I have as a practice relied on participant derived cases. I have found a
coolness among a significant portion of any class towards generic cases from
none participant sources. The way we develop cases is through an augmented
PLAN-DO-CHECK-ACT cycle. Within the class I find many participants don't see
clearly where to come into this type of cycle as they are not ready to plan.
The use of shared vision, community building and dialogue seems to be needed
before this cycle can get off the ground. Time for the longer dialogue process
is not possible within the workshop/class setting. What we have used is an
added step to the above cycle of DEFINE as the door to the cycle for developing
"living case studies". The definitional process is divided into the following
1. Individual Written Reflective Identification of Concerns - Each participant
identifies areas of key issues or concerns.
2. Describing the Issues or Concerns - Each issue or concern is briefly
described to the whole group.
3. Grouping of Participants - Participants are divided into groups of three to
four(four is preferable for discussion, larger is too large usually).
4. Group Decision for Discussion - The groups then select one of the possible
(3 to 4) issues or concerns that is of interest to them.
5. Getting the Facts - Using open-ended questioning the members querie the
selected issue(the group members whose issue was selected) of focus for
information on what happened. As in; where did the issue start or first arise
or where and when did the last occurance happen, waht were the steps or events
that occcurred next, etc.. The stress here is on getting just the facts (no
opinions as to motivation or underlying assumptions). Just the observable
events (as de-personalized as possible, without editorial comments).
6. Application for Planning -
Once the sequence of events is outlined and understood the group then uses
the collected information as a working ground for using the new
knowledge/skills/abilities that are being learned in the class.
7. Large Group Presentations - The results of this process are collected on
flipchart paper, posted, and presented to the large group with clarification
and discussion as necessary.
The last step leads directly into the planning step of the larger planning
cycle and is an opportunity to apply the new learning to a interesting and
compelling issue that the participants can follow through on in the real
I have used this process in every management class I have taught and also with
workshops for development of boards of directors.
Let me know if this is of help. This is the first edition of the written form
for this process. I have been doing and not writing. The response has been
consistently positive and what I see happen within the workshop is a clear
focusing on the issues and not on the presentation. They get an opportunity to
test the material against their real world right from the beginning.
We don't have time to do it right! We have time to do it over!
Jim Campbell Email: Campbell@HG.ULeth.CA
Phone: (403) 329-2753 Fax: (403) 329-2685
Training & Development, Human Resources
University of Lethbridge
4401 University Dr., Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada T1K 3M4
ENTP ----------------- Easy to get to know, Hard to understand!!!