David A. Garvin

The case method does little to cultivate caution. Decisiveness is rewarded, not inaction. Students can become trigger-happy as a result, committed “to taking action where action may not be justified or to force a solution where none is feasible.” Class discussions can easily polarize. Persuasiveness is valued-but not publicly changing one’s own mind. Few students do so in the course of discussion; if anything, positions tend to harden as debate continues. Skilled managers, by contrast, try to stay flexible, altering their positions as new evidence and arguments emerge.

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