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Welcome to the Student Case Study Resources page. Thank you for reviewing the
The case study method is a very effective way of helping you think critically to apply the concepts you have learned in your studies at university. There is one Student Workbook for each case. Please click on the content domain headline to see the list of cases for which you may download the Student Workbook.
By Sandra M. Reed, SPHR
Today, HR professionals are responsible for programs far beyond the profession’s administrative personnel roots. They are expected to measure the success or failure of HR practices based on the achievement of organizational outcomes. Brand identity, bottom-line profitability, employee job satisfaction, and increased management focus are all outcomes that can be achieved, in part, through an organization’s total rewards program. This case examines two very different organizations and how they align their total rewards programs with their organizational goals and values. This case study is of moderate difficulty for an undergraduate audience. A student workbook is available to download.
By Lisa A. Burke, Ph.D., SPHR
Compensation is a critical area of human resource (HR) management, and one that can greatly affect employee behavior. To be effective, compensation must be perceived by employees as fair, competitive in the market, accurately based, motivating and easy to understand. This case is rated as slightly challenging and requires familiarity with and use of the Internet and Microsoft Excel. Instructors can make the case and associated exercises less challenging by eliminating certain tasks assigned in the case, or may increase the difficulty by adding other relevant tasks and questions. Teaching notes accompany the case. Instructors who have previously taught compensation courses, are familiar with the Internet and Excel, have work experience with pay systems, or who conduct research in compensation area may find the case easier to facilitate. A student workbook is available to download.
By Rita Rizzo, M.S., CMC
This case explores the socioeconomic differences among employees of a family-owned pool and spa contracting and supply store. The enterprise employs 53 workers; 20 skilled workers from the middle class, 30 unskilled workers from the poverty class, and the family of three who owns the store and who come from wealth class. Due to high employee turnover, customer service complaints, scheduling overruns, low morale, and frequent miscommunication, the company owners try to create more synergy and cooperation among the ranks. The case study will take three 50-minute classes to complete and is written for an undergraduate audience.
A student workbook is available to download.
By Patrick P. McHugh, Ph.D.
This case promotes learning about the labor relations process in the United States. The case follows the actual efforts of undergraduate resident assistants (RAs) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass Amherst) who sought to be represented by the United Auto Workers union for collective bargaining purposes. The case highlights:
The case is designed for undergraduate or graduate students in an introductory or survey HRM course and can be used as a complementary case for an undergraduate or graduate labor relations course.
Under the assumption that the class meets twice a week for 1.5 hours per session, the instructor can cover the entire case in one full class session or divide it into two, covering it in half of two class sessions. Instructors can easily adjust the case for different class time-bands. However, at least 1.5 hours of class time should be allotted for coverage and discussion of the case.
By Rita Rizzo, M.S., CMC
This case study, written for undergraduate students, is based on generational differences in a metropolitan children’s museum. Employees from various generations experience communication challenges, differing values systems, disparate approaches to work and interpersonal conflict. Learners assume different generation roles and address these issues in a team setting. By the end of the case, learners explore the preferred communication methods and styles to use to be effectively heard and understood in each generation, identify the work ethic characteristics of each generation in today’s workplace, respond to generational differences that affect workplace performance and productivity, and collaborate with others to create and sustain a work environment that capitalizes on generational diversity. This module requires three 50-minute classes to complete.
By Alan Cabelly, Ph.D.
The Fallsburg School Negotiations simulation provides students with the opportunity to negotiate a complex labor agreement in a relatively short period of time. This simulation has been extensively pretested. It has been used by one instructor in approximately 16 different negotiations classes with 300-400 students participating over a span of 10 years. Students have been both undergraduate business students and MBA students; the typical classroom setting has been a 2½-day workshop where the entire focus of the class is negotiation.
By Patrick P. McHugh, Ph.D.
This exercise explores the labor relations process in the United States, including union organizing, contract negotiations and contract administration. In the United States, the labor relations process is a set of interdependent activities guided by an often confusing regulatory framework, the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). This exercise will help instructors navigate students through the labor relations process in an effective and engaging way.
Students are given the opportunity to form a fictitious union (the Student Solidarity Union) and engage in collective bargaining with the instructor over the terms and conditions of the final exam. The rules governing the exercise are based on the Student Collective Bargaining Act (SCBA), a fictitious act created to help students understand the NLRA and the labor relations process. It identifies the rights of students and instructors regarding the collective bargaining process over the final exam.
The exercise follows the labor relations process and, as such, is a progressive exercise.
The exercise is geared to undergraduate students in an introductory or survey HRM course.
By Peter G. Dominick, Ph.D.
This case provides an opportunity to look at how several different factors interact to affect conflict and team performance. These include contextual issues like a merger, cultural values and physical location. They also include team dynamics and leadership and, last but not least, intrapersonal and interpersonal needs and concerns. Remind students that the case is presented largely from the perspectives of the Americans involved.
By Gill Maxwell
Changing demographics in the U.S. labor force and in other developed countries such as the United Kingdom (U.K.) and recruitment challenges in some organizations have encouraged more employers to consider work-life balance and flexible working arrangements. Developed for an undergraduate audience, this case study series explores flexible working arrangements in five different organizations located in Scotland in the U.K. A student workbook is available to download.
By Gwendolyn M. Combs, Ph.D.
The workplace is becoming more diverse as global operations and immigration becomes more widespread. The management of religious differences and the interface of varying religious beliefs and management practice are profound concerns for many HR professionals. Written for an upper-level undergraduate or graduate audience, this case describes a situation involving an employee’s religious beliefs and the allegations of racial harassment which result.
By Wayne Cascio, Ph.D.
Raymond Marcos, chief diversity officer at Aetna, is preparing to make a presentation to the company’s board of directors at its mid-December meeting. In a deteriorating economic environment that seems to be global in its reach, the board is looking to cut expenses in any way possible. To do that, it is reviewing every major company business initiative. Diversity is one such initiative, and the board wants to understand the business case for it. It also wants to see a clear plan to measure outcomes, including systems and data. Raymond knows that some of the board members are relatively new, that almost all of them are independent directors from outside the company and that they may not have a deep understanding of the historical roots of Aetna’s diversity efforts or the objectives of those efforts. At the same time, he is eager to showcase the company’s diversity initiatives and their results, both direct and indirect.
Click here to download this case study.
Note: Development of this case was made possible by a grant from the Society for Human Resource Management and the National Academy of Human Resources. All of the characters in the case are fictitious. Information presented was current as of the time the case was written. Any errors are solely the author’s.
By Steve Weingarden, Ph.D.
This case study provides a history and overview of organizational design (OD). Students will use the information in the overview to complete an exercise as a hypothetical organizational design consultant working with a real company of their choice. Students will read about the definition and purpose of organizational design, methods of measurement, six models of organizational structure and two models on how to apply organizational structure principles.
This case is intended for advanced undergraduate students. Students studying human resources (HR) will likely benefit most, but general business students should gain insight from the case, particularly regarding the role of HR in organizational design.
Download the student workbook.
This item may be reproduced free of charge for use in HR classrooms in colleges and universities, in training classrooms in the workplace or in any other learning environment where HR knowledge is taught. For all other uses, requesters are directed to the “Obtain reuse/copying permission” button that appears in the Tools box on this item.
By John W. Boudreau, Ph.D.
In early 2003, Randy MacDonald, the senior vice president of human resources for IBM Corporation, was reviewing his recent meeting with Sam Palmisano, the CEO of IBM. Randy had been the chief HR executive at IBM since 2000, joining when Lou Gerstner was in the middle of his tenure as IBM’s CEO. Sam and Randy discussed IBM’s strategic view of the evolution of global markets, IBM’s strategic position as a leader in global transformation and the evolving needs of IBM’s clients. Sam coined the phrase “Globally Integrated Enterprise” (GIE) to describe what he had in mind. He foresaw that IBM’s clients would increasingly be moving toward a GIE and that IBM needed to get ahead of that trend. This had implications for every aspect of IBM, including significant implications for IBM’s supply chain, IT systems, strategy, marketing and services development and deployment. Underlying all of these implications were significant challenges for IBM’s human capital and its approach to human resource management. This three-part case examines the strategic issues and the solutions IBM examined and implemented to meet the changing nature of their business and client needs.
To download this case, click on Part A, Part B, and Part C.
Click here for a biography about the author of this case, John W. Boudreau, Ph.D.
By Fiona Robson, Ph.D.
This case, based on a fictional U.K.-based organization, gives learners the opportunity to think about key decisions involved in international assignments and to transfer their knowledge of domestic HR issues to an international context. Students will learn about the main elements and issues related to international assignments; when it is appropriate to use expatriate workers; the skills and knowledge needed by expatriate workers; and how organizations can prepare expatriate managers to succeed in an international assignment.
By Julia Storberg-Walker, Ph.D.; Diane Chapman, Ph.D.; and James Bartlett III, Ph.D
This case study, written for graduate-level students, takes learners into the real-world of human resource (HR) consulting. Learners assume the role of an HR consultant to help a fictitious organization improve its performance. Three different consulting challenges comprise this case; each challenge can be used individually or be offered as one comprehensive assignment to solve all three segments of the case. Learners will explore how to become a strategic HR partner; develop collaborations with external training providers; and integrate evaluation into standard operating procedures.
Three documents comprise this case: a student workbook, a management/office staff dataset in Excel and a manufacturing staff dataset in Excel. The datasets should be used as indicated in the case study.
By Myrna L. Gusdorf, MBA, SPHR
PAC Resources is a fictional organization that experiences many of the difficulties common in today’s business climate. In response to declining sales, PAC Resources must transform itself from a strategy of expansion and high profit to one of cost containment and staff reductions. The case is presented in two parts. Part I lays the groundwork for the case, with discussion of the organization and details of the human resource department. Part II is presented in e-mails from various staff members. The e-mails identify specific problems that need to be addressed by the HR department and give the reader an understanding of PAC’s overall culture.
This case is appropriate for upper-level undergraduate or graduate students in a human resource (HR) management or business management degree program. At a minimum, students should have previously completed lower-division classes in HR management, introduction to business and principles of management.
By Rick Holden and Vivienne Griggs
There is a wealth of literature exploring power and influence in organizations. These cases examine the effect of these issues on the role and effectiveness of human resource development (HRD). The goal is to explore the reality of HRD in organizations and in doing so, highlight tensions that emerge when theory is applied to actual practice. The cases are based on interviews with one or two key people in each organization as part of a wider research project.
By John Sherlock, Ph.D.
This case describes a growing mid-size U.S. company in the Southeast in the fitness club industry. The recently hired HR director is given the opportunity by the organization’s CEO to propose HR initiatives to help the business meet its strategic goals. The case gives HR students the opportunity to deepen their understanding of strategic HR management. The case is divided into Parts A & B to allow flexibility of covering the case either one part at a time or in its entirety, depending on the content and schedule of a course.
By Fiona Robson, Ph.D.
This case study, based on a real organization but fictionalized organization in the U.K., explores training and development issues. Students will learn how to identify the components of an effective training program; understand what must be considered when designing a training program; compare the soft and hard skills required by the appraisers and appraisees in this case study; identify the vital role of appraisees in an effective performance management program; and how to effectively evaluate a training program.
Download the student workbook for this case.
Note: Southwood School is a three-part case intended to be taught in succession beginning with Performance Management, then followed by Training and Development then Recruitment and Selection. Instructors have the flexibility to use one, two or three of the cases depending on need.
By Steve Weingarden, Ph.D.
This case encourages students to consider organizational development needs when creating a leadership development philosophy and an associated leadership development design.
The Toy Research Society (TRS), a nonprofit organization, has been in existence for more than 70 years. The organization's mission has remained the same during this time, but the membership, the use of the Society by nonmembers and the competitive landscape have changed substantially. Driven primarily by a board of directors and regional volunteer leaders, the Society has never had a formal leadership development philosophy. Now, the long-time president has retired, and TRS leaders are reflecting on how to prepare for the future, especially with increased calls for leadership role clarity and more delegation of work to members. As a member, you have the opportunity to develop the needed leadership strategy.
Target Audience: This is a scenario-based case study with an optional exercise. It is intended for upper-level undergraduate students studying organizational development or behavior, leadership development or human resource development. Students in more "generalist" HR courses may find this case too removed from mainstream HR to fit their needs and may find the content too challenging.
By Paula Caligiuri, Ph.D., and William Castellano, Ph.D.
This case study examines homebuilder K. Hovnanian’s approach to acquisitions, with a focus on how the organization retains key intangible assets – such as leaders’ knowledge and social capital – of their acquired companies. It introduces learners to the HR and business strategy issues associated with acquisitions. By the end of the case study, students will be able to identify HR’s role in retaining intangible assets during a strategic acquisition; understand the challenges to managing acquisitions when retaining key intangible assets is a strategic goal; develop HR strategies and implementation plans to integrate the intangible assets of both organizations; and address key HR challenges during the post-acquisition phase.
Click here to download the student workbook for this case study.
By Steve Weingarden, Ph.D.
In this scenario-based case study, undergraduate business or HR majors explore how to diagnose organizational issues, particularly as they apply to talent management and organizational socialization and onboarding. Students will learn how to judge the accuracy of opinions versus data; develop an approach to gather meaningful data; understand the importance of having a strategy to develop a diverse talent pool of qualified candidates; and learn the importance of onboarding and socialization in job satisfaction and retention.
By Fiona Robson, Ph.D.
This case study examines the implementation of a new performance management system designed specifically for support staff at a school in the United Kingdom. This is the first part of a three part case about Southwood Schools and implementation of its new performance management system.
By Fiona Robson, Ph.D.
This case study, based on a real but fictionalized organization in the U.K., was developed to provide resources to promote learning and understanding in the areas of recruitment and selection. It is geared toward an undergraduate audience.
Click here to download the student workbook file for this case.
By Marcia R. Gibson, Ed.D.
In this series of four case scenarios on recruitment and retention, undergraduate students are presented with business-based scenarios and are asked to consider the staffing requirements for a new project. Students will learn to determine recruitment needs; identify recruitment policies and guidelines; determine a recruitment strategy and develop a communication plan to implement the new recruitment strategy.
This case includes the case scenarios in a student workbook.
By Francine K. Schlosser, Ph.D.
This case explores physician attraction issues in a mid-size Canadian city located in Southwestern Ontario, Canada. To address a severe physician shortage, city leaders must create a compelling vision of the benefits incoming doctors might anticipate when opening practices in their area. Students will identify how to improve the current recruitment strategy; develop interview and discussion points for incoming and visiting candidates to ensure a position-person fit; and develop customized recruitment strategies.
By Alan Cabelly, Ph.D.
This case focuses on two key organizational issues: Staffing decisions (Case A) and performance management (Case B). Related issues include the relationship between staffing and performance management, managerial control and decision making, termination decisions and the role of an established group in new employee socialization. Instructors can focus on staffing, performance management or both.
The case is based on a real case; students will be intrigued to find out what happened in the actual situation. It can be analyzed by using a traditional Harvard style analysis, by having students develop staffing and coaching techniques or through the use of role plays. These methods can be combined.
This case can be adapted for use by undergraduate or graduate students in either an advanced organizational behavior course or any level human resource management course.
By Steve Weingarden, Ph.D.
This is a scenario-based case study with a structured exercise available. It is intended for upper-level undergraduate students, preferably with a basic understanding of organizational structure and selection. Upper-level undergraduate students will engage in a case study about succession planning management—specifically at the executive level in a highly public situation—and job analysis.
By Barbara McIntosh, Ph.D., SPHR
Shifting demographics, the changing nature of work and the emerging platforms to achieve productivity, including technology and workplace flexibility, are increasing the need for strategic human resource (HR) management and planning. Understanding the issues related to an aging workforce is central in this planning process. Economic conditions, uncertainty in the labor market, and intergenerational
dynamics are changing both employer and employee expectations about the role of work, and the impact of these volatile forces on employment remains uncertain. The issues are particularly complex because of the regulatory and legal environment, productivity demands, and established HR policies and practices. This course examines labor market dynamics, labor force participation patterns, evolving
employer policies and practices, and changing employee expectations. Particular emphasis is placed on current best practices and emerging trends regarding older workers.
Two case studies are included as part of this course. Click on each link below to access the desired document:
Gardens for All Supply Company: Older Workers as a Tactical Advantage for Business
General Appliances: An Aging Workforce Case Study
The development of these case studies was made possible through the support from a grant from the
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
By Steve Riccio, Ed.D., SPHR
Competencies: Relationship Management; Communication
Central Columbia Hospital was founded in 1889 as a nonprofit, community based health care facility in northeastern Pennsylvania. This 116-bed, acute care facility employs 963 employees and is nestled along the Susquehanna River’s northern branch in Briar Creek. The facility provides general medical and surgical services to the surrounding community of approximately 70,000 people. The hospital is proud of its tradition of upholding its mission to these communities by providing comprehensive health care services in a compassionate, caring and cost-effective manner while maintaining the highest level of professional excellence. The hospital is in the process of a yearlong celebration commemorating its 125th anniversary. They are experiencing a fair number of interesting HR issues presented in five individual cases.
On this site, the student workbooks are available for students to download.
Each scenario includes question sets for undergraduate and graduate students. Your instructor may assign additional questions as well. The scenarios are as follows:
By Steve Riccio, Ed.D., SPHR
This case study was used for the case solving competitions held at five regional student conferences in March and April of 2014.
The case involves a fictional organization.
Founded in 1881, Hudson College is a private liberal arts institution located in Beacon, New York. Hudson is a four-year undergraduate institution accredited through the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. One of its strengths is its strong partnership with the vibrant Beacon community. Hudson has been challenged by the difficult economic climate, increased competition among schools within and outside its peer group, and external pressure from its key stakeholders. The college's current strategic plan outlined an ambitious agenda focused on diversity and inclusion, a reenergized commitment to increasing the school's affinity among its alumni, and a multiyear capital project initiative that includes new construction and renovations to support the academic and residential experiences for students. Some faculty and administrative staff believe recent retirements and resignations of individuals in key positions have affected employee morale and the college's reputation of providing outstanding service to its students.
The case begins with introductory information about the organization and is then divided into five scenarios. Each scenario includes question sets for undergraduate and graduate students. Debriefs are included with each scenario.
Click on any of the following to download the desired scenario:
By Myrna L. Gusdorf, MBA, SPHR
This case study was used for the case solving competitions held at five regional student conferences in March and April of 2013.
The Georges Hotel is a small upscale boutique hotel located along the Magnificent Mile in Chicago. It is owned by two brothers, Jeff and Chad Mitchell. The Georges was rebuilt from an old hotel that was badly in need of repair when the Mitchells purchased it from a major hotel chain in 1995. After extensive renovation, the property was reopened as the Georges Hotel and has operated profitably since 1998. As the case opens, the Mitchells are preparing to acquire another run-down hotel in Chicago. It too will be renovated and reopened. This will be the second Georges Hotel in what they anticipate will be a small chain of Georges Hotels located in major cities across the country.
Click any of the following to download the desired scenario:
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