Date of Conferral



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


Business Administration


Carol-Anne Faint


Ineffective strategies and a lack of internal controls to address employee theft can negatively impact small businesses. For most small business owners impacted by employee theft, the loss of resources could be detrimental, and in some cases, force the business closure. Grounded in Cressey’s fraud triangle theory, the purpose of this qualitative multiple case study was to explore strategies successful small business owners use to deter employee theft behaviors. The participants comprised 8 small business owners in southeast Florida who successfully used strategic internal controls to deter employee theft and enhance employee trust in the workplace. Data were collected from semistructured interviews, company internal control policy documents, and trade recommendations of best practice and internal control frameworks for small businesses. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the data. Six themes emerged: the reconciliation of accounts and communicating expectations for transparency, multiple eyes on accounts and separation of duties, installing system and physical access controls, conducting random reviews with internal and external audits, hiring and building the right teams, and addressing challenges and resistance to policy change and implementation. A key recommendation is to actively engage in formal and informal education of strategies and adequate internal controls to negate employee theft behaviors. The implications for positive social change include the potential for small business owners to create a positive effect within the workplace, ensuring continued employment opportunities, contributions to the community tax base, and continued social responsibility.

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