the case method

the case method

The case method

The vast majority of business schools around the world employ the Case Method. This is a learning methodology that generally involves a number of pages of text, commonly beginning something like ‘As the company’s workers streamed out of the gates at quitting time, Ted Hunter pondered . . . . .’ some problem that is on his mind. The question at the end of the text normally will be ‘What should Ted do?’

The pages of text (frequently between five and thirty) will be followed by a further number of pages (anything from five to twenty) – this time of rows and columns of financial or statistical data.

The student’s task is to plough through the text and data and participate in a discussion the following morning on What Ted Should Do.

Dwyka Projects believe that this approach has several near-fatal flaws:

  • the data and narrative are wholly transparent to a professor or presenter who has presented the case a hundred times before; to the student, despite hours and hours of (often midnight-oil) reading, there is little sense to be made of it in the time available;
  • the following morning the vast majority of students are sitting with glazed eyes hoping against hope that they will not be asked for an opinion; it is only a minority who will feel confident enough to engage in discussion;
  • in the final reckoning there is a great temptation for the professor or presenter, who is reasonably sure of the answer he (more often than not, it is a he) believes is the correct one. He is in a very powerful position subtly to massage the discussion so as to arrive at the conclusion that he wants.

To our mind, this is akin forcing a broad range of possible understandings through a homogenising funnel. Our view of learning is exactly the opposite: to take a group of people with a limited range of perspectives, and open them to the unlimited possibilities that open debate and discussion can offer.

The Dwyka case method consists in allowing groups of participants the freedom to make decisions in their own way – although with light overall supervision – and to produce results, whether as updated financial statements, or as group or individual behaviour that has been experienced. The results are then analysed in plenary session, and appropriate (although not pre-determined) conclusions drawn.

 

 

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  •  Analogue - Simulating management decision making
  •  Analogue - Simulating management decision making

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