Date of Conferral



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


Business Administration


Matthew Knight


Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Zambia experience annual failure rates of 20%. SME survival is essential for improving national economic development and social benefits. Grounded in a resource-based view and Freeman’s stakeholder theory, the purpose of this qualitative multiple case study was to explore strategies supply and contracting SME owners used to avoid failure. Data were collected through semistructured interviews from four successful SME owners in Zambia and a review of company documents. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis. Three themes emerged: competitive quality products, interactive marketing and financial strategies, and resource acquisition and effective utilization. The key recommendations are for SME leaders to maintain quality product delivery, maintain SME visibility, and nurture value chain stakeholder relationships. The implications for positive social change include potentially improving mining industry SME leaders’ ability to create and sustain local community jobs and increase tax revenues that support infrastructure improvements and social programs in local communities.