CalstateLA’s renowned Case Study hand you the toolkit to start your own business or initiative.

The Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation’s case collection is a list of the most creative and innovative companies within Southern California. The case collection focuses on fast growing companies in different stages of growth that face a wide range of challenges from corporate entrepreneurship, technology disruption, business model innovation, social entrepreneurship, human resources, and managerial leadership problems faced by all innovative entrepreneurs from all over the globe:


Zhang, Y.; S. McGuire & K. Kwong

DusitD2 Hotel Constance Pasadena

Western Casewriters Association 2016 Conference

In September 2014, a new boutique hotel with an unknown brand in the United States opened its doors in Pasadena, California, just outside of Los Angeles.  Mr. Kin Hui, dsuitD2 Hotel Constance Pasadena’s C.E.O., explained why the brand was chosen:  “We chose the Dusit brand to offer something different to the market.  Although the Dusit brand is well known in Asia, ours is the first Dusit hotel in the United States and will offer the very high standard of service different from our competitors in the area.” 
In December 2015, Hui pointed out that dusitD2 Hotel Constance Pasadena was already running at nearly 70% occupancy on weekdays and 100% occupancy on weekends, while some of supporting sections, like the swimming pool and the garden, were still in construction.  It appeared that the decision to buy a Dusit franchise was sound.  Was it?  Would it provide Mr. Hui’s hotel with a competitive advantage in the long term? 
The case provides an overview of the boutique niche in the hotel industry as well as a detailed review of the franchise agreements of duistD2 and other boutique hotel chains.  It provides a brief explanation of the performance metrics used in the industry, and provides data on the performance of the hotel and some of its rivals.

Zhang, Y.; S. McGuire & R.D. Pelly 

Homeboy Industries

Western Casewriters Association 2016 Conference

Peer reviewed case study and instructor’s manual


Abousaidi, N., N. Tamekuni & C. Gandara; S. McGuire & K. Kwong 

Huy Fong Foods’ Sriracha:  Irwindale Turns up the Heat,

Western Casewriters Association 2015 Conference

In 2014, the City Council of Irwindale, California considered a motion to pass a resolution calling Huy Fong Foods, Inc. a “public nuisance,” and filed a lawsuit against the company for failing to address environmental concerns.  Huy Fong Foods was the manufacturer of Sriracha, a very popular hot sauce made from jalapeno peppers.  Residents of Irwindale had complained to the City that the strong odors of the peppers emanating from the factory constituted pollution, and endangered their health and the quality of their lives.  David Tran, the company founder and CEO, had to consider (a) installing expensive filters that might or might not reduce the pepper odor, (b) moving the factory to another location, or (c) finding another solution to the dilemma.   
The State of Texas was aggressively pursuing California businesses and offering tax incentives to those who relocated to that state.
The case provides a description of the company and its industry, as well as direct quotes from multiple interviews with Irwindale residents.

McGuire, S. & A. Avramchuk 

Resuscitating 1-800-Autopsy: A Lifespan of a Death Care Enterprise

Western Casewriters Association 2015 Conference

A private-autopsy industry pioneer, Vidal Herrera of Los Angeles enjoyed high-profile media attention and the publicity that few entrepreneurs ever achieved.  He sought to fill the market segment left by hospitals and coroners reducing the numbers of performed autopsies due to budget cuts and technology enhancements.  He considered it wrong when people did not receive proper closure by confirming their loved ones’ true causes of death.  
Since the 1988 opening of his Autopsy / Post Services, Inc., also branded as 1-800-Autopsy, the for-profit, 24-hour mobile enterprise and its charismatic leader have been featured in press, onscreen, and online.  From the award-winning CNN news and Dateline TV programming to The Economist and The Wall Street Journal reports, the interest in his services seemed to be strong and broad over the years.  Herrera earned a runner up status for a Marketer of the Year with Inc. magazine and, with supportive advice from a business consultancy, tried to franchise his unique concept since 1998.  Given the sustained media attention and Hollywood proximity, his business also branched out with offshoots such as Morgue Prop Rentals (reportedly clearing a $100,000 profit by 2011) where TV studios, for example, rented a life-like set up for an autopsy table.  
Despite constant publicity, decades of reputable experience, and key attempts at substantial expansion (e.g., the Entrepreneur magazine featured 1-800-Autopsy franchise again in 2013), Herrera’s enterprise had yet to blossom to its envisioned potential.  In 2002, the franchise was on the market at around $92,000 a piece, but, as of beginning of 2015, had no more than a few serious takers.  In his attempts to revive the franchise idea while helping others, Herrera tried to work with returning war veterans, waiving initial costs for a pledge to complete training with him.  In 2015, Herrera’s autopsy lab was one of the few of its kind outside of hospital or coroner’s office settings accredited by the College of American Pathologists.  In his early sixties, Mr. 1-800-Autopsy, a Mexican-American autopsy technician, was full of enthusiasm about the future of his unique enterprise and open to what was yet to come.  He contemplated what to do next.

McGuire, S. & N.F. O’Brien

Hooters of America

Western Casewriters Association 2015 Conference

Hooters of America President and CEO Terry Marks had a decision to make. Thirty years ago, Hooters had advanced a successful chain restaurant concept which combined “good food, cold beer and pretty girls.”  After a period of rapid growth and running a gauntlet of legal and community challenges, Hooters began losing ground to competitors in the expanding “breastaurant” sector in the 2000s. The 2006 death of majority owner and Chairman Robert H. Brooks introduced more uncertainty and the eventual sale of the company in 2011 to Chanticleer.  When Terry Marks took charge of the company, Hooters was faced with a choice: (1) it could emphasize a wholesome, neighborhood environment that would welcome men, women and families; (2) it could move in a more risqué direction and compete head-to-head with racier rivals; or (3) it could find some third way to position the brand in the highly competitive restaurant industry in 2016?


Jin, C., M. Tiwari, N. Gosalia, S. Dowiri & V. Bhamidipati; S. McGuire

GeoListening at the Glendale Unified School District

Western Casewriters Association 2014 Conference

Peer reviewed case study and instructor’s manual

Solie, L.; S. McGuire 

Keva Fitness Workout

Western Casewriters Association 2013 Conference

Peer-reviewed Instructor’s Manual. Winner 2013 Best Mentored Case Award.

R. Duncan M. Pelly

The Story of Captain Baby Face and the Coffee Maker
An Entrepreneurial Narrative Perspective on Corruption

Journal of Management Inquiry

This article calls into question the frequently used negative moral labels assigned to corruption by describing gift giving as a form of narrative entrepreneurship that bridges ontologies between public service organizations. To effectively make the comparison, this article utilizes a unique methodology to explore corruption: the layered account autoethnography. The empirical setting of this story is a jointly operated military corrections facility in Iraq. It illustrates how gaps were perceived in the U.S.–Iraqi joint bureaucracy creating a space for play, and how corrupt behavior metaphorically bridged these gaps. Engaging in a minute form of gift giving provided remarkable insight into how partner organizations respond to traditional and corruption-friendly practices.