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Case Centre Offers A New Business Resource


Case Centre Offers A New Resource For Business Leaders And Students

New Zealand businesses and business students have gained an invaluable tool with the establishment of the University of Auckland Business Case Centre.

The Centre, to be officially launched tomorrow (October 7), will produce and distribute case studies about a variety of businesses and organisations. The case studies will be available online to business educators and managers, and the goal is to establish a library of studies that document important milestones in the operations and management of New Zealand organisations.

Christina Stringer, Director of the Centre and a lecturer in International Business at the Business School, says case studies are used extensively around the world as an effective teaching tool and the basis of class discussion, and are invaluable in teaching decision-making and causal reasoning.

"Unfortunately, most case studies produced focus on North American, European or Asian multinational companies and there are very few based on New Zealand companies.

"With the establishment of the Centre, we can provide students with relevant, New Zealand focused studies. I'm sure the research will provide an invaluable resource for the next generation of entrepreneurs, academia, business and government."

Dr. Stringer says the Centre also provides an important linkage between the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.

The case studies will be modeled on those produced at prominent international business schools such as the Harvard Business School, The Darden School of the University of Virginia, and the Richard Ivey School of the University of Western Ontario.

The Centre will create opportunities for academic staff and postgraduate students to participate in multi-disciplinary research in fields of growing importance such as entrepreneurship, innovation and technology, e-Commerce/digital business, global business, Maori business development and healthcare management.

Case studies will be written and prepared by faculty and researchers at the University. They will be based on interviews and information provided by the featured company, organisation or individual. The final document is typically 5-15 pages and provides a factual description of an important decision or situation a company has faced, along with details about the options regarding the managerial dilemma. The goal is to put the reader in a business executive's shoes.

Professor Wendell Dunn, Foundation Chair in Entrepreneurship at the Business School, and a former Professor at Darden, has taught using case studies for 25 years. He says that as well as being instrumental in developing managerial judgment, cases offer a way for businesses to step out of their own day-to-day situations and reflect.

"It's powerful to watch your company being 'examined' by students whose only interest is getting to the point. It's their objectivity and lack of loyalty to the company that are most useful, because you're getting an unvarnished view of the circumstances. Many companies go away shaking their heads, realising they couldn't have answered the very same questions had they simply asked themselves. Dispassionate eyes are invaluable. They see things that others can't."

Information on the Centre, the case writing process, and copies of cases can be found at www.casecentre.auckland.ac.nz .

Companies and executives who are interested in participating in case studies are welcome to contact the Centre at casecentre@auckland.ac.nz.


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