Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

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

School

Business Administration

Advisor

Mohamad Hammoud

Abstract

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Lebanon are at risk of failure because of the geoeconomic crisis. The purpose of this single case study was to explore strategies that successful leaders of SMEs use to sustain their businesses during tenuous economic conditions. The target population for the research comprised 6 business leaders of SMEs in Beirut, Lebanon: 3 in the civil security field and 3 in the facilities management field. Kotter's change model theory provided the conceptual framework for this research. Data were gathered from company documents and interviews with SMEs leaders in Beirut. Data were analyzed using Yin's data analysis method, which included compiling the data, disassembling the data, reassembling the data, interpreting the meaning of the data, and concluding the data. Member checking and methodological triangulation were used to add consistency and rigor to the findings. Four themes emerged from the data analysis: (a) leaders of SMEs embedded change management in their organizations to sustain their businesses, (b) leaders of SMEs increased awareness in their organizations, (c) leaders of SMEs succeeded in creating solid organizational and financial structures to ensure a sustainable cash flow, and (d) leaders of SMEs formed niche markets to grow. Leaders of SMEs achieved their strategies by (a) establishing a sense of urgency, (b) forming a powerful guiding coalition by creating awareness in leaders' organizations, (c) empowering others to communicate both organizational and financial visions, and (d) generating short-term wins. The implications for positive social change include the potential to reduce unemployment rates and create new job opportunities by sustaining businesses of SMEs during tenuous economic conditions.