WDI Publishing Boosts Case Study Output

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


Andrew Hoffman, professor of Sustainable Enterprise and faculty member of the Erb Institute for Sustainability in Business. (Image courtesy of Ross School of Business).


In the past year, WDI Publishing has published 28 new cases – including 11 from University of Michigan faculty and 10 from U-M graduate students – a significant output for the initiative since it began in 2007. The WDI Publishing catalog now features more than 425 business cases from more than 300 academic authors.

“The volume of publishing over the past year is unprecedented within WDI Publishing,” said Sandy Draheim, manager of marketing and case publishing at WDI.

Among the new cases are 10 from graduate students in Professor Andrew Hoffman’s “Strategies for Sustainable Development” course. Hoffman, the Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at U-M, requires students to write a case study as part of the class requirements. Hoffman picks the best ones and then WDI Publishing edits, formats, publishes and markets them as part of its case collection.

This year’s crop of 10 cases from Hoffman’s students is the most WDI Publishing has published in its six-year partnership. The total number of published cases from the course is now nearly 50, and all have been widely adopted at leading business schools.

Hoffman, who also is a faculty member at the Erb Institute | Business for Sustainability, said having students write cases brings them into the process of knowledge creation and creates an incentive for them to do their best.

WDI has been a fantastic partner in promoting the case studies that we have been developing at the Erb Institute,” Hoffman said. “They are a true collaborator who helps us create the best possible product and then get it into the hands of those who can use it. WDI is a real asset to the University of Michigan, the Ross School of Business and the Erb Institute.”

Cases published this past year also feature business cases from four first-time WDI contributors from the Ross School of Business faculty. Aradhna Krishna, the Dwight F. Benton Professor of Marketing at Ross, wrote two new cases and co-authored another with Dana Muir, the Robert L. Dixon Collegiate Professor of Business, also at Ross.

One of Krishna’s cases involved product segmentation schemes and the other focuses on price, demand, variable cost and capacity. The case she co-wrote with Muir encourages students to examine how cross-cultural considerations can affect managerial, legal, operational and corporate social responsibility decision-making.

Brian Wu, associate professor of Strategy and faculty director of China Initiatives at Ross, wrote his first case on the potential sale of Starwood Hotels & Resorts to a Chinese company. And Follett Carter, an adjunct lecturer of Marketing at Ross, has written a case that requires students to develop a less expensive sales force strategy for an IT company.

Also among the latest published cases are ones that correspond with WDI’s research missions on Healthcare and Scaling Impact, including ones that follow the development of an entrepreneur born in Bangladesh, a health organization in India and a for-profit social venture in Vietnam.

“I’m very pleased with our case study output this past year,” Draheim said. “It is very exciting to add all these cases to our collection, as well as see them adopted at so many top universities around the world. This year we look forward to working on new cases with our existing U-M faculty authors, as well as faculty interested in publishing with us for the first time.”

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