Restating the case: How revisiting the development of the case method can help us think differently about the future of the business school
journal contributionposted on 2020-07-29, 23:19 authored by Todd BridgmanTodd Bridgman, Stephen CummingsStephen Cummings, C McLaughlin
© Academy of Management Learning & Education. Although supportive of calls for business schools to learn the lessons of history to address contemporary challenges about their legitimacy and impact, we argue that our ability to learn is limited by the histories we have created. Through contrasting the contested development of the case method of teaching at Harvard Business School and the conventional history of its rise, we argue that this history, which promotes a smooth linear evolution, works against reconceptualizing the role of the business school. To illustrate this, we develop a "counterhistory" of the case method-one that reveals a contested and circuitous path of development-and discuss how recognizing this would encourage us to think differently. This counterhistory provides ameans of stimulating debate and innovative thinking about how business schools can address their legitimacy challenges, and, in doing so, have a more positive impact on society.