Business case studies

What are business case studies?

Business case studies are usually summaries of real-life business scenarios or fictitious accounts of a business situation or dilemma. Case studies enable students to analyse business issues from a variety of perspectives and apply critical thinking and problem solving skills that they have been developing in their classes. Business case studies can illustrate business theory and show the application of such theory.

There are publishers, such as Harvard Business School Press, which produce and sell cases for teaching and learning purposes. There are also other sources of case studies, including books, articles, academic research and free internet sources.

The key parts in the write-up of a case are analysis of the situation, identification of the key issues and making of recommendations. For background you may need to undertake company or industry research.  Consult our Companies and Industry and product information guides for additional resources.

Case study method

"A research design that takes as its subject a single case or a few selected examples of a social entity - such as communities, social groups, employers, events, life-histories, families, work teams, roles, or relationships - and employs a variety of methods to study them." Scott, J., & Marshall, G. (2014). case-study. In A Dictionary of Sociology. Retrieved from www.oxfordreference.com

The database SAGE Research Methods has some excellent material on the case method. Search under Methodologies - Methods and browse for the term case study.

To find books on case study methods search the Catalogue using the subject heading case method.

Selected books held include:

Case studies in books

Many books contain case studies in their contents. Combine "case studies" with your chosen company or topic in a Catalogue keyword search.

Examples:

   "case studies" kiwifruit
   "case studies" "supply chain"
   "case studies" "New Zealand" dairy

You can sometimes find relevant material in Google books by searching with the phrase "case study" or "case studies" and a keyword.

New Zealand material

Selected titles containing New Zealand case studies

Databases

A number of business databases include case studies on companies or industries, and some journal articles are in effect case studies. Search for articles which include case type information by including the name of the company, industry or product in your search.

The following databases are worth searching for case studies.

  • ABI/Inform
    Before carrying out your search select case study from the document type box.
  • Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre
    Combine the phrase "case study" with your keyword(s) or company.
  • Business Source Premier
    Before carrying out your search select case study from the document type box. The Harvard Business Review publishes a case study article (usually fictional) in each issue. These can be located in the database by combining Harvard Business Review in the Publication Name field with case studies in the Subject Terms field.
    Note: Harvard Business School cases are not available via the Library but have to be purchased.
  • Emerald Insight
    Select Advanced search and combine the phrase "case study" with your keyword(s).
    Note: We do not have access to Emerald's Emerging Markets Case Studies database.
  • Factiva
    Use the phrase "case study" in conjunction with keywords or terms from company, subject, industry or region pull-down menus.
  • Google Scholar
    Combine the phrase "case study" or "case studies" with other keywords and phrases.
  • Kanopy Video Streaming
    Use the browse subjects tool and then select Business and Business Case Studies.
  • MarketLine Advantage
    Within the search box select case studies from the drop down menu and combine with keyword(s) or company name or industry.
  • RDS Business Suite
    Select Advanced search and the database Business Management Practices. Choose case study as a document type along with keywords.

Case study journals

The following journals specifically focus on business case studies. Many of them are indexed by databases such as Business Source Premier.

Purchasing case studies

  • Many business case studies are available for purchase via clearing houses.
  • Case studies may often be purchased as class sets for teaching purposes.
  • The purchase of class sets is organised through academic departments and not through the Library. For Harvard Business School and Case Centre for Educators material University of Auckland Business School academics should contact the contact the Business School. Harvard Business case studies are not sold to libraries and can only be purchased via the Harvard Business Publishing website.
  • Abstracts are often available from the following collections, but most require payment for the full text of each case.

Business case collections and clearing houses

New Zealand case studies

Some NZ case studies are available via international clearing houses. In addition:

  • University of Auckland New Zealand Business Case Collection
    Links to case studies in books and to case studies published by the University of Auckland Business School Case Centre.
  • CANZ (Competitive Advantage New Zealand)
    University of Victoria. Contains a number of New Zealand company case histories, dated but freely available.
  • Case Studies
    Australia and New Zealand School of Government. Case studies for public sector management development, available to members.
  • Case Studies
    Diversity Works (formerly the Equal Employment Opportunities Trust)
  • Case Studies
    New Zealand Ministry of the Environment.

Selected books on case writing

Web resources

The University of Auckland Business School uses the American Psychological Association's APA 6th style.

The APA Style Guide does not have a separate style for case studies. The format depends on whether the case study is a separate publication or is located in a journal or book. If it is a separate publication, cite it as a book. If it is a journal article cite as an article. If it is from a book cite as a section in a book.

APA 6th

Support

  • Referencing
    Access a range of tools and support material to assist your referencing work.

Examples

  • Quick©ite
    Use this interactive tool to view examples of references.
    Covers a range of styles used at the University of Auckland.

Last updated : 13 September 2017
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