Date of Conferral



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


Business Administration


Peter Anthony


Since the 2008 financial crisis, business leaders' ethical behaviors have been under scrutiny. These leaders face uncertainty regarding ethical leadership behaviors and their impact. Because small business leadership involves multiple facets of behavior and decision-making, small business leaders may have an insufficient understanding of the impact of ethical leadership behaviors on the sustainability of their businesses. The purpose of this correlational study was to examine the relationship between ethical leadership and financial, social, and environmental sustainability in small businesses. Integrated social contracts theory was the theoretical framework. The participants consisted of 80 members of a chamber of commerce located in Miami, Florida who had experience with ethical leadership and more than 1 year of ownership or management of a business. The data collection instrument was a self-designed Likert scale survey with items based on the research literature and also included financial measures such as return on assets, net profit margin, and net revenue. Correlation analysis and Bonferroni corrected significance calculation indicated significant relationships (p < .001) between some ethical leadership behaviors and social and environmental sustainability; however, no statistically significant correlations were identified between ethical leadership and financial sustainability. The implications for positive social change include small business leaders partnering with local leaders to implement ethics and sustainability into community programs to create a basis for increased trust in local business leaders to improve consumer confidence.