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Volume 34 Winter 2014 Spring 2014 Summer 2014 Fall 2014
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Case Research and Teaching
IRB review
Jan 14, 2010
Accepted in Volume: 27 Issue: 2 (Spring 2007)
What are the issues surrounding informed consent when there is involvement of the researcher's Institutional Review Board? What are the implications for case researchers as more IRBs exert their control over qualitative research proposals? These and other questions are examined in this methodology paper. The author discusses how IRBs became powerful and provides example of IRB involvement in qualitative research. The paper describes the frustrating experience of two NACRA researchers with their own IRB. It also reviews the steps taken by various research organizations to proscribe IRB involvement. Finally, the paper proposes steps to help NACRA members address demands by their IRBs.
 
Entrepreneurship
Hookah Haven: Securing a First-Mover Advantage
Nov 12, 2007
Accepted in Volume: 27 Issue: 2 (Spring 2007)
Three students proposed to open a hookah smoking lounge in Missoula, Montana. They prepared a business plan for a “bootstrap” start-up requiring $30,000 of capital. They entered it in the University of Montana’s business plan competition. As the competition ended, an investor, Steve Anderson, approached them. He said he would provide the investment capital if a larger facility start-up provided a reasonable return. Two days later, Brian Adams, the prime mover behind the project, met with Steve and they developed the financial assumptions for a facility costing $520,000. Steve told Brian, “Develop the pro forma financial statements for the larger facility and analyze the business risks.” With his team members now committed to other endeavors, Brian must create the pro formas and decide whether to: (1) start small using his own resources, (2) start with a larger facility using Steve’s resources, or (3) not pursue the investment. In addition, Brian faces a fundamental ethical issue.
 
Ethics and Social Responsibility
Faculty Strike: Professor Anderson's Dilemma
Jul 16, 2007
Accepted in Volume: 27 Issue: 1 (Winter 2007)
At Huron Valley University, faculty and students faced the beginning of fall semester with the threat of a faculty strike the second week of classes if the administration and the faculty union could not settle the faculty’s contract. Individual faculty members had to decide what they would do in the event of a strike as well as what to tell their classes on the first day. If the strike occurred, would the class be cancelled, or would the instructor cross the picket line to hold the class? Professor Donna Anderson experiences an ethical dilemma as she decides how to balance her conflicting responsibilities to various stakeholders. Two of her faculty colleagues present contrasting perspectives based on their strong pro- and anti-union beliefs as they also prepare for their first day of class.
 
Hewlett-Packard and a Common Supplier Code of Conduct
Jul 16, 2007
Accepted in Volume: 27 Issue: 1 (Winter 2007)
This case focuses on a decision facing HP’s Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility, Ken Larson. HP, a leading provider of personal computing, imaging, and printing products, had developed a comprehensive set of labor, environmental, and human rights standards for its suppliers. As a result, many observers considered HP to be an industry leader in corporate social responsibility (CSR). However, the company remained concerned about its reputational vulnerability and lack of supplier compliance. In 2004, it undertook to decide whether its interests would be better advanced through industry collaboration. The case asks students to consider the issues facing Larson and to recommend whether or not the company should cooperate with other firms in the information technology industry to develop a common code of conduct for suppliers.
 
Marketing
Buzz Marketing: Kayem Foods, Inc., Al Fresco Chicken Sausage
Oct 10, 2007
Accepted in Volume: 27 Issue: 1 (Winter 2007)
Buzz Marketing , Marketing Management , Marketing Communications
 
An Aging Audience: The Broach Theatre
Nov 19, 2007
Accepted in Volume: 27 Issue: 2 (Spring 2007)
This case focuses on The Broach Theatre, a nonprofit performing arts theater located in the historic section of downtown Greensboro, NC. The theater offers plays for both adults and children and operates out of a small 166-seat facility that was until 30 years ago a Salvation Army shelter. As the Broach approaches the end of the 2005 season, its 18th year, Director Stephen Gee worries that his loyal audience is aging and he must do something to attract a younger audience and fight strong competition from another, newer theater located nearby. The Broach has done very little marketing, and Gee realizes it needs a revised marketing strategy. He is considering applying for a grant in order to employ a consultant to develop the new strategy. Marketing, nonprofit marketing, marketing strategy
 
Balancing Cruise Revenue Sources: The Case of Empress Cruise Lines
Jan 31, 2008
Accepted in Volume: 27 Issue: 2 (Spring 2007)
The CEO of Empress Cruise Lines, a new leisure cruise company operating in the competitive SE Asian cruise market, must decide how to allocate cabin inventory between two main market segments: casino players and leisure holidaymakers. Complicating the decision is the company’s tenuous financial position and complex pricing methods and distribution channels used for each market segment, as well as different cruise experiences desired by each segment. The CEO (and the student) must grapple with a convoluted market environment while implementing an approach to revenue management that will optimize yields both across and within market segments.
 
Emergency Care Group
Mar 13, 2008
Accepted in Volume: 27 Issue: 3 (Summer 2007)
Emergency Care Group (ECG) is a regional provider of emergency department physician staffing. ECG has experienced strong growth, in part because it provides several value-added services at no cost to the facilities with which it partners. ECG has also recently developed a documentation system that could be sold as a separate service. ECG enjoys a strong position in the geographic region it serves; some of its growth has come at the expense of weaker competitors. Nevertheless, ECG’s growth rate has slowed the last couple of years, and in order to achieve aggressive growth ($50 million in revenues) in the next few years, ECG needs a well-devised sales and marketing plan. Steve Morgan, an assistant vice-president charged with developing the plan, needs to carefully consider the market opportunity and develop a sales and marketing plan that will successfully pilot the organization through the next few years.
 
Not-for-Profit and Social Work
Blueberry Hill Retirement Homes (BBRH)
Jun 23, 2008
Accepted in Volume: 27 Issue: 3 (Summer 2007)
BBRH was a provider of continuous care for the elderly population in the United States. BBRH owned and operated nine retirement communities offering services ranging from independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing care to community outreach services. The key issue for the Board was to decide upon a strategic plan that fulfilled the BBRH mission, met the needs of the various stakeholders, and dealt with the financial realities of the future. Not-for-profit accounting, nonprofit accounting, health care administration.
 
Operations Management and Production
Crane Aerospace: Administrative Processes in the Repair and Overhaul Function
Aug 27, 2007
Accepted in Volume: 27 Issue: 1 (Winter 2007)
This case focuses on the Repair and Overhaul (R&O) function at Crane Aerospace. It highlights unique characteristics in administrative processes and challenges in meeting customer delivery requirements. This case presents two alternatives for process improvement – lean techniques and capacity analysis. It provides hands-on activities for students to apply lean thinking concepts and capacity analysis techniques to evaluate an existing process and identify the appropriate solution. The R&O decision shows students the significance of lean principles compared to traditional capacity considerations. Keywords: Lean Principles, Kaizen, Administrative Processes, Value Stream Mapping, Capacity Analysis.
 
Organizational Behavior, Design, and Theory
A Sea Change in Staffing at Leapfrog Innovations, Inc.
Feb 25, 2008
Accepted in Volume: 27 Issue: 3 (Summer 2007)
The case describes various roles taken on by employees and owners in a training firm over the 10 year period since its founding. The founder and current full-time employees focus on a looming staffing crisis. The purpose of the case is to give students an opportunity to discuss human resource and organizational behavior issues in a small, evolving firm, specifically job design, role creation and development, and organizational culture. This case follows a small new firm in its first decade as various employees came and went, jobs were added or dissolved, and its founders and employees developed and changed their own jobs. Students are challenged to propose the actions the founder should take when one co-founder and the only two full-time employees all indicate they will be leaving the firm within months of each other for various personal reasons. Students are encouraged to consider both the staffing issues and potential changes to the business model if the incumbents are not replaced.
 
We are more than about making beer: New Belgium Brewing Company
Mar 6, 2008
Accepted in Volume: 27 Issue: 3 (Summer 2007)
New Belgium Brewing Company has a culture of participative management and environmental stewardship and had been successful since its beginning in 1991. The company had implemented an employee stock option plan, had resources for generous company perks, and had successfully implemented innovative processes toward a sustainable business. The case describes a crisis for New Belgium Brewing Company when it missed financial projections and the management team decided to lay off employees, some of whom have had performance problems and others that were not needed. The company had never laid off employees and the series of events called into question the role of participatory decision making that had been central to the company’s culture. The issues surrounding the layoffs quickly escalated, culminating with an emotional company meeting that is described at the outset of the case. The CEO has to decide what she should do following the meeting.
 
Pedagogy
Martha Davis: Creating a Learning Environment
Jun 25, 2007
Accepted in Volume: 27 Issue: 1 (Winter 2007)
Martha Davis, a new assistant marketing professor, is trying to decide how to improve the performance of her students. It is the third week of her first semester, and her two capstone strategy course sections are performing very differently. One section is vocal, but at a low level of sophistication. One student has openly criticized Davis’ classroom style, asking for more freedom in case discussions. Study notes showed vocal students to be poorly prepared, while better-prepared students said little. The second section has performed better, but all the students have been submitting their notes, seeking daily professorial feedback. She had intended this to be a voluntary practice used only occasionally. Davis is particularly concerned about ensuring quality while encouraging the discussion to run freely.
 
Retail
E. A. Davis & Company
Mar 12, 2008
Accepted in Volume: 27 Issue: 3 (Summer 2007)
In early July, 2005, Rob Skolnick had a decision to make. His store, E.A. Davis & Company, a 100 year-old department store in Wellesley, MA, was running smoothly and doing well. He had an opportunity to purchase a retail location and open a second store in Hingham, MA, approximately 30 miles away. The window of opportunity was limited, however, since the current owner wanted an answer before the end of the month. Skolnick wanted to open the second location with the approval and cooperation of Lily Pulitzer, one of his major vendors. Lilly Pulitzer management had just informed him that they wanted to wait until after its annual retail meeting at the end of August to make the decision. In order to take advantage of opportunity to purchase the Hingham location, Skolnick needed to decide whether to go ahead, possibly without a key brand, or let the proposal go.
 
Strategic Management and Business Policy
Netegrity: A Transformation
May 9, 2007
Accepted in Volume: 27 Issue: 1 (Winter 2007)
Barry Bycoff founded Netegtity which was recognized by the Wall Street Journal as maximizing shareholder value while Forbes ranked the company as one of the best managed in the world. Netegrity’s Siteminder, reached its market some two years ahead of rivals which gave the product a 75 percent market share at the time of the case study as well as more than $100 million dollars in cash above needs in the company’s balance sheet. Success brought risks including new competition and shareholders demanding the next big move. Acquiring DataChannel would enable Netegrity to move beyond security for web-sites into the booming field of portal security software - perhaps the next logical step for the company. This would thwart potential raiders eyeing Netegrity’s surplus cash and reconcile shareholders looking for continued profitable growth. There were challenging market, technological, and financial risks to consider. In particular, valuing the acquisition was a thorny issue so that an appropriate offer could be made to the owners of DataChannel. Barry’s new dilemma was whether to pursue aggressive growth through this acquisition, or settle for conservative management of the company in the face of declining fortunes facing the Information Technology Industry while not exploiting excess cash, a formidable track record and an excellent market position.
 
Research In Motion - Entering a New Era
Nov 13, 2007
Accepted in Volume: 27 Issue: 2 (Spring 2007)
In January, 2007 the CEO of Research In Motion, Jim Balsillie, is considering the launch of the company's latest product and the general changing competitive landscape. The new product represents a move into a mass consumer market - a divergence from its previous strategy of focusing only on business enterprises. Meanwhile, RIM's competitors have now begun to develop products similar to RIM's and are beginning to pursue the enterprise market. Balsillie is contemplating what the effect of RIM's latest product will be on the company, what competitive challenges the company is likely to face in the future, and where it should focus its efforts to ensure continued success. Strategy, technology
 
Got Milk? Agri-Mark, Inc. and the U.S. Dairy Industry
Dec 17, 2007
Accepted in Volume: 27 Issue: 2 (Spring 2007)
Agri-Mark, Inc., the largest dairy cooperative organization in New England, had a long and proud heritage of successful service to its dairy farmer members. At the end of 2006, however, it faced perhaps the most daunting challenge of its nearly 90-year existence. Over-leveraged, staggering under a heavy load of debt, and compelled to mandate additional equity payments by its already sorely-pressed farmers, Agri-Mark was facing a crisis. Crucial strategic decisions could not be delayed, and the top management and board had, of necessity, to move quickly (not always a strength of cooperative organizations). High on the list of challenges was the question of whether Agri-Mark should, and would, be able to retain its status as an independent cooperative organization. The case presents a substantial amount of background information on the U.S. dairy industry, the plight of milk producers (dairy farmers), the activities of dairy cooperatives, the federal regulatory environment (quite pronounced in the dairy industry), and the trends driving the industry. It also details the history of Agri-Mark, provides some limited data on its commodity and branded (Cabot Cheese) businesses, and provides current information on its leadership and governance system. In this case, students are asked to put themselves in the position of Neal Rea, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Agri-Mark, as he confronts the issue of the appropriate organizational form for Agri-Mark.
 
Community Bancshares, Inc.: Uncovering A Fraud
Mar 6, 2008
Accepted in Volume: 27 Issue: 3 (Summer 2007)
The critical decision in this case is whether or not Mike Alred, Executive V.P., and Mike Bean, the CFO of Community Bank and Acting Chief Accounting Officer of Community Bancshares, shold take their concerns about suspected fraud in their organization to someone external to the bank. Over a period of months they had become suspicious about the stoppage in work done on three construction sites for branches of their bank. they had also become aware of the fact that the construction company working on the branch banks was also performing work on the construction of a 22,000 square foot home for the Chairman and and CEO of the bank. In addition, Mike Bean was aware that over $700,000 had already been paid out to the construction company while all worked had stopped on the branch sites. Attempts to alert other board members and the State Department of Banking had been to no avail. The decision faced by Alred and Bean was what they should do next and how they should proceed with the disclosure. As these decisions were being made, they also were aware that their future employment at that bank and perhaps other banks was in grave jeopardy.
 
The Great Minnesota Get Together
Jun 23, 2008
Accepted in Volume: 27 Issue: 4 (Fall 2007)
This case is set in fall 2006. Karen Frost, assistant general manager of the Minnesota State Fair, is requested by Jerry Hammer, the fair’s general manager, to lead a team to develop options and recommendations that will enable the fair to capture more value consistent with the fair’s mission. The Minnesota State Agricultural Society, a self-governing and self-sufficient semi-state agency, is responsible for producing the annual state fair and maintaining the fairgrounds with money generated from the fair. The Society receives no subsidies. The Minnesota State Fair, first held in 1859, is the largest 12-day agricultural fair in North America and serves as a model for other state fairs. Lifestyles and tastes are changing. When the fair first began most people in Minnesota lived on farms. Today less than 2 percent of the population lives on a farm, and the fair has evolved from displaying agriculture to interpreting agriculture. One-third of the state’s population attended the fair in 2006. Annual revenue is primarily generated during the 12-day fair. Operating revenue of $32 million increased 4.4 percent compared to the prior year, but operating income declined 34% to $1 million. Rising production expenses, skyrocketing energy costs, economic uncertainty which can depress consumer spending, and aging facilities are all obstacles to producing a world class fair. Visitor attendance over the past decade has averaged 1.68 million people a year. During the past ten years attendance has fluctuated by 130,000 visitors. The fair competes with other family entertainment options such as amusement parks, water parks, movies, and live concerts. Every dollar the fair makes is put back into producing the fair, which leaves little for maintenance and improvement to the 320-acre fairgrounds. A plan to develop the fair for future generations showed that $100 million in capital improvements are needed over the next ten years to improve aging facilities and enhance the fairgrounds. Can the fair remain financially self-sufficient? How should the fair increase operating income and add to cash reserves? Can the fair increase prices, and how much can price increase without losing fairgoers? Is there a growth opportunity in extending the length of the fair? Is it possible to draw new people to the fairgrounds? What can be done without alienating traditional fairgoers?
 
ChoicePoint Inc. and the Personal Data Industry
Jun 23, 2008
Accepted in Volume: 27 Issue: 4 (Fall 2007)
In November 2005, Derek Smith, CEO of the embattled ChoicePoint, Inc. and staunch advocate of personal data collection, was facing some tough decisions. The company, the largest in its industry, had become the focal point for the negative publicity surrounding the personal data industry. Major news stories about data security breaches focused on improper use of sensitive data, such as social security numbers, and consumers’ privacy rights. Much of the turmoil stemmed from the company’s 2004 sale of personal data to fraudulent parties, allowing the thieves to resell the data from some 160,000 personal records, including social security numbers and dates of birth. In the short term, Smith needed a plan to face the burgeoning issue of how and when ChoicePoint would use social security numbers. Yet, weighing more heavily on his mind was the strategic direction of the firm in an industry that was struggling to legitimize itself following an ever-increasing number of security breaches. Keywords: industry strategy, privacy issues, regulation, information systems
 
Respironics, Incorporated: Take A Deep Breath
Jul 1, 2008
Accepted in Volume: 27 Issue: 4 (Fall 2007)
This case depicts the history, strategic direction, leadership, financial position, organizational culture and structure of the Murrysville, Pennsylvania-based medical devices company, Respironics. Revenues for fiscal year 2006 exceeded $1 billion for the first time and the company was poised to introduce new products and to announce several acquisitions. Also featured is the intensifying competitive rivalry among Respironics, ResMed, and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (F&P) for dominance of the obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) therapy segment of the global health care equipment industry. To fuel its future growth, Respironics chose a strategy of related diversification, whereas ResMed opted to extend its existing product portfolio to treat different diseases and different stages of diseases. F&P decided to develop its expertise in humidification. In the face of litigation, competition, and changing Medicare reimbursement policies, John Miclot, Respironics’ CEO, planned on surging ahead. Which strategy should Respironics pursue and how might its rivals retaliate to any moves it might make? Would Respironics itself become a takeover target? Where would the company be when it reached its 40th anniversary in 2016?
 

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