Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)

School

Management

Advisor

Chad Sines

Abstract

Access to credit in the changing environment is the primary challenge to survival for many small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners. The purpose of this multicase study was to understand how seasoned small business leaders in wholesaling and manufacturing in Northwest Arkansas strategically adapted to obtaining access to credit in an environment of bank mergers and acquisitions, disruptive information technology, federal and state regulations, and globalization. The conceptual framework that grounded this study was adaptive leadership and change management. Although, small business leaders prefer to obtain credit from community banks through relationship financing, leaders of SMEs can adapt to the challenges of the changing environment. The data collection process involved face-to-face, onsite, semistructured interviews of 5 participant SME owners selected via purposive sampling throughout the Northwest Arkansas region. Analysis of the transcripts involved coding data into groups using keyword identification and regrouping the data into themes. Themes that emerged from the study included the importance of formalizing a capital strategy, utilizing alternative forms of financing, and responding and adapting to change. Also, small business owners use financial software to provide technical, financial reports, and pro forma statements with variance analysis. Positive social change from the findings of this study may develop through SMEs' potential to increase job provision thereby benefiting workers' families with better employment opportunities, enhancing public infrastructure through greater tax revenues, and generating a long-term, viable, sustainable future to the region's public education through an increased tax base.