Small businesses represent an influential portion of the American economy yet retain a high rate of closure especially in their early years, therefore; this study sought to address a lack of available research regarding small businesses in the construction industry, by investigating the methods and strategies existing small business owners use to support business survivability, in the regionally specific area of Southern California. The purpose of this study was to investigate strategies used by existing construction industry small businesses, identify the challenges experienced as a construction industry small business organization in Southern California, and determine how the small business owners define and measure success. The guiding theoretical framework for this study followed the Resource Based View, which perceives the organization as a collection of unique resources and capabilities. This qualitative case study included 8 participants who worked in the Southern California area and took part in a short recorded interview. Qualitative interview data was transcribed, coded and analyzed by the researcher. Three research questions helped guide this study: RQ1: What strategies do small businesses in the construction industry located in Southern California apply to sustain their business beyond 5 years? RQ2: What challenges do small businesses in the construction industry, located in Southern California, face? What strategies and resources are used to assist these small businesses to overcome challenges?; and RQ3: How do small businesses in the construction industry, located in Southern California define, measure, and track their organizational success? Results found for RQ1 indicated participant utilization of specific strategies and resources such as learning orientation, human capital, and market orientation. Results for RQ2 showed participants perceived employee turnover, capital management, and internal fears/doubts as major challenges to sustaining a construction industry small business. Results for RQ3 found participants defined and measured success through achievement, employee retention, and internal feelings. Recommendations for future practice and research include the research addressing knowledge gaps for technology usage, research into women-owned construction industry small business owners, in addition to continued qualitative research performed in this subject area.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Small business--California, Southern; Construction industry--California, Southern; Success in business

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Shreyas Gandhi