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Rob Austin wins best-selling case award from Ivey Publishing

  • Communications
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  • May 27, 2021
Rob Austin wins best-selling case award from Ivey Publishing

Rob Austin

Paul Mayne

For Rob Austin, the key to writing a best-selling case is a compelling story. He should know. Austin, a professor of Information Systems at Ivey, is the winner of the best-selling case for Ivey Publishing's 2020-2021 New Best Seller Awards.

Ranked based on unit sales, the New Best Seller list highlights the top 20 cases from the previous academic year (May 1, 2020-April 30, 2021) that have continuously engaged students and provided opportunities for instructors to deliver key concepts at leading business schools around the world.

Austin’s case (with Genevieve Pelow, HBA ’20), Digital Transformation at GE: What Went Wrong?, examines the digital transformation that GE had been attempting since 2011 and the challenges it encountered. It was cited for combining three key features of a best-selling case: a topic that interests many students, a prominent organization, and no clear “answer.”

“Most of the time I start with a gut feeling that there is something interesting going on in this story, and I discover my focus and the learning objectives in progress,” said Austin. “There’s a genuine puzzle here: How did this iconic, 100-year-old company that has long had a reputation as one of the world’s best managed, get into such a mess? It’s a deep question, with no definitive answer. That fact gives the case a richness that makes it work with a wide range of audiences, from undergrads to execs.”

New Best Seller list

Ivey had a strong standing on this year’s list. Here is a list of other Ivey faculty who made the top 20 best-selling cases list:

Nicole Haggerty, HBA ’89, PhD ’04, and Darren Meister (with former Ivey faculty member Mustapha Cheikh-Ammar):

Fraser Johnson (with Ken Mark, HBA ’98):

Shane Wang (with Xiaoke Xu, MBA ’17):

Steve Foerster, HBA ’81:

Steve Foerster, HBA ’81, and Jim Hatch (Professor Emeritus) (with Cyrus Zahedi, MBA ’11):

Michael Taylor, MBA ’88:

Larry Plummer and Andreas Schotter, EMBA ’04, PhD ’09 (with Max Stallkamp, PhD ’18):

Karen MacMillan, PhD ’13 (with Meredith Woodwark, PhD ’15):

Lauren Cipriano, HBA ’05, and Greg Zaric:

Former Ivey faculty members Dante Pirouz (now at Michigan State University) and Charles Dhanaraj (now at University of Denver) placed #8 and #19 respectively. Former Ivey Assistant Professor Mustapha Cheikh-Ammar (now at Université Laval) also received this year’s Best New Author Award for his first case, Dow Chemical Co.: Big Data in Manufacturing, which placed second on the list.

Mary Crossan tops Classic Cases list

Previous Best Seller winners and cases that have achieved sustained high sales for the past 10 years are also considered for the Ivey Classic Cases list, and a case from Ivey Professor Mary Crossan, MBA ’85, PhD ’91, and former Ivey faculty member Ariff Kachra, PhD ’01, topped this year’s list. Their 1998 case, Starbucks, has been translated into three languages, sold over 100,000 copies in 68 countries, and has appeared on the Ivey Publishing Classic Cases list for 21 consecutive years. In addition to Crossan, Ivey faculty were featured prominently on the Classic Cases list:

Paul Beamish, HBA ’76, PhD ’84 (with former Ivey faculty member Charles Dhanaraj and Nikhil Celly PhD ’08):

Fraser Johnson, HBA ’82, MBA ’92, PhD ’95 (with Ken Mark, HBA ’98):

Karen MacMillan, PhD ’13:

Derrick Neufeld, PhD ’97 (with Yulin Fang, PhD ’06):

Craig Dunbar (with former Ivey faculty members Deborah Compeau and Michael King):

Harry Lane (Professor Emeritus):

Colette Southam, PhD ’06:

Darren Meister (with Paul Bigus, HBA ’04):

Former Ivey faculty member Allison Johnson (with Natalie Mauro, HBA ’05, MBA ’10), also placed second on the list.