Case Study Competition

Case Study Competition

 

The Arthur W. Page Society, in alliance with the Institute for Public Relations, sponsors an annual competition for the writing of original case studies by students enrolled in an accredited school of business, communication or journalism and who are pursuing a degree that is focused on corporate communications and the practice of public relations. The objectives of the competition are to:

  • Introduce the practical applications of the core principles that define public relations as a critical function of management to scholars, teachers, and students
  • Encourage research which contributes to the profession’s body of knowledge and provides practical suggestions on how to improve the corporate public relations function

Student authors of winning entries and their faculty advisors are awarded cash prizes and recognized by the nation’s leading corporate communications executives. The Grand Prize winners are invited to the annual Awards Ceremony Dinner held each spring in New York.

Note: All opinions expressed in the Arthur W. Page Society Case Study Competition case submissions are those of the individual authors or commentators and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of the Arthur W. Page Society.

Entry Deadline

Apr/02/15

2015 WINNERS

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Cigarettes Out. Health In. An Analysis of the Rebrand of CVS Health

Abstract

Consumer demand for responsible business practices and corporate social responsibility has grown rapidly in recent years. Boldly inserting itself into this conversation, CVS Health ended its sale of tobacco products September of 2014. Additionally, CVS Health changed its name and slogan, claiming “health is everything.” This case study examines how CVS Health communicated the changes as well as the potential value in aligning “words and deeds” when it comes to corporate character. While the financial results of this change will become apparent over the next few years,
the case study offers the initial public response and immediate business impact of this
high-profile and corporate rebranding.

Teaching notes will be made available to faculty upon request.

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Starbucks Corporation: Tax Avoidance Controversies in the U.K.

Abstract

An investigative report into corporate tax avoidance prompts an increasingly powerful citizen’s group to target Starbucks’ UK operation. Organized by UK Uncut, Starbucks faces numerous sit-ins and boycotts throughout the UK. Increasing public outcry grabs the attention of Parliament which summons Starbucks’ CFO Tony Alstead to come testify. Austerity measures and complex international tax laws further complicate the matter. As a corporation that prides itself on social responsibility, Starbucks must decide between their duty to shareholders to minimize tax liabilities and their promise to serve the communities where they do business.

Teaching notes will be made available to faculty upon request.

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General Motors' Corporate Culture Crisis: An Assessment of the Ignition Switch Recall

Abstract

General Motors, one of the world’s largest automakers, has fallen under scrutiny surrounding an ignition switch recall that claimed $2.7 billion in charges, 2.6 million cars and 42 lives. New GM CEO, Mary Barra, is working to regain public trust and confidence through her candid public communications efforts, and to overturn the initial crisis of a corporate culture that once favored cost over the customer. This case study provides an assessment of Barra’s communications and actions regarding the redefinition of GM’s culture.

Teaching notes will be made available to faculty upon request.

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Gilead Sciences and Sovaldi: The Cost of a Cure

Abstract

Gilead Sciences’ hepatitis C drug, Sovaldi, proved more effective than the competition and was priced in line with market conditions. However, extremely high cost and large patient population captured the attention of the media, the public, NGOs, and even the government. The controversy was further complicated when the company revealed the cost in developing countries would be roughly 1% of the cost in the U.S.

Teaching notes will be made available to faculty upon request.

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The Virtue of Patients: Veterans' Fatal Wait

Abstract

Spring of 2014 brought showers of media coverage about secret wait lists containing thousands of veterans who had been waiting months for appointments at VA health care facilities across the country. Some veterans died while waiting for care as executives at those VA facilities received performance bonuses. This case study examines the historical, organizational, and political factors that led to the scheduling scandal as well as how communication about the scandal was handled and responded to, both at the peak of the crisis and as VA leadership changed.

Teaching notes will be made available to faculty upon request.

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BP’s Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Crisis and their Recovery Through Team USA Olympic Sponsorship: An Analysis of Reputation Management and Corporate Sponsorships

Abstract

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become of increasing importance to consumers. This case study examines corporate sponsorships and their role in CSR, crisis management and brand reputation. Through the lens of what has been called “the biggest marine oil spill in the petroleum industry,” the case study examines BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill crisis, their initial mitigation efforts, and their subsequent focus on their Team USA Olympics sponsorship. The study examines how brand perception shifted, what initiatives BP took in order to preserve its reputation, and what companies can learn from its choices moving forward.

Teaching notes will be made available to faculty upon request.