This post is part of GBSN's Case Method Month efforts to bring you expertise and perspectives from around the globe.
Writing a case should
start with a controversial issue identifying from reading some news concerning
an important company event which you think it may be interested to a specific
range of readers. This important issue should later on become your case title
or heading. The information source may be obtained from newspapers, internet
articles, company communications such as press releases, etc. For instance, I
read from some sources in Sept 2008 that an Australian Chinese senior executive
Mr. Stern Hu and three of his
Chinese subordinates all working for the mega Anglo-Australian mining company Rio
Tinto were arrested in China because of a potential involvement of stealing
I found this case interesting because it actually pushed one of
the world largest mining companies into an ethical dilemma. Indeed, I later on
produced an article in an American international marketing textbook with the
title: Rio Tinto: Can the Concept of
"Strictly Business” Be Applied in the Chinese Market?
started writing this case by searching the key word "Rio Tinto” on the internet
and also obtained information regarding this case from Rio’s company website. I
actually traced the information back to a strategic partnership between the
state-owned aluminium corporation Chinalco with Rio. Then I asked
my student helpers to list all the qualitative data on a chronological table
starting from that strategic partnership. I then followed the development of
the case like watching a movie on the internet. Meantime, I triangulated the
information whenever I found some conflicting information regarding the date,
the comments from industrial experts, etc.During the process of case
compilation, I also added in related comments from the legal experts, Chinese
and Australian ministerial exchanges, ethical and legal theories, Chinese
cultural theories to enrich the case.
By the end of March 2009, which was
also the time of the case conclusion in the Chinese court, I had already
completed the whole scenario and developed three sub-issues that later on
became the case questions at the end of the Rio Tinto case.
The end results
were fruitful. The unabridged version of the case will appear in an American
written by Ilan Alon and Eugene Jaffe published by McGraw-Hill probably by the end of 2012.
The abridged version of the case has appeared in one of my journal articles: Leung,
T.K.P; Chan, Ricky Y.K; Lai,
Kee-hung & Ngai, Eric W.T. (2011).
"An examination of the influence of guanxi
and xinyong (utilization of personal
trust) on negotiation outcome in China: an old friend approach”, Industrial Marketing Management. 40(7):
1193-1205. The case
information will also be used in my coming new book Essentials
of Sino-foreign Business Management and Negotiation
published by Routledge in 2013.
The process of producing a case in Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies is very
similar. You will learn a lot of how a company handle a specific situation and
also you can publish your knowledge in a reputable source that will reward your
academic career. I hope you can start writing your own case and send to EEMCS
by the time you finish it.
Dr. Leung, TKP- PhD is Associate Professor, Department of Management and Marketing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and Regional Editor (China) of Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies.
Dr Thomas Leung jointed The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
after working more than 10 years in renowned international organizations
including Nestle (Aust) Ltd and Rheem (Aust) Ltd. He has been teaching
Industrial Marketing, Marketing Management, International Marketing and Brand
Management at undergraduate and postgraduate levels since 1990. He was the
Programme Leader of the Higher Certificate in Marketing and Sales Management
from 1992 to 1995 and was the Deputy Programme Leader of BA in Fashion and
Textile (Marketing Specialism) from 1995 to 2002. Currently, he is the
Programme Leader of BA in Marketing. He has published over 70 articles in
international journals and conferences including European Journal of
Marketing, Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Journal of Business Ethics,
Journal of International Consumer Marketing, Journal of Small Business
Management. He also co-authored a book with Dr Y.H.Wong titled
"Guanxi: Relationship Marketing in a Chinese Context", published by
the Haworth Press in America.