- Leadership and Navigation
- Business Acumen
- HR Expertise
Challenge your business acumen and receive Business recertification credits! Harvard’s School of Business has been a leading presence in the world of education for over 100 years. Get the Harvard business experience firsthand with our Real-World Case Studies! Explore the issues and solutions experienced by high-profile organizations and engage in an interactive learning experience with participants from other organizations and facilitators of Employers Council.
- Expose participants to current business issues and practices using high-profile organizations as examples.
- Analyze cases exploring topics such as:
- Social Platforms
- Crisis Management
- Security and Privacy
- Social Responsibility
- Talent Management
- Discuss and apply relevant practices and insights from Harvard Business cases to participant organizations (as time permits).
Note: Each class requires pre-reading and prep work by participants. Materials will be emailed to participants before each class.
Cases for 2019
Apple: Privacy vs. Safety?
Denver - March 21, Loveland - April 3, Colorado Springs - March 27
In 2015, Apple CEO Tim Cook debuted the iPhone 6S with enhanced security
measures that enflamed a debate on privacy and public safety around
the world. The iPhone 6S, amid a heightened concern for privacy following
the 2013 revelation of clandestine U.S. surveillance programs, employed
a default encryption system that prevented both Apple and government
authorities from accessing data stored on the device. Law enforcement
officials warned that the encryption hindered investigations of criminal
cases and international terrorism and called on Apple to build a backdoor,
a way to bypass the encryption. But Cook maintained that any backdoor
would compromise customers’ privacy and security. In 2016, a federal judge
ordered Apple to provide technical assistance to unlock the iPhone used
by a terrorist who, along with his wife, killed 14 people in San Bernardino,
California. Apple refused to comply with the order and asked the government to withdraw its demand. As the court case unfolded, Cook considered
his responsibilities to the U.S. government as well as to Apple’s customers,
employees, and shareholders.
Chipotle Mexican Grill: Food with Integrity?
Denver - May 21, Loveland - June 7, Colorado Springs - May 31
By any measure, Chipotle Mexican Grill was a success story in the
restaurant business. It grew from one location in 1993 to over 2,000
locations by 2016 and essentially created the fast casual dining category.
Its stock appreciated more than 1,000% in the ten years following its
2006 IPO. However, after more than 20 years without a major reported
food safety incident, Chipotle was revealed as the source of multiple
outbreaks of illness from norovirus, salmonella, and E. coli that sickened
nearly 600 people in 13 states in 2015. The company closed stores, spent
several months under investigation by the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health organizations, and
faced a criminal investigation in connection with the incidents. After a
much-publicized closing of all of its stores on February 8, 2016, and numerous
changes to its food sourcing and preparation practices, Chipotle
tried to win back customers with dramatically increased advertising
and free food promotions. However, on April 26, the chain announced
its first-ever quarterly loss as a public company. Same-store sales for
the first quarter were 29.7% lower than in the previous year. Operating
margins fell from 27.5% to 6.8% over the same period, and the company’s
share price was down 41% from its summer 2015 high.
Airbnb: Business Model Development and Future Challenges
Denver - August 6, Loveland - August 12,
Colorado Springs - August 28
In 2007, the founders of Airbnb were looking to solve a problem and
ended up transforming their idea into a $10 billion company. What
started as a quick website to advertise an overnight stay on their apartment
airbeds along with breakfast in the morning eventually grew into
an online accommodation booking business that spanned the world.
Airbnb used its business model to carve out an extremely important
space in an already crowded industry. However, along with success
came challenges in terms of the scalability of its business model. In
2014, Airbnb was also facing legal challenges by state attorneys general
that could make its business model suspect. The founders had to decide
whether to defend their business model in a court of law and in the
court of public opinion, or change it. Sayan Chatterjee is affiliated with
Case Western Reserve University.
Facebook Fake News in the Post-Truth World
Denver - November 1, Loveland - November 11,
Colorado Springs - November 18
In January 2017, Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook,
was surrounded by controversy. The election of Donald Trump as the
next president of the United States in November 2016 had triggered a
national storm of protests, and many attributed Trump’s victory to fake
news stories served up on Facebook’s Trending News Feed. Zuckerberg
was unapologetic. The word that came to define this spread of misinformation
was “post-truth,” which became so widely used in 2016 that Oxford Dictionaries coined the term “word of the year.” Did Trump
have Zuckerberg to thank? Facebook had sparked many controversies
during its short lifespan. By 2017, it had grown into the biggest social
networking group in the world, with 1.8 billion people. Was this just
another challenge along the way, or were the issues more fundamental?
Organizational managers and leaders, as well as anyone looking to increase their understanding of key business concepts, principles, and applications
Employers Council staff
Each case qualifies for 3.0 SPHR Business recertification credits or a total of 12 credits for all four cases.