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Case Method

The case method is perhaps the most popular and effective teaching method used in business schools around the world. With more and more students and executives demanding courses relevant to the every day needs of business, the case method of teaching is rapidly gaining widespread acceptance. Harvard Business School, pioneers in the use of the case method of teaching, produces approximately 750 new business cases and other teaching materials each year, while selling some 6 million cases annually to other business schools and educational programs world-wide. Amongst others, the Richard Ivey School of Business of the University of Western Ontario, Canada, also practices the case method of teaching and is actively engaged in the development of new business cases.

With the globalisation of world economy, the centre of business gravity has moved from the West to the East. The distinctive nature of companiesí» strategies, managerial styles, human resource practices, use of information and corporate governance found in Asia is increasing in importance, not just to managers in Asia, but to managers world-wide. Cases set in the matured economic environments of developed countries are often not structured to address such business and managerial issues pertaining to the rapidly growing, fluid economies of the Asian countries. Cases set in Western democracies cannot be used to teach the intricacies of dealing with Asian governments! Additionally, because case studies create a simulated environment in which students learn to frame problems and exercise judgement, the business context within which the case occurs is of extreme pedagogical importance.

Despite the growing need for business education in Asia and particularly in China, there is a serious dearth of Asian business cases, written specifically about Asian companies. The ones available are those written by Western institutions set in Asia, which either focus on the problems of Western companies in doing business in Asia or seem to serve as a cultural appreciation for Western students rather than as teaching aids, particularly in the context of Asian businesses. Although Western institutions recognise the need for Asian case materials, they have a disadvantage in terms of the expenses involved in investing the man hours necessary to understand the local environment well enough to generate good quality materials. Asian institutions, on the other hand, are far better positioned to develop the local contacts and insights needed to generate a substantial body of material relevant to the Asian context and the Asian manager.

The Asia Case Research Centre of the University of Hong Kong aims to fill the void by producing Asian business cases. Given the growing importance of Asian business, and given the significance of the context within which students are asked to frame problems and design appropriate solutions, great educational value is expected to ensue through the cases being developed by the Centre. The cases are prepared and written by professional case writers, hired specifically for this purpose, under the supervision of teaching staff from The University of Hong Kong, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Hong Kong Institute of Education.

Hong Kong has emerged as one of the principal centres for Asian business. The Asia Case Research Centre also intends to reinforce Hong Kong's position as a centre for quality business education through the development of a substantial body of Asian cases that would not only allow local institutions to teach material much more relevant to students and executives in the region but also provide the opportunity to business schools across the world to impart Asian business education to its students and executives by drawing from the repository.