Date of Conferral
Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)
Past performance ratings of government contractors are becoming a critical pathway to the $300 billion of contract dollars Congress sets aside for small businesses annually. This was a descriptive study exploring leadership strategies small business leaders use to attain positive performance ratings in government contracting, viewed through the lens of the principal-agent theory. The exploration occurred by interviewing 21 small business leaders located within 30 miles of Washington, DC, with favorable performance ratings on at least 3 government contracting opportunities. Clustering themes according to Moustakas's modified van Kaam helped organize, analyze, interpret, and provide meaning to participant accounts of the phenomenon. Findings revealed 5 overall themes: (a) leadership strategies that influence positive performance ratings, (b) behavioral or trait-based attributes of leaders, and (c) understanding bureaucratic dynamics and contract requirements, (d) resource-based capacity as an impediment, and (e) competitive intelligence as a valuable resource. The findings indicated a need for leaders to adapt approaches to contract performance that is appropriate for the situation as agencies implement the procurement process differently. The identification of strategies that positively influence performance ratings may increase the longevity of small businesses participation or excite the proliferation of small businesses aspiring or struggling to increase performance. Findings may also encourage various business leaders within socioeconomic groups to gain access to federal set-asides.