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Case Studies Provide Real-Life Business Examples


7 September 2005

Case Studies Provide Real-Life Examples To Help Business

A new book using real-life case studies should help New Zealand businesses facing critical challenges such as growth, innovation, leadership and governance, says the editor, Associate Professor Marie Wilson of The University of Auckland Business School.

Case in Point collates the best 19 cases from the inaugural "International Conference on Case Study Teaching and Learning", hosted by the Business School last week, and intended to become a biennial event.

About half the case studies presented at the conference and included in the book are the work of Business School staff. Contributors from other New Zealand and Australian tertiary institutions flesh out the book, while international universities including Harvard and London were also represented at the conference.

Keynote speakers included renowned case writer and organisational expert Professor Christopher Bartlett, Thomas D. Casserly Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School.

While many of the book's cases present the strategic and industry challenges you'd expect from business cases, Associate Professor Wilson says there are a number of surprises.

"We've tried to present a rich mix of types and topics of business cases, from issues of cultural change and the management of people, to the impact of indigenous peoples in the Pacific context. A lot of the cases are of small businesses, which reflects the average size of South Pacific businesses."

Organisations covered include NZ Post, Red Eagle, Auckland-based ABE'S Real Bagels of Chicago, Pacific Aerospace Corporation, Montana Wines and the New Zealand wine industry, sportsgear manufacturer OBO, furniture maker Criterion Manufacturing, Telecom, Marshal Software and Whale Watch Kaikoura.

"Although there's a strong strategic orientation, the cases address operations, human resources, cultural change, sustainability and internationalisation," says Associate Professor Wilson.

"We've organised them into four management challenges - change, growth, innovation and strategic choice - although they have more in common than just these."

Some present a manager's dilemma or decision-making requirements and ask the learner to "step into their shoes". Others present the actions of the organisation at a particular point in time, and their results, to be used in teaching for reflection and analysis of alternatives.

Each of the cases is followed by key questions for students, as well as contact details of the author, to help encourage ongoing discussion and use of the cases as teaching tools.


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