Teaching Notes for the Cases
NOTE ON STUDYING AND LEARNING FROM CASES
INTRODUCTION TO CASES
The cases featured in this book are representative of real-world problems that managers in different service organisations have to face and resolve. They describe problems from a wide variety of industries in several different countries. Some of the events depicted took place recently, while others occurred some years ago but still contain important lessons and insights for the managers of tomorrow.
Unlike methods of instruction that use lectures and textbooks, the case method of instruction does not present students with a body of tried and true knowledge about how to be a successful manager. Instead, it provides an opportunity for you to learn by doing.
Dealing with cases is somewhat like working with the actual problems that people encounter in their jobs as managers. In most instances, you’ll be identifying and clarifying problems facing a company or nonprofit organisation, analysing qualitative information and quantitative data, evaluating alternative courses of action, and then making decisions about what strategy to pursue for the future. You may enjoy the process more—and will probably learn more—if you accept the role of an involved participant rather than that of a disinterested observer who has no stake or interest in resolving the problems in question.
The goal of case analysis is not to develop a set of “correct” facts, but to learn to reason well with available data. Cases mirror the uncertainty of the real-world environment in that the information they present is often imprecise and ambiguous. You may be frustrated to find that in services marketing, there is no one right answer or correct solution to any given case. Instead, there are often a number of feasible strategies management might adopt, each with somewhat different implications for the future of the organisation, and each involving different trade-offs.
Cases and the Real World
Cases differ from real-world management situations in several important respects. First, the information is prepackaged in written form. By contrast, managers accumulate their information through memoranda, meetings, chance conversations, research studies, observations, news reports, and other externally published materials.
Second, cases tend to be selective in their reporting because they are designed with specific teaching objectives in mind. Each must fit a relatively short class period and focus attention on certain types of issues within a given subject area. In the real world,
The contributions of Charles B. Weinberg are gratefully acknowledged
Copyright © 2001, 2004, 2007, 2011 by Christopher H. Lovelock
IM for Lovelock & Wirtz, Services Marketing 7/e
Teaching Notes for the Cases
management problems are usually dynamic in nature. They call for some immediate action, with further analysis and major decisions being delayed until some later time.
Managers are rarely able to wrap up their problems, put them away, and go on to the next
“case.” In contrast, discussing a case in class or writing an analysis of a case is more like examining a snapshot taken at a particular point in time. Occasionally, a sequel case provides a sense of continuity and poses the need for future decisions within the same organisation. A third, and final, contrast between case analyses and real-world management is that participants in case discussions and authors of written case reports aren’t responsible for implementing their decisions, nor do they have to live with the consequences. This does not mean, however, that you can be frivolous when making recommendations. Instructors and classmates are likely to be critical of contributions that are not based on careful analysis and interpretation of the facts.
PREPARING A CASE
Just as there is