2018 EFMD Case Writing Competition Supported by the Case Centre



  • Continuous Improvement: the Journey to Excellence: Sponsored by Instituto Internacional San Telmo – Catedra Mayoral de Mejora Continua
    Continuous Improvement aims at raising awareness of the need to create a culture of progress among companies, permanent change in search of competitiveness, and excellence to improve the business over time.

    It is a way of working indefinitely toward greater efficiency, productivity and the creation of value for clients, which eventually becomes part of the company’s philosophy.

    It is not necessarily linked to specific activities such as manufacturing, nor does it have to focus on a specific area of Operations within the company. Continuous Improvement is not limited to large companies.

    This process of improvement can result in lower costs, higher productivity, better quality, better customer service, greater adaptation to customers' desires, a better functionality of the product or service, or a combination of any of the former that, creating a virtuous feedback loop, leads to a greater durability of the company. But continuous improvement is not limited to production processes, quality or profitability. In fact, it extends to many other areas in the company and also to intangibles, such as a sense of belonging, motivation and taking pride in our work – sometimes monotonous by nature, – flexibility and adaptability to changes and responsiveness to new challenges.

    Considerations of the approach of the case studies:
    Cases written under this umbrella must meet the following criteria:
    • Although it may mention the company’s strategy, the case will focus on one or more specific projects.
    • The structure of the case study must include:
      • A picture of the original situation. Precise reasons for undertaking of a process of continuous improvement.
      • A description of the implementation of the improvement process, tools used, barriers encountered, etc.
      • A picture of the resulting situation after the implementation of improvement measures.
      • Final thoughts on deviations and next steps.
    • It will include quantitative indicators to compare and measure progress.
    • A description or representation of the processes operations flow is desirable where appropriate.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility: Sponsored by ESC PAU Business School, FR
    Cases should address innovative ways companies are managing the demands for socially and environmentally responsible business practices. Cases can come from any disciplinary perspective (operations, strategy, finance, etc.).
  • Entrepreneurship: Sponsored by E.M. Lyon, FR
    The process entrepreneurship is now appearing in large organisations, the public and social sectors. Cases are invited which address entrepreneurship within these broad sectors.
  • Family Business: Suliman S. Olayan School of Business, American University of Beirut, LB 
    This category welcomes pedagogical case studies featuring inter-disciplinary coverage of family business entrepreneurship related issues. Scholars and other research practitioners are invited to submit case studies addressing amongst others the following themes:
    • Entrepreneurship and strategy development in the context of new start-up, survival, growth, succession and turnaround strategies.
    • Human resource management and human capital development strategies
    • Mentoring an corporate baptism of next generation family business executives (insiders and outsiders)
    • Incentivising non-family executives
    • The practise of conflict management
    • Succession Planning from the management, ownership and leadership side.
    • Family business serial entrepreneurship -- exit strategies
    • Financial developments e.g. share options schemes, private and public equity/flotation routes; public-to-private routes.
    • The evolution of the family business cultural configuration in the globalisation era
    • Internationalisation strategies.
    • Engineering of family constitutions and protocols
  • Finance and Banking: Sponsored by Toulouse Business School, FR
    Cases submitted for this category should have a clear link to business situations occurring in the sector of Finance and Banking.
  • Supply Chain Management: Sponsored by Coventry Business School, Coventry University, UK
    Cases should cover all aspects of Supply Chain Management including: Supply Chain Strategy; Outsourcing Strategy; Supplier Relationship Management, Demand Management, Operation Management, Distribution and Warehouse Management, …Cases insisting upon the Supply Chain approach will be particularly welcome.
  • Euro-Mediterranean Managerial Practices and Issues: Sponsored by Montpellier Business School, FR
    By supporting this category, Montpellier Business School objectives are to help the development of studies on the theoretical and practical approaches of the Euro-Mediterranean style of management. It covers:

    the analysis of managerial practices of companies and people whose actions have as territories the "areas" of Southern Europe, of North of Africa and the Middle East.

    Managerial issues not limited to an ethnocentric vision of the world and the companies, and making it possible to differently solve problems of survival, development and management of people, organizations and nations, where the Euro-Mediterranean world is legitimate: firstly, many researches underline a close connection between individualism, rationalism, utilitarianism and universalism, which reflect Northern thinking, and that there is a close relation between community, affectivity, futility and resistance, which are characteristic of Southern thinking (Morace, 1996). Latin researchers also hold (Club de Marseille, 1994) that Mediterranean-specific cultural traits have fostered the development of human attitudes oriented towards being, experiencing and gathering together.

    Secondly, it seems that the comparison of the Mediterranean decisional approach [spatial proximity provides Mediterraneans with the possibility of “come back” (logic of experimentation rather than modeling) and a permanent monitoring (less contractualization required)] and the “Anglo-Saxon” decisional approach [the reduction of uncertainty for the Anglo-Saxons, confronted with the vastness and the lack of reference points, implies modeling and very formalized contractualization, sources of homogenizing procedures] allows the emergence of different decision-making process.

    Finally, by its experience of crises and conflicts and also by the solutions that Euro-Mediterranean world brought forward during its history and which it will continue to put forward. Thus, it opens the field of to managerial issues centered on sustainable development and diversity, in order to have a more relevant systematic approach of the complexity of organizations and their actors. Consequently, the Euro-Mediterranean model does not limit studies and applications to the Euro-Mediterranean territory: we think that all the areas of the world characterized in their history by diversity, and that all the decision makers interested by an enrichment of the Anglo-Saxon model, should be integrated into a Euro-Mediterranean approach. It is necessary to keep in mind an opening on Latin America and on the Chinese [China with its "leopard skin development" and its proliferation of SME represents a coherent field of investigation with our undertaking] or Indian regional approaches.
  • African Business Cases: Sponsored by China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), CN
    Cases submitted for this category should address business situations occurring within an African company or describe operation of European companies on the African continent.
  • Indian Management Issues and Opportunities: Curtin Business School, AU
    This category aims to energise the development of materials related to Indian management issues and opportunities. Cases should address the unique characteristics of Indian businesses, to promote substantive discussion about Indian management practices and challenges. Cases in this category should therefore describe a management issue occurring
    Within an Indian company in India or any other country
    Within the Indian operations of a foreign company
  • Responsible Leadership: Sponsored by University of San Diego - School of Business, US
    The exercise of ethical, values-based leadership in the pursuit of economic and societal progress and sustainable development is based on a fundamental recognition of the interconnectedness of the world. Cases submitted under this category should address challenges business leaders are facing as the operating environment of corporations has become more complex; it includes technological, political, financial, environmental and social forces whose interaction, at global and local levels, obliges corporations to consider the demands of multiple stakeholders inside and outside the organization. Cases can come from any disciplinary perspective or be the result of a cross-disciplinary cooperation.
  • Inclusive Business Models: Sponsored by IMD, CH
    This category is about inclusive business models, i.e. commercially viable models that include the poor on the demand side as clients and customers, and on the supply side as employees, producers and business owners at various points in the value chain. These firm-level case studies will provide insights into the effects inclusive business models have on communities, the environment and profitability and the factors that enable and constrain the scaling up of positive impacts.
    While stories about inclusive business models have proliferated over the last few years, most of them have focused on the business opportunity and explain the business model. However, little evidence is available on the impact these business models do and can achieve. Hence, cases should try to demonstrate that these business models do have the ability to create benefits for the poor and contribute to human development on a significant scale. Initiatives that contribute to environmental sustainability at the same time will be of particular interest.

    Cases should focus on initiatives that improve poor people's access to basic goods and services (education, food, healthcare, housing, water and sanitation), increase their productivity (energy, financial services, information and communication services) and provide opportunities for income generation (agriculture and forestry, tourism, ecosystem services). Cases may feature all types of organizations engaged in inclusive business models, from private companies to social businesses, NGOs with earned-income strategies, or state-owned enterprises.
  • Latin American Business Cases: Sponsored by Universidad Externado de Colombia, CO
    This category welcomes those cases that describe business development in Latin America, which can feature all types of disciplines of the Business Administration (Strategy, Foresight, Innovation, Marketing, Internationalization, Human Resources, etc.) and cover challenges related to:
    a. Good management practices developed by companies inside the region
    b. Internationalization processes of Latin American companies into foreign markets
    c. Internationalization processes of foreign companies into the Latin American region
    d. Alliances between universities, corporations and public sector to improve the level of competitiveness inside the region
  • MENA Business Cases: Sponsored by HEC Paris in Qatar, QA
    The past few years have been marked by an acceleration of the trend towards rebalancing the global economy, with the long time dominant West being challenged by development in the East and the South. Much focus has been devoted to the rise of China and India as two potential economic superpowers of tomorrow.
    The MENA Business Cases category focuses on another area in the East and the South, whose culture shares common roots with the West, which is experiencing fast development, and whose prospects are promising.
    Business cases in the MENA region are relatively undeveloped.

    The purpose of the category is to stimulate the development of teaching material relating to the main issues characterizing the region, notably and without exhaustivity:
    • The development, gradual globalization and opening of family businesses, with the associated successorship, governance and financing issues
    • The attempted diversification out of oil and gas into both heavy energy intensive industries and a service oriented knowledge based economy
    • The expansion of the energy industry into renewables and the new focus on sustainability in construction and urban planning
    • The strategy of large government owned corporations and the evolution of both their capital base and their governance
    • The development of the financial system, public and private equity markets and Islamic finance
    • Entrepreneurial issues, leadership, and the evolving role of women in business
  • Bringing Technology to Market: Sponsored by ESMT, DE
    This category deals with the business environment in three major business areas, namely  Europe, Asia, and the US. When compared to their competitors from Asia, the traditional strengths of many European and US-American companies lie in their advanced technologies and the advantages these provide when it comes to sound innovations. However, in some industries this leading edge has begun to recede. How should these companies deal with this? The answer is that they have to understand their competitors’ strategies – just as the competitors need to understand the strategies of the incumbents.

    To support the companies in all three areas with pertinent research and encourage further studies, ESMT is sponsoring business cases in the following sub-categories:
    • Business strategies of European and American incumbents for defending their leading positions in global markets
    • Business strategies of Asian competitors entering European and American B2B markets
    • New European and American business models on global B2B markets
    • Corporate strategies and internal adjustments when serving both high-end and low-end markets
    • Making the transition to a global company: successes and failures
    • The role of traditional headquarters in a globalized corporation
    • Involvement of companies from emerging markets in Europe: exports, financial investments, joint ventures, acquisitions/founding local companies
  • Urban Transition Challenges: Sponsored by Climate KIC*
    Cases should address European cities’ solutions for the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change. Cases can focus on city infrastructure, building infrastructure, and innovative business models for city transformation where upfront investment power is weak. Several perspectives are of interest: A focus on removing barriers which impede the uptake of innovations in construction, local infrastructure networks, and transport; a focus on systems challenges which impede the uptake of existing technological innovations; a focus on stakeholders and tools which help stakeholders to align in the (re)development of the value chain for the maximum reduction of emissions and the resilience of cities.
  • Sustainable Production Systems: Sponsored by Climate KIC*
    Cases should address the reduction of the negative climate impact of production systems by decarbonising feedstocks, increasing production process efficiency, redesigning products and improving recycling opportunities. The cement, steel and chemicals industry are of interest, and in particular the use of low carbon input materials; the valorisation of production processes’ byproducts within and between industries; the redesign of products to lower emissions of the production process; and the launching of new products with low carbon emissions on established markets.

    Please make sure the cases are relevant and can be translated to the European context. Do not submit cases in the area of food, agriculture and forestry
  • Sustainable Business Model: Sponsored by Climate KIC*
  • Cases should show the need and benefit of integrating sustainability in the business model compared to traditional approaches. A certain business model approach should be demonstrated, including its structure and use for different types of businesses, projects and initiatives. Sustainable business models can come from a variety of sectors and include business models from a start-up, as well as from innovations in bigger enterprises.
    Key success factors for successful sustainable business model innovation should be demonstrated as well as carry-out actions linked to those success factors along the process. However, both successful and failing cases are of interest, and in both scenarios the critical barriers to success and how or not they were overcome must be analysed.

    Please make sure the cases are relevant and can be translated to the European context.

    * For all Climate-KIC cases a preference is given to short case descriptions (up to 12 pages without graphics and photos)