University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) professional associates, Verity Hawarden and Amy Moore were recently awarded ‘Best Newcomer Case Award’ by the North American Case Research Association (NACRA) for their case titled: ‘Love Books: Passion and purpose driving the small business of paper books sales’. The award was presented at NACRA’s annual conference which focuses on the presentation and improvement of new peer-reviewed cases and papers on issues related to case education.
NACRA is a not-for-profit, voluntary professional association with an educational mission to promote excellence in case research, writing, and teaching in business and other administrative disciplines. The association, among other things, publishes a quarterly peer-reviewed journal, Case Research Journal which focuses on teaching cases drawn from research in real organisations.
The case is focused on a protagonist who owns a small bookselling business and is keen on continuing to provide a service to her customers and stakeholders in the same traditional way without losing that personal touch that her brand is associated with. She wants to grow profitability by seeking new innovative methods to market to her customers while remaining true to her business’s values. This case is quite relevant for small business owners especially during this challenging time of having to contend with the Covid-19 global pandemic.
The case study teaching method is a discussion-forcing method that was popularised by Harvard University has been adopted by most business schools that provide accredited MBA programmes globally. Cases are often presented in the form of challenges or dilemmas that organisations are facing, students are challenged to discuss the cases in lively sessions that evoke business management lessons.
Speaking about the case, Hawarden said, “This was a most interesting story to research and write, and so topical in this challenging time of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the coronavirus lockdown had resulted in a loss of human connection when people were forced to stay at home, it is exactly the very essence of human connection and the sense of community that has created the magic of Love Books. The story also highlights how unerring passion keeps an entrepreneur resolute and determined to make a small business succeed.
“We are delighted to receive this international award on our teaching case on the bookstore Love Books. Small businesses play an important role in the economy and society generally for South Africa and the story of Love Books highlights this.” Commented Moore.
Commenting on the award, newly appointed President of NACRA, Dr Michael Goldman, said, “I was really pleased to see the committee’s excellent choice for this award. With over 160 first-time NACRA delegates at this year’s conference, and a record number of case submissions, the level of competition was high.”
for more winners from the conference