Date of Conferral



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


Information Systems and Technology


Gregory P. Banks


The absence of adequate crisis management strategies in small firms could result in a premature small business closure. A qualitative multiple-case study was used to explore the crisis management strategies that 3 small business owners have used to survive an unexpected operational interruption. The small business owners in this study were from different industries in the southeast region of the United States and each owner owned a business for more than 5 years and had survived at least a single crisis. The theory of crisis management and crisis intervention theory were the conceptual frameworks for this study. Data collection occurred through semistructured face-to-face interviews with small business owners; observations; and a review of company documents comprised of business plans, insurance policies, floor plans, and emergency exit routes. Data were thematically analyzed and then triangulated to ensure trustworthiness of interpretations. The findings included 3 emergent themes: the importance of developing survival strategies; transparency, open communication, and relationship building; and creative thinking as a survival strategy. Recommendations for action include securing adequate insurance coverage, investing in a worker's compensation policy, and maintaining transparent and fluent communications with vendors and consumers. Small business owners who implement survival strategies may contribute to positive social change by continuing to create employment opportunities that improve economic conditions in local communities.