Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Story-Telling and the Case Method

I found out only the other day (ok, ok, so now you know I wasnt the Quiz champ ... nowhere even close!) that Harvard pioneered the Case Method of teaching. Needless to mention, today, the Case Method is more the norm in Management teaching.

What is it that makes the Case Method so socessful, as a teaching tool? Harvard believes its very effective. And, I am not going to argue with that, for obvious reasons. Besides, with B-Schools around the world having adopted the method, there must be something there. Also, if you have been through one of the Case Sessions, you would find them very rewarding too, because you get to learn a lot more from the Case Method than you would in a cut and dried theory class.

One of the reasons for this is that the case typically enables you to apply concepts to a real-life situation. While this is the scenario at times, at others, cases are used to introduce a point. So, is application the only reason the Case Method is so successful? I think not.

The way I look at it, the Case Method is all about storytelling. A case is basically a story. Like any story, the case has a protagonist (at least one), a context (typically half the case study would be devoted to describing the context), and a situation which you have to understand, and unravel. I wouldnt say solve, because its not just about the solution, but more about being able to understand the idea. And, one of the reasons for the success is this ... It presents the concept in the form of a story.

Why do I keep harping about the story? Maybe you could read The Goal and tell me how much you gained in terms of concepts from the book.

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