Small business owners face challenges associated with leading change, and many times lack the necessary resources to manage it properly. The purpose of this descriptive qualitative study was to determine what challenges leaders of small businesses face in managing change, what strategies and practices those leaders employ, and how the leaders of small businesses measure success in managing change. This study also determined what advice leaders of small businesses would suggest for managing change. Four research questions were created to assist with this process, and 13 semi-structured interviews were conducted in various cities throughout the state of Michigan. The participants were small business owners of privately held American companies that had been in business for a minimum of 5 years. Twelve interview questions were asked to answer the 4 research questions. Many themes emerged. Some of the challenges that participants face while managing change are resistance to change, communication issues, lack of confidence, lack of resources, lack of knowledge/experience, absence of strategy, conflicts of interest, and lack of emotional intelligence. The participants shared many different strategies for successful management of change and also offered their lessons learned over the years. The main overall theme presented by all of the participants in this study was the importance of knowledge and experience for management of change in small businesses.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Small business -- Management -- Case studies; Organizational change -- Comparative method; Leadership -- Case studies

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Madjidi, Farzin;