The impact of case writing

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Traditionally, publication in peer reviewed journals is considered the ultimate benchmark for academic achievement. Case writing often receives less recognition but can create a dynamic ripple of impact across many spheres of a business school’s activity.

Building links with business

In their case workshops, experts Martin Kupp of ESCP Business School and Urs Mueller of SDA Bocconi School of Management say that a case should only be written when an interesting lead (a ‘story’ that you want to write about) matches with a relevant educational need (a learning objective that is not fully met by an existing case).
Case leads can originate from various sources, such as news stories, conversations, or research. However, once you have established that your lead matches your need, you must make a decision on whether the case can be developed through field research. While there are instances where writing exclusively from published sources is the only option, the impact derived from engaging with a featured company is far-reaching.

the impact of case writing

Throughout the case development process, the writer becomes fully immersed in the current business practices of the featured company, establishing a direct link to the 'real world', and engaging in practice-oriented research. This immersion allows for a better comprehension of the fundamental competencies and skill sets that students require both now and in the future. It can also help in assessing whether current research focuses on the most pertinent topics for businesses, and lead to new knowledge that contributes to the effective advancement of management practice. Case writing serves as a critical bridge between theoretical concepts and practical business applications and can help a school demonstrate broad stakeholder involvement in the knowledge creation and development process.

Mutual benefits

Inviting a case writer in can also have a positive impact for the featured company. This collaborative effort provides an opportunity for the company to reflect and gain fresh insights with the expert analysis and guidance of a thought leader.

Once the case is approved and ready for use, there are further benefits. For the company, it offers potential prestige and recognition by showcasing it in front of an international audience that may not yet be familiar with its operations. Key figures from the company are often invited to participate as guest speakers in class. This enriches the learning experience for students and presents an invigorating challenge for these industry experts who gain fresh perspectives and innovative ideas from engaging with the students' class discussions. Occasionally, they even discover potential new interns or employees whose contributions during class discussions have left a lasting impression.

Relationships between a featured company and the school can deepen, and if successful could lead to funding for specific research projects, research centres or academic chairs.

The additional impact generated by crafting a field-researched case is undeniably worth the time and effort invested. Therefore, if you embark on your case writing journey without prior contact with the company, consider making an effort to establish a connection. Reach out directly to a potential protagonist within the company, or even better, leverage your alumni networks to facilitate this connection.

Aligning case writing with research

Many higher education institutions employ both faculty primarily engaged in research, and others with a predominantly teaching brief. The ongoing challenge lies in how to effectively bring cutting-edge research into the classroom. While the case method has been traditionally perceived primarily on the ‘teaching’ side of the equation, case writing can, in fact, be one of the most powerful and dynamic ways to bridge this gap.

building bridges

Faculty members face increasing pressure to align their research efforts with their teaching responsibilities and writing a case can serve as an invaluable means of disseminating research while effectively engaging with students. With the right support, researchers can leverage the flexibility of their research data to write cases and to develop their teaching expertise.

Furthermore, educators can be encouraged to use cases as a means to advance their own research agendas. When writing a case, there is often a wealth of data that can be explored in greater depth. This exploration can lead to further research opportunities and the potential for developing and publishing articles in prestigious journals.

Supporting institutional goals

Every business school should establish a clearly articulated mission that is understood and shared throughout the institution. The manner in which the school defines and fulfills this mission plays a pivotal role in its accreditation process, and case writing can be a significant contributor.

Once the mission is strategically set, it should permeate through every facet of the school's activities. Schools whose mission or strategy mentions having a strong teaching focus can demonstrate how their pedagogical objectives are met by the creation of cases by their faculty for use on their programmes.

Writing cases centered around topics aligned with the mission can feed into this through both research and teaching. For example, Rotterdam School of Management has created a Sustainable Development Goals case series to align with their dedication to the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These cases have been integrated into their curriculum to fulfill their mission to be a force for positive change in the world.

Copenhagen Business School has also developed a collection of cases focusing on aspects of responsible management. This initiative is a direct result of their commitment to implementing the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) throughout the whole institution.

CONTINUE READING ON PAGE 2 

Enhancing teaching quality

Cases should always come from a specific need: the drive to address a learning objective in the classroom. Writing your own case to meet this need can significantly enhance your impact as an educator when it comes time to teach.

the impact of case writing

Your case has been meticulously developed to align with your precise learning objectives. You have conducted comprehensive research and possess an in-depth understanding of the case's subject and intricacies. All this hard work equips you with an elevated level of confidence and fluency when discussing the case with your students, contributing to enhanced learning and teaching quality at your school.

Understandably, students hold high expectations for their business school experience. They aspire to be taught by the absolute best. When your name graces the cover of a case, it positions you as an expert in the field. Furthermore, it reflects positively on your institution, signaling that it has robust connections with the business world and is at the forefront of innovative research.

Delivering worldwide impact

After a case has undergone testing and evaluation in the author's own classroom, it can then be submitted to an external distributor, opening the potential for impact in classrooms worldwide.

As the independent home of the case method and distributor of the world’s largest and most diverse collection of cases, including those from leading business schools worldwide, The Case Centre is uniquely placed to reward case teaching and writing excellence.

To help our authors evidence the impact of their case writing, we offer convenient access to sales and adoption data via our online platform. For many years, we have also celebrated excellent cases, authors and teachers through our annual bestselling and classic cases, awards and competitions, and bestselling case authors initiatives.

December 2023 saw the extension of our recognition portfolio with the launch of the Impact Index which provides a mechanism to recognise the global reach and impact of an organisation’s case writing.

Multicoloured ripples

Excellence in case writing can also be highlighted by entering and winning one of the many other case writing competitions around the world, including EFMD’s annual competition. A comprehensive list of competitions can be found on our website.

Another route for extended global impact is through publication in a peer-reviewed journal. There are a range of journals that specifically publish cases including our own Case Focus journal which has a focus on management and business situations in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, The CASE Journal (TCJ) from Emerald Publishing, and The Case Research Journal (CRJ) from the North American Case Research Association (NACRA).

Contributing to accreditation

EFMD’s EQUIS accreditation defines research as “a broad spectrum of intellectual endeavour” and looks for innovation, international impact, and dissemination of relevant research throughout the school’s activities - arguably all relevant to the development and use of teaching cases.

Broadly defined, peer review can be a pre-condition for cases to be recognised for accreditation. Some cases, or the research upon which they are based, are published in peer review journals which can be highlighted.

Before accepting cases for distribution, we require evidence that cases have been tested in the classroom and revised, as appropriate. For the purposes of accreditation, it makes sense for institutions to formalise this process as a robust internal academic and pedagogical peer review of each case before publication, with external input, where appropriate. Always providing teaching notes for cases will also help articulate learning goals for each case and how they might be measured.

Institutions need to make sure they articulate and understand their pedagogical strategy and become conscious of the strategic role the development and use of cases can play within that. On their own, cases will not deliver accreditation, but linked in, as evidence of assisting the overall strategy of the school, they can have a powerful part to play.

This article was published in Connect, April 2024. It was previously published in the January 2024 issue of Global Focus, the EFMD business magazine.

Page 1

Building links with business

In their case workshops, experts Martin Kupp of ESCP Business School and Urs Mueller of SDA Bocconi School of Management say that a case should only be written when an interesting lead (a ‘story’ that you want to write about) matches with a relevant educational need (a learning objective that is not fully met by an existing case).
Case leads can originate from various sources, such as news stories, conversations, or research. However, once you have established that your lead matches your need, you must make a decision on whether the case can be developed through field research. While there are instances where writing exclusively from published sources is the only option, the impact derived from engaging with a featured company is far-reaching.

the impact of case writing

Throughout the case development process, the writer becomes fully immersed in the current business practices of the featured company, establishing a direct link to the 'real world', and engaging in practice-oriented research. This immersion allows for a better comprehension of the fundamental competencies and skill sets that students require both now and in the future. It can also help in assessing whether current research focuses on the most pertinent topics for businesses, and lead to new knowledge that contributes to the effective advancement of management practice. Case writing serves as a critical bridge between theoretical concepts and practical business applications and can help a school demonstrate broad stakeholder involvement in the knowledge creation and development process.

Mutual benefits

Inviting a case writer in can also have a positive impact for the featured company. This collaborative effort provides an opportunity for the company to reflect and gain fresh insights with the expert analysis and guidance of a thought leader.

Once the case is approved and ready for use, there are further benefits. For the company, it offers potential prestige and recognition by showcasing it in front of an international audience that may not yet be familiar with its operations. Key figures from the company are often invited to participate as guest speakers in class. This enriches the learning experience for students and presents an invigorating challenge for these industry experts who gain fresh perspectives and innovative ideas from engaging with the students' class discussions. Occasionally, they even discover potential new interns or employees whose contributions during class discussions have left a lasting impression.

Relationships between a featured company and the school can deepen, and if successful could lead to funding for specific research projects, research centres or academic chairs.

The additional impact generated by crafting a field-researched case is undeniably worth the time and effort invested. Therefore, if you embark on your case writing journey without prior contact with the company, consider making an effort to establish a connection. Reach out directly to a potential protagonist within the company, or even better, leverage your alumni networks to facilitate this connection.

Aligning case writing with research

Many higher education institutions employ both faculty primarily engaged in research, and others with a predominantly teaching brief. The ongoing challenge lies in how to effectively bring cutting-edge research into the classroom. While the case method has been traditionally perceived primarily on the ‘teaching’ side of the equation, case writing can, in fact, be one of the most powerful and dynamic ways to bridge this gap.

building bridges

Faculty members face increasing pressure to align their research efforts with their teaching responsibilities and writing a case can serve as an invaluable means of disseminating research while effectively engaging with students. With the right support, researchers can leverage the flexibility of their research data to write cases and to develop their teaching expertise.

Furthermore, educators can be encouraged to use cases as a means to advance their own research agendas. When writing a case, there is often a wealth of data that can be explored in greater depth. This exploration can lead to further research opportunities and the potential for developing and publishing articles in prestigious journals.

Supporting institutional goals

Every business school should establish a clearly articulated mission that is understood and shared throughout the institution. The manner in which the school defines and fulfills this mission plays a pivotal role in its accreditation process, and case writing can be a significant contributor.

Once the mission is strategically set, it should permeate through every facet of the school's activities. Schools whose mission or strategy mentions having a strong teaching focus can demonstrate how their pedagogical objectives are met by the creation of cases by their faculty for use on their programmes.

Writing cases centered around topics aligned with the mission can feed into this through both research and teaching. For example, Rotterdam School of Management has created a Sustainable Development Goals case series to align with their dedication to the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These cases have been integrated into their curriculum to fulfill their mission to be a force for positive change in the world.

Copenhagen Business School has also developed a collection of cases focusing on aspects of responsible management. This initiative is a direct result of their commitment to implementing the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) throughout the whole institution.

CONTINUE READING ON PAGE 2 

Page 2

Enhancing teaching quality

Cases should always come from a specific need: the drive to address a learning objective in the classroom. Writing your own case to meet this need can significantly enhance your impact as an educator when it comes time to teach.

the impact of case writing

Your case has been meticulously developed to align with your precise learning objectives. You have conducted comprehensive research and possess an in-depth understanding of the case's subject and intricacies. All this hard work equips you with an elevated level of confidence and fluency when discussing the case with your students, contributing to enhanced learning and teaching quality at your school.

Understandably, students hold high expectations for their business school experience. They aspire to be taught by the absolute best. When your name graces the cover of a case, it positions you as an expert in the field. Furthermore, it reflects positively on your institution, signaling that it has robust connections with the business world and is at the forefront of innovative research.

Delivering worldwide impact

After a case has undergone testing and evaluation in the author's own classroom, it can then be submitted to an external distributor, opening the potential for impact in classrooms worldwide.

As the independent home of the case method and distributor of the world’s largest and most diverse collection of cases, including those from leading business schools worldwide, The Case Centre is uniquely placed to reward case teaching and writing excellence.

To help our authors evidence the impact of their case writing, we offer convenient access to sales and adoption data via our online platform. For many years, we have also celebrated excellent cases, authors and teachers through our annual bestselling and classic cases, awards and competitions, and bestselling case authors initiatives.

December 2023 saw the extension of our recognition portfolio with the launch of the Impact Index which provides a mechanism to recognise the global reach and impact of an organisation’s case writing.

Multicoloured ripples

Excellence in case writing can also be highlighted by entering and winning one of the many other case writing competitions around the world, including EFMD’s annual competition. A comprehensive list of competitions can be found on our website.

Another route for extended global impact is through publication in a peer-reviewed journal. There are a range of journals that specifically publish cases including our own Case Focus journal which has a focus on management and business situations in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, The CASE Journal (TCJ) from Emerald Publishing, and The Case Research Journal (CRJ) from the North American Case Research Association (NACRA).

Contributing to accreditation

EFMD’s EQUIS accreditation defines research as “a broad spectrum of intellectual endeavour” and looks for innovation, international impact, and dissemination of relevant research throughout the school’s activities - arguably all relevant to the development and use of teaching cases.

Broadly defined, peer review can be a pre-condition for cases to be recognised for accreditation. Some cases, or the research upon which they are based, are published in peer review journals which can be highlighted.

Before accepting cases for distribution, we require evidence that cases have been tested in the classroom and revised, as appropriate. For the purposes of accreditation, it makes sense for institutions to formalise this process as a robust internal academic and pedagogical peer review of each case before publication, with external input, where appropriate. Always providing teaching notes for cases will also help articulate learning goals for each case and how they might be measured.

Institutions need to make sure they articulate and understand their pedagogical strategy and become conscious of the strategic role the development and use of cases can play within that. On their own, cases will not deliver accreditation, but linked in, as evidence of assisting the overall strategy of the school, they can have a powerful part to play.

This article was published in Connect, April 2024. It was previously published in the January 2024 issue of Global Focus, the EFMD business magazine.

Learning with Cases: An Interactive Study Guide

Learning with cases can be a challenging experience.

Our interactive study guide takes students through the process, providing practical tips, tricks and tools.

Picture representing 'Learning with Cases: An Interactive Study Guide'
Picture representing 'Learning with Cases: An Interactive Study Guide'
Learning with Cases: An Interactive Study Guide

Learning with cases can be a challenging experience.

Our interactive study guide takes students through the process, providing practical tips, tricks and tools.

Discover more