Date of Conferral



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




Elisabeth Musil


Cyber-attacks against small businesses are on the rise yet small business owners often lack effective strategies to avoid these attacks. The purpose of this qualitative multiple case study was to explore the strategies small business owners use to make cyber-security decisions. Bertalanffy's general systems theory provided the conceptual framework for this study. A purposive sample of 10 small business owners participated in the interview process and shared their decision-making methodologies and influencers. The small business owners were vetted to ensure their strategies were effective through a series of qualification questions. The intent of the research question and corresponding interview questions was to identify strategies that successful small business owners use to make cyber-security decisions. Data analysis consisted of coding keywords, phrases, and sentences from semi structured interviews as well as document analysis. The following themes emerged: government requirements, peer influence, budgetary constraints, commercial standards, and lack of employee involvement. According to the participants, budgetary constraints and peer influence were the most influential factors when making decisions regarding cyber-security strategies. Through exposing small business owners to proven strategies, the implications for social change include a reduction of their small business operating costs and assistance with compliance activities.