Understanding Successful Small Business Decision-Making During Recessionary Periods: A Qualitative Phenomenological Study

Understanding Successful Small Business Decision-Making During Recessionary Periods: A Qualitative Phenomenological Study

Author: 
Laurie Brunson
Program of study: 
D.M.
Abstract: 
The purpose of this research study was to explore the experiences of eight small business owners of California rental equipment companies who survived recessionary periods. The state of the economy has a significant effect on small business owners. Nevertheless, the economy is not the root cause of the success or failure of a small business during economic recessions but the decisions of the business owner. The lack of business acumen is the cause of many business failures. Good leadership decisions are essential for small business survival. Understanding the perceptions and experiences of small business owner participants during recessions may benefit new or struggling small business practitioners to follow. This qualitative phenomenological study used a modified Van Kaam (1966) method to highlight the experiences of these small business owners. Narratives of these experiences included eight individual interviews using five open-ended format questions. Data analysis included the use of NVivo10 research software resulting in four core themes, (a) the negative effects of recessions, (b) profit as a measure of success, (c) family decision-making, and (d) revenue enhancing strategies. The study concludes with findings and recommendations for further research.
Dedication: 
During my doctoral journey, I had many trials and tests. Never have I felt so alone and had so many friends at the same time. I lost two family members during my journey, my father, and his brother within weeks of each other. One of my father’s deathbed wishes was for me to continue my doctoral journey. I dedicate this study to my mother, father, husband and son who gave me the strength to continue a journey that I thought would never be fulfilled. I thank the Lord for my strength, my father and mother for my determination, my husband for patience, and my son for he is God’s gift. Life is a destination yet unknown; it is up to you to find your path.
Acknowledgements: 
Special recognition goes to my Doctoral Team: Dr. Nancy Arduengo for her leadership and patience and my committee members Flora Mosaka-Wright and Elisabeth Weinbaum who also played an integral part in the successful completion of my dissertation project. I would like to express my eternal gratitude and thanks for consenting to join my team. You picked me up when I thought all was lost and became my compass to the end of my journey. I would like to acknowledge the small business owners who volunteered to participate in this study because without their willingness to share their lived experiences, this study would not be possible. Finally, I would like to acknowledge my husband for his support, patience, love, and understanding during this laborious journey. We have both tried to follow God’s example.