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Back to Newsletter Vol 3, Issue 03, Aug 2021
Gina Grandy
Professor (Strategy & Leadership) and Dean,
Hill and Levene Schools of Business,
University of Regina, Canada
Editor, Case Research Journal

Dr. Gina Grandy is Professor (Strategy & Leadership) and Dean for the Hill and Levene Schools of Business at the University of Regina, located in Saskatchewan, Canada. Gina is Editor of the international journal, Case Research Journal, and the lead for Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH) in Saskatchewan.

Gina’s leadership, research, teaching, and consulting experiences are international in scope. Gina has taught at seven universities across Canada, the United Kingdom and Ukraine. She is the co-editor of two books and her award-winning research focuses upon case writing, leadership, gender and women’s experiences at work, and stigmatized work. Her research has been published widely in such journals as Case Research Journal, The Case Journal, Human Relations, Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Management Studies, Gender, Work and Organization, Organization, and Management Learning. She has held research grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and Canadian Institutes of Health Research. She is also the Regional Editor for Gender in Management: An International Journal and serves on the international advisory board for Management Learning.

CRC: Why, according to you, is the case method of teaching so popular in Management education?

Gina: The case method brings learning to life for students, shifting learning from a theoretical exercise to putting theory into practice. For educators, it is an ideal way to demonstrate the relevance of theory and research in solving real organizational problems and to keep students engaged. Students step into the shoes of a real decision maker and get to debate the various considerations within the safety of the classroom setting. As educators we see first-hand that through the case method students develop sound analytical skills and build a tolerance for ambiguity – enhancing the career-readiness of students. It is also fun to expose students to a wide array of organizations, CEOs, and decisions and no two students ever see the situation exactly the same way. For me, the case method is also an opportunity to expose students, in subtle and not so subtle ways, to diversity and inclusion through an intentional selection of cases that feature protagonists who represent designated equity seeking groups – such as women, visible minorities, Indigenous peoples and people with disabilities.

CRC: How important is case writing to effective teaching of Management subjects, in particular Strategy and Leadership?

Gina: Many students, especially, undergraduate students, have not have exposure to strategic level decisions or senior leadership roles. As a result, it can sometimes be difficult for them to really relate to the topics discussed in subject areas such as Strategy and Leadership, and it can easily become nothing more than a theoretical exercise far from their real-world experiences. Cases provide them with the opportunity to role play and experience the complexity that marks most strategy and leadership decisions. Even for graduate students who may have more work experience when they step into the classroom, analysis and application through case studies in strategy and leadership provides them with exposure to a wide variety of organizations, industries and problems. This is an opportunity for them to stretch and reflect - exposing to them what can sometimes be their engrained and limiting ways of approaching problems. And if you are fortunate enough to have connections with a particular organization and bring in the key decision maker associated with a case situation, the conversations are incredibly powerful in the learning process, permitting students to shift from seeing problems at an operational level to a more strategic and organization-wide perspective.

CRC: You are the Editor of Case Research Journal. Tell us about your Journal. What role does Journals such as the CRJ play in management education?

Gina: The Case Research Journal, CRJ, is a peer-reviewed journal that has a 40-year history. The journal is committed to publishing decision focused cases (and associated Instructor’s Manuals) based on real situations. CRJ is recognized as the leading academic journal for teaching cases in business and related disciplines. In the field of management education journals, CRJ was ranked #10, with a “B+” ranking in the Academy of Management Learning and Education Journal article on the rankings of journals (see Currie & Pandher, 2013).

CRJ prides itself on the scholarly nature of its publications – teaching cases are management education research and reflect the scholarship of teaching and learning. The research process involved and assessment of quality is similar to that applied to other types of research outputs. A quality case is grounded in the collection and analysis of extensive primary and secondary data, informed by existing literature in a particular area (e.g., governance, strategy) and assessed through a peer-review process. The instructor manuals are not published in the journal itself but are available for educators through our distribution partners. The scholarly contribution of CRJ can truly be seen in its instructor’s manuals. The expectation is not simply to apply well established theories to the organizational situation outlined in the case. Acceptance of a submission is dependent upon the instructor’s manual advancing theory in a particular area (e.g., advancing existing theory in some way).

Our reputation is one of excellence, rigour and broad distribution – this reputation of producing high quality cases is also evidenced in the volume of cases we distributed annually. For example, in 2019 alone more than 90,000 CRJ cases were distributed through just one of our partners, Harvard Business Publishing through their Harvard Business Review store.

CRJ cases are also distributed through Ivey Publishing, The Case Centre, Pearson Collections, McGraw Hill Create, StudyNet, and CCMP. Annually, there are over 100,000 adoptions of CRJ cases through our distribution partners. Cases published in Case Research Journal are indexed in the Harvard Business Publishing case repository, ABI/INFORM Collection, ABI/INFORM Global, Business Premium Collection (Proquest), Proquest Central, Ulrichsweb and Cabell’s Directory for multiple disciplines.

As Editor I am really proud of the fact that with CRJ authors have the opportunity to publish with a peer reviewed journal plus have access to our distribution partnership with Harvard Business School Publishing. This means their cases are distributed worldwide and having your cases used in the classroom matters to case researchers.

CRC: Do you think the case method will undergo change due to the Covid-19 pandemic? If so (not), how and in what way?

Gina: In many ways students expect learning to be entertaining and thus engaging students in that way in a remote learning context is very challenging. It will be important for educators in business studies to find ways to continue to bring learning to life – students will expect it and they deserve it. It is hard to enact other forms of experiential learning in a remote environment, but we can still do that through the use of cases. I expect case writers will have to respond by including new teaching strategies for the case method via distance delivery, as well as we will see an increased demand by educators for the use of shorter cases and cases which include more innovative formats such as video elements, and interactive technologies (polling, etc)..

CRC: Please share your tips on how one can use the case method effectively in the online mode.

Gina: The case method by design is interactive and I believe easily adjusts to a remote context. This can be achieved best through synchronous delivery using remote break out rooms, polling technology, and chat room discussion to compliment video interaction. I encourage educators to use shorter cases, and incorporate video components to break up what otherwise might seem like long discussions if there are four or five questions being posed to students for discussion. It is also really important for educators to establish clear and well communicated parameters for student participation such as communication via chat discussions, otherwise it could turn into sheer chaos to manage 30 – 100 students all trying to speak on a live discussion. If the instructor intends to insert ‘theory content’ into the case discussion, that may be better delivered through independent learning outside of the live case discussion rather than in the remote case discussion, so that the discussion remains interactive rather than lecture like. Finally, we all know that the enthusiasm of the instructor is critical to a successful case method delivery – so bring your best and most engaging self to the remote conversation.


Gina Grandy on IBS Case Research Center
IBS Case Research Center has a wealth of resources available for case educators and it is growing every day. It is valuable resource for case researchers.

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