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Creative Ways to Use Cases: Case Method Month 2013

Posted By Page Buchanan, Friday, September 06, 2013
Page BuchananDuring September each year GBSN takes a look at Case Method. We explore how to write cases, find them, and teach with them. Above all, we look at ways that case method, as it was developed in the classrooms of elite business schools in developed countries, can be translated for students in emerging markets. A great many factors – cultural, technical, logistical – make applying case method in developing country schools a challenge.

Last month GBSN coordinated the final of a series of workshops for African public policy professors on case method teaching and other experiential pedagogies. For some of the faculty that attended the workshops case method was entirely new, while others had heard about it or used in at various times in their careers. Overwhelmingly they told us that they thought that case method was extremely relevant to their classes, and yet they really aren’t using it much at all. Why? Two primary reasons stood out: class size and lack of access to relevant cases. Demand for higher education in Africa is huge, and the supply just isn’t keeping up. The result is huge classes that make case method logistically difficult.

The focus of the great majority of quality teaching cases on large corporations based in developed countries also severely constrains the use of case method. Cultural context, suitability of topic, as well as relevance to political and business realities in a particular market all contribute to the success of a case in the classroom. Without good cases to teach, or the skills, time and knowledge necessary to write one for oneself, faculty don’t have much of a choice with regard to case method.

Of course, other factors, such as faculty confidence in teaching cases, the support of administration for the method and the willingness of students to engage in a participatory learning environment also limit case method’s use in the developing world.

GBSN’s Case Method Month in 2013 is focused on Creative Uses for Cases, looking at resources and innovations that can help address some of these barriers. We’re posting emerging market teaching cases that are available at low or even no cost. We’re featuring a webinar on using online interactivity to present and teach a case. We’re highlighting resources to help faculty develop their own cases and teaching notes. And we hope to continue to foster discussion around the globe about the value of case method and ways to adapt it for new and changing environments.

If you have a thought, technique, case or innovation to share with the GBSN community for Case Method Month, I encourage you to email us at


Page Buchanan is the Director of Operations at the Global Business School Network.

Tags:  busin  Business Education  Case Method  case method month  case studies 

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