Date of Conferral



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


Business Administration


Isabel Wan


Small businesses represent more than 99% of all employers in the United States, but more than 50% of small businesses have failed before 5 years. Climate change, digitization, and social media contribute to a paradigm shift in consumers' habits, as more consumers have become environmentally and social justice conscious. Business leaders who are unable to follow the consumers' trends and changes of habit may not succeed in sustaining their businesses. The purpose of this multiple case study was to explore strategies owners of small businesses in the District of Columbia use to sustain their businesses for longer than 5 years while fulfilling their firms' social responsibility obligations. The conceptual framework was the sustainability development theory. Data were collected from 5 small retailers through face-to-face, semistructured interviews, observations, field notes, and reviews of documents related to business sustainability. Data analysis was based on the thematic analysis model, which involved a process of organizing, coding, arranging data into common themes relevant to the research question and interpreting of the information. Member checking was used to enhance the credibility and validity of the data. Emerging themes included business establishment planning, sustainability planning, and sustainability factors use. The results of this study may contribute to positive social change by providing information to entrepreneurs about successful strategies for small business sustainability, which can lead to business owners, employees, and communities living and working in a human-oriented, prosperous, and healthy environment.