SBC Author Profile: Peter Jaskiewicz
Professor Peter Jaskiewicz looks for the answers to the pressing questions that many family businesses and business families ask around the globe: How can we remain entrepreneurial across generations? How do we build a legacy that will last for centuries? How can we foster next generation leadership? Which governance will balance our family and business goals? Which corporate social responsibility activities can make a difference to the community, the family, and the business? To answer these and related questions, he conducts qualitative and quantitative research at the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa and shares new knowledge on family businesses and entrepreneurship with Bachelor, Master and PhD students. In 2017, he was named holder of the University Research Chair in Enduring Entrepreneurship at the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management.
His research has been published in leading journals including Journal of Management Studies, Journal of Management, Journal of Business Venturing, Academy of Management Learning and Education, Academy of Management Annals, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, and Family Business Review. Moreover, he is an Associate Editor at the Family Business Review. His research findings are regularly featured in the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, MacLean’s Magazine, Fox Business, Globe and Mail, etc.. Moreover, he is a frequent speaker at practitioner conferences and executive education programs and a board member of various organizations and companies.
Cases from Peter on Sage Business Cases
Q&A with Peter
Q: How do you integrate cases into your classes?
A: Cases are important learning tools used in both graduate and undergraduate programs at the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management. Once students are familiar with knowledge on a particular topic (e.g., succession vs. sale of a family business), I regularly use cases so that students can apply their theoretical knowledge to a real organizational context. I believe that cases are important to highlight the complexity of real-life situations and show that different perspectives on a decision might exist. For instance, students might have to evaluate a sale decision from different perspectives. In subsequent role plays, they will impersonate important firm decision-makers – each of whom might have a different agenda – and negotiate whether the sale of the firm should be pursued. In representing different perspectives around a table, students realize that what seemed at first like a crystal-clear decision is actually a hotly contested and debated issue.
Q: How do students respond to the cases?
A: Students who have not worked with cases before are sometimes surprised about the dynamics that case work involves and fosters. However, once students have worked on a case or two, they know what to expect and are excited to familiarize themselves with the next complex context situation or decision. This is so because first, they are eager to see whether they can come up with a solution. Second, they are excited to see how things play out once the dynamics of different decision-makers’ agendas, time pressures, changing environmental factors, etc. are added to the mix. In a nutshell, cases make learning more realistic and exciting.
Q: Do you have any tips for those who are new to cases and want to use them in courses?
A: Join a course of a friend or a colleague who uses case studies in her or his teaching. It is usually a great and fun experience. You might also ask a colleague familiar with case study teaching to co-teach a case with you. Alternatively, one can attend case study workshops at major conferences like the Academy of Management Conference. Last but not least, most (good) cases come nowadays with detailed teaching notes. If you cannot learn from others, try out some of the suggested teaching strategies that a teaching note encompasses. And once you have mastered these suggestions, you can experiment by adding things you think could work or subtracting things you did not enjoy/did not like.
Q: Do you have any case writing advice for those who’d like to get started?
A: Case study writers are not born but made. I became interested in cases when I read stories about firms in the news and thought “That’s interesting!” but “how did they get there and how will they proceed now?” It is these “Aha” or “Eureka” moments that usually make me delve into a case and research what is going on in the particular firm. In so doing, I can shed light on an interesting phenomenon and analyze the process that led to the status quo and the potential path(s) that the firm could pursue moving forward. At the end of the day, cases thus enable students and decision-makers alike to develop and compare different answers to real-life questions before learning what really happened. I think it is a great preparation for making decisions in organizational contexts later on.