Date of Conferral
African American entrepreneurs in Houston, TX, lack the emotional intelligence required
to be self-employed and remain in business. The purpose of this qualitative interview study was to gain a robust understanding of what strategies African American entrepreneurs can adopt to increase emotional intelligence, which will aid them in remaining in business beyond the first 5 years. The central research question focused on common understandings of the strategies African-American entrepreneurs in Houston, TX, adopt to increase their emotional intelligence such that it contributes to them remaining in business beyond the initial 5 years. The conceptual framework that grounded the study was the emotional intelligence theory. Data were collected from semi-structured interviews with a purposeful sample consisting of 15 African American entrepreneurs from Houston, TX who have been in business for a minimum of 5 years. The interviews consisted of open-ended questions. A thematic analysis was conducted on 15 interviews. Eight themes were developed from the data analysis: emotional intelligence, leadership styles, emotional reactions, maturity level, training, business sustainability, communication, and flexibility. Consistent emotional intelligence training emerged as useful in African American entrepreneurs' business sustainability. The potential implications for positive social change stem from African American entrepreneurs developing more sustainable organizations. The findings of this study may be used by stakeholders and organizational leaders to provide the opportunity to build more emotionally intelligent organization.