Date of Conferral
Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)
More than 35% of the U.S. workforce is composed of Baby Boomers who are eligible to retire within the next 5 years. Despite the potential loss of critical expertise, a gap in knowledge retention exists in small consulting businesses. The purpose of this case study was to explore effective strategies for retaining the tacit and explicit knowledge of retiring employees, to avoid operational knowledge drain. Exploration ensued through semistructured interviews at 2 small consulting businesses in the Washington, DC metropolitan area that are adept at innovatively retaining requisite knowledge. The conceptual frameworks of Bass' transformational leadership and Nonaka's knowledge creation led to the identification of strategies to retain tacit and explicit knowledge of retiring Baby Boomers. Seven small business leaders addressed questions on knowledge types, knowledge stimulation and sharing methods, and retention strategies to provide meaningful responses to the knowledge retention phenomenon. Data analysis included the Colaizzi and modified van Kaam methods of mining, categorizing, organizing, and describing participants' statements. Subsequently, the themes that emerged during the analysis identified reward, communication, and motivation as strategies for knowledge-share and transfer. Succession planning, mentoring, documentation, training, and knowledge sharing also emerged as effective methods for knowledge retention. The findings will contribute to social change by illuminating the roles effective leaders practice to influence and foster knowledge management, offering insight to other small businesses having difficulties remaining sustainable as the operational knowledge of Baby Boomers becomes unavailable as they retire.