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Finding Harvard Business Cases

Harvard publishes two types of case studies and these appear in two different sources:  

  • Longer cases (usually 20-30 pages) about real companies.  These are published as individual publications by the Harvard Business School Press.  These are what most people think of as Harvard Business cases.
    • The Wayne State University Libraries do NOT subscribe to the Harvard Business School Press case studies as the cost to do so is prohibitive for a university of our size.  However, these case studies are actually quite inexpensive to buy individually.

    • Cases can, however, be purchased individually at Harvard Business School Press - Cases  These cases usually cost approximately $8-10 when purchased directly from Harvard.  

  • Shorter cases which are often less detailed, less in-depth, and usually about fictitious companies.  These appear as articles in the Harvard Business Review. and may be accessed through the Libraries' subscription the the Business Source Complete database using the link provided below.
    • Harvard Business Review
    • Look for the link "Search within this publication" on the left, above Publication Details. Then search either for the title provided or for something like: "[business topic keyword] and case studies".

Finding Harvard Business Review Articles

It's quick and easy to find Harvard Business Review articles in the Business Source Complete databases. The ONE issue is that the magazine produces 2 types of articles--those published in the print version of the magazine and those that only appear on the website.  Business source complete has these two sources in separate files (links provided below) and the two cannot be searched at the same time. if you have located a title on the website and are interested in retrieving it  you may need to search both files to locate it as it is very difficult to determine whether the article on the website is also in the print magazine or is digital only content.. 

Limitations on Selected Articles from the Harvard Business Review

The Wayne State University Libraries provide access to the Harvard Business Review through the Business Source Complete database for 2 reasons.  First, the HBR is simply one business publication and, while it is an important source of management information, students and faculty should generally search for research topics across all available business publications. It is also the case that buying online access to HBR directly from Harvard Business Publishing would be considerably more expensive for an institution of Wayne State's size. 

There are, however, some limitations that Harvard Business Publishing imposes on the Business Source Complete database and, by extension, on the students and faculty of Wayne State and other universities that subscribe to the database. (The publisher is actually quite open about the fact that they are doing this to preserve their revenue stream from the articles.) 

For approximately 500 of the most popular, most assigned Harvard Business Review articles Harvard Business Publishing limits what users can do with the articles. For these ~500 articles in Business Source Complete:, 

  • The articles CANNOT be printed
  • The articles CANNOT be saved to an individual's Business Source Complete account or emailed to an individual
  • Permalinks to a specific article may not work from a course assignment listing in the WSU Canvas course management system

Note, the image below shows how Business Source Complete identifies an article which is under this restriction.  In the yellow box above tha article title the text reads:

The publisher offers limited access to this article. The full text cannot be printed or saved.

Image of an example of Ebsco's notice that printing and saving for article are not permitted by the publisher

Limitations on ALL articles from the Harvard Business Review

Harvard Business Publishing prohibits the use of ALL HBR articles accessible through Business Source Complete in class reserves systems including assignment lists in course management systems such as Canvas.! 

The following statement appears at the bottom of all HBR articles.:

Harvard Business Review and Harvard Business Publishing Newsletter content on EBSCOhost is licensed for the private individual use of authorized EBSCOhost users. It is not intended for use as assigned course material in academic institutions nor as corporate learning or training materials in businesses. Academic licensees may not use this content in electronic reserves, electronic course packs, persistent linking from syllabi or by any other means of incorporating the content into course resources. Business licensees may not host this content on learning management systems or use persistent linking or other means to incorporate the content into learning management systems. Harvard Business Publishing will be pleased to grant permission to make this content available through such means. For rates and permission, contact

They are serious about this.  As such, the Wayne State University Library system maintains a print subscription to the Harvard Business Review.  If you need an article from this publication, please use the Libraries' InterLibrary Loan/Document Delivery service to request a copy of the article.  I would suggest placing the following statement in the Notes field of the request: 

Please fulfill this request using the Libraries' print subscription.