Nabil Al-Najjar, Northwestern University

List of All Major Case Studies


I wrote a number of cases for use in MBA and executive programs. Below is a sample of the cases I currently use. Many of them are available through the HBS Case Collection. If you decide to use a case, I would be happy to share teaching material and ideas about how to teach these cases.

Case Studies on Commodity Markets

The Newsprint Industry

  • Managing a declining industry.
  • Themes: supply curve analysis; consolidation; pricing power and price umbrella in a declining industry.

The California Energy Crisis
  • Detailed analytical account of the deregulation of a vital industry.
  • Themes: supply curve analysis emphasizing pricing power and regulatory intervention; collusion.

The 2008 Food Crisis
  • Expository, data-supported account of the price surge in food prices in 2008.
  • Themes: supply curve analysis emphasizing short run volatility; social, political, and international commerce dimensions.

Case Studies in Competitive Strategy

Satellite Radio
  • The difficulties facing XM and Sirius circa 2006 in competing in difficult market conditions.
  • Themes: Natural monopoly markets, powerful content providers, long-tail demand with strong taste for variety.

The Erosion of Incumbency Advantage in Motorola’s Wireless Handset Market
  • Motorola’s decision in 1992 not to pursue the digital handset technology.
  • Themes: Incumbents’ incentives to pursue disruptive technological innovations, increasing returns, the replacement effect.

The U.S. Automotive Retailing Industry in the mid 1990’s
  • The opportunity to consolidate an industry with one trillion dollars in sales.
  • Themes: Economies of scale, consolidation, rationalization.

The U.S. Credit Card Industry
  • The sources of abnormal profitability in the credit card business.
  • Themes: The interaction between behavioral biases and competitive strategy.

Boeing vs. Airbus: Competitive Strategy in the Very-Large Aircraft Market
  • Managing competition in a winner-take-all market.
  • Themes: Natural monopoly, winner-take-all markets, strategic commitments, sunk cost.

Microsoft in Thailand
  • An incumbent’s dilemma in meeting a challenge in a marginal market.
  • Themes: Natural monopoly, network effects, strategic risk.

Case Studies on Risk in Non-Market Environments

The Scuds of August
  • Prepared for custom programs for the leadership of the FBI.
  • Themes: decision making in non-market (national security) context; separation of values and beliefs; rationalization.

GSG 9
  • Prepared for custom programs for the leadership of the FBI.
  • Themes: decision tree analysis in non-market (national security) context; separation of values and beliefs; incentive alignment in an organization.

Case Studies on Decision Analysis and Modeling

The cases I wrote in this area are shorter and hypothetical. They tend to focus on specific learning point and often involve a simulation or decision tree analysis.

Formula for Success
  • Hypothetical case to teach Bayesian updating and base rate effects.
  • Themes: decision tree analysis in non-market (national security) context; separation of values and beliefs; incentive alignment in an organization.

Gaming Health Care Insurance
  • Hypothetical case to teach moral hazard in insurance markets.
  • Themes: Decision tree analysis, risk aversion, moral hazard.

Blind Shear Rams
  • Hypothetical case on the value of information.
  • Themes: Decision trees, value of information, risk aversion, corporate responsibility.

Distributive Justice
  • Hypothetical case on the costs and benefits of greater equity in society and organizations.
  • Themes: Risk aversion, incentives, ethics of redistribution, Rawlsian Justice.