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Business Case Studies – An Effective Teaching Tool

Tell me and I forget.

Teach me and I remember.

Involve me and I Learn.

These lines by Benjamin Franklin have rightly pointed out the gap in our education system. The traditional model of teaching i.e. lecturing would only help students to remember the concepts that have been discussed in class. The effectiveness of the learning process exists only when the students are fully engrossed in the subject. With the availability of electronic gadgets and the internet, the attention span of students has been reducing day by day. In such a scenario, an effective teaching tool that can be used for the business management students is Case-Based Teaching. The concept of case-based teaching is not only found in the management subjects but also found in courses like law, medicine, science, etc. The idea is to make the students understand a real-world problem that needs to be solved with the application of the concepts that the student has learned in the class.

Benefits of Case-based Teaching:

According to Professor Chris Ronald Christensen of Harvard Business School, the case-based teaching classes unfold without a detailed script. This is because the case is relatively unknown to the student, and the discussion that may take place in the class in the context of the case is unknown to the teacher. Many experienced faculty members say that the same case study brings out different learning for the students each time it is discussed with a batch of students. The classroom becomes an open platform for discussion that helps each student to come up with their idea and understanding of the case.

Efforts required in Case-based teaching:

Many faculty members have been using case-based teaching as a part of their teaching pedagogy. This is also practiced in many leading universities like Oxford, Stanford, and Cambridge, etc. The faculty in these institutes believe that the core concept of the case study as well as the course content has to be discussed simultaneously. This requires rigorous preparation on behalf of the faculty. The challenge lies in the ability of the faculty to make the students connect the theory with the practical case study and create ‘teachable moments’ in the process. These teachable moments arise from the classroom discussions and it is the responsibility of the faculty to guide the students through the discussion as well as give the discussion a desired direction. Thus, case-based teaching is a way of discovering the concept in a new manner. It requires the faculty to learn the art of balancing the discussion, planning the direction and also being versatile with strong and powerful storytelling skills.

Teaching cases online:

The current pandemic has created a new normal which includes online teaching. Teachers of all age groups, across the world, had to switch quickly to the online mode of teaching. This was not an easy task to do but then the change was quickly adapted to by faculty members so that the on-going semester could be completed successfully. In this context, the task of case-based teaching became more challenging. One of the major hurdles that the faculty faces while teaching through cases is that not all students read the whole case study and not all students read the case study before they attend the class. This became an even bigger issue to address when the classes shifted online.

To address this issue, the faculty of IILM had to be more proactive and plan the session in small segments. The cases that were taken up for discussion had to be smaller and crisper. Short case-lets are best suited for online case discussions. The questions had to be deep. Taking the advantage of technology, the students were made to discuss among themselves in small groups i.e. break-out groups where the faculty would visit just like it would be done in a physical classroom. The faculty also had to design more short exercises like polls and engage the students in a better manner. An effective way of doing this was by sharing reading material with the students before the class, beginning the class with a recent example, and sharing the faculty’s screen with students so that they can participate actively and share insights. This is followed by a quiz or a small test so that the students can assess their understanding. It can, therefore, be said that undoubtedly case-based teaching is one of the most effective ways of teaching but it will have to be modified with the change in times.

Importance of Case-based Teaching:

Case-based teaching and learning are important as pedagogy as it helps in developing the lifelong skills of critical thinking, collaboration i.e. working in groups, open inquiry, communicating ideas, and thoughts along with subject knowledge to arrive at a solution. Students also like this aspect and are engaged and interested in case discussions. It is a time-tested way of teaching that has been implemented successfully in various courses and institutions. It is an ideal win-win situation for both the faculty as well as the students. On one hand, the faculty can engage the students and also drive home the necessary concepts, the students can apply their knowledge and learn effectively. Thus, the time has come to implement the case-based teaching and learning pedagogy, with a little bit of revamping.

Do comment / write to me on how do you think Case-Based teaching will evolve in the blended learning format.

How Leadership Works: And What Motivates People to Follow.

This is one question that every leader thinks, that is how to persuade others to do what you want them to do in the most effective manner. To come to the definite answer to this question, there is a need to start reflecting on what motivates you  to follow or listen to someone. The moment you start reflecting on this basic question, you will immediately start pondering upon what makes you passionate about things in life for which you are ready to expand your comfort zone.  In majority of the cases, it’s all about making an impact  in the lives of others with your work.

Purposive Leadership

The purpose in leadership is all about who you are and what makes you distinct, it’s all about your own unique brand. It is not so much about what you do or your educational qualifications but how you do your job.

It is your ability to articulate purpose behind your work that makes you distinct.  Your ability to help your team members connect with the larger purpose behind your work i.e. making a difference in the lives of others, helps you to connect with your team and motivates them to go to any level to make a remarkable contribution at work.

David Ulrich , Professor of Business Studies at The University of Michigan, who is an expert in the field of human resource and leadership and has authored more than 30 books, shared that leaders in the organisation who enable their employees to find meaning and purpose from their work  create a work culture in which employees are more enthusiastic and generate more value for their customers and investors.

Suresh Narayanan, MD of Nestle India, is one such leader who inculcates a sense of strong purpose amongst his team members and successfully brought the company out from the Maggie crisis and is now steering Nestle successfully during the Covid-19 crises with no retrenchment amongst his existing work force. He shared that it is important to have clarity of one’s purpose in life and it is not about becoming a corporate CEO or an entrepreneur or making a million dollars, but it is all about understanding what you want to be known for, and this makes the whole difference.

How to Lead With Purpose

The first step is to identify your purpose, which needs to be real and authentic. The second important step is to articulate that purpose amongst all your stake holders clearly and persistently. The third important step is to realise that when we use our strengths at work, then we reach in the state of flow, where we become so engrossed at work that time just flows by – and the same is true for our team members. So, help your team members identify their strengths and use it at work. Lastly, create a positive work environment by encouraging a positive work relationship and by giving positive feedback to your team members. Remember, you can help your team members grow by focusing on their strengths. It is only an uplifting and supportive work environment that can help your team members connect to the deeper meaning of their work.

This is what Yuon Chouinard, CEO of Patagonia, an American outdoor clothing company, has done. He clearly aligned his purpose i.e. “cause no unnecessary harm and use business to inspire and implement solutions to environmental crisis” in all his processes, be it product-lines, supply-chain or the pricing of its products. This motivated the company to switch to organic cotton in their clothing lines. The result is that today Patagonia is thriving due to its  focus on overall purpose behind their business and not just the profits.

Purpose Assures Safety in The Times of Crisis.

Leaders who lead with purpose can easily bring their organisations out from crisis. American energy company, DTE Energy, could overcome the 2008 financial crisis by inculcating training programmes for employees that spoke about purpose behind their work. They conducted town hall meetings and conducted culture-binding activities that increased employee engagement to a new level. DTE won a Gallop Great Work Place Reward five years in a row, their financial performance skyrocketed, with the company’s stock price tripling from year end 2008 to year end 2017. Hence, the most important factor that makes an organisation grow amid challenges and crisis is its leadership, with strong purpose which is beyond one’s immediate interests.

Conclusion

Finally, it is important for a leader to help his team members not only to envision the outcome of their daily routines, but also to find meaning in those tasks. So, for me, I not only give lectures but as I teach, I also contribute in preparing Next Generation Business Leaders.

Purposeful leadership is all about creating value and leading a contributive life. It is about being genuine and helping others to develop and display their highest potential. Finally, leaders must create their own brand and think what they want it to be remembered as.

 

Book Review of Dan Ariely’s “Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations”

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ISBN: 1501120042 (ISBN13: 9781501120046)

Motivation is a topic of great interest to behaviour and organizational scientists who are generally looking for ways to improve performance and productivity. The subtitle of the book “Payoff” attracted my attention, whetting my curiosity with the promise of the hidden logic behind motivations. ‘Payoff’ is an engaging melange of research findings with personal stories and experiences, blended into an interesting read as much for a lay person as for a researcher. Catchy chapter headers also added to the appeal.

Dan begins with a dictionary definition of motivation and how it is a significant part of all aspects of our lives – personal and professional. In the author’s own words “This book explores the jungle of motivation’s true nature, as well as our blindness to its strangeness and complexity”. His introduction talks about an interesting theory that motivation is a sum of a number of factors suggesting the equation:

Motivation = Money + Achievement + Happiness + Purpose + A Sense of Progress + Retirement Security + Caring About Others + Your Legacy + Status + Number of Young Kids at Home2 + Pride + E + P + X + [All kinds of other elements]. He presents the complexity of the concept of motivation and how we tend to attribute it to different factors before a project and during the project. He also points out that often we become aware of the various factors affecting our motivation levels only after the negative effects are evident.

He then goes on to describe an experience that made him realise that what pushed him to come out of a tragic incident was the strong need to conquer a feeling of helplessness. The need to “reclaim even a tiny modicum of control over his life” was the motivation to endure the pain and to get better. With these words the author brings out the significance of experiencing meaning in life as against living an easy life.

Dan cites several interesting studies that he and his colleagues have conducted where performance of research participants as well as actual factory employees went up much more significantly when they were able to find meaning in their work than when their work was simply rewarded with monetary returns. In fact his research points to the fact that monetary rewards actually hampered rather than helped productivity whereas a simple word of acknowledgement from the superior worked wonders.

Through four easy to read chapters, Dan enlightens the readers on what kills motivation, how joy and finding meaning in work are significant, that money is a wrongly over-rated motivator and how often the need for finding meaning unconsciously extends to encompass even the afterlife. Dan concludes with the answer to the ultimate question alluding to the book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

Expressed in a light and humorous language, while the book reiterates what several other researchers have found in recent years, it also encourages the reader to ponder some of the simple yet often ignored aspects of leadership and motivation. It is a small book, quick to read and packed with wisdom.

Revamp Brand loyalty & Sales strategy in Educational Sector through Online Marketing

The purpose of writing this research paper was to determine how can brand loyalty and sales strategy be revamped in educational sector through online marketing. The strategies which marketers follow in the past were based on the assumption of traditional marketing, word of mouth. With the growing recognition of online marketing, marketers need to reexamine their theory and practices. They need to revise their policies on brand loyalty and sales strategy.

Nowadays, Social Media Experts were asked to share the content and images as well with the online community as it is happening without any obstruction. Online marketing enablers are customer experience and conversations in the online community, engaging the community, networking and prospects through regular low cost personalized solution. The data received from the questionnaire was being correlated with one factor to measure the impact on another factor. Updated content on website will get you more footprints and real results. If website visibility is well – established, it is easy to do regular low cost maintenance of your strategy.

The web traffic, clicks, leads; sales conversion for your community will provide the information, how well you can perform in the online marketing.

Engaging for the Future | PEOPLE MANAGER CONCLAVE 2012

IILM students participated in the IBM People Manager Conclave 2012 which gave an insight about the challenges faced by the present HR managers and what strategies/ tactics can be used in order to align their individual goals with the organisational goals. Theme of this event was “Engaging for the future.” This event involved various activities such as:-

  • Panel discussion on “GEN- Y” and “ Managing 360 degree
  • Students were enlightened on the topic by:
    • Pari Sadasivan- India Delivery Leader @ IBM Global Process Services
    • Ashish Kumar- General Manager @ IBM Global Technology Services
    • Sanjiva S Dubey- Service Delivery Executive @ IBM Global Business Services
  • Lecture on “ Creating a High Performance Culture” delivered by
    • Dhirender Jagdev- CRM @ IBM Global Process Services
    • Abhishek Sharma- CRM @ IBM Global Process Services
    • Vinayak Sastri- S&D @ SMS CoE

    GEN-Y, also known as the Millennial Generation, is the demographic cohort following Generation X. The generation born in the 1980s and 1990s, typically regarded as increasingly familiar with digital and electronic technology. The session focused on the issue like GEN-Y tends to move from organisation to organisation in a very short span of time. Role of career planning for such workforce was discussed. Thus, to have a better and motivated Gen-Y need for a mentoring program through which their career planning could be done was emphasised within the session. The biggest challenge for the HR managers would be how to retain GEN-Y employees and make them committed towards the organisational work.

    Pari Sadasivan gave her real life corporate examples which were enlightening. She also talked about the importance of the focus team session, move fast, no subtitue for the talent, integrity, clarity and humility. She concluded as how people managers were earlier considered as managers only to manage the workforce. But now HR managers are the business partners who make and support the organisational vision and strategy to be possible.

    Creating a high performance culture in the organisation through below mentioned points were outlined:

    1. Matrix organisation
    2. Decentralisation
    3. Team player
    4. Building trust
    5. 7S model of change
    6. Collaborative decision making
    7. Prepare for change
    8. Manage operation and strategy
    9. Work-life balance
    10. Performance and Benefits

    Role of HR manager in bringing about the change was discussed. HR manager should be:

    1. Change Agent
    2. Employee Champion
    3. Administrative expert
    4. Strategic Partner

    Another important fact regarding HR is managing 360 degree. 360 degree feedback is very important in an organisation but it is not necessary that employees should worry about it. Employees should be able to contribute towards the individual and organisational betterment. It is necessary to have a good feedback but it is always necessary for the employee to work in the organisation according to the need of the organisation without thinking about the feedback.

    Leadership is skill that a manger should possess. Thus a leader should be able to motivate his employee to do their work. A video on leadership of Emma Brandon, award winner of Britain’s Best Boss was shown in the conclave. She was a senior charge nurse at a mental facility who was motivating the employees and the patients. She invited ideas from the employees to make their work better and to cure the patients in a better way. Thus this increased the number of cured patients and employees were also happy to work there. The decision making in the medical facility was decentralised and new ideas were invited from all employees which made a feeling of belongingness among the employees. She also had pleasure trips and games for the patients in the medical facility centre which was a better treatment for them. Thus a leader should be a motivator along with directive and supporting.

    Another insight was given by Mr. Durga Kota on is experience in different parts of the world and how he was able to manage he work force. The keys mantras which kept in to connect IBM with Bharti were building trust worthy collaborative team, to be a team player, prepare oneself for changes, manage operation and strategy and manage matrix organisation.

    Thus the conclave gave an insight of the different aspects about the people manager to be taken to consideration as most of the organisation neglect or don’t appreciate their work. Thus it is important for an organisation to take their people manager as a business partner for the organisation.