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The impact of groupware on the case method in management education

, The Claremont Graduate University, United States

The Claremont Graduate University . Awarded


The case method, in which students offer solutions to complex, issue-oriented problems based on actual situations, is widely used in management education. For example, over five million Harvard Business School cases are sold each year. Cases are usually assigned to study groups who work on the problem jointly. In the case of part-time and executive MBA students who are employed full time, the students are physically dispersed over a wide area. In a number of programs students are located world-wide. The result is that students face serious logistic difficulties in solving cases through face to face group meetings and interaction. The advent of groupware and the availability of Harvard cases in computer based electronic form makes it possible for groups to overcome these difficulties and meet electronically. The purpose of the present research is to study whether these innovations enhance the quality of the solutions and the processes used to arrive at them.

A controlled experiment was performed using 208 working managers in 48 study groups enrolled in an executive management degree program. Approximately half of the group were provided with groupware and electronic cases that allowed group members to form a team using computer-mediated communications for their work even though they were separated by time and space. The remainder of the groups worked in the usual face to face case solving mode. The experiment was 'one-shot' in that it involved solving only one case electronically.

The results show that computer-based groupware improved the quality of case preparation and analysis for part-time students. In also supported previous research that, even though their performance improved, students with a single electronic experience gave higher satisfaction ratings to the conventional case methods which are characterized by face-to-face meetings than the electronic meetings. However, the difference in satisfaction between electronic and conventional meetings was smaller than in any previous study.

The implication of these results is that groupware offers a new way of delivering management education effectively.


Morrissey, C.A. The impact of groupware on the case method in management education. Ph.D. thesis, The Claremont Graduate University. Retrieved March 22, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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