(For the Japanese version of this article)

Case Method Introductory Seminar Part 2: How to teach by the case method [January 23, 2014]

Case Method Introductory Seminar Part 2: How to teach by the case method


The Case Center Japan organized the three-part series of Case Method Introductory Seminar. It aimed to help understand mechanism and effectiveness of the case method and learn how to introduce and make greater use of cases effectively. The second seminar focused on teaching with cases. Participants learned how to lead a case discussion effectively in trainings and lessons as well as different variations of case discussions.

Dates: January 23 (Thursday), 2014

Learning Square Shimbashi

Lecturer: Mr. Tsutomu Yokose, Special Invited Professor, International University of Japan Graduate School of International Management


The case method has been attracting attention because of its learning effect in enhancing practical skills through discussions and used increasingly in various educational scenes, such as HR trainings in corporations as well as classes at university and business schools. The objective of this seminar was to help understand mechanism and effectiveness of the case method and learn how to make greater use of cases in the classroom effectively from the three perspectives of designing, running and cases as a teaching material.

The second seminar explored issues including key points for leading a case discussion, how to use a case in accordance with learning objectives, and planning an effective case session. 23 people from companies and educational institutions attended the seminar and experienced a case discussion with a role play.

The cases used for the discussions were "Colonial Food Services Co." and two related cases. The cases outlined a performance appraisal interview between a district manager (Mr. Kirby) and his boss (Mr. Cranston) of the Colonial Food Services Co.(CFS), which supplies food and drink products to the US market. Participants can take part in a simulated evaluation interview by analyzing characteristics of CFS's business and performance appraisal system, Mr. Kirby's personality and his work traits, and Mr. Cranston's evaluation of Mr. Kirby, which are described in the case.

In the group discussion, some pairs of participants played the roles of the appraiser (Mr. Cranston) and the appraisee (Mr. Kirby) in the interview, in which Mr. Kirby hoped for promotion but Mr. Cranston intended to shelve it. They immersed themselves in their roles and shared their feelings about differences in their opinions. Other participants observed the appraiser's attitude and questioning as well as the appraisee's reactions, identifying key factors in performance appraisal interviews. In the subsequent class discussion, opinions were exchanged on issues such as problems in CFS's performance appraisal, Mr. Kirby's strengths as well as his weaknesses to be improved. As a result of the discussion, the participants learned that performance appraisal should be conducted by appropriate means in order not only to evaluate individuals and base rewards but to consult and coach them. Also, the relation between "strategy and performance appraisal" was explained as important to communicate the organizational objectives and mission to individuals and to make them understand necessary skills and performance for the organization.

The seminar concluded by summarizing practical points for teaching with the case method. With his abundant experience, the lecturer introduced knowhow on planning a case session such as setting learning objectives and teaching plans, key points for leading a case and patterns of case discussions. In the participants' feedback, some remarked that they were able to gain findings and learning about performance appraisal even though they had no experience of conducting performance interviews. Through the seminar, the participants were able to deepen their understanding of a variation of case discussions and points for leading a case.

The third and final seminar will focus on "cases as a teaching material," looking at such topics as richness of good cases, a variation of discussions, and ways of selecting cases by theme and type.

Scene from the seminar

Scene from the seminar

Professor Yokose leads the discussion

Professor Yokose leads the discussion

Human Resource Development Dept.

(For the Japanese version of this article)

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