Date of Conferral



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


Business Administration


Annie H. Brown


Research shows that due to a lack of strategy in managing human resources (HR), small businesses frequently close within the first 5 years of operation. The purpose of this multiple case study was to explore the strategies that HR managers used to maintain business operations for longer than the first 5 years. The targeted population comprised 2 owners of small business in North Carolina who used HR strategies successfully to sustain their businesses for longer than 5 years. Data collection methods included face-to-face, semistructured interviews and the review of the company documents associated with owners of the businesses and their attempts to remain in operation for longer than 5 years. A modified van Kaam method was used for data analysis. Three key themes emerged from data analysis: (a) effective leadership, (b) organizational structure, and (c) work climate. The results of the study indicated that HR strategies are critical to the sustainability of small businesses. The implications for positive social change include providing guidance to owners of small businesses regarding effective HR strategies that might help to sustain small businesses and their roles in job creation, innovation, competition, and economic growth in the United States.