Sales and Sales Management: A Case/Simulation Approach


  • Bruce McAfee
  • Ernest L. Maier


"We, as well as the vast majority of other business educators, have used the case approach as a method of instruction, and our experience with it has left us somewhat puzzled. We have observed that when our students are required to analyze short cases they sometimes become frustrated with the lack of information given in the incident. They frequently state, “I don’t think we have enough information to solve this case.” On the other hand, when they are asked to solve relatively long cases, they sometimes feel rather overwhelmed with the assignment and argue that it takes an excessive amount of time just to read the case and keep track of all the facts. Some obvious solutions to this dilemma would be to use cases of medium length, or to be more careful in selecting the cases we use, or to capitalize on the lack of information in short cases by challenging the students to identify the assumptions they need to make in order to solve the case. Instead of using any of these alternatives, however, we decided to try a different approach. We developed, for several marketing courses, an incident book which centers all of its incidents around the employees of a fictitious sales organization. By presenting the company and the people once, and each incident separately, we utilize more efficiently both the student’s and instructor’s time. We briefly describe the company’s financial condition, buildings, and location. In addition, we provide an organization chart to show the interrelationships among the personnel and an office layout to show where people work in relationship to one another. Since the book consists of a number of incidents or cases, it could be considered a case book. However, since all of the incidents are built around a single organization, we like to think of it too as a simulation. "