Why case studies? To provide context. In Burkean terms, to provide a “scene” having its own acts, agents, agency, and purpose. Case studies are developed scenes that satisfy, inform, educate, and entertain. Most basic business communication textbooks include snippets of workplace examples, which are inadequate for detailed rhetorical examination of workplace communication problems.
Description of the Case Method
(from Harvard Business School website)
O'Rourke, James S. Management Communication: A Case-Analysis
Approach. 3d ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 2006.
A quote from the book:
You can memorize lists, procedures, and attributes; guess at the answers of a multiple-choice question; but you cannot memorize the answer to a problem you have never encountered, nor can you guess at the options for an ambiguous, complex situation.
- Odwalla, Inc.: crisis communication after an e. coli outbreak
- Starbucks: breastfeeding in a coffee shop
- Whirlpool: persuading company employees to avail themselves of a free mini-physical
Teaching Components / Modes
- “Cold calling”
- Class / group discussion
- Instructor-facilitated question-answer session / listing of issues
- Case-based in-class writing / writing assignments
- Current situation
- Film / Internet