Date of Conferral



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




Theresa Neal


Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the cornerstone of economic growth and job creation in developed and developing economies, but most fail within the first 5 years of existence. Sustainability is important to SME leaders in the information communication technology (ICT) industry as an indicator of economic growth and job creation. Grounded in dynamic capabilities theory, the purpose of this qualitative, multiple case study was to explore strategies SME leaders use to sustain their business performance beyond 5 years. The participants comprised 3 SME leaders in South Africa in the ICT industry who sustained businesses beyond 5 years. Data were collected from semistructured interviews and a review of company documents. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the data. The results yielded three themes: innovation, organizational learning, and technology integration. A key recommendation is that SME leaders focus on business model innovation and the institutionalization of a culture of learning to continually review and align business processes to the value proposition to ensure their businesses' long-term sustainability. The study has implications for positive social change: current and future SME owners could use these strategies to improve business agility to satisfy existing customers and attract new customers for their businesses' growth and survival. A focus on SME growth and sustainability could improve the local economy by creating more jobs and alleviating poverty.

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