Date of Conferral



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




Karin Mae


Small businesses in the United States experience a high rate of failure. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to identify and explore consistent strategies small business owners in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania used to lead successful companies. Transformational leadership theory formed the conceptual framework for this study. A mixed purposive sample of 20 small business owners participated in semistructured face- to-face and telephone interviews. Each of the participants possessed a minimum of 3 years of successful business operation and employed fewer than 500 individuals. Using Moustakas' modified van Kaam analyses, 6 main themes emerged: characteristics and experiences, leadership behaviors, managing operations, managing employees, employee behaviors, and achieving success. The study findings highlighted the need for small business owners to nurture the leader-follower relationship to inspire and motivate employees. Further, the results indicated the importance of utilizing integrated business practices to influence employee and business performance. The findings in this study promote positive social change by identifying strategies to empower nascent and existing entrepreneurs. Small business owners can apply these results to improve the leader- follower relationship within their organizations, and boost overall business success.