How to Improve Written Case Analysis and Reduce Grading Time

[Professors Kirsten A. Passyn of Citadel Military College of South Carolina and M. J. Billups of the Baker School of Business recently published a research article in the Journal of Marketing Education which is entitled “How to Improve Written Case Analysis and Reduce Grading Time: The One-Page, Two-Case Method.” We are delighted to welcome them as contributors, and their article will be free to read for a limited time. Below, they reveal the inspirations behind this research.]

I learned and became a believer in the case method while pursuing my post-doctorate at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Case learning was a regular part of the curriculum at both the undergraduate and MBA level. It was an excellent way to engage students in business problem-solving. Later, at other schools where the case method was not a regular part of the curriculum, I found the case method overwhelming for both myself and my students. I couldn’t find a method in the literature to use cases that would work in my new position, so I determined to find a way to easily and effectively use cases. I developed the One-Page, Two Case Method over a period of years with a series of trial and error testing. The method presented in the paper not only improves student performance on cases but significantly decreases faculty workload. I’ve successfully tested the method at other schools and received feedback from colleagues, all with similar positive results.

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Balancing Profit and People: Corporate Social Responsibility in Business Education

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Shannon Deer of Mays Business School, and Jill Zarestky of Colorado State University. They recently published an article in the Journal of Management Education entitled “Balancing Profit and People: Corporate Social Responsibility in Business Education,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Deer discusses the research:]


Together several events and circumstances motivated us to research sustainability education in business schools.

  1. My co-author, Jill, and I have PhDs in Education and Human Resource Development, with an emphasis in adult education. Jill has a background in mathematics and mine is accounting and finance.  Our experience in the PhD program really highlighted for us the lack of attention to issues of social justice in business and STEM disciplines. I could see a strong desire in my business students to make a difference in the world by addressing significant problems. This study, and the associated business solutions to social problems class, were one way for us to give them an outlet for exploring such issues.
  2. Mays Business School just developed a new strategic vision. Our vision statement is advancing the world’s prosperity.  To achieve this vision, we are challenging our students to broaden their focus from primarily profit driven to all three Ps – people, planet, and profit.  In the class studied in this article, students explored profitable ways to address problems we don’t always talk about in business schools – hunger, literacy, and human trafficking.  At Mays, we believe businesses can help fill the gap left by government and nonprofit organizations in solving the big economic, environmental, and social problems facing the world.  We are excited to see our students make an impact in this area in the future.
  3. At the same time, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) updated their requirements to require sustainability education in business curriculum. As instructors and researchers, we wanted to make an impact, but we were developing a new course with a paucity of research related to incorporating sustainability into business curriculum.  There are some programs that have done it well for a while, but limited information on how they did it and to what effect.  We wanted to research our process in implementing this curriculum to help others starting this journey.

A happy accident in the research was finding sustainability curriculum is also a great vehicle for teaching critical thinking.  The students chose problems they were motivated to solve – big problems without simple solutions.  The students gained confidence in their ability to solve big problem through exposure to the curriculum.  The course culminated in a case competition. The winning team developed a prototype for a backyard cricket farm using repurposed food barrels.  Families, especially in developing countries, can use the system to produce a quality protein source.  Though unconventional, cricket flour is becoming a popular, healthy alternative to wheat, even the US.  This was an innovative use of existing materials and technology to solve an emerging problem, which demonstrated the critical thinking skills we hoped students would develop.

As scholars, we took away a renewed hope in our students. Despite some faculty who grumble about Millennials, we saw a students who are truly committed to doing the work to help improves the lives of others was really heartening. These rewards are what make teaching worthwhile.

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Refugee Resettlement Volunteers: Committed or Compelled?

map-of-the-world-1005413_1920[We’re pleased to welcome author Kirstie McAllum of the Université de Montréal, Canada (Ph.D, University of Waikato, New Zealand). McAllum recently published an article in Human Relations entitled “Committing to refugee resettlement volunteering: Attaching, detaching, and displacing organizational ties,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below McAllum summarizes her research and findings:]

HUm coverBy summer 2015, one in every 122 human beings was a refugee, internally displaced person or asylum seeker. Volunteers play an essential role in helping newly arrived refugees adapt to their new country and local community, but sometimes volunteering can be difficult or disappointing when refugees do not want to be helped or expect volunteers to deliver the help differently. When this happens, volunteers can find staying committed difficult, and they often drop out.

This study focused on how the network of people around refugee resettlement volunteers influenced their involvement: the non-profit organization that recruited and supported them; the refugees they worked with; and their own families, friends, and work colleagues. These ‘others’ made a difference in decisions about committing depending on their presence (they were there for volunteers or they expected volunteers to ‘be there’ for them) or absence (they were not there when volunteers needed them).

Volunteers felt forced to be present at the beginning of their six month placement because of the small number of volunteers and the needs of highly vulnerable families. The organization focused on how volunteers could manage this pressure by creating ‘boundaries’ that would protect them from getting over-involved. Over the course of the placement, volunteers found these boundaries hard to manage. Over-worked and under-funded staff at the non-profit organization were frequently ‘absent’ or unavailable to help volunteers to furnish refugees’ new homes or deal with crises like the arrest of a family member. Their absence pushed volunteers to step in to make sure that refugees received support. Refugees, on the other hand, encouraged volunteers to be continually present. Volunteers were pulled toward the relationship for several reasons: the learning and pleasure involved in the placement; awareness of refugees’ needs; and at times, refugees’ demands that they visit more often, stay longer, or support them in a range of activities, even including driving lessons. Volunteers were only able to maintain their presence when their own family and friends supported them.

After six months, only a few volunteers kept up their relationships with families and the organization, because the organization had been there in difficult moments. Most volunteers stopped volunteering for the organization, but kept in touch with the family. They did not think they needed the organization’s help, since they had managed so far without it, but they felt guilty about stepping back from a rich, rewarding relationship with a family who needed ongoing emotional support or had major problems. A third group of volunteers abandoned the role completely. Guilt didn’t ‘work’ for the last group of volunteers, for whom volunteering had been a highly negative experience: the organization had been absent, their own social networks pressured them to be present elsewhere, and refugees had made too many unreasonable demands on them to be present.

Although the non-profit organization cannot influence the quality of the relationships that volunteers develop with refugees, the findings suggest that having professional staff to help volunteers deal with crises and manage day-to-day boundaries might stop experienced volunteers from dropping out. To do this, this non-profit organization needs to lobby decision-makers for more resources for volunteer support.

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Migration photo attributed to kalhh. (CC)


What Do Students Think of Social Media in the Classroom?

designer-in-action-93129-mIt may not come as much of a shock to hear that young adults go on social media the most. According to Pew Research Center’s , 87% of Facebook users are between 18 and 29. As social media has become more popular, educators have jumped on board as well. A 2013 study done by Pearson Learning Solutions and the Babson Survey Research Group found that of the 8,000 faculty surveyed, 41% used social media as a teaching tool. But just how useful do students actually find social media in the classroom? Stacy Neier and Linda Tuncay Zayer explore this topic in their article “Students’ Perceptions and Experiences of Social Media in Higher Education” from Journal of Marketing Education.

The abstract:

Recent research has discussed the opportunities associated with the use of social media tools in the classroom, but has JME(D)_72ppiRGB_powerpointnot examined the perceptions students themselves hold about its usefulness in enhancing their educational experience. This research explores students’ perceptions of social media as an effective pedagogical tool. Undergraduate students in a midsized, private university taking a marketing course were surveyed about their social media usage and preferences as well as their perceptions regarding the use of social media in higher education. Additional qualitative data collection with students probed into motivations for social media use in education as well as instructor and university perceptions. Findings reveal openness to using social media in education, uncover interactive and information motives for its use, and offer theoretical and pedagogical implications. Importantly, we offer insights into how educators can strategically incorporate social media tools into the classroom as well as how the use of social media can potentially affect students’ views of the instructor and the university.

Click here to read “Students’ Perceptions and Experiences of Social Media in Higher Education” from Journal of Marketing Education. Want to have all the latest research like this sent directly to your inbox? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

What is the Role of Self-Efficacy in Sales Education?

business-graphics-1428641-mDid you know that sales is one of the top three careers for business graduates (Cummins, Peltier, Erffmeyer, & Whalen, 2013)? Perhaps you did, but did you also know that sales is among the top five jobs for nonbusiness graduates with majors in areas like agriculture, art, biology, communications, computers, math, education, engineering, humanities, industrial arts, law, psychology, and social sciences, just to name a few (Carnevale, Strohl, & Melton, 2010)? In fact, more graduates of 4-year college programs in all disciplines find their first career positions in sales-related roles than in any other types of positions combined (Hayes, 2008).

Inspired by this information and a desire to prepare students for these first careers, the authors of “The Role of Self-Efficacy in Sales Education” from Journal of Marketing Education explored how sales educators can help students build the self-efficacy needed to succeed in sales. JME(D)_72ppiRGB_powerpointSelf-efficacy, one’s perception about his/her ability to succeed in a given task (Bandura, 1977), impacts ultimate performance (Barling and Beattie, 1983). Thus, it is essential that sales educators prepare students with the confidence to “hit the ground running.”

Findings show that in-class activities and hands-on projects are great for building knowledge and skills, but actual interaction with professionals (shadowing, interviews, selling to a salesperson, etc.) and student competitions build confidence in using one’s skills. Sales educators are encouraged to use these and other professional experiential activities to build sales self-efficacy, a student’s belief about his/her ability to sell!

Authors Peter Knight, Claudia C. Mich, and Michael T. Manion invite you to further explore “The Role of Self-Efficacy in Sales Education.”


What Makes Students Want To Learn?

sboyerEditor’s note: We are pleased to welcome Stefanie L. Boyer of Bryant University. Her paper, “Self-Directed Learning: A Tool for Lifelong Learning,” co-authored by Diane R. Edmondson, Andrew B. Artis and David Fleming, is forthcoming in the Journal of Marketing Education and now available in OnlineFirst.

pqAs academics, our livelihood is based on how well we educate our students and ourselves. The conventional approach to learning and teaching is good and has worked for years, but we were on a quest to find a novel approach to train people that had the potential to change the paradigm of learning-to change the way we learn and teach.  The area of self-directed learning (SDL) piqued our interest because so much research has been conducted in the area over several decades. The initial results seemed favorable, so we quantified the entire stream of SDL data with a meta-analysis.

JME(D)_72ppiRGB_150pixwThe findings from the meta-analysis amazed us. We knew self-directed learning (SDL) was different, but we didn’t grasp the true impact it would have on performance outcomes. It almost seemed as if it was too good to be true. Once we began implementing SDL in the classroom, we knew that we had stumbled upon something that really could revolutionize teaching and learning. Not only did student learning outcomes improve, but their appreciation for learning and their motivation to learn shot through the roof. We were surprised at how much more students could learn when they used self-directed learning.

We are already implementing self-directed learning in the classroom and in our own learning because we see how much is motivates and engages us and our students. In moving forward, there are so many questions to answer about how to train people most effectively using this method, and how to select learners who will benefit the most. We plan to continue working in the area, but there is so much to learn about self-directed learning that we need more research partners to help us uncover valuable insights from this bountiful learning and training method.

Read the paper, “Self-Directed Learning: A Tool for Lifelong Learning,” online in the Journal of Marketing Education.

Stefanie L. Boyer is an Assistant Professor at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island. Her research stream seeks to improve sales training and development and extend the self-directed learning paradigm.

Texting In Class: Hazardous To Your Grades?

Students do it on the sly. Instructors, in general, despise it. But texting has become a way of life–with studies revealing that young people spend 15% of their waking life doing it–and it’s bound to happen in the marketing education classroom. How does it impact students’ GPAs and what, if anything, can instructors do about it? A new study, published in the Journal of Marketing Education by Dennis E. Clayson of the University of Northern Iowa and Debra A. Haley of Southeastern Oklahoma University, offers some interesting findings and practical solutions:


This exploratory study looks at the phenomena of texting in a marketing education context. It outlines the difficulties of multitasking within two metacognitive models of learning and sets the stage for further research on the effects of texting within class. Students in marketing classes in two different universities were surveyed. They received an average of 37 texts per day and initiated about 16. More than 90% of the respondents reported receiving texts while in class and 86% reported texting someone from class. Even though students believed they could follow a lecture and text at the same time, respondents who did text within marketing classes received lower grades. Contrary to other research, texting frequency was generally unrelated to GPA. Implications for both pedagogical issues and research in marketing education are discussed.

Read the complete article here, and learn more about the Journal of Marketing Education by clicking here. You can also sign up for e-alerts from the journal to be notified about the latest techniques in marketing education, emphasizing new course content and effective teaching methods.