The Association of African Business Schools’ (AABS) annual Case Teaching and Writing training for faculty recently took place at Johannesburg Business School (JBS). The training aims to equip local faculty on best practice for case research, as well as how to teach with and write cases for management education. The case method is used predominantly at business schools where teaching cases expose students to real-life business dilemmas to solve. The method develops an array of competencies for students like decision-making and analytical skills. UCT duo Professor Linda Ronnie and Claire Barnardo ran the two-day workshop for faculty at this year's training.
Prof Linda Ronnie, who is an expert researcher of Organisational Behaviour and People Management, and an awarded case teacher and writer, inspired delegates as she led the case teaching session.
“It was a wonderful experience engaging with both colleagues from national as well as continental higher education institutions and seeing the enthusiasm for case teaching. Everyone was really clear about the intention of using case studies, especially locally-relevant ones, to further engage students with the realities of working life beyond the classroom. Importantly, academics feel that they wish to share with their students practical examples and, more importantly, practical advice in terms of how to deal with daily challenges that organisations are experiencing,” said Prof Ronnie.
The use and creation of teaching cases in Africa is relatively new but growing as more African business schools are building up their own case research capacity. Workshops like the AABS one assist faculty to have a deeper understanding of the case method in terms of writing their own cases that feature local businesses and support their specific course objectives, and the pedagogy for using cases in the classroom.
"By providing a platform for sharing knowledge and best practices in case writing and teaching, the workshop contributes to the development of high-quality research and fosters collaboration among business schools in Africa. This, in turn, can lead to the advancement of business education, the generation of impactful research, and the overall growth and development of the African business community which is the core of the AABS’ mission and vision," said Lana Elramly, AABS Executive Director.
Claire Barnardo, UCT GSB Case Writing Centre Manager, facilitated the case writing session for attendees who came from across South Africa, as well as Ghana.
“The workshop was a vibrant co-creation of case writing and teaching knowledge. I thoroughly enjoyed working with faculty who are interested in and dedicated to producing more cases from Africa and adding to this body of knowledge,” she said.
The spirit of collaboration was evident at the two-day workshop and continues to assist in growing the case method locally.
“Case writing is exciting yet daunting. However, in the AABS case writing and teaching workshop, Claire Barnardo provided us with a wealth of valuable information which is easy to apply and very useful in terms of tapping into her experience gained from writing and attending training in this discipline. What I appreciated most were the practical tools shared with us to get started and the openness to share learnings, tips and challenges with all of us. Claire created a safe space for all of us to learn, share and apply some of these tools whilst in the workshop. These were two days well spent and I look forward to applying these tools to my next case. The generosity and openness to share and provide support were aspects that we all felt and commented on,” said Gené Van Heerde, faculty at Henley Business School.
The UCT GSB Case Writing Centre has a collection of 75 published teaching cases available through The Case Centre and Emerald Publishing, as well as the Doing Business in Africa series, which includes multimedia, open-source case material, available on our website and via LinkedIn.