Using the cases and questions in the textbook
Each of the chapters in the book is filled with examples, case studies and discussion questions, as follows:
- ‘Management in Focus’ examples, which are distributed throughout the chapters in order to illustrate the points currently being made;
- ‘Critical Thinking, Analysis and Evaluation’ questions, designed to ensure that students produce lines of reasoning and justification for the conclusions and answers arrived at;
- ‘Developing Management Skills and Expertise’ cases and examples, based either on de facto real examples, or else ‘factionalised’ from real examples;
- The continuous case study developed at the end of each main part of the book – the Body Shop – which is to show how an organisation develops, the things that are of value to it and its leaders and managers, and the outcomes of particular phases and activities.
However the materials are used, the driving force needs to be the acquisition and application of the body of knowledge, skills and expertise required of the professional and expert manager today, and critical foundations to the success of expert managers in the future.
In this context, of primary importance and value are the following:
- establishment of alternative courses of action, approaches to problems and their opportunities and consequences;
- the need for evaluation of: what needs to happen as the result of having arrived at a particular conclusion or answer; and who is to do it, and how, when and where it is to be done;
- the need for support for conclusions and answers based on the application of knowledge and (fledgling) expertise;
- the need to reinforce lessons with examples from practice;
- the need to reinforce lessons with theoretical material, so that the relationship between theory and practice is constantly drawn.
In turn, the primary conclusions ought to be:
- that what is done or proposed is not nearly as important as why it is done or proposed;
- that the foundations of learning and understanding lie on the ability to work through specific problems and issues on the basis of reasoning, justification, and where necessary, defence;
- that the increasing professionalisation of management is ever more dependent on a personal and active involvement on the part of those who seek careers in management.
The materials may therefore be used from anything from a quick illustration of points, to substantial seminar and skills development work.