Welcome to Case Matters, the e-Bulletin of the International Journal of Instructional Cases


With this issue, we are particularly excited to be launching our first case competition. With a prize of US$250 for the best concise case, the 2019 IJIC Business Ethics Case Writing Competition opens for submissions on March the 1st. For all the information and the rationale behind the competition, please carry on reading!

We are also offering free access to one of our best business ethics concise cases until the end of April; you'll find details below. You can also find information about one of our newest cases - 'Army Camouflage', written by Robert F. Mortlock of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey. Bob has also kindly shared his thoughts on case teaching and writing, and we are delighted to have him as part of the IJIC community.

We are, as always, pleased to be working with PMI (Project Management Institute) as one of our partners, and showcase some of their latest initiatives below.

Thank you for your continued support for IJIC and we look forward to your future involvement! Please drop me a line if you'd like to get involved.

Rob Edwards

Publisher, IJIC



A new year – a new idea

Gina Vega, Ph.D.
Editor-in-Chief, IJIC

A new year always brings with it new ideas.

Beginning in 2019, we are introducing an annual special-focus edition of IJIC and, in light of the state of the world economy and international relationships, our first issue will focus on business ethics.

Our special issue on business ethics will feature cases that present ethical challenges for students to address. We encourage your submission of concise cases about ethical challenges and, to provide an extra incentive to your submissions, we will be running a case competition with a monetary award for the winner.

Ethics (moral behavior) is determined both top-down and bottom-up in all organizational structures, from the smallest volunteer group to entire nations and international coalitions. The leaders set the tone for group; the rest of the organization implements the leader’s approach. When one or the other goes off the rails, it is the responsibility of the other party to bring them back to the central values of the core.

Today, we are experiencing crises on many levels – allies are at odds with allies, individuals are caught in dilemmas they cannot solve, economic challenges abound as stock markets take a sickening roller coaster ride without apparent provocation, and human behavior produces abuses to the most vulnerable while those with power go unfettered.

What is good for individuals? What is good for society? What is good for business? How can these “goods” be aligned?

We are anticipating some excellent submissions to this competition based on our understanding of the current needs of both undergraduates and graduate students, as well as those in executive education programs.

You can find the competition requirements and particulars on our website here.


Please visit it and submit your cases/TNs. If you need additional clarification or have a query, you can always reach me at editorial@ijicases.com.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you,


2019 IJIC Business Ethics Case Writing Competition

The International Journal of Instructional Cases (IJIC) is pleased to announce the launch of its 2019 Business Ethics Case Writing Competition.

We share a strong commitment to advancing good business ethics curricula for both undergraduate and graduate programs. To that end, this competition aims to generate teachable concise cases with expanded teaching notes related to addressing the ethical challenges presented to businesses and organizations internationally for use in the classroom and the boardroom.

Cases may be focused specifically on any area that relates to business or organizational ethics on a wide variety of levels: individual, teams, SMEs through multinationals, even nations or regions. Challenges may come in the disciplines of marketing, management, human behavior, economics, finance/accounting, logistics, and others.

Prize: The winning case will receive an award of US $250 and fast track review for publication in IJIC. The prize will be awarded in December 2019.

Key Dates:
• 1 March 2019 Submissions open
• 1 August 2019 Submission deadline

For further information, please see the IJIC website


Free concise business ethics case to download

To mark the launch of our first Business Ethics case writing competition, we are delighted to make one of our most popular Business Ethics cases freely available until the end of April! 

'The Chairman's Jokes' is a concise case written by Ralf Mehnert-Meland (pictured), published last year in IJIC.


The case concerns Thomas, who has recently joined a French company as General Manager of its US operations. His immediate supervisor, the Chairman of the Board, displayed inappropriate behavior, such as telling offensive jokes with sexual, racist and discriminatory content in business and social settings. The behavior was known to the HR department and against company policy. The students should assess Thomas’s situation from legal, management and HR perspectives and consider parallels to the #MeToo Movement. 

Aimed at Postgraduate and Exec level students, the case is great for prompting debate and discussion in the classroom.

To download your free copy of the case, please visit the IJIC website


Just published - a second great concise case from Robert F. Mortlock


Army Camouflage: You can't kill what you can't see

Author: Robert F. Mortlock, Ph.D. 

Sponsored by: PMI Project Management Institute




This combat uniform camouflage case study encourages critical analysis of a U.S. Army project at a decision point. The case focuses on the decision to change the camouflage pattern on combat uniforms and equipment for U.S. Army soldiers. The combat uniform case study reinforces critical thinking in uncertain environments, documents lessons learned for project management for future application, and provides wide private-sector exposure to the complexities of public-sector acquisition and the balance of testing results and affordability considerations in decision-making.


Decision-making, critical thinking, stakeholder management, project management, defense acquisition

Target Audience and Usage

The case is suited for students concentrating in project management (PM) fundamentals or for functional experts in the PM-related fields of systems engineering, testing and evaluation, business and financial management, operations management, and logistics or supply chain management. The case is written at the graduate or executive education level—ideal for MBA courses.

The case can be incorporated into the later stages of graduate- or executive-level course curriculum; used in courses specializing in project/program management, test and evaluation management, operations management, or strategic management; or used in an MBA capstone course. The case is applicable to PM professionals in both the public and private sectors.


It is all about the Data - Instructional Case Study Writing

Robert F. Mortlock, Ph.D.

COL (Ret), U.S. Army
Lecturer – Program Management and Defense Acquisition
Naval Postgraduate School

Monterey, CA

(Editor note: We are delighted to have published two concise cases by Bob: his new case, 'Army camouflage: You can't kill what you can't see' and also last year's 'Hiding in Plain Sight')

I would like to share my thoughts on case studies―specifically, what I believe is the key to an effective case study and how professionally rewarding I believe they are to develop and write.

I teach graduate-level courses in the MBA program and the Master of Science in Program Management program at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey CA [NPS provides defense-focused education for members of the Armed Forces and US Government employees (primarily Department of Defense)]. Professors and students alike understand and appreciate the value of using case studies to enhance student learning. Many resources are available to assist professors in developing, writing and delivering effective case studies.

I have found that having interesting data is the most important factor in the development of case studies.


Really, it is all about the data.


It does not matter where the data comes from (personal experience or research); if you have the data for a particular project, decision, company or industry, then developing the case study can be professionally rewarding and be the highlight of your students’ learning experience. The topic of the case study is secondary for me.


I have written case studies on test & management, industrial base, cost estimating, project planning, and production & quality. These case studies are usually centered on the universal student learning objectives of critical thinking, decision-making and stakeholder management.


The last part of developing a case study is pulling it together into a story so that the readers can put themselves in the role of the decision maker and project manager (generally referred to as the protagonist in case studies).

Personally, case studies help keep me relevant in the fields I teach and improve my courses for the students―it’s a win-win.


Here are my case study writing steps in the form of questions:

• What is the topic of the case study and do I have the supporting data?
• Are the topic and supporting data complex, relevant, ambiguous, and controversial―i.e., are they interesting?
• What are the student learning objectives?
• Can I write a story around the data that will engage and motivate the students to think critically about the topic?

Again, these are just my thoughts on developing and writing effective case studies. I welcome your thoughts as well, and encourage you to share your case studies by publishing them in IJIC.

Email: rfmortlo@nps.edu


News from IJIC partner, PMI Project Management Institute


PMI Sponsored Research Grants

The annual call for proposals for PMI Sponsored Research Grants is open 1 February – 25 April. Grants of up to $50,000 are available to individuals and teams researching project management and related disciplines.


Research Webinars

Hear directly from researchers about their project management studies and results through on-demand webinars.

PMI Sponsored Research webinars are now available on PMITeach.org, PMI’s site for project management educators. These webinars are free to access and can be a great classroom resource.



Share your news


Want to see your name in print and share your thoughts on all things case with a growing community of other professionals?


We are currently inviting contributions for our next issue of Case Matters, due to be published in April 2019.

Tell us about how you use cases. What has worked? Where do you struggle? 

If you are writing a case (hopefully for review in IJIC!), tell us all about it. 

As a starting point, get in touch with our Publisher, Rob Edwards!


Join us as an IJIC sponsor!

To join our existing partner, PMI, why not learn about the benefits to your organization of becoming an IJIC sponsor?


Please take a look at our website


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