AB Corporation Case Study

1998 Volume 1 Issue 1

Case studies are a major component of graduate business courses at the Graziadio School of Business and Management and other top business schools including Harvard, Columbia, and Northwestern. The opportunity to study and learn from real-world management dilemmas makes case study an attractive method for learning both the science and the art of management.

The Internet’s interactive nature allows the Graziadio Business Review the opportunity to present cases outside of the classroom. The following links will introduce the reader to AB, Inc., a large US company facing a number of opportunities, issues, and problems. The case is based on actual occurrences and decisions faced by an actual company. Paraphrasing an old television crime drama, only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

The Internet allows us to present the first section of the case and gives you, the reader, a chance to react and comment on the case (see links to the Case Study Forum at the end of the case.) We will post reader comments, as well as comments from Professor Wayne Strom, from time to time. Additional sections of the case will be added once a month so readers should return to the GBR for updates.

The case uses the lens of memos, news stories, and even e-mail notes to allow readers to view events at AB, Inc. Readers are invited to study each part of the case, moving forward and backward by clicking on the links at the bottom of each communique in the case. Readers also have the opportunity to post their thoughts on the case on the case bulletin board and answer questions about their thoughts on the case. Links to these areas are at the end of the case.

Case Contents

AB Annual Meeting Press Release

Minutes of Executive Management Committee Meeting

Memo from d’Bose to Smith

E-mail re: AB Mail

E-mail from Ernie to Kay

Memo re: Y2K Problem

Excerpt from Management Meeting Minutes of November 13, 1993

Case Evaluation

1. What do you see as the major issues facing AB, Inc.?

About the Author(s)

Wayne L. Strom, PhD, is a professor of behavioral science at Pepperdine's Graziadio School of Business and Management. As an active consultant to executives and organizations, Dr. Strom has worked with a long list of local and multinational corporations in Europe, Asia, and the United States, including ABC-TV, Baxter Healthcare, CB-Richard Ellis, Citicorp, Consolidated Capital, The Culver Studios, SmithKline, Southern California Edison, Toshiba America, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Yamaha. His current focus is on leadership processes for corporate renewal and the development of businesses as continuous improvement/learning organizations. He has served as associate dean, director of graduate programs, and chair of various academic committees. In 1986, he founded the Pepperdine Civic Leadership project, and in 1991, he was selected as a Harriet and Charles Luckman Distinguished Teaching Fellow in 1991. Currently he enlists executives in coaching employable but unemployed and homeless men and women for job searching skills.

W. Scott Sherman, PhD, earned his doctorate in Business from Texas A&M University after working for more than 20 years in the newspaper industry. Dr. Sherman has taught at Texas A&M University, Pepperdine University, and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Sherman has published in the Journal of Business Entrepreneurship, The Academy of Management Review, and as a contributing author to several books on leadership in the 21st Century sponsored by the U.S. Army. He is also the founding editor of the Graziadio Business Review. Sherman now lives in his native Texas, teaches strategy and organizational change at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, does research and consulting with a variety of organizations and follows his avocational passion of landscape photography.

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