Date of Conferral



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




John M. House


The ability to improve employee engagement in small businesses is critical, not only to workers but also to midlevel managers who want to retain productive employees in the workplace. Supervisors who lack efficient managerial practices also risk decreases in productivity, profitability, and sustainability. The conceptual framework for this qualitative, exploratory single-case study was Kahn's theory of personal engagement and disengagement. The population consisted of 2 midlevel managers from a single, small, franchise company in metropolitan Alabama, both of whom used engagement practices, and managed at least 5 subordinates in the company. Data collected, analyzed, and triangulated were from semistructured interviews, direct observations, and a review of company documents. Coded interview responses aligned with the research question, conceptual framework, and emergent themes resulted in identifying successful engagement strategies that midlevel leaders to use. Two critical themes that emerged were management and communication. Supportive management behaviors and leader-member exchange yielded positive employee engagement and increased job performance and productivity. These results could be used to help midlevel managers develop strategies that improve employee enagagement and job performance. Social change implications included leaders developing new strategies that encourage positive relationships among top-level and midlevel leaders, lower level employees, and customers.