About the Kinlin Method

The Kinlin Method refers to the set of practices adopted at the Lawrence Kinlin School of Business at Fanshawe College. The method follows the traditional steps in case teaching but supplements those steps with some specific tools that amplify the learning outcomes in an experiential learning environment.


  1. The Kinlin Method is designed around the three traditional steps in the Harvard Method: 1) students read a written case and analyse it for themselves; 2) students gather in small groups to compare analyses, debate alternatives and consider options; and 3) a full class gathers to review the basic facts and then debate the decision criteria, the alternatives and the recommended response.
  2. Cases are used for teaching and learning in class, and are not used solely as an individual assignment. The personal analysis and group analysis steps in case teaching are often graded, using rubrics.
  3. The Kinlin Method uses a standard, repeatable five-step process that reinforces key analytical tools. We refer to this process as the Case Toolbox:
    1. Issue Identification: as brief as a single sentence, this step defines the issue to be solved or decision to be made, as well as the significance and the urgency of the decision.
    2. External Analysis, with three major parts:
      1. An overview consisting of a snapshot of a industry and its trends
      2. An analysis of PESTEL (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental and Legal factors relevant to the case)
      3. An analysis using Michael Porter’s Five Forces: consideration of the five factors for profitability
    3. Internal Analysis, with three major parts:
      1. An overview of the firm, what it does, its size, location, financial performance, market performance, and current strategy
      2. An analysis of VRINE, to determine its competitive advantage based on an assessment of its resource capability (are its resources Valuable, Rare, Inimitable, NonSubstitutable and Exploitable?)
      3. A SWOT analysis, to determine a firm’s internal strengths and weaknesses and their external opportunities and threats
    4. Alternatives, with three major considerations:
      1. Identification of Decision Criteria
      2. An identification and analysis of Alternatives
      3. A single Alternative chosen as a Recommendation
    5. Implementation, which considers practical aspects of the decision, such as:
      1. A plan and timetable
      2. Control measures
      3. A contingency plan
  4. The Kinlin Method embodies three key innovations on the traditional Harvard process of case teaching, designed to make experiential learning robust and effective:
    1. Analysis using a standardized method (“The Toolbox”); repeated use of the Toolbox in class reinforces key skills (analysis, decision-making)
    2. Students reflect on the process and the experience at the end of a course to internalize what they have learned
    3. Students gain a significant opportunity when they practice applying their analysis and decision-making skills in a Signature Innovative Learning Experience such as a co-op term or project placement.


  1. Wherever possible, Kinlin uses short (2-8 pages) cases with limited extraneous material. They are drawn exclusively from real situations with real people, and they focus on one or at most two linked issues and are presented in a somewhat conversational writing style that is as crisp and as readable as possible.