Teaching note clearance

The debate

Final drafts of field researched cases must be cleared by the subject company with permission to release them for registration and distribution. This is not currently required for teaching notes. A debate has emerged.

A G Balasubramanian, Professor at Goa Institute of Management, thinks teaching notes should also be cleared because they often include additional confidential data, or an alternative perspective not necessarly flattering to the company.

Download Professor Balasubramanian's full article >

Comments from colleagues

"I think when requesting to write a case about a company the author must make it clear beforehand what the case is intended to teach.That means here the debate is 'what is the expected learning outcome of the case?' and not 'how is the teacher/author going to achieve the learning objective?'. I think the second question always depends on how the teacher decides to teach and no company can never put a question mark on it."
Saumya Ranjan Dash, faculty in corporate strategy, Interscience Institute of Management & Technology, India

"I disagree. Once a case is written, instructors and groups of students may discuss it in many different ways. The positions taken and the directions in which the discussions move need not be restricted by the intentions of the authors or the suggestions in the teaching note. Many teachers even decide to not follow the teaching note. I do not think that a company that agrees to support a case writing venture has any rights to have control over the way the case is going to be discussed in the class. It is also not a fair practice for a case author to have confidential facts or gossip not mentioned in the case appear in the teaching note. A case is more about the process than on the content."
Professor Anandakuttan B Unnithan, IIM Kozhikode, India

"I would like to contribute a corporate opinion. I have recently worked on a case with a teacher. I had no prior idea if I would be asked to release the teaching note or not (as a matter of fact, I was). I had been kept closely informed and knew the facts were right. That's what mattered to me. A corporation must have a strong say about what the facts (and possibly the intentions) were but external pedagogical opinions are none of its business. The ultimate objective is to facilitate exchange, learning and knowledge. It is not to enforce any corporate 'truth'. In order to achieve that, case writing must be honest and genuine. This is a matter of good faith and trust. There is no more need for a policeman in the classroom than in the living room of a policyholder! One shouldn't forget that: 'The case is intended to be used as the basis for class discussion rather than to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation'. Any trust issue between the corporation and the teacher should be openly discussed at the outset. If it doesn't vanish, the best is probably not to write the case at all!"
Jean-Pierre Baillot, Case Study Manager, AXA University

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