Date of Conferral







Howard B. Schechter


Health care costs for small businesses have been rising annually for the past few decades. Congress voted to pass the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to lower the cost of health care in 2010. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore small business owners' experiences in implementing ACA requirements and how the ACA affects small businesses as their owners work to make these organizations profitable. Complex adaptive systems theory formed the conceptual framework for this study Data were gathered during face-to-face and telephone interviews with a sample of 20 small business owners in the Philadelphia region. The research questions focused on participants' experiences with the ACA and changes made to their business model to maintain profits throughout the implementation process. A modified version of the Van Kamm data process assisted in finding themes within the data collected and analyzed using descriptive coding. Following data analysis, member checking was used to establish the trustworthiness of the outcomes. The themes that emerged indicated that small business owners adjusted their strategies because of ACA implementation but were concerned about the healthcare needs of their employees. This study may promote positive social change by informing small business leaders about ways to create efficient and inventive prototypical solutions specific to the needs of the business community, as well as ways to improve profitability. Both employees and employers may benefit.