Date of Conferral



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




Patsy Kasen


Some small business (SB) are exiting their markets because their managers used ineffective strategies to improve business performance. Providing SB managers with an integrative view to identify effective strategies could enhance overall business performance (OBP), minimizing the risk of closing permanently. Grounded in the general system theory, the purpose of this qualitative multiple case study was to explore strategies that SB managers who received the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award between 2007 and 2018 in the United States used to achieve outstanding OBP. The participants were 6 high-level managers who participated in setting the strategies to improve OBP. Data were collected using semistructured interviews, the company’s 5-year performance analysis report, and member checking. Initial data were categorized in codes, and themes were identified, refined, and evaluated. Three major strategies SBs should use to secure outstanding OBP are: identify the reasons for a business to exist, identify the internal and external elements impacting the business performance, and understand the dynamic interaction among those elements for improvement. A recommendation for SB managers is to apply a systems approach, set plans, and identify effective strategies by considering the most impactful elements and their interaction for continuous improvement in line with the business mission realization. The implications for positive social change include the potential to help SB managers sustain their business to provide stable employment, develop local economies, and enhance families’ and communities’ lifestyle level.