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Top 40 Most Popular Case Studies of 2017

We generated a list of the 40 most popular Yale School of Management case studies in 2017 by combining data from our publishers, Google analytics, and other measures of interest and adoption. In compiling the list, we gave additional weight to usage outside Yale

We generated a list of the 40 most popular Yale School of Management case studies in 2017 by combining data from our publishers, Google analytics, and other measures of interest and adoption. In compiling the list, we gave additional weight to usage outside Yale.

Case topics represented on the list vary widely, but a number are drawn from the case team’s focus on healthcare, asset management, and sustainability. The cases also draw on Yale’s continued emphasis on corporate governance, ethics, and the role of business in state and society. Of note, nearly half of the most popular cases feature a woman as either the main protagonist or, in the case of raw cases where multiple characters take the place of a single protagonist, a major leader within the focal organization. While nearly a fourth of the cases were written in the past year, some of the most popular, including Cadbury and Design at Mayo, date from the early years of our program over a decade ago. Nearly two-thirds of the most popular cases were “raw” cases - Yale’s novel, web-based template which allows for a combination of text, documents, spreadsheets, and videos in a single case website.

Read on to learn more about the top 10 most popular cases followed by a complete list of the top 40 cases of 2017.  A selection of the top 40 cases are available for purchase through our online store . 

#1 - Coffee 2016

Faculty Supervision: Todd Cort

Coffee 2016 asks students to consider the coffee supply chain and generate ideas for what can be done to equalize returns across various stakeholders. The case draws a parallel between coffee and wine. Both beverages encourage connoisseurship, but only wine growers reap a premium for their efforts to ensure quality.  The case describes the history of coffee production across the world, the rise of the “third wave” of coffee consumption in the developed world, the efforts of the Illy Company to help coffee growers, and the differences between “fair” trade and direct trade. Faculty have found the case provides a wide canvas to discuss supply chain issues, examine marketing practices, and encourage creative solutions to business problems. 

#2 - AXA: Creating New Corporate Responsibility Metrics

Faculty Supervision: Todd Cort and David Bach

The case describes AXA’s corporate responsibility (CR) function. The company, a global leader in insurance and asset management, had distinguished itself in CR since formally establishing a CR unit in 2008. As the case opens, AXA’s CR unit is being moved from the marketing function to the strategy group occasioning a thorough review as to how CR should fit into AXA’s operations and strategy. Students are asked to identify CR issues of particular concern to the company, examine how addressing these issues would add value to the company, and then create metrics that would capture a business unit’s success or failure in addressing the concerns.

#3 - IBM Corporate Service Corps

Faculty Supervision: David Bach in cooperation with University of Ghana Business School and EGADE

The case considers IBM’s Corporate Service Corps (CSC), a program that had become the largest pro bono consulting program in the world. The case describes the program’s triple-benefit: leadership training to the brightest young IBMers, brand recognition for IBM in emerging markets, and community improvement in the areas served by IBM’s host organizations. As the program entered its second decade in 2016, students are asked to consider how the program can be improved. The case allows faculty to lead a discussion about training, marketing in emerging economies, and various ways of providing social benefit. The case highlights the synergies as well as trade-offs between pursuing these triple benefits.

#4 - Cadbury: An Ethical Company Struggles to Insure the Integrity of Its Supply Chain

Faculty Supervision: Ira Millstein

The case describes revelations that the production of cocoa in the Côte d’Ivoire involved child slave labor. These stories hit Cadbury especially hard. Cadbury's culture had been deeply rooted in the religious traditions of the company's founders, and the organization had paid close attention to the welfare of its workers and its sourcing practices. The US Congress was considering legislation that would allow chocolate grown on certified plantations to be labeled “slave labor free,” painting the rest of the industry in a bad light. Chocolate producers had asked for time to rectify the situation, but the extension they negotiated was running out. Students are asked whether Cadbury should join with the industry to lobby for more time?  What else could Cadbury do to ensure its supply chain was ethically managed?

#5 - 360 State Real Options

Faculty Supervision: Matthew Spiegel

In 2010 developer Bruce Becker (SOM ‘85) completed 360 State Street, a major new construction project in downtown New Haven. Just west of the apartment building, a 6,000-square-foot pocket of land from the original parcel remained undeveloped. Becker had a number of alternatives to consider in regards to the site. He also had no obligation to build. He could bide his time. But Becker worried about losing out on rents should he wait too long. Students are asked under what set of circumstances and at what time would it be most advantageous to proceed?

#6 - Design at Mayo

Faculty Supervision: Rodrigo Canales and William Drentell

The case describes how the Mayo Clinic, one of the most prominent hospitals in the world, engaged designers and built a research institute, the Center for Innovation (CFI), to study the processes of healthcare provision. The case documents the many incremental innovations the designers were able to implement and the way designers learned to interact with physicians and vice-versa.

In 2010 there were questions about how the CFI would achieve its stated aspiration of “transformational change” in the healthcare field. Students are asked what would a major change in health care delivery look like? How should the CFI's impact be measured? Were the center's structure and processes appropriate for transformational change? Faculty have found this a great case to discuss institutional obstacles to innovation, the importance of culture in organizational change efforts, and the differences in types of innovation.

This case is freely available to the public.

#7 - Ant Financial

Faculty Supervision: K. Sudhir in cooperation with Renmin University of China School of Business

In 2015, Ant Financial’s MYbank (an offshoot of Jack Ma’s Alibaba company) was looking to extend services to rural areas in China by providing small loans to farmers. Microloans have always been costly for financial institutions to offer to the unbanked (though important in development) but MYbank believed that fintech innovations such as using the internet to communicate with loan applicants and judge their credit worthiness would make the program sustainable. Students are asked whether MYbank could operate the program at scale? Would its big data and technical analysis provide an accurate measure of credit risk for loans to small customers? Could MYbank rely on its new credit-scoring system to reduce operating costs to make the program sustainable?

#8 - Business Leadership in South Africa’s 1994 Reforms

Faculty Supervision: Ian Shapiro

This case examines the role of business in South Africa's historic transition away from apartheid to popular sovereignty. The case provides a previously untold oral history of this key moment in world history, presenting extensive video interviews with business leaders who spearheaded behind-the-scenes negotiations between the African National Congress and the government. Faculty teaching the case have used the material to push students to consider business’s role in a divided society and ask: What factors led business leaders to act to push the country's future away from isolation toward a "high road" of participating in an increasingly globalized economy? What techniques and narratives did they use to keep the two sides talking and resolve the political impasse? And, if business leadership played an important role in the events in South Africa, could they take a similar role elsewhere?

#9 - Shake Shack IPO

Faculty Supervision: Jake Thomas and Geert Rouwenhorst

From an art project in a New York City park, Shake Shack developed a devoted fan base that greeted new Shake Shack locations with cheers and long lines. When Shake Shack went public on January 30, 2015, investors displayed a similar enthusiasm. Opening day investors bid up the $21 per share offering price by 118% to reach $45.90 at closing bell. By the end of May, investors were paying $92.86 per share. Students are asked if this price represented a realistic valuation of the enterprise and if not, what was Shake Shack truly worth? The case provides extensive information on Shake Shack’s marketing, competitors, operations and financials, allowing instructors to weave a wide variety of factors into a valuation of the company.

#10 - Searching for a Search Fund Structure

Faculty Supervision: AJ Wasserstein

This case considers how young entrepreneurs structure search funds to find businesses to take over. The case describes an MBA student who meets with a number of successful search fund entrepreneurs who have taken alternative routes to raising funds. The case considers the issues of partnering, soliciting funds vs. self-funding a search, and joining an incubator. The case provides a platform from which to discuss the pros and cons of various search fund structures.

40 Most Popular Case Studies of 2017

Click on the case title to learn more about the dilemma. A selection of our most popular cases are available for purchase via our online store .

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  • v.11(2); 2022

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Defining case management success: a qualitative study of case manager perspectives from a large-scale health and social needs support program

Margae knox.

1 School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California, USA

Emily E Esteban

2 Contra Costa Health Services, Martinez, California, USA

Elizabeth A Hernandez

Mark d fleming, nadia safaeinilli, amanda l brewster, associated data.

No data are available. Data are not publicly available to protect potentially sensitive information. For data inquiries, please contact the corresponding author.

Health systems are expanding efforts to address health and social risks, although the heterogeneity of early evidence indicates need for more nuanced exploration of how such programs work and how to holistically assess program success. This qualitative study aims to identify characteristics of success in a large-scale, health and social needs case management program from the perspective of interdisciplinary case managers.

Case management program for high-risk, complex patients run by an integrated, county-based public health system.


30 out of 70 case managers, purposively sampled to represent their interdisciplinary health and social work backgrounds. Interviews took place in March–November 2019.

Primary and secondary outcome measures

The analysis intended to identify characteristics of success working with patients.

Case managers described three characteristics of success working with patients: (1) establishing trust; (2) observing change in patients’ mindset or initiative and (3) promoting stability and independence. Cross-cutting these characteristics, case managers emphasised the importance of patients defining their own success, often demonstrated through individualised, incremental progress. Thus, moments of success commonly contrasted with external perceptions and operational or productivity metrics.


Themes emphasise the importance of compassion for complexity in patients’ lives, and success as a step-by-step process that is built over longitudinal relationships.

What is already known on this topic?

  • Case management programs to support health and social needs have demonstrated promising yet mixed results. Underlying mechanisms and shared definitions of successful case management are underdeveloped.

What this study adds?

  • Case managers emphasised building trust over time and individual, patient-defined objectives as key markers of success, a contrast to commonly used quantitative evaluation metrics.

How this study might affect research, practice or policy?

  • Results suggest that lighter touch case management interventions face limitations without an established patient relationship. Results also support a need for alternative definitions of case management success including patient-centered measures such as trust in one’s case manager.


Health system efforts to address both health and social needs are expanding. In the USA, some state Medicaid programmes are testing payments for non-medical services to address transportation, housing instability and food insecurity. Medicaid provides healthcare coverage for lower income individuals and families, jointly funded by federal and state governments. Similarly, social prescribing, or the linking of patients with social needs to community resources, is supported by the UK’s National Health Service and has also been piloted by Canada’s Alliance for Healthier Communities. 1

A growing evidence base suggests promising outcomes from healthcare interventions addressing social needs. In some contexts, case managers or navigators providing social needs assistance can improve health 2 and reduce costly hospital use. 3–5 Yet systematic reviews also report mixed results for measures of health and well-being, hospitalisation and emergency department use, and overall healthcare costs. 6–9 Notably, a randomised trial of the Camden Care Coalition programme for patients with frequent hospitalisations due to medically and socially complex needs 10 found no difference in 180-day readmission between patients assigned to a care transitions programme compared with usual hospital postdischarge care. In the care transition programme, patients received follow-up from a multidisciplinary team of nurses, social workers and community health workers. The team conducted home visits, scheduled and accompanied patients to follow-up outpatient visits, helped with managing medications, coached patients on self-care and connected patients with social services and behavioural healthcare. The usual care group received usual postdischarge care with limited follow-up. 11 This heterogeneity of early evidence indicates a need for more nuanced explorations of how social needs assistance programmes work, and how to holistically assess whether programmes are successful. 12 13

Social needs case management may lead to health and well-being improvements through multiple pathways involving both material and social support. 14 15 Improvements are often a long-term, non-linear process. 16 17 At the same time, quality measures specific to social needs assistance programmes currently remain largely undefined. Studies often analyse utilisation and cost outcomes but lack granularity on interim processes and markers of success.

In order to translate a complex and context-dependent intervention like social needs case management from one setting to another, these interim processes and outcomes need greater recognition. 18–20 Early efforts to refine complex care measures are underway and call out a need for person-centred and goal-concordant measures. 21 Further research on how frontline social needs case managers themselves define successes in their work could help leaders improve programme design and management and could also inform broader quality measure development efforts.

Our in-depth, qualitative study sought to understand how case managers defined success in their work with high-risk patients. Case managers were employed by CommunityConnect, a large-scale health and social needs care management programme that serves a mixed-age adult population with varying physical health, mental health and social needs. Each case manager’s workflow includes an individualised, regularly updated dashboard of operational metrics. It is unclear, however, whether or how these operational factors relate to patient success in a complex care programme. Thus, the case managers’ perspectives on defining success are critical for capturing how programmes work and identifying essential principles.

Study design and setting

In 2017, the Contra Costa County Health Services Department in California launched CommunityConnect, a case management programme to coordinate health, behavioural health and social services for County Medicaid patients with complex health and social conditions. The County Health Services Department serves approximately 15% (180 000) of Contra Costa’s nearly 1.2 million residents. CommunityConnect enrollees were selected based on a predictive model, which leveraged data from multiple county systems to identify individuals most likely to use hospital or emergency room services for preventable reasons. Enrollees are predominantly women (59%) and under age 40 (49%). Seventy-seven per cent of enrollees have more than one chronic condition, particularly hypertension (42%), mood disorders (40%) and chronic pain (35%). 22 Programme goals include improving beneficiary health and well-being through more efficient and effective use of resources.

Each case manager interviewed in this study worked full time with approximately 90 patients at a time. Case managers met patients in-person, ideally at least once a month for 1 year, although patients sometimes continue to receive ongoing support at the case manager’s discretion in cases of continued need. Overall, up to 6000 individuals at a time receive in-person case management services through CommunityConnect, with approximately 200–300 added and 200–300 graduated per month. At the time of the study, CommunityConnect employed approximately 70 case managers trained in various public health and social work disciplines (see table 1 , Interview Sample). Case managers and patients are matched based on an algorithm that prioritises mental health history, primary language and county region.

Interview sample

Although case managers bring unique experience from their respective discipline, all are expected to conduct similar case management services. Services included discussing any unmet social needs with patients, coordinating applicable resources and partnering with the patient and patient’s care team to improve physical and emotional health. The programme tracks hospital and emergency department utilisation as well as patient benefits such as food stamps, housing or transportation vouchers and continuous Medicaid coverage on an overall basis. Each case manager has access to an individualised dashboard that includes operational metrics such as new patients to contact, and frequency of patient contacts, timeliness for calling patients recently discharged from the hospital, whether patients have continuous Medicaid coverage, and completion of social risk screenings.

Study recruitment

Semistructured interviews were conducted with 30 field-based case managers as part of the programme’s evaluation and quality improvement process. Participants included four mental health clinical specialists, five substance abuse counsellors, six social workers, nine public health nurses, four housing support specialists and two community health worker specialists. Case managers were recruited by email and selected based on purposive sampling to reflect membership across disciplines and experience working with CommunityConnect for at least 1 year. Three case managers declined to participate. Interviews ended when data saturation was achieved. 23

Interview procedures

Interviews were conducted by five CommunityConnect evaluation staff members (including EEE), who received training and supervision from the evaluation director (EH), who also conducted interviews. The evaluation staff were bachelor and masters-level trained. The evaluation director was masters-level trained and held prior experience in healthcare quality and programme planning.

The evaluation team drafted the interview guide to ask about a variety of work processes and experiences with the goal of improving programme operations including staff and patient experiences. Specific questions analysed for this study were (1) how case managers define success with a patient and (2) examples where case managers considered work with patients a success.

Interviews took place in-person in private meeting rooms at case managers’ workplace from March 2019 – November 2019. Interviews lasted 60–90 min and only the interviewer and case manager were present. All interviewers were familiar with CommunityConnect yet did not have a prior relationship with case managers. Case managers did not receive compensation beyond their regular salary for participating in the study and were allowed to opt out of recruitment or end the interview early for any reason. All interviews were audio recorded, transcribed and entered into Nvivo V.12 for analysis.

Patient and public involvement

This project focused on case manager’s perspectives and thus did not directly involve patients. Rather, patients were involved through case manager recollections of experiences working with patients.

Data analysis

We used an integrated approach to develop an initial set of qualitative codes including deductive coding of programme processes and concepts, followed by inductive coding of how case managers defined success. All interviews were coded by two researchers experienced in qualitative research (EEE and MK). Themes were determined based on recurrence across interviews and illustrative examples and being described by more than one case manager type. The two researchers identified preliminary themes independently, then consulted with one another to achieve consensus on final themes. Themes and supporting quotes were then presented to the full author team to ensure collective agreement that key perspectives had been included. Preliminary results were also shared at a staff meeting attended by case managers and other staff as an opportunity for feedback on study findings. This manuscript addresses the Standards for Reporting Qualitative Research, 24 and the Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative Research checklist is provided as an appendix. 25

All case manager participants provided informed consent. Research procedures were approved by the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center and Health Centers Institutional Review Committee (Protocol 12-17-2018).

Case managers frequently and across multiple roles mentioned three characteristics of success when working with patients: (1) establishing trust; (2) fostering change in patients’ mindset or initiative and (3) promoting stability and independence. Across these characteristics, case managers expressed that success is patient-defined, with individualised and often incremental progress—a contrast with external perceptions of success and common operational or productivity metrics (see figure 1 ).

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is bmjoq-2021-001807f01.jpg

Illustration of key themes.

Success is establishing trust

Trusting relationships were the most widely noted characteristic of success. Trust was described as both a product of case managers’ consistent follow-up and helpfulness over time and a foundational step to enable progress on patient-centred goals. To build trust, case managers explained, patients must feel seen and heard, and understand the case managers’ desire to help: ‘Success is to know that she knows me very well…I look for her on the streets, and I’m waiting for her to call me back. Hopefully she knows that when she’s ready I will be there at least to provide that resource for her and so it’s that personal relationship that you build’ (Case manager 11, social worker). Case managers also highlighted the longitudinal relationship required to establish trust, distinguishing success as more than one-time information delivery or navigating bureaucratic processes to procure services.

Case managers also identified trust as foundational to provide better support for patients: ‘So they’re as honest with me as they can be. That way I have a clear understanding about realistically what I can do to help them coordinate their care or link them to services.’ (Case manager 2, mental health clinician specialist). Establishing trust was essential to improve communication with patients and produced an amplifying effect. That is, a case manager’s initial help and follow-up builds trust so that patients can be more open, and open communication helps the case manager know what specific services can be most useful. This positive feedback loop further cements trust and builds momentum for a longitudinal relationship.

Permission to have a home visit was mentioned as a valuable indicator of early success in building trust: ‘(Your home is) your sanctuary’, expressed one case manager (Case manager 29, public health nurse), acknowledging the vulnerability of opening one’s home to an outsider. For another case manager, regular home visits in the context of a trusting relationship made the case manager aware of and able to address a difficult situation: ‘Every time I was going to her home, I was noticing more and more gnats flying around… She said it’s because of the garbage…’ After establishing trust, the patient allowed the case manager access to the bedroom where the case manager uncovered numerous soiled diapers. The case manager arranged professional cleaning and sanitation through CommunityConnect, after which, ‘there was room for a dance floor in her bedroom. There was so much room, and the look on her face, it was almost as if her chest got proud, just in that day. She didn’t seem so burdened…So that’s a success’ (Case manager 4, substance abuse counsellor). Across multiple examples, case managers expressed trust as a critical element for effective patient partnerships.

However, the pathways to building trust are less clear cut. Quick wins through tangible support such as a transportation voucher to a medical appointment could help engage a patient initially. Yet case managers more frequently emphasised strategies based on relationships over time. Strategies included expressing empathy (putting yourself in the patient’s shoes), demonstrating respect (especially when the patient has experienced disrespect in other health system encounters), keeping appointments, following through on what you say you will do, calling to check in and ‘being there’. Overall, case managers expressed that trust lets patients know they are not alone and sets the stage for future success.

Success is fostering a change in patients’ mindset or initiative

Case managers described a change in patients’ mindset or initiative as evidence of further success. One case manager explained, ‘Really (success) could be a switch in mind state… If I can get someone to consider addressing an issue. Or just acknowledging an issue. That’s progress’ (Case manager 24, substance abuse counsellor). Another case manager spoke to the importance of mindset by stating, ‘what I try to do is not just change the surface of life’. This case manager elaborated, ‘You help (a patient) get their housing and they’re gonna lose it again, unless they change; something changes in their mindset, and then they see things differently.’ (Case manager 6, mental health clinician specialist). Some case managers suggested that the supportive resources they provide are only band-aid solutions if unaccompanied by a changed mindset to address root causes.

Case managers reported that shared goals and plans are essential, in contrast to solutions identified by case managers without patient involvement. ‘I can’t do everything for them’, expressed one case manager (Case manager 21, public health nurse), while others similarly acknowledged that imposing self-improvement goals or providing resources for which a patient may not be ready may be counterproductive. Rather, one case manager emphasised, ‘I think it’s really important to celebrate people’s ideas, their beliefs, their own goals and values’. (Case manager 4, substance abuse counsellor). As an example, the case manager applauded a patient’s ideas of getting a driver’s license and completing an education certificate. In summary, case managers viewed success as a two-way street where patient’s own ideas and motivation were essential for long-term impact.

Success is promoting stability and independence

Case managers also identified patients’ stability and independence as a characteristic of success. One case manager stated, ‘I define success as having them be more independent in their just manoeuvring the system…how they problem solve’ (Case manager 30, public health nurse). Relative to the other characteristics of success, stability and independence more closely built on resources and services coordinated or procured by the case manager. For example, CommunityConnect provides cell phones free-of-charge to patients who do not currently have a phone or continuous service, which has helped patients build a network beyond the case manager: ‘Once we get them that cell phone then they’re able to make a lot of connections … linking to services on their own. They actually become a lot more confident in themselves is what I’ve seen’. (Case manager 23, substance abuse counsellor). In another example, a case manager helped a patient experiencing complex health issues to reconcile and understand various medications. For this patient stability means, ‘when he does go into the emergency room, it’s needed. … even though he’s taking his medication like he’s supposed to… it’s just his health gets bad. So, yea I would say that one (is a success)’ (Case manager 8, social worker). Thus, stability represents maintained, improved well-being, supported by care coordination and resources, even while challenges may still be present.

As a step further, ‘Absolute success’, according to one case manager, ‘(is when a patient) drops off my caseload and I don’t hear from them, not because they’re not doing well but because they are doing well, because they are independent’ (Case manager 12, social worker). Patients may still need periodic help knowing who to contact but can follow through on their own. This independence may arise because patients have found personal support networks and other resources that allow them to rely less and less on the case manager. While not all patients reach this step of sustained independence and stability, it is an accomplishment programmatically and for case managers personally.

Success is patient-defined, built on individualised and incremental progress

Case managers widely recognised that success comes in different shapes and sizes, dependent on their patient’s situation. Irrespective of the primary concern, many identified the patient’s own judgement as the benchmark for success. One case manager explained, ‘I define success with my patients by they are telling me it was a success. It’s by their expression, it’s just not a success until they say it’s a success for them’ (Case manager 7, social worker). In a more specific example, a case manager highlighted checking in with a patient instead of assuming a change is successful: ‘It’s not just getting someone housed or getting someone income. Like the male who we’re working towards reconciliation with his parents… that’s a huge step but if he doesn’t feel good about it… then that’s not a success.’ The same case manager elaborated, ‘it’s really engaging with the knowing where the patient him or herself is at mentally, for me. Yeah. That’s a success’ (Case manager 18, homeless services specialist). This comment challenges the current paradigm where, for example, if a patient has a housing need and is matched to housing, then the case is a success. Rather, case managers viewed success as more than meeting a need but also reciprocal satisfaction from the patient.

Often, case managers valued individualised, even if seemingly small, achievements as successes: ‘Every person’s different you know. A success could be just getting up and brushing their teeth. Sometimes success is actually getting them out of the house or getting the care they need’ (Case manager 28, social worker). Another case manager echoed, ‘(Success) depends on where they’re at … it runs the gamut, you know, but they’re all successes’ (Case manager 10, public health nurse). CommunityConnect’s interdisciplinary focus was identified as an important facilitator for tailoring support to individualised client needs. In contrast with condition-specific case management settings, for example, a case manager with substance abuse training noted, ‘whether someone wants to address their substance use or not, they still have these other needs, and (with CommunityConnect) I can still provide assistance’ (Case manager 24).

However, the individualised and incremental successes are not well captured by common case management metrics. One case manager highlighted a tension between operational productivity metrics and patient success, noting, ‘I get it, that there has to be accountability. We’re out in the field, I mean people could really be doing just a whole lot of nothing… (Yet), for me I don’t find the success in the numbers. I don’t think people are a number. Oh, look I got a pamphlet for you, I’m dropping it off… I don’t think that that is what’s really going to make this programme successful’ (Case manager 8, social worker). One case manager mentioned change in healthcare utilisation as a marker of success, but more often, case managers offered stories of patient success that diverge from common programme measures. For example, one case manager observed, ‘The clear (successes) are nice: when you apply for Social Security and they get it that’s like a hurrah. And then there’s other times it’s just getting them to the dentist’ (Case manager 28, social worker). Another case manager elaborated, ‘It’s not always the big number—the how many people did I house this year. It’s the little stuff like the fact that this 58-year-old woman who believes she’s pregnant and has been living outside for years and years, a victim of domestic violence, has considered going inside. Like that is gigantic’ (Case manager 18, homeless services specialist). Overwhelmingly, case managers defined success through the interpersonal relationship with their patients within patients’ complex, daily life circumstances.

Case managers’ definitions of success focused on establishing trust, fostering patients change in mindset or initiative, and, for some patients, achieving independence and stability. Examples of success were commonly incremental and specific to an individual’s circumstances, contrasting with programmatic measures such as reduction in hospital or emergency department utilisation, benefits and other resources secured, or productivity expectations. Study themes heavily emphasise the interpersonal relationship that case managers have with patients and underscore the importance of patient-centred and patient-defined definitions of success over other outcome measures.

Our results complement prior work on clinic-based programmes for complex patients. For example, interdisciplinary staff in a qualitative study of an ambulatory intensive care centre also identified warm relationships between patients and staff as a marker of success. 26 In another study interviewing clinicians and leaders across 12 intensive outpatient programmes, three key facilitators of patient engagement emerged: (1) financial assistance and other resources to help meet basic needs, (2) working as a multi-disciplinary care team and (3) adequate time and resources to develop close relationships focused on patient goals. 27 Our results concur on the importance of a multi-disciplinary approach, establishing trusting relationships, and pursuing patient-centred goals. Our results diverge on the role of resources to meet basic needs. Case managers in our study indicated that while connections to social services benefits and other resources help initiate the case manager-patient relationship, lasting success involved longer-term relationships in which they supported patients in developing patients’ own goal setting skills and motivation.

An important takeaway from case managers’ definitions of success is the ‘how’ they go about their work, in contrast to the ‘what’ of particular care coordination activities. For example, case managers emphasise interpersonal approaches such as empathy and respect over specific processes and resource availability. Primary care clinicians, too, have expressed how standard HEDIS or CAHPS quality metrics fail to capture, and in some cases disincentivise, the intuitions in their work that are important for high quality care. 28 29 Complex care management programmes must also wrestle with this challenge of identifying standards without extinguishing underlying quality constructs.

Strengths and limitations

This study brings several strengths, including bringing to light the unique, unexplored perspective of case managers working on both health and social needs with patients facing diverse circumstances that contribute to high-risk of future hospital or emergency department utilisation. The fact that our study explores perspectives across an array of case manager disciplines is also a strength, however a limitation is that we are unable to distinguish how success differed by discipline based on smaller numbers of each discipline in this study sample. Other study limitations include generalisability to other settings, given that all case managers worked for a single large-scale social needs case management programme. Comments around productivity concerns or interdisciplinary perspectives on ways to support patients may be unique to the infrastructure or management of this organisation. In addition, at the time of the study, all case managers were able to meet with patients in-person; future studies may explore whether definitions of success change when interactions become virtual or telephonic as occurred amidst COVID-19 concerns.

This study is the first to our knowledge to inquire about holistic patient success from the perspective of case managers in the context of a social needs case management programme. The findings offer important implications for researchers as well as policy makers and managers who are designing complex case management programmes.

Our results identify patient-directed goals, stability and satisfaction, as aspects of social needs case management which are difficult to measure but nonetheless critical to fostering health and well-being. Case managers indicated these aspects are most likely to emerge through a longer-term connection with their patients. Thus, while resource-referral solutions may play an important role in addressing basic needs, 30 our findings suggest that weak patient–referrer rapport may be a limitation for such lighter touch interventions. The need for sustained rapport building is also one explanation why longer time horizons may be necessary to show outcome improvements in rigorous studies. 16

Relatedly, results point to trusting relationships as an under-recognised and understudied feature of social needs case management. Existing research finds that patients’ trust in their primary care physician is associated with greater self-reported medication adherence 31 along with health behaviours such as exercise and smoking cessation. 32 Similar quantitative results have not yet been illuminated in social needs case management contexts, yet the prominence of trusting relationships in this study as well as other sources 26 27 33 34 suggests that measures of trust should be used to complement currently emphasised outcomes such as inpatient and outpatient utilisation. Future research and programme evaluation will need to develop new trust measurement or modify existing trust measures for the social needs case management context. 31 35

In summary, study themes provide waypoints of how to conceptualise programme design, new staff training and potential measurement development for complex case management programmes like CommunityConnect. Despite the broad swath of social needs addressed, case managers coalesced on establishing a trusting relationship as a necessary foundation to appropriately identify needs and facilitate connections. Second, fostering patients’ own ideas, including a change their mindset or initiative, was important to fully make use of programme resources. Third, supporting new-found independence or stability was a gratifying, but not universally achieved marker of success. Commonly, case managers highlighted moments of success with mindfulness toward small victories, illuminating that success is non-linear with no certain path nor single end point. Themes emphasise the importance of bringing compassion for the complexity in patients’ lives and developing collaborative relationships one interaction at a time.


The authors would like to thank the CommunityConnect evaluation team for their support conducting and transcribing interviews and applying preliminary coding, especially Gabriella Quintana, Alison Stribling, Julia Surges and Camella Taylor.

Contributors: MK coded and analysed qualitative data, identified key themes and related discussion areas, and drafted and critically revised the manuscript. EEE conducted interviews, coded and analysed qualitative data, and drafted and critically revised the manuscript. EH developed the study instrument, conducted interviews, supervised data collection, contributed to the data interpretation and critically revised the manuscript. MDF contributed to the interpretation and critically revised the manuscript. NS contributed to the interpretation and critically revised the manuscript. ALB contributed to the design and interpretation and critically revised the manuscript. All authors approve of the final version to be published.

Funding: MK was supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) under the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award T32 (T32HS022241). MDF was supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, grant # K01HS027648.

Disclaimer: Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of AHRQ. Funding had no role in the study’s design, conduct or reporting.

Competing interests: None declared.

Patient and public involvement: Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

Provenance and peer review: Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Data availability statement

Ethics statements, patient consent for publication.

Not applicable.

Ethics approval

This study involves human participants and was approved by Contra Costa Regional Medical Center and Health Centers Institutional Review Committee (Protocol 12-17-2018). Participants gave informed consent to participate in the study before taking part.

Management Skills in Providing Solutions to Problems Case Study

Introduction, case studies, theoretical overview, managerial skill, lessons and insights gained, reference list.

Management skills in an organization provide direction and facilitate achievement of goals. Challenges in the management can occur, and the management skills can be effective in preventing issues and providing solutions to problems. The following is a presentation of case studies and their possible solution. Theoretical overview, managerial skills and insights from the case study will also be discussed in the paper.

Listening case study

Listening is an important task in business and can have impacts on the organization. An analyst transfers accounts that were handled by a retired analyst. One of the clients whose account is transferred is Mrs. Crenshaw, a widow.

The two discuss her investments. Mrs. Crenshaw demonstrates fear that she did not have enough to support her in her old age, since she is in her late sixties. She demonstrates her interests in investing limited principle.

The analyst fails to note Mrs. Crenshaw fears and goes ahead to encourage Mrs. Crenshaw to invest higher principle which she quickly signs against. Mrs. Crenshaw was not interested in making changes and opted to be conservative.

Later on, the analyst faces the boss, David Sanders who after meeting with Mrs. Crenshaw son agree to delay changes. The analyst realized that he did not listen to Mrs. Crenshaw and he ended up losing the account to a senior analyst.

The analyst learnt his mistake of not listening and failure to detect the fears of Mrs. Crenshaw earlier. He may have been unable to note Mrs. Crenshaw concerns if he was unable to comprehend her perceived issue, had been given multiple tasks or had been overloaded with problems.

The significant task in listening was her fear in high risk investment, and lack of enough funds to sustain her. She signed the papers too quickly, and the analyst did not note that she was dissatisfied. The analyst can overcome the listening issues by increasing attentiveness, requesting for clarification and obtaining feedback.

Building teams case study

In his new job, Ben is placed in a new team. In his previous job, Ben tackled most of the team’s assignments alone in the team. He has high hopes of working in a team in his new job. Besides the team members having a great balance of diversity in specialization and background, the teams kick off well with good relationships and the members are assigned their work.

Communication plans and schedules are in order until the members are assigned individual work (, 2011). Before presenting the work, the team meets a day before to compile the work. Ben is disappointed since only one of the members has completed. The other team members had not completed their tasks.

Ben’s expectation of the team members is turned down, and he wishes he had tackled the team’s work individually. Not all members of the team are determined to achieve results. The team seems to be in social relationships that do not yield results at work. The problem occurred when the work was shared.

The situation could have been prevented if a meeting to check on progress was called a few weeks prior to the day of presentation. The issue can be solved if the team meets and they agree on presenting the best work. Consequently, the team can request for additional time to complete its task. The team should meet before presenting the final work. The group should encourage one another and complete the task as well as exhibit work that is well done.

Managing conflict case study

According to the case study, the employer and employees have a conflict on the management which can be resolved. The boss comes in late and reschedules the day’s program, which causes disorientation and wastage of time.

Time wasted causes the employee to be angry and dissatisfied with the days output. Confronting the boss on the issue is difficult and the employee fears that the boss might not change after all.

The frustration of disorganization can be alleviated if the employee seeks to understand the boss. They can initiate a conversation that will enable the employee get communication earlier in the day. In cases where communication and cooperation is not achievable, the employee can consider compromising.

The employee should avoid competition and choose to be understanding. Emotional communication should also be avoided. Moreover, assumptions should be evaded. Communication will be the most effective approach for the management conflict.

Power and politicking case study

Shane gains a promotion after demonstrating leadership skills. She is an excellent communicator and a skilled problem solver. Shane leads the team to solve decreased sales and mounting customer complains together with a team consisting of other employees. Shane’s presentation earns her a promotion. The team members distance themselves. Their behavior towards Shane changes too. The new position places Shane at a closer level with her boss Athena where their relationship is likely to be affected.

Shane’s performance in the given task seems to be the basis for the promotion. The management has confidence in his ability to be the leader. The rest of the team may perceive that Shane was given credit for the team’s efforts. Balancing of power in the organization will require communication from the senior management to avoid misunderstandings.

Raymond the manager should have made a clarification of Shane’s new position and stated what nature of relationship with the other managers will be expected. Shane can emphasize the team’s effort that was a success and encourage team work in his new position as they maintain the team spirit.

Leading and empowerment case study

Gail was hired in a manufacturing company as an office and production manager. Larry was her supervisor and the plant manager. In her new office, she learnt that employees were inefficient. Kathy one of the employees would come late, pick personal calls and request others to answer the calls in the office.

Larry demonstrated dissatisfaction with Kathy’s behavior in the office. Gail warned Kathy but, there was no change in her habit despite getting warning of termination from Gail. When Kathy was fired, she went to Larry’s office and after a long conversation; Larry said Kathy was not fired.

In another department, Gail made changes and the supervisor Maggie, failed to cooperate. Maggie revealed to Gail that she could only take instructions from Larry. This left Gail feeling undermined. Gail together with Larry ordered supplies for production. Larry was accused Gail of ordering, a task that Larry is in charge of.

The challenges Gail is facing can be overcome if Larry, the boss gains trust and confidence on Gail. There should be clarity in the hierarchy, and the responsibilities be clearly outlined. Healthy relationships can be established over time. Communication should be emphasized. The relevance of Gail position can be considered and then the reporting relationship be spelled out.

According to Friendman and Currall (2001, p. 32) conflict management skills are important in every organizational management. Conflict management consists of negotiations that lead to agreement. Conflict management enhances positive outcomes and reduces negative impacts involved in conflicts. Conflicts can be effectively managed if a balance between concerns for self and concerns for others are balanced. Successful conflict management leads to better results. Communication is an effective component of conflict management.

Reh (2011, p. 1) mentions that team building is an activity that involves motivating employees to work as a team and to view the benefits of team work as their personal benefits. Team building is a continuous process that requires participation of every team member. The team is rewarded as a group.

Cooperation and continued efforts are required for every member is made to understand the success of the team is their success. Setting goals and enhancing communication are important aspects in the team building. Team members can identify with the team’s success and gain motivation. Team members should be made to understand that their combined efforts will yield better results than individuals work.

Leadership and empowerment assists in increasing efficiency in the organization. A leader cannot be able to do all tasks without the assistance of their subordinates. A leader delegates work to be able to attain the organizational goals. A leader can motivate and empower others to accomplish tasks.

They need to trust and be confident that they will be able to achieve the desired results and support them when they need assistance. Communication increases clarity and facilitates the exchange of important information within the organization. Duties can be shared so that overlapping tasks and undesignated tasks are avoided. Responsibility is shared according to skills and ability (Holistic Management, 2008, p. 1).

Reh (2006, p. 1) indicates that listening is a significant skill in management. In communication, it is equally important to listen to others just as it is important to give information. Listening involves letting others talk as one pays attention. Therefore, the listener is able to deduce meaning from the person conveying the message. One can develop the correct perception of an issue and address a problem comprehensively by gaining more understanding.

Power and politicking in organization reflects in organizations. To have power means one can influence another. To increase one’s power in an organization, individuals have increased their skills and demonstrated that they are knowledgeable. Employees willingly support leaders whose power is acceptable than one who is coercive. Those who are able to politicize and gain the attention of their bosses as good at performance are able to gain promotion and power in an organization.

Management skills significantly aid in the achievement of goals and objectives in an organization. Management skills are important in production and management of the entire business process. Coordinating activities in an organization require the manger to have adequate information to make appropriate decisions.

Yau and Sculli (1990, p. 33) say that communication is an important skill that enables one to exchange information and gain more knowledge. Listening is part of communication and enables one to gain insights and derive meaning from provided information. Communication also involves making information available to the employees in the organization.

The vision and the goals can be communicated in advance. The hierarchical structure of the organization information can be provided. Individual’s role is clearly outlined to avoid misunderstandings.

Issues that arise in management can be solved, and the organizational goals be achieved. Listening to a client and understanding what they need is a managerial skill. Paying attentiveness and getting clarification is important in every business process. Team building requires motivation for every member.

The motivation can be achieved if every member sees the teams work as their success. Members should continually engage in team work for excellent results to be obtained.

Conflicts can be resolved if there is communication. To manage conflict, negotiations that lead to agreements and compromise are realized. Employees can master the politics and power relations in the organization and gain promotion. Gaining power over others may affect one’s relationship.

Employees can learn to maintain a relationship and recognize team work as collective success. Leaders can effectively delegate responsibilities and attain success. They can trust their employees to make the right decisions. Relationship between managers and their juniors can be clearly outlined.

The case studies provided demonstrate that challenges in management can be overcome. Essential skills as discussed include listening skills, team work, conflict management, understanding power and politics in an organization and adopting leadership and empowerment skills. Management skills improve performance and increase efficiency. Employees require motivation and can learn to maintain healthy relationships in the work place.

Ckbooks. (2011). Power and politics . Web.

Friendman, R. A., & Currall, S. C., (2000). What goes around comes around: The impact of personal conflict style on work conflict and stress . The international Journal of Conflict Management , 11 (1): 32-35. Web.

Holistic Management. (2008). Background information: leadership and empowerment . Web.

Reh, F. J. (2006). Listening is a vital management skill . Web.

Reh, F. J. (2011). Team building . Web.

Yau, W. S. L., and Sculli, D. (1990). Managerial traits and Skills. Journal of management Development , 9 (6): 32- 40.

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IvyPanda. (2024, January 19). Management Skills in Providing Solutions to Problems.

"Management Skills in Providing Solutions to Problems." IvyPanda , 19 Jan. 2024,

IvyPanda . (2024) 'Management Skills in Providing Solutions to Problems'. 19 January.

IvyPanda . 2024. "Management Skills in Providing Solutions to Problems." January 19, 2024.

1. IvyPanda . "Management Skills in Providing Solutions to Problems." January 19, 2024.


IvyPanda . "Management Skills in Providing Solutions to Problems." January 19, 2024.

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Leadership Case Studies

Here is a sample of three case studies from the book, Leadership Case Studies, that are most instructive and impactful to developing leadership skills.

Leadership Case Studies

For the past 30 years, I have conducted seminars and workshops and taught college classes on leadership.

I used a variety of teaching aids including books, articles, case studies, role-plays, and videos.

I recently created a book, Leadership Case Studies that includes some of the case studies and role-plays that I found to be most instructive and impactful.

Here is a sample of three case studies.

Peter Weaver Case Study

Peter Weaver doesn’t like to follow the crowd. He thinks groupthink is a common problem in many organizations. This former director of marketing for a consumer products company believes differences of opinion should be heard and appreciated. As Weaver states, “I have always believed I should speak for what I believe to be true.”

He demonstrated his belief in being direct and candid throughout his career. On one occasion, he was assigned to market Paul’s spaghetti-sauce products. During the brand review, the company president said, “Our spaghetti sauce is losing out to price-cutting competitors. We need to cut our prices!”

Peter found the courage to say he disagreed with the president. He then explained the product line needed more variety and a larger advertising budget. Prices should not be cut. The president accepted Weaver’s reasoning. Later, his supervisor approached him and said, “I wanted to say that, but I just didn’t have the courage to challenge the president.”

On another occasion, the president sent Weaver and 16 other executives to a weeklong seminar on strategic planning. Weaver soon concluded the consultants were off base and going down the wrong path. Between sessions, most of the other executives indicated they didn’t think the consultants were on the right path. The consultants heard about the dissent and dramatically asked participants whether they were in or out. Those who said “Out” had to leave immediately.

As the consultants went around the room, every executive who privately grumbled about the session said “In.” Weaver was fourth from last. When it was his turn, he said “Out” and left the room.

All leaders spend time in reflection and self-examination to identify what they truly believe and value. Their beliefs are tested and fine-tuned over time. True leaders can tell you, without hesitation, what they believe and why. They don’t need a teleprompter to remind them of their core beliefs. And, they find the courage to speak up even when they know others will disagree.

  • What leadership traits did Weaver exhibit?
  • If you were in Weaver’s shoes, what would you have done?
  • Where does courage come from?
  • List your three most important values.

Dealing with a Crisis Case Study

Assume you are the VP of Sales and Marketing for a large insurance company. Once a year your company rewards and recognizes the top 100 sales agents by taking them to a luxury resort for a four-day conference. Business presentation meetings are held during the morning. Afternoons are free time. Agents and spouses can choose from an assortment of activities including golf, tennis, boating, fishing, shopping, swimming, etc.

On day 2 at 3:00 p.m., you are at the gym working out on the treadmill, when you see Sue your administrative assistant rushing towards you. She says, “I need to talk to you immediately.”

You get off the treadmill and say, “What’s up?” Sue states, “We’ve had a tragedy. Several agents went boating and swimming at the lake. Randy, our agent from California died while swimming.”

(Background information – Randy is 28 years old. His wife did not come on the trip. She is home in California with their three children).

  • Explain what you would communicate to the following people.
  • Your Human Resources Department
  • The local police
  • The attendees at the conference (Would you continue the conference?)
  • How will you notify Randy’s wife?
  • If Randy’s wife and a few family members want to visit the location of Randy’s death, what would you do?
  • What are some “guiding principles” that leaders need to follow in a crisis situation?

 Arsenic and Old Lace Case Study

Review the YouTube video, “ I’ll show them who is boss Arsenic and Old Lace.”   

Background Information

The Vernon Road Bleaching and Dyeing Company is a British lace dyeing business. It was purchased in bankruptcy by the father/son team of Henry and Richard Chaplin. Richard has been acting as “Managing Director” which is the same as a general manager or president of a company.

The company has had 50-to-150 employees with 35-to-100 being shop floor, production employees. The company produces and sells various dyed fabrics to the garment industry.

Gerry Robinson is a consultant who was asked to help transform methods of conducting business to save the company.

Jeff is the factory manager.

  • What are Richard’s strengths and weaknesses as a leader?
  • What could Richard have done to make the problems of quality and unhappy customers more visible to the workforce?
  • What do you think Richard’s top three priorities should be for the next 12 months?
  • What could Richard have done to motivate the workforce?
  • Evaluate Jeff’s approach and effectiveness as a leader.

The book contains 16 case studies, four role-plays, and six articles. I hope you find some of the content useful and helpful in your efforts to teach leadership.

Click for additional leadership case studies and resources .


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UGG Steps into the Metaverse

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Metaverse Wars

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Timnit Gebru: "SILENCED No More" on AI Bias and The Harms of Large Language Models

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SmartOne: Building an AI Data Business

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Target: Responding to the Recession

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Hometown Foods: Changing Price Amid Inflation

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Elon Musk's Big Bets

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Elon Musk: Balancing Purpose and Risk

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Tesla's CEO Compensation Plan

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China Rapid Finance: The Collapse of China's P2P Lending Industry

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Forbidden City: Launching a Craft Beer in China

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Innovation at Uber: The Launch of Express POOL

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Racial Discrimination on Airbnb (A)

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GitLab and the Future of All-Remote Work (A)

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TCS: From Physical Offices to Borderless Work

Creating a virtual internship at goldman sachs.

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Unilever's Response to the Future of Work

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Leading Change in Talent at L'Oreal

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Eve Hall: The African American Investment Fund in Milwaukee

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United Housing - Otis Gates

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Insurer of Last Resort?: The Federal Financial Response to September 11

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Under Armour

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Hunley, Inc.: Casting for Growth

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Bitfury: Blockchain for Government

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Deutsche Bank: Pursuing Blockchain Opportunities (A)

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Maersk: Betting on Blockchain

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Yum! Brands

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Bharti Airtel in Africa

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Li & Fung 2012

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Sony and the JK Wedding Dance

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United Breaks Guitars

David dao on united airlines.

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Marketing Reading: Digital Marketing

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Social Strategy at Nike

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The Tate's Digital Transformation

Social strategy at american express, mellon financial and the bank of new york.

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The Walt Disney Company and Pixar, Inc.: To Acquire or Not to Acquire?

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Dow's Bid for Rohm and Haas

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Finance Reading: The Mergers and Acquisitions Process

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Apple: Privacy vs. Safety? (A)

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Sidewalk Labs: Privacy in a City Built from the Internet Up

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Data Breach at Equifax

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Apple's Core

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Design Thinking and Innovation at Apple

  • Barbara Feinberg

Apple Inc. in 2012

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Iz-Lynn Chan at Far East Organization (Abridged)

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Barbara Norris: Leading Change in the General Surgery Unit

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Adobe Systems: Working Towards a "Suite" Release (A)

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Case Study: Fundamentals of Management- Building Critical Skills for Managers

Whether an individual is a new manager or managing a new group of people, there are certain skills that help him/her make a successful transition.  Many of those skills, such as managing conflict  and effective communication , are common among companies.  However, each company will have other unique needs based on their culture, business, and overall performance expectations.

Working with a client, a leader in their industry, MCG Partners and Cheryl Jacobs developed and customized a training program for new managers centered on four key topics.

We developed a Problem Solving and Decision Making program  that guided participants through a process to improve their critical thinking and to help them make faster and better decisions.

As business grows and performance demands increase, new managers were having challenges managing their time, including effective calendar management and when/how to delegate.   In the Time Management   module, Cheryl helped managers identify and manage their priorities, how to overcome procrastination and develop their own personal customized time management plan.

Like many businesses, meetings in this organization are used to brainstorm solutions, give updates, and solve problems.  Beginning with the end in mind, Cheryl presented an Effective Meetings  framework to understand the meeting type and structure key elements in meeting planning and follow up to accomplish the meeting’s goal.

The entire program culminated with a presentation to the organization’s Senior Team.   With a multi step Presentation Skills  session, MCG Partners provided the participants with a plan to help craft their message effectively and to practice his/her delivery and receive feedback and coaching on key areas.

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  1. (PDF) Time Management

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  22. Case Study: Fundamentals of Management- Building Critical Skills for

    Case Study: Fundamentals of Management- Building Critical Skills for Managers. Whether an individual is a new manager or managing a new group of people, there are certain skills that help him/her make a successful transition. Many of those skills, such as managing conflict and effective communication, are common among companies.

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