Date of Conferral



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


Business Administration


Dr. Patsy Kasen


When organizational leaders create cultures that foster employee engagement, the leaders experience multiple benefits such as enhanced organizational performance, increased profitability, and improved retention rates. Although small business leaders must create and sustain atmospheres that nurture employee engagement to experience maximized success, 85% of organizational leaders struggle with executing strategies that increase engagement. The purpose of this qualitative, single case study was to explore strategies that small business leaders use to increase employee engagement. Servant leadership theory was the conceptual framework chosen for this study. The population included 3 small business leaders of a coffee shop located in Birmingham, AL. A review of company documents, as well as member checking of initial interview transcripts, helped to strengthen the credibility and trustworthiness of the interpretations. The final interpretations consisted of 2 main themes: creating a culture that enhances and sustains employee engagement and demonstrating leadership characteristics that increase employee engagement. Employee engagement increases when leaders use strategies that include effective employee development strategies, incentives and rewards, deliberate hiring practices, effective communication, leading by example, and leveraging employee innovation and ownership. These findings influence positive social change by uncovering strategies necessary to increase employee engagement, because employees who engage in the workplace display stronger forms of attachment to businesses, develop a significant bond within the community, and experience improved family interactions.

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Business Commons