Date of Conferral



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




Dr. Scott Burrus


Small businesses are critical to economic development. Small businesses create job opportunities and training and innovative products and services, but they encounter significant challenges and many fail in the first 7 years due to lack of sustainable strategies. The purpose of this single case study was to explore strategies owners used to sustain small energy consulting businesses for longer than 7 years. The population in this study consisted of 5 senior executives of a small energy consulting firm in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. The conceptual framework for the study was the transformational leadership theory that deals with vision and empowerment aimed at increasing both employee effectiveness and well-€being to positively aid employee outcomes, commitment, role clarity, and prosperity. Data were collected through face-to-face semistructured interviews and a review of company documents. After data analysis using thematic analysis and methodological triangulation, 7 themes emerged: functional vision, planning, skilled human resources, match approach to strategy, create market share, good leadership, and staying in tune with innovation. Implications of this study for social change include the potential for small energy consulting businesses to improve in the quality of life in the local environment by playing a vital role in the culture and economy of the community. Implementing the strategies may result in improving a firm's profitability and sustainability and contributing to social change for the local communities by reducing unemployment, offering competitive compensation, providing improved working conditions, and improving work-€life practices.