Date of Conferral



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


Business Administration


David A. Blum


Organizations that lack competitiveness may not survive changes in market conditions due to the inability to understand customer needs and problems. Small business leaders who do not address customer needs, identify market changes, and market demands may not maintain competitiveness. Grounded in the design thinking framework, the purpose of this qualitative single case study was to explore organizational development processes used by small business leaders to address evolving market conditions and maintain competitiveness. The participants included five executive management team members from one organization in Hawaii who used effective organizational development processes to manage evolving market conditions and maintain competitiveness. Data were collected from semistructured interviews and document reviews. Data were analyzed using Yin’s 5-phase cycle. Three themes emerged: becoming a learning organization, problem seeking and identifying organization, and user-focused and market-driven organization. The key recommendation is for executive managers to use design thinking as their transformational organizational development process to enable small business leaders to be more competitive and deal with changing market conditions. The implications for positive social change include the potential for small business leaders to create more jobs for residents and benefit underserved and disadvantaged individuals, families, and youth for community betterment.