Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Qualitative Multi Case Study to Explore the Root Causes of Small Business Failure
by Zilbershtein, Doron, Ph.D., Northcentral University, 2012, 324; 3537690
Abstract (Summary)

The well-being of the United States economy is substantially interwoven and impacted by the performance of small business enterprises (SBE). New SBEs fail at a rate of 75% during their first year. Numerous predictive failure models identified factors such as lack of experience or underfunding are as root causes of failure however these are only symptoms and not root-causes. Most SBEs performance outcome - failure or success - can be traced to specific decisions, or lack thereof, of the entrepreneur. The specific problem explored in this study was how the attitude, thought processes, perception, intention and behavior of five Successful Entrepreneurs (SE) and five Failing Entrepreneurs (FE) affected their business outcomes. Through a qualitative multi-case study and cognitive interviews, the entrepreneurs' attitude, thought processes, perceptions, intentions and behavior were explored. All participants operated businesses within south Florida's Tri-County boundaries, for less than ten years. The Theory of Planned Behavior provided the theoretical framework to understand the characteristics of the thought-behavior-outcome (TBO) process. Finding revealed noticeable differences in the TBO process between SEs and FEs. These differences manifested in the way each group thinks, perceives facts and process them, how they each formulate their perceptions, and behave. SEs tend to be more proactive, view the business as people centered entity, engage others in their decision process, and view their family as part of their success. FEs typically are more responsive, view their business as a system centered, tend to rely more on themselves, and are territorial with respect to their decision process. A Root-Cause Analysis reaffirmed the link between the attitude, thought process, perception, intention, and behaviors of the entrepreneurs and the venture's performance. The results indicate the importance of considering psychological aspects when assessing SBE's performance. The more proactively engaged the entrepreneur is with the stakeholders, the better are the chances of the venture to be competitively successful. Recommendations were formulated to entrepreneurs, researchers and educators included practical aspects (i.e.: training entrepreneurs with emotional intelligence, changing business school curriculum to include psychological aspects) and ideas for future research (i.e.: exploring entrepreneurial cognition and its relationship to personality and thinking styles).

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gossett, Kenneth
School: Northcentral University
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 74/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Entrepreneurship, Occupational psychology
Keywords: Business failure, Failure prediction, Small business enterprises
Publication Number: 3537690
ISBN: 978-1-267-98467-8
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