Teaching Cases on Small Businesses for Today’s Generation

Joshua S. Bendickson, Curtis F. Matherne, Mark Smith, Keith R. Credo

Abstract


Although case study instructional methods have been used in business schools for many years, the practice of teaching with case studies has largely followed a specific delivery and implementation style often credited to Harvard Business School and focused on large, publicly traded firms. We believe many other alternatives exist for implementing case studies for today’s college students that focus on small businesses (i.e., where more of them are likely to gain employment). Accordingly, we provide an overview of the case study methodology and then explain three useful alternative methods for delivering small business case studies to millennials and generation z including a Team Based method, an Expert Teams method, and a Theory Based method.  Synthesizing course material with real world examples in a debate format explains the Team Based method, establishing experts (teams of students) on a particular case and engaging such experts with questions from remaining participants explains the Expert Teams method, and applying course models to previously analyzed cases explains the Theory Based method. 

Abstract

            Although case study instructional methods have been used in business schools for many years, the practice of teaching with case studies has largely followed a specific delivery and implementation style often credited to Harvard Business School and focused on large, publicly traded firms. We believe many other alternatives exist for implementing case studies for today’s college students that focus on small businesses (i.e., where more of them are likely to gain employment). Accordingly, we provide an overview of the case study methodology and then explain three useful alternative methods for delivering small business case studies to millennials and generation z including a Team Based method, an Expert Teams method, and a Theory Based method.  Synthesizing course material with real world examples in a debate format explains the Team Based method, establishing experts (teams of students) on a particular case and engaging such experts with questions from remaining participants explains the Expert Teams method, and applying course models to previously analyzed cases explains the Theory Based method.


Keywords


case study; case method; small business; management education; millennial

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 University of Houston-Clear Lake