Small firm failure rates are consistently 10 times higher than the failure rates for larger businesses, which prevents small businesses from reaching their full potential as the world's primary economic engine for productivity and job growth. Enhanced performance, which can help small businesses overcome the odds against survival, has been linked to the application of strategy by business leaders. Establishing and maintaining an intentional link between the strategic thinking of senior leaders and the development of innovative products and services may result in a greater awareness of the competitive environment and improve firm performance. This study engaged the following question as a way to explore this premise: How do sole proprietors, managing partners, and other senior leaders of mature small information technology service firms in the U.S. federal sector describe change? An open-ended qualitative study was conducted with nine senior leaders in this business sector. The findings of the study included five themes and six subthemes that provided qualified support for the premise that strategic thinking improves business performance. Support for the premise was qualified because the process for strategy development is informal, applied primarily to business development, bound by a short time frame, and triggered by reactive adaptation as opposed to proactive action. Future research into whether a more formal approach to strategy would improve performance is suggested.
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|Advisor:||Guilarte, Miguel G.|
|Commitee:||Austin, John, Nelson, Annabelle L., Estrada, Carol, Smith, Ronald G.|
|School:||Fielding Graduate University|
|Department:||School for Leadership Studies|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 82/9(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Management, Entrepreneurship, Business administration|
|Keywords:||Small business, Strategic change, Strategic flexibility, Technology firms|
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