Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


School of Business


Many researchers have investigated the value of small businesses and have identified generic attributes of survival. One noted aspect of survivability is the ability to learn. Knowledge has long been recognized as a crucial competitive tool for organizational survival and competition. Further, business leaders must implement learning into the business for it to grow and survive. Capturing, converting, and integrating knowledge into the business is a requisite for business survival and represents an important line of inquiry. Since 2002, small businesses have accounted for more than 99% of all businesses and for 63% of net new jobs between 1993 and 2011. Since 2007, failure rates of small businesses have increased 40%. In California alone, more than 3 million small businesses exist, contributing 37% to the California GDP. The current research was used to add to the body of knowledge on learning and survivability using a multisite case study involving specifically small businesses within San Diego County, California, and answered the research question about how small businesses leaders implement a process to capture, convert, and integrate knowledge for the business to survive. The research was delimited to San Diego County, California, and a multipoint sampling strategy was used to obtain subject matter expertise.