Business Case Journal

The Business Case Journal was established by the Society for Case Research to publish cases and research related to case writing or teaching with cases.

Articles

Vol. 24, No. 2, Summer

Mylan and the EpiPen: Increased Access or Price Gouging?
This case was prepared by the authors and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. The views represented here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society for Case Research. The views are based on...
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Painting by (Financial) Numbers: The Acquisition of Valspar by Sherwin-Williams
This case was prepared by the authors and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. The views represented here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society for Case Research. The views presented in...
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Local YWCA Struggles with Future of Its Fitness Center and Other Matters
This case was prepared by the author and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. The views represented here are those of the case authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society for Case Research. The views are based...
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Vol. 24, No. 1, Winter

An Examination of Cases in the Classroom: How Faculty Make Effective Use of Case Studies for Teaching
Recipient of the 2017 MBAA International Best Paper Award, Society for Case Research, MBAA Annual Meetings, Chicago, IL. March 2017 Introduction Faculty members have been utilizing the case study method in their classrooms for quite some time....
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AB InBev's Offer for SABMiller (A): Pricey or Practical?
Introduction "At the end of every great investment trend, there is a mega deal that rings the bell at the top of the cycle ... The AB InBev mega bid for SABMiller will be one of those bell ringing deals." H. Sergeant Jackie Herman saw the...
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With Egg on Its Face, Unilever Considers Pulling a Lawsuit over Hampton Creek's Egg-Free Mayo
Introduction Mid-December in 2014, Michael Faherty, vice president of the North American operations of corporate giant Unilever, sat in front of his desktop computer reviewing recent online articles and blog posts covering his company's decision...
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The Turnaround at Truman Medical Center
Introduction Truman Medical Center (TMC), a network of hospitals in the Kansas City area, had a long history of providing care to anyone in the community who needed it. TMC was classically defined as a "safety net" health system that organized and...
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AB InBev and SABMiller (A): Pricey or Practical?
Case Overview The case gives an overview of the largest beer acquisition and the fourth largest acquisition ever by chronicling the agreement of AB InBev to buy SABMiller in late 2015. Enough information is given to allow students the opportunity...
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With Egg on Its Face, Unilever Considers Pulling a Lawsuit over Hampton Creek's Egg-Free Mayo
Case Overview This case considers the lawsuit filed by Unilever against Hampton Creek alleging false advertising and seeking monetary damages as well as restraining Hampton Creek from continuing to package, market and advertise their product Just...
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The Turnaround at Truman Medical Center
Case Overview In this descriptive case, students are tasked with understanding the challenges of a safety-net hospital turnaround and evaluation the leadership style of John W. Bluford, the Chief Executive Office of Truman Medical Centers (TMC)....
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Vol. 23, No. 2, Summer

Scaling Up a Small Technology Firm: Business Model Innovation at HaylioMed
Mike Kramer, the CEO of HaylioMed, had led his small technology firm for over a decade. With its complex enterprise software solution and range of professional services, HaylioMed was one of the two leading companies in 2014 which successfully served...
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Two-a-Day: A Choice of Target Market Selection of Apple Export Business
Prior to 2008, Two-a-Day and other apple growers in South Africa had been successful in exporting their fruit to the EU and UK at healthy profits. But with the global recession, market share and profitability continued to diminish leaving these businesses...
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It's a Bond ... It's Solar Energy ... It's a Rental Property ... or, All of the Above?
Introduction "The time bomb is ticking," referring to the fall in bond prices that will accompany rising interest rates, "The Risk of Ultralow Yields, January 28, 2013. Mike Atherton looked at the latest rates for municipal bonds at year end...
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I Deserve an 'A': A Professor's Dilemma
Introduction "No good deed goes unpunished," thought Dr. Bethany Locasta as she walked to the Dean's office on the other side of the campus. The miserable March morning, with the landscape obscured by heavy, blowing snow further dampened her spirits....
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The Dog Bite
George Callahan, the current president of River Region Animal League (RRAL), fumed. A dog had been returned because it bit its new owner's hand that required microsurgery to repair the tendons and nerves. Marge Lewis, the vice-president of RRAL, had...
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Perry Pallet: Pursuing Sustainability
Disclaimer: This case was prepared by the authors and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. The views presented here are those of the case authors based on their professional judgment and do not necessarily reflect the views of the...
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Vol. 23, No. 1, Winter

Cigarette Taxes in Ohio
Introduction In 2015, Ohio's Governor Kasich proposed a budget that would reduce the income tax for both businesses and individual taxpayers. Ohio's top marginal tax rate was 5.33 percent in 2014. Under the proposed budget, the rate would be reduced...
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Dairy Doo or Dairy Don't: A New Branding Decision
The clock by the bed said 3:00 AM. The occupant of the room tossed and turned unable to sleep. Brad Morgan, owner and CEO of Morgan Composting, was about to make a very important business decision. Though known as an optimistic person, Brad was anything...
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Frances Mumford and Her Board of Advisors
Introduction Frances Mumford was not a naturally gifted computer scientist and found herself struggling to climb the steep learning curve necessary to be effective in her first post-college job. She wondered what she needed to do to succeed, if...
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Negotiating an Exploding Offer
For two years, Trevor had worked full-time while attending classes at night to earn his Masters of Business Administration degree (MBA). With his graduation approaching in May, Trevor had begun to actively search for a new job in January to capitalize...
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Vol. 22, No. 2, Summer

A Chance to Sprout: A Can't Miss Opportunity for a Small Bread Bakery?
Introduction Doug ended the call with the Trader Joe's merchandiser and pondered the many issues racing through his mind. Sitting on a bin of spelt, one of the few items in the prep kitchen that could be used as a chair, Doug looked around the cramped...
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Amy's Bread: Changing the Recipe for Success
Introduction Being a local neighborhood bakery had been a cornerstone of the success of Amy's Bread, a Manhattan bakery serving retail and wholesale customers in New York City for over 20 years. However, in late 2012, Amy faced a major decision...
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ENGINO Toys: Staying in China or Moving to Europe?
Decision Dilemma On a hot August morning in 2011 Costas Sisamos, the founder and the Managing Director of ENGINO, paced his Limassol office in frustration. He faced a problematic situation with his outsourced production in China. His Chinese subcontractor...
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Passion + Service=Triple Impact
Introduction How can you make a difference and a profit at the same time? That was the question facing five University of Maryland students committed to social change through entrepreneurship. The students created a company, and now that four of...
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Tendering for Bus Transport: A Bumpy Ride for PCL
The Birth of PCL PCL was founded by Marco Pavlovich in 1938 on a farm on the outskirts of Hamilton, New Zealand. PCL began after Marco purchased a 12-seater open-back cream truck to take his own and other local children to and from school. He also...
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Vol. 22, No. 1, Winter

Decisions to Learn From: The Life and Times of Brad Clancey
Late in the fall of 2010 and after a career in buying and selling companies, Brad Clancey faced a difficult decision about whether or not to sell Specialty Materials Technologies (SMT) located in Maine; a company Clancey had purchased in 2003. The...
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The Big Ten Heads East
... unnecessary and unwanted additions ... a pair of historically mediocre programs that may well enhance the Big Ten Network's equity but will do nothing to improve actual Big Ten football. Stewart Mandel, SportsIllustrated.com (November 20, 2012)...
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The Peril of One: Architecting a Sourcing Strategy at Edwards Paper Co
Adam Ball drove home from his Boston office on a a cool day in the fall of 2011. Adam, known by his family and friends as a "relentless perfectionist," went through a rigorous process of analysis before the simplest decisions were finally concluded....
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The Tax-Exempt Status of AARP
AARP under Fire It was April 1, 2011, but no one was fooling. AARP, formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons, was under fire. Two Republican members of the House Ways and Means Committee--Wally Herger (Representative, California)...
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Tickets from Overbooked Flights: Ethically Reportable Taxable Income or Free Gifts
Taxable or Not Taxable? In the rush to finish their tax return, had he made a mistake? Were the "free" ticket vouchers they had received for volunteering to give up their airline seats something on which they should be paying income taxes? Harrison...
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Vol. 21, No. 2, Summer

Cheating on Their Taxes or Ethically Deductible?
Introduction The time for filing their tax return had run out; the return had to be filed in the next couple of hours; a decision had to be made. In hindsight, the Harrisons' wished that they had started on their tax return earlier and consulted...
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Into the Hornets' Nest
Introduction As the members of Jeff's team crawled into the rental car at the end of the long work day, it became clear that the rest of this trip would not be an enjoyable experience. An expression of frustration and defeat was written on the faces...
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Media Arts Group and the Case of Channel Conflict
Steve Campbell, former Regional Sales Director for the once-thriving Media Arts Group, wondered what went wrong. How could a successful company, like the Media Arts Group that represented the famous Thomas Kinkade, end up in all of this arbitration?...
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Vulcan Materials & Martin Marietta Materials: Between a Rock & a Hard Place!
Lynne Davis saw the large envelope protruding from her mailbox as she walked down her drive. A quick glance at the return address--Vulcan Materials Company--confirmed this was more proxy material related to Martin Marietta Materials hostile takeover...
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Vol. 21, No. 1, Winter

Cafe Britt: A Costa Rica Pride
This case was prepared by the author and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. The views presented here are those of the author based on his professional judgment and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society for Case Research....
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Communication Solutions: Moving to the Next Level
"You can have it all, but you can't have it all at one time," Diane Hunter, Chief Executive Officer and founder of Communication Solutions, Inc., said to a group of college students in a talk about her struggles and successes with the firm she and...
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Norchem Drug Testing: A Small Company's Lean Journey
It was December and the end of the year 2010 was approaching. Bill Gibbs, CEO of Norchem Drug Testing in Flagstaff, Arizona, was reflecting on the past and projecting forward into his company's future. He clearly recalled his reflections almost exactly...
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Skinny Paycheck? Livable Wage Ordinance Tests Socially Responsible Business Owner
"We believe in the power of capitalism to do good."--Benjy Adler Introduction "You can see it online for yourself, a number of people have pledged to never eat here again," Benjy Adler lamented shortly after his restaurant, The Skinny Pancake,...
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The Twenty-First's Second Decade-Whither the Beauty Industry?
As the Beauty (or T&C, Toiletries and Cosmetics, NAICS code 325620) Industry headed into the second decade of the twenty-first century, executive teams in many of the companies took stock of what lay ahead and how to steer their firms toward optimal...
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Vol. 20, No. 2, Summer

Godrej Consumer Products
Adi Godrej, the chairman of Godrej Consumer Products Ltd (GCPL), an Indian company operating out of Mumbai with business focus in FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) sector, started on an ambitious plan in 2005. He wanted to grow the company at an accelerated...
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The Mormon Stories Podcast: Faith, Disaffiliation, and Strategic Vision
It was 12:30 a.m. on a Tuesday night and John Dehlin was sitting at his kitchen table in front of a laptop debating whether or not to open the next email in his inbox. He glanced at the time at the bottom of his computer screen, promised himself this...
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Revenue Management and Customer Service: Mutually Harmonious or Inherently Conflicting?
Introduction The conference was over, and it was time for Joan and Harrison to head home. While waiting in the hotel lobby for the airport shuttle, their cell phone rang. Linda, an agent of Transnational Airlines (TNA), was calling; the airline...
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Midwest Youth Rowing Club: A Case of Financial Responsibility in a Transient-Member Nonprofit Organization
Dilemma "That's what happens when you don't have a boathouse!" The statement was a bit of trash-talking from a rival youth rower after his boat had won a race, but it made Rob Smith ask himself, "Why would a kid from another club even think to...
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Market Entry Timing: Is Now the Right Time for Zhengshou Yutong Bus Company to Expand in the U.S. Market
Mr. Zheng Liang, a senior staff member at Zhengzhou Yutong Bus Company, Ltd. (Yutong), was flying home from Chicago, IL to China after attending the 2009 BusCon Expo, North America's largest convention and expo for decision-makers in the global bus...
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Vol. 20, No. 1, Winter

The Fried Pickle Fight
October 24, 2010 marked a culinary crossroads for Charlotte, North Carolina. Penguingate, as it had been dubbed on Twitter, was coming to an end and regulars of the Penguin Drive-In restaurant gathered to say farewell to what they knew as their local...
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J.D. & Sons: After 123 Years, Its Succession Plan Fails
Jack Smith, President and a fourth-generation business owner, and his two sons had survived a liquidity crisis a few years back; but JD & Sons, a 123-year-old, family-controlled manufacturer and distributor of wood products including table tops,...
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Man vs. Machine
All in the golden afternoon Full leisurely we glide; For both our oars, with little skill, By little arms are plied, While little hands make vain pretense Our wanderings to guide. Thus grew the tale of Wonderland: Thus slowly,...
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Nagre Metal Products: Does 1+1=3?
Grant Pederson, President of Nagre Metal Products (Nagre), having barely caught his breath from Nagre's first ever acquisition, was already evaluating potential new acquisitions. Grant was reviewing due diligence reports from two particularly interesting...
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American Apparel and the "XLent" Contest
Situation In late 2011, Iris Alanzo, a creative director for American Apparel, a trendy clothing manufacturer in Los Angeles, sat in front of her computer struggling to compose a post-campaign evaluation for her company's recent XL modeling contest....
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Vol. 19, No. 2, Summer

Advantage Food & Beverage: The Avanti Opportunity
Decision Dilemma Lawrence Binsky, president of Advantage Food & Beverage, was contemplating the future direction of his company. He had just purchased exclusive rights for the southern and central Ohio markets from Avanti Markets, which provided...
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Sold from Big Pharma: A New Entrant in the Pharmaceutical Contract Manufacturing Industry Seeks a Capital Fix Winding Creek Pharmaceuticals
Rex Quinn enjoyed the momentary quiet on his early-spring bicycle ride from Factory 29 to his office. As he pedaled past several of the 100-plus buildings on the 300-acre site, his thoughts were interrupted by concerns about the intended expansion...
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Calibre Systems, Inc.: An Employee-Owned Company
In January 2009, the corporate management team (CMT) of CALIBRE met to consider its strategic recommendations to the Board of Directors at its fiscal year-end meeting in February. The Board of Directors had to assess future growth prospects for the...
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Under Armour
Kevin A. Plank, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Under Armour (UA), reviewed the press briefing that was to accompany the company's release of the financial performance for the second quarter of fiscal 2010. In particular, Plank carefully...
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Reinventing University City: Applying Branding Principles to Places
Mary Hopper walked into her living room and sat back on the couch to reflect upon what had proven to be a challenging day. She had just finished a meeting with her board of directors, which left her not knowing exactly what to do next. The question...
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Vol. 19, No. 1, Winter

Campbell Soup Company: From the Farm to the Family
For Campbell, conducting business in a socially responsible manner is mission-critical. Through our Campbell Mission, we have committed ourselves to building "the world's most extraordinary food company by nourishing people's lives everywhere, every...
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Copper Ridge, Inc.: In Search of a New Culture
Introduction In his inbox, Steve Hartman found the Culture Audit Team's final report that he hoped would provide some keys to addressing performance shortfalls of the long-successful manufacturing company, Copper Ridge, Inc. Hired only 10 months...
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Critical Incidents: Demand for Short Cases Elicits a New Genre
Introduction Cases enjoy a long history as an instructional approach in professional education because they are a pedagogy that serves "to link ideas, practices, and values under conditions of inherent uncertainty" (Shulman, 2005, p. 19), which...
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Gates, Inc
Introduction On a windy cold afternoon in February, Doug Gates contemplated the purchase of a state-of-the-art polystyrene Kurtz molding machine. In spite of the current weather, the seasonal construction business in central Michigan would soon...
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(Not So) Close, but No Cigar: The SEC V. Mark Cuban
Short of the Devil owning the Miami Heat, Goliath buying the New York Giants, or Paul Revere returning from the grave to helm the New England Patriots, Mark Cuban--owner of the Dallas Mavericks--wins the title of the guy whose team's name is most befitting...
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Vol. 18, No. 1, Fall-Winter

Accessible Computing
Christian Abad was a young entrepreneur, who had worked hard to build an innovative Web design company in Charlotte, North Carolina. Unlike most Web designers, Abad had a background in Web accessibility, which was central to the mission of his firm....
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The Chinese-Made Toy Recalls at Mattel, Inc
On September 21, 2007 in Beijing China, a meeting took place between Mr. Li Changjiang, a top Chinese quality official, Mr. Thomas Debrowski, a senior Mattel executive, and a group of reporters. In what was most certainly a humbling encounter, Mr....
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Flying out of the Perfect Storm: The Lean Journey of Lycoming Engines
As Ian Walsh, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Lycoming Engines, walked to the plant cafeteria for the quarterly all-employees' meeting, he wondered what reaction his announcements would receive. When he arrived at the company in 2004,...
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Muddling Through: The Aerial Chair[TM]
I just like to follow my dreams if I can ... I could work late into the evening and it didn't bother me at all ... just to watch it grow and be creative, I like to experiment and get the results. Craig Hines enthusiastically described his...
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Due to a Personality Disagreement: Workplace Bullying at Roam Inc. Canada
As Lynn headed to work, she reflected on how wonderful it was to be starting a new job. Nothing could be as bad as her previous job. During the initial job interview, only one question had been asked about why she left her previous job. She had said...
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Underwater
The choices facing Deborah and Karl Eriksson and their young family were daunting. Should they continue to try holding on to save their new home or just walk away and let the bank foreclose or put it up for a short sale? Was their house just like their...
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Vol. 18, No. 2, Summer

Controversial Burton Snowboards Spark Debate
"Two things matter more than anything else: riders and riding"--Burton Snowboards Sex sells. Or does it? Burton Snowboards, a leader in developing, manufacturing, and promoting snowboards and snowboard accessories, faced this question in late 2008...
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Career Crossroads at the Top
Introduction Mark Betters was eager to return home from his company's January 2001 management meeting on the East Coast. He wanted to address the "to do list" he had made during the 3XTech meeting and more importantly, focus on his own career direction....
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Superior Timing LLC: The Birth of a New Business
John Matter and his son Eric were discussing a new business they had just formed in April, 2009, called Superior Timing, LLC. They were concerned about a decision they needed to make regarding a significant investment in new equipment. This business...
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A Tale of Two Markets: NYC Subway Line
Introduction Lynne Lambert was lost in thought as she made her way through the crowded New York City sidewalk. She had just left the offices of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (the "MTA") where she had once again been awarded an annual...
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U.S. National Whitewater Center
Introduction In October 2008, Sally Smith, a member of the board of directors of the U. S. National Whitewater Center (USNWC), watched several groups of rafters enjoying a nice fall day at the center. The center had opened just two years earlier...
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Vol. 17, No. 1, Fall-Winter

Dane and Company: In Search of Corporate Social Responsibility in Indonesia
All the giving options Quentin Dane, owner of Dane and Company, was now considering for his company had significant shortcomings both politically and socially, which led him to wonder, "Should I just leave well enough a lone or should I choose one...
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Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. (A): The CalPERS Focus List
In March 2007, the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) released its 2007 Corporate Governance Focus List. Among the firms listed as suffering from underperforming stock value and in need of corporate governance remedies was Dollar...
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Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. (B): Deja Vu All over Again
In the spring of 2008, Jack Herman opened his mail box and found a packet from Dollar Tree, Inc. announcing the annual meeting. Also in the packet was information about the most recent proposal from California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS)...
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Jay and Al's Music Show
Background Megopolis is a city with instant name recognition, both domestically and internationally. It typically scored quite high on lists of desirable cities to visit and/or live in based on its numerous tourist and cultural attractions and its...
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Kapai New Zealand: Eat Your Greens!
[FIGURE 1 OMITTED] Two energetic young Kiwis (1) came home from overseas to start a business. By August 2007, the well-traveled 28-year-olds, James Irvine and Justin Lester (see Figure 1) had opened their second salad store in downtown Wellington...
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Tackling Discrimination: A Social Marketing Case Study
"I'd like to be able to not be afraid of anything different, but we're all like that, afraid of anything different, and having a mental illness can make people be very different" (Comment from respondent, Phoenix Research, Oct 1999, p. 15). Janet...
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Vol. 17, No. 2, Summer

Askinosie Chocolate: Single-Origin or Fairtrade Sourcing?
Shawn Askinosie hung up the phone and shook his head in disbelief. It had been a long morning! Not only was production halted, but Shawn had just received a bleak update on his renegade supplier. Several months earlier Shawn had travelled to Venezuela,...
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High-Speed Success in Indy Left Canadian Club Wondering, "Should We Stay or Should We Go?"
2007: A Tough Marketing Decision Dennis Prado, Senior Brand Director of Canadian Club Whisky, sat at his desk in September 2007 overcome by the success experienced by the brand in the prior nine months. The Canadian Club brand had completed a second...
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Igneous Skis: Custom Ski Making in a Scale-Driven Industry
As Adam Sherman and the Igneous team nudged the monstrous 30-ton, new ski press into place on the factory floor with the front bumper of the company van and crowbars, they realized that they had again jumped to a new level of challenge, money commitment,...
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Coping with Katrina: Fairmont's Response to Hurricane Katrina
Part A: Deciding Whether or Not to Evacuate Prologue Sitting in the administrative offices of The Fairmont Dallas Hotel in January 2006, Ray Tackaberry, the general manager of the luxury Fairmont New Orleans Hotel, reflected back upon his experiences...
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Who's Afraid of the Dark? Transpower New Zealand Ltd
On 12 June 2006, the lights went out in New Zealand's largest city and major commercial centre, Auckland. Business was disrupted and many thousands of people inconvenienced. The unscheduled power cut was the latest in a series of electric power problems...
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Vol. 16, No. 1, Fall-Winter

Dane and Company: In Search of Corporate Social Responsibility in Indonesia
This case was prepared by Craig Sasse and Anthony Tocco both from Rockhurst University. The views presented here are those of the case authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society for Case Research. The authors' views are based on...
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Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. (A): The CalPERS Focus List
This case was prepared by Woodrow D. Richardson from Mississippi State University. The views presented here are those of the case author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society for Case Research. The author's views are based on his...
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Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. (B): Deja Vu All over Again
This case was prepared by Woodrow D. Richardson from Mississippi State University. The views presented here are those of the case author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society for Case Research. The author's views are based on his...
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Jay and Al's Music Show
This case was prepared by Zbigniew H. Przasnyski from Loyola Marymount University. The views presented here are those of the case author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society for Case Research. The author's views are based on his...
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Kapai New Zealand: Eat Your Greens!
This case was prepared by Helen Tregidga and Kate Kearins, both from Auckland University of Technology and Eva Collins from the University of Waikato. The views presented here are those of the case authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of...
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Tackling Discrimination: A Social Marketing Case Study
This case was prepared by Kate Daellenbach, and Janet Carruthers both from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. The views presented here are those of the case authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society for Case Research....
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Vol. 16, No. 2, Summer

Ace Insurance Services at a Crossroads: Big Challenges for a Small Company
Ace Insurance Service's fixture was uncertain; and Brevin Pryor, the owner's son, knew it. Brevin joined Ace, a small independent agency, in 1997. By the time he earned his MBA degree in 2007, he had been entrusted with significant managerial responsibilities....
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Kodak's Challenge: Surviving the Disruptive "Winds of Change"
On June 1, 2006, the house lights dimmed at the Wall Street Journal's All Things Digital conference. On the large screens flanking the stage, a film called the "Winds of Change" started. In the film, a dignified white-haired spokesman standing in front...
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Medallion Consulting: The Case of the Problem Employee
Would I ever have a business where we have employees again? Absolutely Not ... As the owner of the business, you become a lightning rod for criticism. You bear the burden of developing (company) policies, enforcing the policies, and taking the grief...
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Nucor: Values and Transition
History and Values What became Nucor Steel originally had nothing to do with steel manufacturing. Nuclear Corporation of America began in 1955 with the merger of Reo Motor Company and Nuclear Consultants, which had the goal of capitalizing on what...
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West Michigan Whitecaps
Introduction In January 2006, Jim Jarecki, the Vice President of Baseball Operations for the West Michigan Whitecaps Baseball Club in Grand Rapids, MI, faced a challenge (See Figure 1--Map of Michigan). CEO Lew Chamberlin had asked him to address...
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