Date of Conferral

2018

Degree

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

School

Business Administration

Advisor

Tim Truitt

Abstract

Dependence on technology brings security compromises that have become a global threat that costs businesses millions of dollars. More than 7.6 million South Carolinians incurred effects from the 162 security breaches reported in 2011â??2015. The purpose of this multiple case study was to explore the risk management strategies small business leaders use to prevent and mitigate operational security threats that produce financial losses. The population for this study consisted of 6 business leaders in South Carolina who have demonstrated successful experience in preventing and mitigating operational security threats. Transformational leadership theory provided the conceptual framework for exploring the overreaching research question. Data collection consisted of semistructured interviews with each participant and the collection of company documents that pertained to security procedures, audits, and reviews. Conducting semistructured interviews allowed participants to provide details of real-life experiences. Recorded interviews and transcriptions were analyzed through Moustakas's modified van Kaam method of analysis to identify emerging topics. The 4 themes that emerged were: (a) operational security training and awareness, (b) operational security culture and behavioral effects, (c) operational security policy and compliance, and (d) operational security challenges and risk management. By developing strategies and processes that reflect these themes, small business leaders can reduce financial losses to improve profitability and reduce unemployment, achieving social changes that can benefit society as a whole.

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