Michael Gibbert
Case Studies: Design, Methods, and Reporting

Michael Gibbert is Professor of Marketing at the Communications Department at Universita della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano. Before joining the Lugano faculty, he was a faculty member at Bocconi University, Milan (first Assistant, then Associate Professor), and Adjunct Professor at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. He holds a Ph.D. in Management Strategy from St. Gallen University and taught or researched at the Yale School of Management, INSEAD, and Ludwid Maximilian’s University in Munich. As a researcher, he is particularly interested in the question, What constitutes a methodologically rigorous case study? He edited the bestselling “Siemens Knowledge Management Case Book” (John Wiley and Sons, second edition 2001). Other case research with companies such as BASF, DaimlerChrysler, Deutsche Bank, and Novartis was published by John Wiley and Sons (with Gilbert Probst and Marius Leibold, second edition 2005). His academic work on case study methods appeared in Journal of Management Inquiry, Management and Organizational History, MIT Sloan Management Review, Strategic Management Journal, and Organizational Research Methods.

Workshop contents and objectives

The overall aim of this workshop is to help participants who intend to use, or are already using, the case-study method for research purposes. The fundamental difference between case studies and other (quantitative) methods is that in case studies, there are more variables than data points. This difference makes case studies very "rich", but has also led to a good deal of criticism about the rigor of the case study method, particularly in terms of validity, and reliability.

During the workshop, we take a problem-oriented approach that looks across research stages into the question of how to craft methodologically sound case studies. Specifically, we look into each stage of the case-study project, including design (research question, case selection, etc.), data collection and analysis (employing multiple sources of data including surveys, interviews, archival data, and participant-observation, pattern matching, etc.), as well as reporting and write-up (issues of rhetoric and style).

The participants are invited to bring their own data to the summer school, and will have a chance to discuss and work on their case-study project during the course.


Background reading

Basic texts


No particular prerequisites are required. Readings in the bibliography are intended to give an overview of the kind of literature we will look into; they are not manadatory prep. readings.