A Multisite Case Study: Processes Small Business Use to Capture, Convert, and Integrate Survival Knowledge


Many researchers have focused on small business survivability yet the mortality rates of small businesses worldwide continues to exceed 50% within the first 5 years of business. In this study, I used a qualitative method utilizing a multisite case study to understand from entrepreneurs how they captured, converted, and integrated knowledge with the sole purpose to survive. Convenience, criteria, and snowball sampling methods were used to gain a firsthand knowledge from the entrepreneurs to tell their story of survival. The study was important because since 2007, failure rates of small businesses in the United States have increased 40%, with California having the largest business failure rate of 69% as compared to the U.S. failure rate. I conducted face-to-face semi-structured interviews with each participant, and took handwritten notes since the participants did not want to be recorded. I coded the data using three-step process of open, axial, and selective coding. Selective coding is when the emerging themes are solidified by a continual process of asking how and why questions. I also used member checking throughout the coding process, including asking each participant for his or her acceptance of the final themes and sub-themes. From this case study, readers will learn how I used qualitative design with case study methodology. In addition, they will understand how I created criteria for the study, how I used semi-structured interviews, how I created the questions used in the semi-structured interviews, how the data were coded, and how I struggled with interpreting my data into results, and involving my research participants throughout the process.

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