Paper on Raw Case Teaching Wins AOM “Best Paper” Award

Interest in raw cases is spreading far beyond Yale.

The Academy of Management (AOM) recently awarded Best Paper in Management Education and Development to Professors Yuwei Shi of Shanghai University of Finance and Economics and Sandra Dow of the Middlebury Institute for International Studies for a paper advocating the use of raw cases. The paper entitled  “Management Education at the Interface: Raw Data, Real Projects, and On-demand Lectures” was presented at the most recent AOM meetings in Atlanta.

Shi and Dow first became aware of raw cases through their involvement with Aspen Institute’s case competition. The Yale Case Research and Development Team supplies the competition with a new raw case each year.

Drawing from the collective experience of students and faculty at their own institutions, Shi and Dow note that “raw case studies not only provide rich context to engage students and experts for effective cognitive apprenticeship, but also allow for ample opportunities for scientific and functional learning.”

The authors use Yale SOM’s AXA: Creating New CR Metrics to contrast raw cases with traditional case studies. “The large number of case items and the heterogeneity and interconnectivity among them often lead students to multitudes of possible concepts, perspectives, frameworks and tools...This requires students to adopt problem solving approaches that are not common in traditional case studies.”

Pointing to a changing business landscape in which organizations “must confront complex problems, such as climate change, global inequality, and collapsing wild fish stocks,” the authors emphasize the need for innovation in the business school curriculum and exploration of alternative pedagogical approaches.“To bridge the innovation-education gap, a global change to promote transformative professional education is needed to harness flows of real-world problems that stimulate creative solutions and innovations that drive positive impact for the greater good, and educational content that empowers the future innovators through team teaching and mentoring. We believe raw case studies are an effective platform for designing and executing these transformative activities.”

Shi and Dow warn that the raw case method of teaching is not without its own unique challenges. Among these are the need for instructors to adjust their style to facilitate “a broad exploration of the case by encouraging big-picture thinking and engaging multiple faculty members” and to “break through the traditional silos in business teaching.”

In their conclusion, the authors advocate for expanded adoption of the raw case approach. “Raw case studies are a useful vehicle for professors to build an immersive management landscape, create dramatic arcs to integrate real business functions and disciplines with gripping narratives, and enable students to create and rely on their own evolving insights and wisdoms.”

To access an abstract of  the full paper, visit the proceedings of the Academy of Management.

To view all Yale SOM raw cases, visit the Yale Case Studies Directory.