Featured cases:
Firing a Hero? and It’s Bank Policy!

Share this page:
The cases

Who – the protagonists

A bank manager who refuses to bend the rules for a disabled customer and a bank employee who ignores policy to prevent a robbery.

What

Both these cases relate to policy. Should an organisation’s policies always be strictly followed? Is there room for discretion? What are the consequences of breaking policy? Under what circumstances, if at all, can an employee decide to ignore policy and use their own discretion?

Why

These issues have become particularly important following various well-publicised scams in the banking sector and the global financial crisis. Now, banks and financial institutions must have robust policies, procedures, and compliance management programmes in place. An employee’s non-compliance with these rules (which often reflect regulator requirements) could prove costly for the organisation.

When

The global financial crisis began in 2007 and is widely considered to be the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression in the 1930s.

Where

The original true-life events that inspired these cases took place at two different banks in North America at about the same time.

Key quote

‘In both these cases, the stories are really incredible. Both have an emotional touch. Firing a Hero? seems like a Hollywood movie where the protagonist apparently looks like a real-life hero who later loses his job. This is real comic book stuff.

‘In It’s Bank Policy! we can’t help but feel sorry for Steve. This case has drama in it, an emotional and sensitive story that makes it ideal for the comic book format.’ – Sid Ghosh

What next?

What are the practical, moral and ethical implications of following company policies – or of ignoring them? What if the wrong decision is made in the heat of the moment – should an employee be punished for their actions? And who decides what is ‘wrong’? Should policy be changed to appease public opinion or to protect business interests?

 
Interested in finding out more?
Download

Download the case and teaching note

Educators can login to view a free inspection copy of this case and its teaching note.

Firing a Hero?
Ref 414-046-1
It's Bank Policy!
Ref 414-074-1
Teaching note for both cases
Ref 414-046-8

The authors

Debapratim Purkayastha and Sid Ghosh

Debapratim Purkayastha and Sid Ghosh discuss their working relationship and the benefits of both traditional and comic book cases.


Rich and complex

The beauty of these cases is that each can be read and digested within five minutes, yet give rise to very rich and complex discussions. Both of these real-life situations were related to the policy of the respective banks, and led to emotionally charged reactions from those directly involved and the general public.

The issues raised are so complex that it is not easy to have a ‘right’ or a ‘wrong’ answer, and this is exactly what makes a great case. It all depends on the situation and the context.

Engaging

I (Debapratim) originally developed the two cases in text format, but felt that with Sid’s help they could be developed in a comic book format that would make these rather dry topics far more engaging. After all, who does not like a comic book? 

Best of friends

It’s more than 25 years since we first met. We used to go to the same school and were very naughty then. We both shared a passion for comic books and used to draw cartoons of other classmates and teachers. We had great fun, also got into a lot of trouble at times! 

Experimentation

Over the past decade we have seen experimentation with different types of cases (including video cases and interactive content), but the traditional written case continues to go from strength to strength. The benefits of a 15-25 page case cannot be substituted by a much shorter case, a video case, or even a graphic novel case.

Surprise element

However, to obtain better learning outcomes using the case method, students should be exposed to different types of cases (various companies, industries, regional contexts, etc.), and also to cases of different lengths, sources of data, formats, and teaching methods. This ensures that every class has a surprise element and keeps the students engaged.

Opportunity

That’s why there’s a place for comic book cases in management education. We should see experiments with such formats as an opportunity rather than a threat as long as the rigour of the case method is not compromised.

One look at the students' faces when they see a comic book case will convince you that you have made the right decision!

Debapratim Purkayastha is Associate Dean at ICFAI Business School, India, and the recipient of The Case Centre’s Outstanding Contribution to the Case Method Award 2015.
e debapratim@icmrindia.org
tw @dpurkayastha

Sid Ghosh is a freelance Creative Consultant
e imsidghosh@gmail.com
tw @imsidghosh

 

View a full list of featured cases