, we will have a reception for you all to meet him or her. We want to make the transition of working with a new accountant as easy as possible for all of you. Should there be any other way to smooth the transition, please call either one of us at your convenience. Please be assured that your tax returns have been and are continuing to be completed in the thorough manner with which we hope you have been accustomed while being served by Meyers & Morrison. We would like to wish Mr. Adams the best of luck in his new endeavor. Sincerely, Michael Morrison & Phillip Meyers Meyers & Morrison, CPAs

This will, hopefully, reduce the immediate fallout from the problems with Mr. Adams. The partners need to revamp their hiring procedures, for his eventual replacement, however. If the firm is able to retain most of their clients, as is likely, it will need another 274

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associate rather quickly. The partners will have to put in extra hours, as well as hire part-time people to complete the tax work this season, and they will have to recruit a new person. They need to set up and follow clear procedures during this next hire. First, they need to set clear expectations. These should include a clear time line concerning expectations as to both that person’s role and results. These expectations should be an outgrowth of a well thought-out set of objectives and plan of action for the firm to follow. The partners also need to determine why the person wants to work in a small firm, especially since they would be looking for someone with experience in securing new business as well as meeting the needs of existing clients. The partners should be ready and able to check each applicant’s credentials. The partners may even want to hire a search firm to help them, given their lack of success when hiring Adams. The partners also should invite the applicant’s spouse to join in the interview process. If appropriate, they should try to learn what the spouse’s expectations and needs are concerning the position and, potentially, the move to the Portsmouth area. The partners also need to set up a clear policy for evaluating the new associate, on a formal basis. Also, they need to commit themselves to maintaining open lines of communication with both the new associate, as well as the rest of the office staff. At least for the short term, the partners might want to have a standard time set aside for open staff meetings. These could be potentially held either at the beginning or end of the week. Basically, the partners need to set in motion a plan to overcome their shortcomings in the areas of planning communication, recruiting, hiring, and orientation.

Teaching Techniques The case is straightforward. Aside from an understanding of behavioral techniques dealing with motivation, evaluation, and supervision, little background material is required. The case could be set early in a course where ethics is discussed. Although MBA students might be able to relate best to this case, it could also be 275

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used in an undergraduate course, particularly with accounting students. The case could be presented early in a course on corporate social responsibility, or ethics. The case is designed to be discussed in one class session one- to one-and-a-half hours in duration. The class could begin with a simple question as to whether the students feel that Mr. Adams had violated any norms or ethical standards through his actions while leaving the firm. Many students will feel uneasy with this question. They have a feeling that something is wrong here, but cannot verbalize precisely what the problem is. This should be followed with a description of just what happened. During the analysis of everyone’s roles in the case, a better understanding of the culture and environment of Meyers & Morrison should emerge. It should become clear that the firm is loosely managed. The perception of the two partners is that everyone understands the expectations of the partners. It should also be brought out that the partners expected their associate to be self-motivated and require little supervision. Students can be asked what they think Mr. Adams’ expectations were as he entered and progressed with the firm. These expectations should then be matched with those of the partners. Students can be asked to list the stakeholders in the case and note how they are affected by the events that have taken place. Students should then be asked to evaluate the actions of the three main principals in the case. The evaluation should be based on the concept of fairness to all those involved, including Mr. Adams’ wife. A definition of what is fair, in these circumstances, will lead to different, and often conflicting conclusions, especially when taking into consideration the various stakeholders. The advantage to using this case for a stakeholder analysis is the relatively concise list of stakeholders involved (presented earlier in this note) as well as the relatively clear view of the stakes held by the different groups. The session should end with a presentation by the students as to what actions the partners should take at the end of the case. They have been presented with information concerning Mr. Adams’ intentions. Some type of reaction is now expected. The responses 276

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will probably range from suing Mr. Adams to doing nothing. An appropriate response is probably somewhere in between. Students should not be allowed to end with a response to Mr. Adams, however. That only resolves the immediate problem. They should be asked how the partners should change their actions and behavior in the future, since they will undoubtedly seek to replace Mr. Adams, at this point. It should be indicated that if they do not change, the partners will be doomed to repeat their past mistakes. This situation must also be viewed as a learning experience.


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Naumes, W., and R. Schellenberger. 1983. “Vail Industries, Inc.” In Policy Formulation and Strategy Mangement, 2d ed., ed. R. Schellenberger and G. Boseman, 282–297. New York: Wiley. Naumes, W., M. Merenda, and M. Naumes. 2002. “Case Research, Writing and Teaching: The Unbroken Circle.” Journal on Excellence in College Teaching 13, nos. 2, 3: 131–141. ———. 2007. “A Case Based Analysis of the Stages of Entrepreneurial Growth: A Preliminary Study.” International Journal of Case Method Research & Â�Application 19, no. 1: 62–73. Naumes, W., M. Wilson, and S. Walters. 1995. “Meyers & Morrison: A Question of Professional Ethics.” Case Research Journal 15, no. 1 (Winter): 41–47. Neese, W.T., and D.S. Cochran. 1990. “I Still Do My Job, Don’t I?” Case Research Journal 10 (Spring): 68–73. Noetzel, D.M., and M.J. Stanford. 1992. “The Gustavson Farm.” Case Research Journal 12, no. 2 (Summer): 121–129. Ó Cinnéide, B. 1997. “The Need to Reconsider the Teaching Note’s Contribution to the Case Writing Process.” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the North American Case Research Association, Cincinnati, Ohio, October. Office of Human Subject Research. 1979. “The Belmont Report.” Washington, DC: National Institutes of Health. Page, S., and A. Day. 2005. “Mikhukhu People.” The Electronic Hallway. http:// (accessed January 2011). Paraschos, Peter E. 1997. “Good Teaching Cases and Bad: The Institute for the Study of Diplomacy’s Point of View.” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Toronto, Canada, March, 18–22. (accessed October 2005). Pavan, R.J. 1988. “The Case Research Note.” Proceedings of the North American Case Research Association 2: 1–6. Pearce, J.A., II, and R.B. Robinson Jr. 1994. Strategic Management: Formulation, Implementation and Control, 5th ed. Burr Ridge, IL: Irwin. Peterson, L.I., and M.E. Hermes. 2000. “Gatorade.” http:// (accessed January 2011). Porter, M.E. 1979. “How Competitive Forces Shape Strategy.” Harvard Business Review 57, no. 2 (March/April): 137–145. ———. 1990. The Competitive Advantage of Nations. New York: The Free Press. ———. 2006. “On the Importance of Case Research.” Case Research Journal 26, no. 1: 1–4. Prawat, R.S. 1991. “The Value of Ideas: The Immersion Approach to the Development of Thinking.” Educational Researcher 20, no. 2: 3–10. Resnick, R., and L.E. Klopfer. 1989. “Toward the Thinking Curriculum: An Overview.” In Toward the Thinking Curriculum: Current Cognitive Research, ed. R. Resnick and L.E. Klopfer, 1–18. Alexandria, VA: Yearbook of the Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development. Rock, M. 1998. “Alternate Paths of Stakeholder Influence: The Politics of Forest Policy and a Citizens’ Initiative in Maine.” PhD. diss Boston University. 282


Rock, M.L. 2007. “An Institutional Review Board’s Version of Informed Consent in Case Research: Help or Hindrance?” Case Research Journal 27, no. 2: 1–16. Rosen, L.D. 2010. Rewired: Understanding the iGeneration and the Way They Learn. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Sawyer, R. 1962. The Way of the Story-Teller. New York: Penguin Books. Schatzman, L., and A.L. Strauss. 1973. Field Research Strategies for a Natural Sociology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. Schlentrich, U., and M.J. Naumes. 2003. “Jonathan Langston (A): A Hotel Manager’s Career Dilemma.” Case Research Journal 23, no. 3 (Summer): 122–134. Scott, C.R. Jr. 1980. “The Case Teaching Note.” Case Research Journal 1: 39–44. Scott, W. 1808. Marmion, Canto Six, Stanza 17. Shedlock, M.L. 1952. The Way of the Storyteller. New York: Dover Publications. Sherman, H. 2005. Personal discussion with Margaret J. Naumes. Stake, R.E. 1995. The Art of Case Study Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Swiercz, P.M. 1998. “SWIF Learning: A Guide to Student-Written InstructorFacilitated Case Writing.” School of Business and Public Management, George Washington University.Â�casewriting_ pswiercz.pdf (accessed January 2011). Taylor, M. 1990. Presentation at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA. Thompson, A.A. 1993. “Turner Broadcasting System in 1992.” Strategic Management: Concepts & Cases, 7th ed. Boston: Irwin. Thompson, A.A., and A.J. Strickland. 1993. “Competition in the U.S. Frozen Dairy Dessert Industry.” Strategic Management: Concepts & Cases, 7th ed. Boston: Irwin. Thornhill, S., M. Asensio, and C. Young, eds. 2002. Video Streaming: A Guide for Education Development. Manchester, UK: The JISC Click and Go Video Project. (accessed January 2011). Timmons, J.A. 1990. New Venture Creation: Entrepreneurship in the 1990s, 3d ed. Homewood, IL: Irwin. Towl, A.R. 1969. To Study Administration by Cases. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration. ———. 1980. “Discovery, the Creative Way.” Case Research Journal 1: 22–25. Turkle, Sherry. 2010. “Digital Demands: The Challenges of Constant Connectivity.” Nieman Reports, Summer. article/102403/Digital-Demands-The-Challenges-of-Constant-Connectivity. aspx (accessed January 2011). Twain, M. 2004 [1897]. Following the Equator. Classic Literature Library. http:// (accessed January 2011). University of Massachusetts at Amherst, History Department. 1999. “A Historical Investigation into the Past: Lizzie Borden/Fall River Case Study.” http:// (accessed January 2011). 283


Vega, G. 2009. “The Undergraduate Case Research Study Model.” Journal of Management Education 20, no. 10: 1–31. ———. 2010. “From the Editor: What We Look for in Cases and How to Become Part of Our Author Team.” The CASE Journal 7, no. 1: 5–8 (Fall). Available online at Whyte, W.F. 1984. Learning from the Field: A Guide from Experience. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Wolcott, S.K., and C.L. Lynch. 2001. Task Prompts for Different Levels in Steps for Better Thinking. (accessed January 2011). Yin, R.K. 1989. Case Study Research: Designs and Methods, rev. ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.


For Further Reading: A Bibliography by Topic

Case Teaching Applegate, L.M. 1988. “Case Teaching at HBS: Some Thoughts for New Faculty.” ICCH 90189–062. Boston: Harvard Business School. Argyris, C. 1980. “Some Limitations of the Case Method: Experiences in a Management Development Program.” Academy of Management Review 5, no. 2: 291–298. Baker, A., and E. Green. 1987. Storytelling: Art and Technique, 2d ed. New York: R.R. Bowker. Barnes, L.B., C.R. Christensen, and A.J. Hansen. 1994. Teaching and the Case Method, 3rd ed. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School Press. Bennett, S., K. Maton, and L. Kervin. 2008. “The ‘Digital Natives’ Debate: A Critical Review of the Evidence.” British Journal of Educational Technology 39, no. 5: 775–786. Berger, M.A. 1983. “In Defense of the Case Method.” Academy of Management Review 8, no. 2: 329–333. BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium. 2010. “Investigative Case Based Learning: Preparing Case Learners.” php (accessed January 2011). Bloom, B.S., J.T. Hastings, and G.F. Madaus. 1971. Handbook on Formative and Summative Evaluation of Student Learning. New York: McGraw-Hill. Bludent, R.G. 1993. “The Real Case Method: A Response to Critics of Business Education.” Case Research Journal 13, no. 1: 106–119. Bower, D.D., R.J. Lewicki, D.T. Hall, and F.S. Hall. 1997. Experiences in Management and Organizational Behavior, 4th ed. New York: Wiley. Brown, J.S. 2000. “Growing Up Digital: How the Web Changes Work, Education, and the Ways People Learn.” Change (March/April): 10–20. Bruner, R.F. 2001. “How and Why to Begin Teaching with Cases.” SSRN, August 17. (accessed January 2011).


For Further Reading: A Bibliography by Topic

Bullen, M., T. Morgan, A. Qayyum, K. Belfer, and T. Fuller. 2009. “Digital Learners in Higher Education, Phase 1 Report: BCIT.” h50e1ey149 (accessed January 2011). Center for Teaching and Learning. 1994. “Teaching with Case Studies.” Speaking of Teaching: Stanford University Newsletter on Teaching 5, no. 2 (Winter). pdf (accessed January 2011). Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI). 2008. “New Millennium Learners: Initial Findings on the Effects of Digital Technologies on School-Age Learners.” (accessed January 2011). Charan, R. 1976. “Classroom Techniques in Teaching by the Case Method.” Academy of Management Review 1, no. 3: 116–123. Christensen, C.R. 1987. Teaching and the Case Method. Boston: Harvard Business School Press. Christensen, C.R., D.A. Garvin, and A. Sweet, eds. 1991. Education for Judgment: The Artistry of Discussion Leadership. Boston: Harvard Business School Press. Coleman, D.R., and A.G. Edge. 1978. The Guide to Case Analysis and Reporting. Honolulu: System Logistice. Collins, A., and R. Halverson. 2009. Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology: The Digital Revolution and Schooling in America. New York: Teachers College Press. Comerford, R.A., and D.W. Callaghan. 1985. “Strategic Management: Case, Casebook and Course Preferences of Business Policy Professors.” Case Research Journal 5: 25–38. Corey, E.R. 1982. “Case Method Teaching.” Case Research Journal 2: 1–21. Côte, M. 1991. “La méthode des cas: la fonction et les rôles assumés par le professeur.” In La gestion stratégique d’entreprise: concepts et cas-Guide du maître, 1–16. Boucherville, Canada: Gaëtan Morin. Dick, B. 1997. “Action Learning and Action Research.” schools/gcm/ar/arp/actlearn.html (accessed January 2011). Dooley, A.F., and W. Skinner. 1977. “Casing Casemethod Methods.” Academy of Management Review 2, no. 2: 277–289. Enrick, N.L., and B.L. Myers. 1971. “A Structured Approach for Case Methodology in the Business Policy Course.” Decision Sciences 2, no. 2: 111–122. Erskine, J.A., M.R. Leenders, and L.A. Mauffette-Leenders. 1981. Teaching with Cases. London, Ontario: University of Western Ontario. Eshach, H., and H. Bitterman. 2003. “From Case-based Reasoning to Problembased Learning.” Academic Medicine 78, no. 5: 491–496. Feder, B. 1973. “Case Studies: A Flexible Approach to Knowledge Building.” The Social Studies 64, no. 4 (April): 171–178. Feeney, H.M., and A.K. Stenzel. 1970. Learning by the Case Method. New York: Seabury Press. Finch, B.J. 1993. “A Modeling Enhancement to Teaching with Cases.” Journal of Management Education 17, no. 2: 228–235. Fink, L.D. 2003. Creating Significant Leaning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 286

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Fiol, M., and M. Lyles. 1985. “Organizational Learning.” Academy of Management Review 10, no. 4: 803–813. Flanagan, J.C. 1954. “The Critical Incident Technique.” Psychological Bulletin 51, no. 4 (July): 327–358. Foundation for Critical Thinking. 2007. “Online Model for Learning the Elements and Standards of Critical Thinking.” CTmodel/CTModel1.cfm (accessed January 2011). Golich, V.L. 2000. “The ABCs of Case Teaching.” International Studies Perspectives 1, no. 1: 11–29. Gragg, C.I. 1940. “Because Wisdom Can’t Be Told.” ICCH 451–05. Boston, MA: HBS Case Services, Harvard Business School. Greenwood, R. 1983. “The Case Method at Harvard: A Short History.” Case Research Journal 3: 3–10. Hafsi, T., and J. Piffault. 1989. “Laurent Lapierre (1989) point de vue sur l’enseignement par la méthode des cas.” Montréal: École des Hautes Études Commerciales. Hay, R.D. 1982. “Management Theory and Practice: Implications for Case Research and Teaching.” Case Research Journal 2: 27–31. Hazen, M.A. 1988. “Learning How to Learn: An Experiment in Dialogue.” Journal of Management Education 12, no. 2: 72–85. Hendry, C. 1996. “Understanding and Creating Whole Organizational Change through Learning Theory.” Human Relations 49, no. 5: 621–641. Herreid, C.F. 1994. “Case Studies in Science: A Novel Method of Science Education.” Journal of College Science Teaching 23, no. 4: 221–229. (accessed January 2011). Jackson, D., and J. Ormrod. 1998. Case Studies: Applying Education Psychology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill. Jackson, S.H., and D. Crawford. 2008. “Digital Learners: How Are They Expanding the Horizon of Learning?” Connexions, July 11. m17218/1.2/ (accessed January 2011). Kolb, D.A., J.S. Osland, and I.M. Rubin. 1995. Organizational Behavior: An Experiential Approach. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. LaBelle, R. et al. 1992. Cas de comptabilité: méthode et outils d’analyse, 2e éd., 16–34. Montréal: Éditions Sciences et Culture. LaPierre, L., and T. Haafsi. 1991. C’est en forgeant qu’on devient forgeron: Paul Dell’Aniello, l’enseignement par la méthode des cas. Montréal: École des Hautes Études Commerciales. LaPierre, L., and I. Lagacé. 1992. Guy Archambault, professeur de management. Montréal: École des Hautes Études Commerciales. Lasso, R.A. 2008. “Academic Success: Tips for Reading Cases.” August 4. http:// (accessed January 2011). Leach, T.C., G. Vega, and H. Sherman. 2008. “Case Writing and Research: Professor Moore Looks for a Better Way to Grade Student Case Analyses.” The CASE Journal 5, no. 1 (Fall). pp. 68–97; available online at http://www. (accessed by log-in to Levinthal, D.A., and J.G. March. 1993. “The Myopia of Learning.” Strategic Management Journal 14 (Winter Special Issue): 95–112. 287

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Lundeberg, M.A., B.B. Levin, and H.L. Harrington, eds. 1999. Who Learns What from Cases and How? The Research Base for Teaching and Learning with Cases. Mahwah, NJ: Routledge. Lynch, C.L., and S.K. Wolcott. 2001. “Helping Your Students Develop Critical Thinking Skills.” IDEA Paper #37 (October). programs/faculty_resources/IDEA/Papers/Idea_Paper_37%20Helping%20 Your%20Students%20Develope%20Critical%20Thinking%20Skills.pdf (accessed January 2011). Marzano, R.J., R.S. Brandt, C.S. Hughes, B.F. Jones, B.Z. Presseisen, S.C. Rankin, and C. Suhor. 1988. “Thinking Processes.” In Dimensions of Thinking: A Framework for Curriculum and Instruction. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Matejka, J.K., and T. Cosse. 1981. The Business Case Method: An Introduction. Reston, VA: Reston Publishing. Mbarika, V.W., C.S. Sankar, and P.K. Raju. 2003. “Perceived Role of Multimedia Instructional Materials on Multicriteria Technology and Engineering Decisions.” Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education 1, no. 2: 225–257. McKeachie, W.J. 2002. Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research, and Theory for College and University Teachers, 11th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Mucchielli, R. 1987. La méthode des cas, 7e éd. Paris: Édition ESF: Entreprise moderne d’édition: Librairies techniques. Nath, J.L., A. Sikka, and M.D. Cohen. 2004. “Education Students Learn about Case Studies and Action Research.” International Journal of Case Method Research & Application 17, no. 2: 246–253. Patten, R.J., and D.A. Swanson. 2003. “Using Cases in the Teaching of Statistics.” In Interactive Innovative Teaching & Training Including Distance and Continuing Education: Case Method & Other Techniques, ed. H.E. Klein, 31–36. Needham, MA: World Association for Case Method Research & Application (WACRA). Paul, R., and L. Elder. 2006. The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking: Concepts and Tools. (accessed January 2011). Prawat, R.S. 1991. “The Value of Ideas: The Immersion Approach to the Development of Thinking.” Educational Researcher 20, no. 2: 3–10. Radbourne, J. 2002. “From a Discipline Focused Curriculum to a LearnerCentered Curriculum Using a Multi-Layered Multi-Media Case to Achieve Changes in Business Education.” In Interactive Teaching and Learning in a Global Context: Case Method & Other Techniques, ed. H.E. Klein, 251–263. Needham, MA: World Association for Case Method Research & Application (WACRA). Rappaport, A., and G.S. Cawelti. 1993. “Using Peer Review to Improve the Writing of Case Analyses: Requirements and Experience.” Journal of Management Education 17, no. 4: 485–489. Redman, G. 1999. Teaching in Today’s Classrooms: Cases from Middle and Secondary School. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill. Resnick, R., and L.E. Klopfer. 1989. “Toward the Thinking Curriculum: An Overview.” In Toward the Thinking Curriculum: Current Cognitive Research, ed. R. Resnick and L.E. Klopfer, 1–18. Alexandria, VA: Yearbook of the Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development. 288

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Reynolds, J.I. 1980. Case Method in Management Development. Geneva: International Labour Office, Management Development Series No. 17. Ronstadt, R. 1977. The Art of Case Analysis: A Student Guide to the Diagnosis of Business Situations. Needham, MA: Lord Publishing. Rosen, L.D. 2010. Rewired: Understanding the iGeneration and the Way They Learn. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Safavi, F. 1978. “‘Informatice’: The Incomplete Information Approach to Case Administration.” Management International Review 18, no. 3: 99–107. Schiro, S.F. 1994. “Introducing Case Analysis by Telling Real Cases.” Journal of Management Education 18, no. 4: 484–489. Schoon, D.A. 1984. “Education for Reflection-in-Action.” Case Research Journal 4: 3–24. Sikka, A., J.L. Nath, M.D. Cohen, and D. Mullinnix. 2003. “A Description of Beginning Secondary Teachers’ Decision-Making Strategies.” In Interactive Innovative Teaching and Training Including Distance and Continuing Education: Case Method & Other Techniques, ed. H.E. Klein, 263–272. Needham, MA: World Association for Case Method Research & Application (WACRA). Stewart, K.A., and J. Winn. 1996. “The Case Debate: A New Approach to Case Teaching.” Journal of Management Education 20, no. 1: 48–59. Sula, J. 2004. “Extending the Classroom into Cyberspace: The Discussion Board.” Cyberpsychology and Behavior 7: 397–403. Taylor-Dunlop, K., J. Hughes, R. Manley, C. Rudiger, and L. Bishop. 2001. “Action Based Research, Case Method, and Problem-Based Learning: Application in an International Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership and Technology.” In Interactive Teaching and Learning Across Disciplines and Cultures: Case Method and Other Techniques, ed. H.E. Klein, 627–639. Needham, MA: World Association for Case Method Research & Application (WACRA). Thomsen, C.J. 1980. “Changing Technology and the Future of Business Education.” Case Research Journal 1: 45–52. Tippins, D., T. Koballa, and R. Payne. 2002. Learning from Cases: Unraveling the Complexities of Elementary Science Teaching. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Towl, A.R. 1980. “Discovery, the Creative Way.” Case Research Journal 1: 22–25. Turkle, Sherry. 2010. “Digital Demands: The Challenges of Constant Connectivity. Interview with Sherry Turkle by Frontline.” Nieman Reports, Summer. (accessed January 2011). Vesper, K.H. 1985. Entrepreneurial Education. Wellesley, MA: Babson Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. Walters, M.R. 1999. “Case-Stimulated Learning within Endocrine Physiology Lectures: An Approach Applicable to Other Disciplines.” Advances in Physiology Education 276, no. 6: S74–S78. Waltz, L.E. 1981. “Establishing Objectives, Evaluating Accomplishment, and Assigning Grades in a Case-Oriented Course.” In The State of the Art in Teaching Business Policy, ed. R.A. Ajami, 128–141. Columbus: Ohio State University, College of Administrative Science. Wernette, P.J. 1965. “The Theory of the Case Method.” Michigan Business Review 7: 47–52. 289

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WestEd. 1997. “Teaching Cases: New Approaches to Teacher Education and Staff Development.” (accessed January 2011). Wolcott, S.K., and C.L. Lynch. 2001. Task Prompts for Different Levels in Steps for Better Thinking. (accessed January 2011). Wrage, S.D. 1994. “Best Case Analysis: What Makes a Good Case and Where to Find the One You Need.” International Studies Notes 19, no 2: 21. Yamada, S., and G. Maskarinec. 2004. “Strengthening PBL through a Discursive Practices Approach to Case-Writing.” Education for Health: Change in Learning & Practice 17, no 1: 85–92.

Case Writing Al-Holou, N., and F. Ibrahim. 1998. “Developing Multimedia Case Studies for Engineering Curricula.” IEEE Transactions on Education 41, no. 4: 355. Anyansi-Archibong, C. 1987. “Problems and Challenges in Using the Case Study Method in a Foreign Based Field Research Project.” Case Research Journal 7: 1–18. Anyansi-Archibong, C., A.J. Czuchry, C.S. House, C.S., and T. Cicirello. 2000. “Trends and Lessons Learned in Interdisciplinary and Non-Business Case Method Application.” Journal of SMET Education: Innovations and Research 1, no. 3: 41–51. Armandi, B.R., H. Sherman, and G. Vega. 2004. “Case Research and Writing: Three Days in the Life of Professor Moore.” The CASE Journal 1, no. 1: 8–30. Baily, J., M. Sass, P.M. Swierca, C. Seal, and D.C. Kayes. 2005. “Teaching with and Through Teams: Student-Written, Instructor-Facilitated Case Writing and the Signatory Code.” Journal of Management Education 29: 39–59. Barach, J.A. 1985. “Creating Publishable Cases: Using MBA Student Case Writers.” Case Research Journal 5: 15–24. Barksdale-Ladd, M.A., M. Draper, J. King, K. Oropallo, and M.C. Radencich. 2001. “Four Approaches to Preservice Teachers’ Involvement in the Writing of Case Stories: A Qualitative Research Project.” Teaching and Teacher Education 17, no. 4: 417–431. Brown, A., T. Green, and D. Zatz. 2001. “Guidelines for Multimedia.” Educause Quarterly 2, nos. 4: 26–29. Brown, L. 2007. “From the Editor: The Instructor’s Manual.” Case Research Journal 27, nos. 3 and 4. Cappel, J.J., and P.H. Schwager. 2002. “Writing IS Teaching Cases: Guidelines for JISE Submission.” Journal of Information Systems Education 13, no. 4: 287–294. Carey, T.S., and S.D. Boden. 2003. “A Critical Guide to Case Series Reports.” Spine 28, no. 1: 1631–1634. Carroll, J.J. 2004. “A Primer on Case Reviewing.” The CASE Journal 1, no. 1: 31–38. Chattaraman, V., C.S. Sankar, and A. Vallone. 2009. “Developing a Multimedia Case Study about Rural Craft Producers: Benefits for Design Education and Rural Development.” ITAA Proceedings. downloads/DA-Chattaraman_Developing_A_Multimedi_Case.pdf (accessed January 2011). 290

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About the Authors William Naumes is Associate Professor Emeritus of Management at the Whittemore School of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire. He received a bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Labor Relations and Masters in Business Administration from Cornell University. He received a PhD in Business from Stanford University. He has written more than one hundred cases and instructor’s notes published in journals and more than one dozen texts, including seven of his own books. His research is in the areas of entrepreneurship, strategic management, and corporate social responsibility. Professor Naumes has participated in numerous case workshops and case-review panels throughout the world. He has served as the Program Chair and President for the North American Case Research Association (NACRA). He also served as Editor of the Case Research Journal. Professor Naumes was the co-recipient of the Curtis E. Tate Jr. Outstanding Case Writer Award, the Emerson Award for the Outstanding Case in Business Ethics, and the Gold Award at NACRA. He is a Fellow of NACRA and the CASE Association. Margaret J. Naumes is a senior lecturer in Management (retired) at the Whittemore School of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire. She received a BA in Economics from Connecticut College, an MA and PhD in Economics from Stanford University, and an MBA from Clark University. Her research interests include social entrepreneurship, managerial decision making, and ethics. She has lectured and led workshops on case writing throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia, and is author of cases published in the Case Research Journal and elsewhere. She has served as editor of The CASE Journal. She was the co-recipient of the Curtis E. Tate Jr. Outstanding Case Writer Award, co-recipient of the Emerson Award for the Outstanding Case in Business Ethics, and co-recipient of the Gold Award for the best case as presented at the annual meeting of the North American Case Research Association. She is a Fellow of the CASE Association and of NACRA. 299

Index A Accessibility field research, 49, 52–53 Internet, 240–41 Accommodator learning style, 7–8 Action learning, 216–17 Action plan educational objectives, 29, 32–33, 34 educational objectives taxonomy, 29, 34 Action research case defined, 5, 6, 11–12 discussion questions, 185 educational objectives, 29 research case, 71, 72, 73, 84–85, 89 student case writers, 125–26 Affective domain, 21–23 Agle, B.R., 264 Agriculture consulting contacts, 48 extra case information, 119 teaching case evaluation, 163 AICPA Code of Conduct, 255, 258–59, 263 Alumni resource, 45–46 American folk tales, xix–xx, xvii, xxi Analysis analyzing skills, 21 educational objectives taxonomy, 22, 24, 27 (exhibit), 29, 31, 32 Annual Almanac of the United States, 213 Anthropology case writing analysis, 12–13 observation, 8 research case, 79 Appendix, 210 Apple Computer, 107

Application educational objectives taxonomy, 22, 24, 26, 27 (exhibit), 29, 31 significant learning taxonomy, 24, 28 (exhibit), 29, 31, 32 Assimilator learning style, 7–8 Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 5–6 A-student/C-student split extra information, 122 Instructor’s Manual, 128, 184–85 multimedia case, 234 Authorship. See Case writers B Basic pedagogy ethics case, 115, 262–63 Instructor’s Manual, 99 (exhibit), 103–4, 111, 216, 262–63 Behavioral science, 69–70 Belmont Principles, 76–77 Ben and Jerry’s, 207 Bias factual research, 11–12 family resources, 44 field research process, 52–53 friend resources, 44 Instructor’s Manual, 96 interviews, 60 observation, 63 research case, 74, 75 site selection resources, 44 video case, 231 See also Objectivity; Point of view; Value judgments Bibliography, 99 (exhibit), 108, 195–99 Bloom, B., 21–23, 26, 27 (exhibit), 29–31, 32, 33, 36



Bludhorn, Charles, 14, 64 Board layout, 149, 185–87 Bridge Capital Investors, 219 Business case series, 4 interviews, 8 library case, 64–66, 67 observation, 8 release authorization, 54–57 research case, 70–72, 81–85, 87–89, 91 Business, Government and Society (Steiner and Steiner), 264 Business and Society (Lawrence and Weber), 264 Business Case Journal, 163 Business Information Desk References, 215 Business Information Sources, 215 C Career planning, 132 Caring, 24, 28 (exhibit), 29 CASE Association, 163 Case-based rubrics, 187 Case characteristics analytical methods, 27 (exhibit), 28 (exhibit), 29–30 data dimensions, 27 (exhibit), 28 (exhibit), 29–30 educational objectives, 25–30 model illustrations, 27 (exhibit), 28 (exhibit) value dimensions, 27 (exhibit), 28 (exhibit), 29–30 Case disguises disciplinary fields, 57–58 field research process, 57–59, 63 Case evaluation. See Teaching case evaluation Case examinations, 187 Case history, xviii, 4 CASE Journal, 163 Case length case organization, 120–21, 122, 129 significant learning taxonomy, 28 (exhibit), 30 Case notes, 206–16 appendix, 210

Case notes (continued) cultural note, 210–13 disciplinary fields, 209–10 glossary, 210 industry note, 206, 207–8, 213–16 Instructor’s Manual, 215–16 methodology note, 79 national note, 210–13 observational note, 79 Porter Five Forces Industry analysis, 207–8 research introduction, 205–6 research summary, 224–25 resources, 212, 213–15 technical note, 209–10 theoretical note, 79 user note, 97 Case organization case length, 120–21, 122, 129 case termination, 132–33 citations, 135 data selection, 117–20, 134 disciplinary fields, 119, 120–21, 130–32, 136 educational objectives, 118, 120, 122–24, 129, 130, 134 exhibits, 121 extra information, 119–20, 121–23 “hook” statement, 118, 126–29, 138, 139 alternative beginnings, 127–29 student direction, 126–27 Internet case, 238–40 missing information, 123–25 noise, 122, 123 objectivity, 133–35 outline, 118 past-tense format, 135–36 point of view, 131–32, 133–35 practice session, 136–39 presentation style, 129–31 quotes, 118–19, 134, 136 realism, 121–22 red herrings, 122, 128 research introduction, 117 research summary, 139–41 student case writers, 125–26 time-frame context, 129–30, 135–36 Case presentation, 187–88



Case relevance, 166, 167 Case Research Journal, 98, 163, 168, 184 Case revisions, 166–67 Case series, 216–22 case length, 120–21 cohesion case, 221–22 consulting contacts, 48 disciplinary fields, 205, 218, 222 historical development, 4 multiple case series, 220–22 practice session, 222–24 research introduction, 205–6 research summary, 224–25 time series case, 216–20 Case site selection field research, 41–49 research case, 82–85 Case summary, 99 (exhibit), 100–101, 261–62 Case termination, 132–33 Case types case defined, 8–10 critical incidents, 35–36 descriptive case, 30–31 educational objectives, 30–36 evaluative case, 9, 31–32, 217 See also Decision-focus case; Research case Case writers action research, 125–26 Instructor’s Manual, 97–98 students, 43–44, 125–26 teaching case evaluation, 157–59, 165–66 Case writing case defined, 4–13 action research, 5, 6, 11–12 anthropological analysis, 12–13 case types, 8–10 decision-focus case, 4–5, 9 case defined, 4–13 disciplinary fields, 4, 8, 10–11, 12–13 educational objectives, 4–8 evaluative case, 9 factual research, 4, 11–12 fictional case, 4, 10–11

Case writing case defined (continued) learning process, 5–8 learning styles, 7–8 realism, 10–11 rationale for, 3, 13–16 disciplinary fields, 14 educational objectives, 3 free consulting, 15 gap analysis, 3, 13–14 learning process, 15–16 serendipity, 15, 73 research introduction, 3 research summary, 16–17 storytelling analogy, xv, xviii, xx, xxi–xxii Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 67 Checklist Instructor’s Manual, 204 (exhibit) teaching case evaluation, 169 (exhibit) (Kennesaw State University), 238 Chemistry, 238–39 Chilton Club, 89 Citations bibliography, 99 (exhibit), 108, 195–99 case organization, 135 endnotes, 135 footnotes, 135 Clark University, 241 Class testing Instructor’s Manual, 183–90 teaching case evaluation, 145–56 Club Management case, 87–89 Cluster Groups, 87 Coca-Cola Company, 221 Cognitive domain, 21–22 Cold calls, 47, 49–50 Competitive advantage, 81–83, 110 Composing process, 20 Comprehension educational objectives taxonomy, 22, 26, 27 (exhibit), 30–31 knowledge acquisition, 19 Concept formation, 19 303


Confidentiality disciplinary fields, 51 release authorization, 51, 53 teaching case evaluation, 148 Consent forms, 51–52, 77, 78 Consortia group resource, 46 Consulting contacts, 48–49, 52–53 Converger learning style, 7–8 Court documents, 66 Creative thinking, 24, 25, 29 Critical incidents, 35–36 Critical thinking, 24, 25, 29, 31 Cultural note, 210–13 D Data collection factual research, 11–12 field research, 59–63 gathering skills, 21 Instructor’s Manual, 112–13 research case, 36, 86 Data confirmation, 156 Data dimensions, 27 (exhibit), 30 Data selection, 117–20, 134 Data verification, 62–63 Data workouts, 194–95 Decision-focus case case defined, 4–5, 9 case termination, 132–33 educational objectives, 32–35 realism, 33, 34, 35 time series case, 217 videos, 230 Decision making process case presentation style, 129–30 knowledge application, 20 Decision Sciences Institute, 163 Descriptive case, 30–31 Detail, storytelling, xviii-xx Digital natives, 7 Disciplinary fields case disguises, 57–58 case note, 209–10 case organization, 119, 120–21, 130–32, 136 case series, 205, 218, 222 case writing, 4, 8, 10–11, 12–13

Disciplinary fields (continued) case writing rationale, 14 confidentiality, 51 interviews, 8 observation, 8 release authorization, 51, 52, 54–57 research case, 69–72, 79–81, 91 teaching case evaluation, 163 See also specific discipline Discussion questions action research, 185 Instructor’s Manual, 99 (exhibit), 108–12, 265 revisions, 172–75 teaching case evaluation, 155 time-frame context, 185 Distance learning, 235 Diverger learning style, 7–8 Duncan, John H., 64 E Editorial reader, 157–59 Educational objectives action plan, 29, 32–33, 34 action research, 29 case characteristics, 25–30 analytical methods, 27 (exhibit), 28 (exhibit), 29–30 data dimensions, 27 (exhibit), 28 (exhibit), 29–30 model illustrations, 27 (exhibit), 28 (exhibit) value dimensions, 27 (exhibit), 28 (exhibit), 29–30 case defined, 4–8 case organization, 118, 120, 122–24, 129, 130, 134 case types, 30–36 case writing rationale, 3 critical incidents, 35–36 decision-focus case, 32–35 defined, 9 descriptive case, 30–31 ethics case (draft), 38 ethics case (final version), 39 evaluative case, 31–32 factual research, 25 304


Educational objectives (continued) Instructor’s Manual, 99 (exhibit), 101–3, 111 draft, 38–39 final version, 39, 262 revisions, 173–74, 180–85 knowledge acquisition, 19, 20–21, 26, 29 knowledge application, 19–21, 29 oral discourse, 20–21 practice session, 38–39 realism, 25, 31, 33, 34, 35 research introduction, 18–19 research summary, 39–40 significant learning taxonomy, 23–25, 26, 28 (exhibit), 29–30, 31, 32, 33, 34–35 teaching case evaluation, 146, 154–56 thinking process, 19–21 thinking skills, 21 See also Research objectives Educational objectives taxonomy, 21–23, 26, 29–31, 32, 33, 36 action plan, 29, 34 affective domain, 21–23 analysis, 22, 24, 27 (exhibit), 29, 31, 32 application, 22, 24, 26, 27 (exhibit), 29, 31 cognitive domain, 21–22 comprehension, 22, 26, 27 (exhibit), 30–31 data dimension, 27 (exhibit), 30 evaluation, 22, 27 (exhibit), 29 Instructor’s Manual, 174, 181–82, 183 knowledge, 22, 26, 27 (exhibit) model illustration, 27 (exhibit) model/theory dimension, 27 (exhibit), 29–30 point of view, 27 (exhibit), 30, 34 synthesis, 22, 24, 27 (exhibit), 29, 33, 36 use, 27 (exhibit), 30 Education field case disguises, 57–58 composite case, 10–11 confidentiality, 51

Educational field (continued) extra case information, 119 library case, 67 past-tense format, 136 research case, 71, 80 research objectives, 36, 37 teaching case evaluation, 163 time series case, 218 Electronic Hallway, 97 Embedded thinking approach, 6 Employment discrimination case, 183 Encyclopedia of Associations, 214 Engineering case note, 209–10 interviews, 8 observation, 8 teaching case evaluation, 163 Entrepreneurship, 66–67, 75, 84–85, 87, 103 Epilogue, 199–200 Ethics AICPA Code of Conduct, 255, 258–59, 263 Belmont Principles, 76–77 confidentiality, 51, 53, 148 consent forms, 51–52, 77, 78 ethical reasoning models, 264 Institutional Review Board (IRB), 76–78 Nuremberg Code, 76 research case, 76–78 time series case, 218 Tuskegee experiments, 76 Ethics case draft, 245–46 case organization, 136–39 case series, 223–24 educational objectives, 38 practice session, 38, 136–39, 223–24 Instructor’s Manual (draft), 247–49 discussion questions, 247 educational objectives, 38–39 practice session, 38–39, 113–14, 200–201 suggested responses, 248–49 Instructor’s Manual (final version), 261–77 basic pedagogy, 115, 262–63 305


Ethics case Instructor’s Manual (continued) case summary, 115, 261–62 discussion questions, 265 educational objectives, 39, 115, 262 ethical reasoning models, 264 key issues, 115, 264 methodology, 263 practice session, 39, 115–16, 200, 201–3 relevant theory, 115, 264 stakeholder analysis, 264 suggested responses, 265–75 teaching techniques, 116, 275–78 published version, 251–57 AICPA Code of Conduct, 255, 258–59, 263 background, 251–54 case evaluation, 168, 169 (exhibit), 170–71 case organization, 139 case series, 224 client letter, 257, 260 company philosophy, 255–56 confrontation, 256–57 educational objectives, 39 industry norms, 254–55 local competition, 254 practice session, 39, 139, 168, 170–71, 224 Evaluation educational objectives taxonomy, 22, 27 (exhibit), 29 evaluating skills, 21 See also Teaching case evaluation Evaluative case case defined, 9 defined, 9 educational objectives, 31–32 oil spills, 31–32 realism, 31 time series case, 217 Executive MBA, 222 Exhibits case organization, 121 Instructor’s Manual, 192–95 data workouts, 194–95 supplemental exhibits, 192–94

Exploratory research, 81–82 Extra information, 119–20, 121–23 Exxon Valdez, 31–32 F Facebook, 105–6 Factual research bias, 11–12 case defined, 4, 11–12 data collection, 11–12 educational objectives, 25 point of view, 11–12 research case, 74 triangulation, 11 Fallon-McElligott case, 218 Family resource, 44–45 Fictional case, 4, 10–11 Field research bibliography, 196 data collection, 59–63 information verification, 62–63 interviews, 59–63 preliminary preparation, 59–60 triangulation, 62–63 hypothesis development, 80–81 methodology note, 79 observational notes, 79 process of, 43–44, 49–59 accessibility, 49, 52–53 bias, 52–53 case disguises, 57–59, 63 cold calls, 47, 49–50 confidentiality, 51, 53 examples, 50–51, 54–57 initial contact, 49–52 intermediary, 50, 51 Field research release authorization, 50–51, 53–57, 58–59, 63 research introduction, 41 research summary, 67–68 site selection resources, 41–49 alumni, 45–46 bias, 44 consortia groups, 46 consulting contacts, 48–49, 52–53



Field research site selection resources (continued) examples, 44–45, 47 family, 44–45 friends, 44–45 published sources, 46–47, 49–50 research groups, 46 students, 42–44 trade groups, 46 theoretical notes, 79 Fink, L.D., 23–25, 26, 28 (exhibit), 29–30, 31, 32, 33, 34–35 Flanagan, J.C., 35–36 Focusing skills, 21 Foundational knowledge, 24–25, 26, 28 (exhibit), 29 Free consulting, 15 Friend resource, 44–45 Further reading. See Suggested readings

Health care (continued) observation, 8 research case, 80 See also Medicine Hierarchy of Needs, 107 Hindman & Company, 219 Homer, xv, xvi, xviii “Hook” statement case organization, 118, 126–29, 138, 139 alternative beginnings, 127–29 student direction, 126–27 Instructor’s Manual, 174 research case, 85 Hospitality management, 87–89, 163 Human dimension, 24, 28 (exhibit), 29, 32, 34–35 Human Subject Consent form, 51–52 Hypothesis development, 37, 69–72, 80–81 Hypothesis testing, 37, 69–72, 81–82

G Gap analysis case writing rationale, 3, 13–14 Instructor’s Manual, 107, 173 teaching case evaluation, 146 Gatorade, 238 Generalizations, 72–73, 75 General Motors, 211 Generating skills, 21 Glossary, 210 Government documents, 66–67, 212 Greek mythology, xv, xvi, xvii–xviii Grove, Andy, 130 Gulf & Western Industries (G & W), 14, 64–65 Gustavson Farm case, 111, 184–85 H Häagen-Dazs, 207 Harvard Business School, 4, 53–54, 89 Harvard University, 95–96, 110 Health care case disguises, 57–58 interviews, 8 library case, 67

I Ice-cream industry, 207, 208, 215–16 Illiad, The (Homer), xv Immersion thinking approach, 6 Industry note, 206, 207–8, 213–16 Information extra information, 119–20, 121–23 missing information, 123–25 See also Data collection Institutional Review Board (IRB) consent forms, 77, 78 ethics, 76–78 release authorization, 51–52 research case, 76–78 Instructor’s Manual A-student/C-student split, 128 authorship, 97–98 case author, 97 textbook authors, 97 user notes, 97 basic pedagogy, 99 (exhibit), 103–4, 111, 216, 262–63 bias, 96 bibliography, 99 (exhibit), 108, 195–99 board layout, 149 307


Instructor’s Manual (continued) case completeness confirmation, 190–91 case notes, 215–16 case summary, 99 (exhibit), 100–101, 261–62 checklist, 204 (exhibit) class testing, 183–90 A-student/C-student split, 184–85 board layout, 185–87 other case uses, 185–87187–88 teaching techniques, 173, 188–90 time-frame context, 185 data collection, 112–13 discussion questions, 99 (exhibit), 108–12, 265 revisions, 172–75 educational objectives, 99 (exhibit), 101–3, 111, 262 revisions, 173–74, 180–85 epilogue, 199–200 exhibits, 192–95 data workouts, 194–95 supplemental exhibits, 192–94 gap analysis, 107, 173 “hook” statement, 174 importance of, 94–97 Internet case, 240–41 IRAC process (Issues, Rules, Analysis, Conclusions), 98 key issues, 99 (exhibit), 105–6, 111–12, 264 revisions, 182–83 methodology, 99 (exhibit), 112–113, 263 multimedia case, 236 objectivity, 191–92 opinions, 191–92 point of view, 96 practice session, 113–16, 200–203 realism, 100, 107–8, 112–13 relevant theory, 99 (exhibit), 107–8, 177, 216, 264 research case, 90 research introduction, 94, 172 research summary, 116, 203 suggested readings, 99 (exhibit), 108, 195–99

Instructor’s Manual (continued) suggested responses, 175–80, 184, 190–91, 195, 248–49, 265–75 teaching techniques, 173, 188–90, 216, 275–78 time series case, 219–20 typical outline, 98–100 users, 98 video case, 198, 229 See also Ethics case Integration integrating skills, 21 significant learning taxonomy, 24, 28 (exhibit), 29, 32 Intel Corporation, 130 Intellectual property rights, 235 Intermediary, 50, 51 Internet case, 226, 227, 236–41 advantages of, 237–38 case documents, 238–40 disadvantages of, 237 Instructor’s Manual, 240–41 Internet accessibility, 240–41 Internet resources, 65, 124, 212, 215, 236–41 live case, 241–42 Interviews bias, 60 case resources, 61–62 disciplinary fields, 8 information verification, 62–63 interviewing process, 60–62 open-ended questions, 59–60 preliminary preparation, 59–60 research case, 74–76, 77–78 tape recordings, 61 triangulation, 62–63 videotapes, 61 IRAC process (Issues, Rules, Analysis, Conclusions), 98 J Jiffy Lube, 219 Jobs, Steve, 107 Journal of Critical Incidents (Society for Case Research), 35 Journal reviewer, 159–60



K Katz, Robert, 57 Kennesaw State University, 238 Key issues Instructor’s Manual, 99 (exhibit), 105–6, 111–12, 264 revisions, 182–83 teaching case evaluation, 147, 148–49, 150–54, 156 Knowledge acquisition of comprehension, 19 concept formation, 19 educational objectives, 19, 20–21, 26, 29 principle formation, 19 application of composing process, 20 decision making process, 20 educational objectives, 19–21, 29 problem solving process, 20 research process, 20 educational objectives taxonomy, 22, 26, 27 (exhibit) L Law case history, 4 case organization, 130–31 Instructor’s Manual, 106 research case, 71 Lawrence, A., 264 Learning how to learn, 24, 28 (exhibit), 32, 33 Learning process case defined, 5–8 case writing rationale, 15–16 Learning styles accommodator, 7–8 assimilator, 7–8 converger, 7–8 diverger, 7–8 Legislative hearings, 66 Leon Christian Medical Center case, 218

Library case, 64–67, 133–34, 135 bibliography, 196 epilogue, 200 Live case, 241–42 Lombard, George, 110 Longitudinal studies, 70 M Management case length, 120–21 research case, 71 Market context, 166 Marzano, R.J., 19–21 Master’s in Education, 222 Master’s in Health Administration, 222 McNair, Malcolm, 53–54 Medicine action research, 6 case history, xviii, 4 composite case, 10–11 Instructor’s Manual, 106 observation, 8 research case, 71 time series case, 218 Mentors, 165–66 Message, storytelling, xvi-xviii Methodology case note, 79 Instructor’s Manual, 99 (exhibit), 112–113, 263 research case, 73–76, 86 Mikhukhu People case, 110 MIPESA, 110 Missing information, 123–25 Mitchell, R.K., 264 Model of Competitive Advantage, 110 Model/theory dimension educational objectives taxonomy, 27 (exhibit), 29–30 significant learning taxonomy, 28 (exhibit), 29–30 Moody’s Investors Services Industry Review, 214–15 Multimedia case, 232–36 advantages of, 232–35 disadvantages of, 235–36 309


Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), 213 Organizing skills, 21

Multimedia case (continued) Instructor’s Manual, 236 intellectual property rights, 235 noise, 234 technical expertise, 235–36 Multiple case series, 220–22


N National Institutes of Health (NIH), 67 National note, 210–13 National Trade & Professional Associations of the United States, 214 Native American storytelling, xix New Hampshire Industry Group (NHIG), 83, 87, 91 Noise case organization, 122, 123 multimedia case, 234 North American Case Research Association (NACRA), 10, 90, 163 Note-taking, 148–49 Nuremberg Code, 76 O Objectivity case organization, 133–35 Instructor’s Manual, 191–92 See also Bias; Point of view; Value judgments Observation bias, 63 case note, 79 disciplinary fields, 8 objective observer approach, 7 research case, 70, 75–76 teaching case evaluation, 148 Odyssey, The (Homer), xv, xvi, xviii Office Depot, 109–10 Oil spills, 31–32 Opinions Instructor’s Manual, 191–92 teaching case evaluation, 156–57 Oral discourse, 20–21 Organizational behavior, 70–71, 131–32, 218

Panel session, 164–65 Past-tense format, 135–36 Personal experience case, 8 Point of view case organization, 131–32, 133–35 educational objectives taxonomy, 27 (exhibit), 30, 34 factual research, 11–12 first-person narrative, 132 Instructor’s Manual, 96 significant learning taxonomy, 28 (exhibit), 30, 34 See also Bias; Objectivity; Value judgments Political science case presentation style, 129–30 Instructor’s Manual, 106 interviews, 8 observation, 8 past-tense format, 136 research case, 70–72, 80 Porter, Michael, 110 Porter Five Forces Industry analysis, 207–8 Post Manufacturing Company, 102 Practical thinking, 24, 33 Presentation style case organization, 129–31 research case, 85–87 data collection, 86 “hook” statement, 85 literature review, 85 methodology, 86 objectives, 85, 86 opening statement, 85 research limitations, 87 summary and conclusions, 87 storytelling, xx–xxi Principle formation, 19 Problem solving process knowledge application, 20 time-frame context, 185



Problem-Solving Suppliers, 87 Professional journals, 98, 163, 168, 184, 240–41 Professional organizations, 10, 35, 90, 163 Psychoanalysis, 69 Psychology case disguises, 57–58 case history, 4 confidentiality, 51 critical incident technique, 35–36 research case, 69 Published sources bibliography, 99 (exhibit), 108, 195–99 court documents, 66 government documents, 66–67, 212 Internet information, 65 legislative hearings, 66 library case, 64–67 objectivity, 133–34 site selection resources, 46–47, 49–50 Q–R Quotes, 55–56, 118–19, 134, 136 Realism case defined, 10–11 case organization, 121–22 decision-focus case, 33, 34, 35 educational objectives, 25, 31, 33, 34, 35 epilogue, 200 evaluative case, 31 Instructor’s Manual, 100, 107–8, 112–13 storytelling, xx Recommended readings. See Suggested readings Red herrings, xx, 122, 128 Regional Trade Groups, 213 Release authorization case disguises, 63 confidentiality, 51, 53 disciplinary fields, 51, 52, 54–57 field research process, 50–51, 53–57, 58–59, 63

Release authorization (continued) Human Subject Consent form, 51–52 Institutional Review Board (IRB), 51–52 preliminary authorizations, 56 promise of, 53–57, 143–44 quotes, 55–56 release form, 51–52, 53–54, 55 (exhibit) teaching case evaluation, 143–44 time-lapse publication, 58–59 Relevant theory, 99 (exhibit), 107–8, 177, 216, 264 Reliability, 73, 83 Remembering skills, 21 Research case action research, 71, 72, 73, 84–85, 89 advantages of, 72 background, 69–72 bias, 74, 75 business case, 70–72, 81–85, 87–89, 91 case site selection, 82–85 data collection, 36, 86 disadvantages of, 72–73 disciplinary fields, 69–72, 79–81, 91 ethics, 76–78 example, 87–89 exploratory research, 81–82 factual research, 74 generalizations, 72–73, 75 Institutional Review Board (IRB), 76–78 Instructor’s Manual, 90 interviews, 74–76, 77–78 longitudinal studies, 70 methodology, 73–76, 86 objectives, 8–9, 36–38, 73–74, 79–82, 85, 86 observation, 70, 75–76 preparation, 82–85 presentation style, 85–87 rationale for, 36–37 reliability, 73, 83 research introduction, 69 research summary, 91–93 survey research, 70 311


Research case (continued) teaching case adaptation, 89–91 uses, 37, 79–82 hypothesis development, 37, 69–72, 80–81 hypothesis testing, 37, 69–72, 81–82 validity, 73, 74, 83 value judgments, 9–10 Research group resource, 46 Research methodology. See Methodology Research objectives, 8–9, 36–38, 73–74, 79–82, 85, 86 Research process, 20 Resources case notes, 212, 213–15 field research site selection, 41–49 Internet, 65, 124, 212, 215, 236–41 interviews, 61–62 See also Published sources Risk Management Association (RMA) RMA Annual Statements, 214 S Science, 238 Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), 67, 214, 215 Serendipity, 15, 18, 73 Significant learning taxonomy application, 24, 28 (exhibit), 29, 31, 32 caring, 24, 28 (exhibit), 29 case length, 28 (exhibit), 30 creative thinking, 24, 25, 29 critical thinking, 24, 25, 29, 31 educational objectives, 23–25, 26, 29–30, 31, 32, 33, 34–35 foundational knowledge, 24–25, 26, 28 (exhibit), 29 human dimension, 24, 28 (exhibit), 29, 32, 34–35 illustration, 28 (exhibit) integration, 24, 28 (exhibit), 29, 32 learning how to learn, 24, 28 (exhibit), 32, 33 model/theory dimension, 28 (exhibit), 29–30

Significant learning taxonomy (continued) point of view, 28 (exhibit), 30, 34 practical thinking, 24, 33 structure, 28 (exhibit), 30 use, 28 (exhibit), 30 Skidmore College, 54–56 Small Business Development Centers, 48 Small Business Institutes, 48 Social media, 105–6, 190 Social Science, 79 Society for Case Research (SCR), 35, 163 Sociology, 4 Southeast Advanced Technological Education Consortium (SEATEC), 46 Stages of Entrepreneurial Growth study, 75, 84–85, 87 Stakeholder analysis, 264, 268–69 Standard and Poor’s Industry Surveys, 214–15 Stanford University, 241 Staples, 109–10 Steiner, G.A., 264 Steiner, J.F., 264 Storytelling case writing analogy, xv, xviii, xx, xxi–xxii cultural illustrations American folk tales, xix–xx, xvii, xxi Greek mythology, xv, xvi, xvii–xviii Native American, xix details, xviii–xx message, xvi–xviii power of, xv–xxii style, xx–xxi Strategic management case presentation style, 129–30 gap analysis, 14 Instructor’s Manual, 109–10 Structure, 28 (exhibit), 30 Students A-student/C-student split, 122, 128 case writers, 43–44, 125–26 site selection resources, 42–44



Students (continued) teaching case evaluation, 145–47, 149 Suggested readings, 99 (exhibit), 108, 195–99 Suggested responses Ethics case Instructor’s Manual (draft), 248–49 ethics case Instructor’s Manual (final version), 265–75 Instructor’s Manual, 175–80, 184, 190–91, 195 Supplemental exhibits, 192–94 Survey research, 70 Synthesis, educational objectives taxonomy, 22, 24, 27 (exhibit), 29, 33, 36 T Tape recordings interviews, 61 teaching case evaluation, 147–48, 160–61 Taxonomy of Educational Objectives (Bloom), 21–23, 26, 27 (exhibit), 29–31, 32, 33, 36 Taxonomy of Significant Learning (Fink), 23–25, 26, 28 (exhibit), 29–30, 31, 32, 33, 34–35 Teaching case action research, 6 research case evolution, 89–91 storytelling analogy, xx value judgments, 9 See also Educational objectives; Instructor’s Manual Teaching case evaluation case relevance, 166, 167 class testing, 145–56 class instruction, 145–47 confidentiality, 148 discussion questions, 155 educational objectives, 146, 154–56 key issues, 147, 148–49, 150–54, 156

Teaching case evaluation class testing (continued) mechanics of, 147–49 note-taking, 148–49 observation, 148 results of, 149–54, 183–90 tape recordings, 147–48, 160–61 theoretical analysis, 153–54 data confirmation, 156 disciplinary fields, 163 feedback checklist, 169 (exhibit) editorial reader, 157–59 experienced case writers, 157–59, 165–66 journal reviewer, 159–60 mentors, 165–66 panel session, 164–65 second opinion, 156–57 students, 145–47, 149 teachers, 160–62 workshops, 162–66 gap analysis, 146 market context, 166 practice session, 168, 170–71 release authorization, 143–44 research introduction, 142–43 research summary, 171 revisions, 166–67 teaching plan development, 144–45 Teaching techniques, 173, 188–90, 216, 275–78 Team teaching, 222 Technical note, 209–10 Technology-based case Internet case, 226, 227, 236–41 live case, 241–42 multimedia case, 232–36 research introduction, 226 research summary, 242–44 technology choice, 227 technology role image, 227 integration, 227 interaction, 227 video case, 228–32 video supplements, 227–28 313


Theory case note, 79 educational objectives taxonomy, 27 (exhibit), 29–30 significant learning taxonomy, 28 (exhibit), 29–30 Thinking process educational objectives, 19–21 embedded thinking, 6 immersion approach, 6 knowledge acquisition, 19, 20–21 knowledge application, 19–21 oral discourse, 20–21 Thinking skills analyzing, 21 creative thinking, 24, 25, 29 critical thinking, 24, 25, 29, 31 educational objectives, 21 evaluating, 21 focusing, 21 generating, 21 information-gathering, 21 integrating, 21 organizing, 21 practical thinking, 24, 25, 33 remembering, 21 Time-frame context case organization, 129–30, 135–36 discussion questions, 185 past-tense format, 135–36 problem solving process, 185 Time series case, 216–20 Timmons, Jeff, 219 Tourism, 163 “Toward a Theory of Stakeholder Identification and Salience” (Mitchell, Agle, and Wood), 264 Trade groups, 46, 214 Triangulation, 11, 62–63 Turner, Ted, 120–21 Tuskegee experiments, 76 U Union Carbide, 65–66

United Nations, 213 United States Industry & Trade Outlook, 215 University of New Hampshire, 45, 78 University of Western Ontario, 163 U.S. Department of Commerce, 212 U.S. Department of Defense, 212 U.S. Department of Education, 67 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 76–77 U.S. Department of State, 212 User notes, 97 V Validity, 73, 74, 83 Value judgments objectivity, 133 research case, 9–10 Video case, 198, 228–32 advantages of, 228–31 bias, 231 cost factor, 232 disadvantages of, 228–31 Instructor’s Manual, 198, 229 interviews, 61 realism, 228 talking heads, 231, 232 technical expertise, 231–32 Video supplements, 227–28 Visiting Professors Case Method Program (Harvard University), 95–96, 110 W–Z Wall Street Journal, 56 Weber, J., 264 Whistle-blowing case, 108, 182–83, 184, 195–96, 200, 228–29 Wood, D.J., 264 Workshops, 162–66 World Case Association, 163 Zuckerberg, Mark, 105–6