Date of Conferral



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


Business Administration


John House


The ability to sustain small businesses operating in war-torn areas is important not only to the business owners, but also to foreign communities receiving United States contract services for recovery from widespread decimation. While all small businesses address a wide range of issues, businesses operating in war-torn areas also face cultural diversity, local regulations, and potential threats to employee safety. The conceptual framework for this exploratory multiple case study was transformational-transactional leadership theory, guiding the research to discover traits and strategies of successful leaders in the population of small businesses that were profitable beyond 5 years while operating in the war-torn area of Afghanistan. In addition to participant questionnaires and review of the businesses' balance sheets, income statements, and tax returns, data were collected from 3 CEO participants in face-to-face, semistructured interviews. Participants' verbatim comments were analyzed via thematic analysis. The coding system evolved from applying preliminary codes to a small sample of data and reiteratively refining the codes as prominent themes emerged. Participants identified unique challenges of working with a multinational workforce. There were 3 primary findings: successful leaders used elements of both transformational and transactional leadership; the most important strategy was gaining knowledge of regional infrastructure and customs; and successful leaders used management assistance. These findings may contribute to social change by prompting small business leaders to re-examine their perspectives on workforce diversity; they will also enable leaders who provide services overseas to realize profitable business goals while contributing to foreign local economies.