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


In this issue, we reflect on the internationality of cases as IJIC Editor-in-Chief, Gina Vega, embarks on a Fulbright visit to UPC in Peru.

We are also delighted to include pieces from two of our Editorial Review Board members - Dr Gianpaolo Vignali from the University of Manchester, UK and Dr Maria Ekström from Laurea University of Applied Sciences, Finland.


We are also pleased to introduce our newest concise cases.


Hands Across the Water (Water): Global Collaboration

Gina Vega, Editor-in-Chief

It comes as no surprise to anyone, anywhere, that the world is changing. The UK’s departure from the EU, the US approach to American exceptionalism, the odd pairings of political leaders, and random economic fluctuations all shout transformation and evoke strong feelings at every border and every international interaction.

Academics are not free from the influence of these disruptive activities, but we do have the benefit of transcending some of them at our conferences, through our research, and through our commitment to high quality teaching and learning processes.


Plus, we have the unique opportunity of understanding our global neighbors better by collaborating with them on activities of mutual interest.

For example, I am heading off this summer to a Fulbright Senior Specialist assignment at the Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas (UPC) in Lima, Peru.  I will be running workshops on case research, case teaching, case writing, evaluating learning via cases, train-the-trainer activities, and launching my case writing book in Spanish (The Case Writing Workbook: A Self-Guided Workshop, 2/e, Routledge and now Cómo Redactar Casos de Estudio Instruccionales. Taller Autoguiado, Editorial UPC). 

My connection to this university originated at a workshop that I conducted for an international association, and it grew from there. 

This is the third time I have been awarded a Fulbright assignment.  My first assignment was in St. Petersburg, Russia, at the Graduate School of Management at St. Petersburg University – this one grew from some assistance I had given to one of the faculty members and with whom I subsequently wrote a number of cases and published papers. The second was with The Case Centre at Cranfield University in the UK. As editor of a different journal, I had had close interactions with The Case Centre (previously ecch), and they invited me to work with them on several projects.

I have done a great deal of writing and collaboration with partners in other countries, far and near.

All of these interactions resulted in close associations, intellectual collaborations, and extension of case usage and writing. Plus, they have been a lot of fun. This very journal is the result of one such collaboration!

You will not find a stronger advocate of global collaborative writing and academic sharing than me, so I invite you to join me in this endeavor.  Here are a few tips to get started and to find someone to work with:


- When you read a case that you find interesting, accessible, and usable for one of your classes, contact the author.  Technology is your friend for all interactions international.  Just write a note to her or him – who doesn’t like to receive “fan mail?”


- At the next conference you attend, don’t shy away from the person whom you do not know.  If you are reluctant to introduce yourself to strangers, you will certainly understand that others feel the same way. Friendliness doesn’t always work, but when it does the outcomes are truly outstanding.


- Seek out contacts when you travel for pleasure.  You might consider visiting universities when you are on vacation and see who might be working that day. Perhaps you can get invited to a class and see how things work in a completely different environment.


- Just talk to people.  Any people.  Anywhere. You’ll be surprised how well that works, especially with a bunch of academic introverts.


- Write to me at gina@ijicases.com and let me know you’d like to connected to a colleague in another country.  I’ll do my best to find you someone to work with.

Our Advisory Board is international; our authors are from everywhere; our materials are all in English and Spanish (other languages to come in the future); and our approach is welcoming and inclusive. I look forward to seeing your case submissions and to hearing your ideas and suggestions for additional “hands across the water.”


Just published!


Strategic Leadership in the Entrepreneurial Firm – the Challenges of the Lululemon group

Arthur Kearney & Denis Harrington 

The Lululemon Group has been a lead innovator in the athleisure business. The company successfully managed the transition from an entrepreneurial growth company through to large corporate by anticipating market trends and retaining a sense of deep relationships with existing customers, primarily athletic focused women.

In 2013, the company reached a transition point. The challenges emerged from how the strategic leadership of the firm could continue to encourage growth, manifest necessary organisational controls adequate to a stock exchange funded business, and yet simultaneously develop the business further, especially in the international context.

Over the period of the case the company underwent three leadership changes, with notable contrast in the strategic leadership of the original owner and CEO, Chip Wilson and the present CEO Laurent Potdevin.


The case will be used to enable students to understand the nature of industry change and strategic leadership in an entrepreneurial growth company. The case provides students with an opportunity to critically examine the importance of change in organisations. Within the case, students will then critically examine the role and importance of strategic leadership.


CIRCLE International Conference 2018

IJIC are delighted to have Dr Gianpaolo Vignali from the University of Manchester on the journal's Editorial Review Board.
Dr Vignali is Lecturer in Fashion Business and also Director of Teaching, Learning and the Student Experience at Manchester, and long-time Associate Editor for the

International Journal of Management Cases.


Together with his father Professor Claudio Vignali, Gianpaolo organizes the CIRCLE International Conference each year. CIRCLE International is the Centre for International Research in Consumers, Locations and Environments research group, and, by kind agreement, Dr Louise F. Reid, Lecturer in Digital Marketing tells us about her trip to this year's CIRCLE conference in Sarajevo.

On the 4th April 2018 I travelled to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the 15th CIRCLE International Conference at the Holiday Hotel, Sarajevo.

Since September 2018, I have coordinated conference activities and worked with the organising committee at the University of Vitez to make this year’s conference a great success.

The conference began with an opening ceremony where our founder Professor Vignali addressed the audience followed by our keynote from Mr Bruno Bojić, PhD who presented a prestigious government award to the University of Vitez.

PhD student graduations and professorial presentations for the CIRCLE virtual college (a partner to CIRCLE International) followed.

5th and 6th of April was filled with live VIVA exams and research tracks where everyone presents their research within topics relating to consumers, locations and environments. My research presentation was built upon my student Aomthong Linthong’s undergraduate thesis and fuelled an interesting discussion around fashion business models in small businesses to support the progression of this work into a wider research project.

I met with colleagues from the previous conference and heard about how their PhD research has evolved over time and where their academic careers have led them.

At the conference dinner, I introduced the University of Gloucestershire as the 2019 location for CIRCLE International. This was met with great excitement and colleagues shared their experience of Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds.

During our final evening, we walked through Sarajevo old town and heard about the city's legacy from the 1992-1995 war that began on the 6th April. 

The CIRCLE community always supports one another (like a family) and afford PhD students and early career researchers and professors to learn from each other’s experiences which results in a multitude of teaching and research collaboration.

I look forward to hosting the conference next year at the University of Gloucestershire! It is an incredible opportunity to bring together our UoG academics, students and business contacts to share our ideas with the International CIRCLE community.

To read the full report, see the University of Gloucester website. Information about CIRCLE International is available here.  Follow CIRCLE on Twitter: @2018Circle for updates on UoG 2019


Creating Cases

Editorial Review Board member
Dr Maria Ekström, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, Finland

Case-based learning is a way to grasp reality better and cases are like inspiring and intriguing stories that deepen understanding for complex matters.

Our pedagogical approach in Laurea UAS is called Learning by developing and I want to combine this perspective with case-based learning in describing my way of teaching cases. I especially want to emphasize authenticity in our pedagogical model as we aim at working with a current topic that needs development, for example facilitating change in organizations or creating new ways of branding. In other words, when I describe a case, it is not necessarily something that has happened in history and is written and described as a case. I want to put forward a pedagogical approach that gives birth to new cases that students themselves are involved in creating. In the next paragraph, I will shortly describe my course in “change management” for a multidisciplinary group of Master students.

First of all, our Master students at Laurea are used to developing their own organizations and very often, their theses are about this development process. Secondly, in every course, we are in a strong connection with societal changes and we aim at creating new ways of coping with this change. My course is about change management but as communicating in the appropriate way during change is crucial; we emphasize this in the assignments.

The first assignment is about analyzing resilience and perseverance during life-changing events. Every student chooses any novel or biography that describes change and they write an essay in dialogue with the story told. Their reflection is based on their individual experience.This is the starting point for finding out how change can be differently defined and understood by different individuals.

In the second assignment, this story will be analysed by using theoretical concepts and models that aim at an understanding of change on an abstract level. The third and last assignment is done in groups. The students should create a new model of communicating change and reflect upon its strengths and weaknesses. They are acquainted with two real-life change communication processes by interviewing an organization. In the analysis, they use knowledge from the earlier assignments and the reflection takes into account the individual, organizational and societal perspective.

The way students work and how we interact with them creates new knowledge that is easily written as a case.

Learning is, in this case, a process of social construction and the role of the student is active. The teacher’s role is to help find the appropriate perspectives and new research of the subject. Students are updated on research and teachers on what is going on in work-life.

Together we get stronger.


New concise case published!


Promoting National Security through Steel Tariffs? 


Patrik T. Hultberg


The U.S. Department of Commerce released its investigation into the impact on U.S. national security from imports of steel mill products. The report concluded that imports of steel poses a threat to U.S. national security due to the weakness of the domestic industry relative to global excess capacity. In response, President Trump adopted 25 percent tariffs on foreign produced steel. Under threats of retaliation many steel exporting nations are exempted, but China is not exempted.

International Trade, National Security, Steel Tariffs, Trade War


Target Audience and Usage
The target audience is undergraduate economics students to graduate students. The case can be used in courses ranging from principles of economics, to international trade, to public policy and business (MBA) courses. The expected complexity of the analysis will have to be adjusted according to the audience.


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 late September/early October. 


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!


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Please take a look at our website. We would be pleased to welcome you!


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