Graduate School of Business


Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


Maria Garcia de la Noceda


Strategy, Strategic Planning, Strategic Management, Small Business




This qualitative research study explored the impact of strategic planning in small businesses within the service industry, specifically in East Tennessee. The focus was to gauge the level of importance small businesses placed on strategic planning, if any. The general problem to be addressed was the level of importance small businesses place on strategic planning that could affect organizational problems such as high turnover, low job satisfaction, poor engagement and performance, financial uncertainty, customer dissatisfaction, tarnished company reputation, and company closure. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to enhance the body of knowledge through magnifying the explanations behind organizational and operational issues in the service industry and the impact strategic planning could offer. Three research questions were designed to investigate further. The study consisted of one ten question interview that was strategically designed and given to 23 small businesses to provide their own unique experiences. Six themes emerged after organizing and analyzing the data. Themes included participants asking for more information or examples of specific interview questions, participants having a sudden realization of the use of strategic planning within their business or changing their perspective on the use of strategic planning terminology, placing a high importance on strategic planning, and referencing covid as a challenging in planning. In completing the final analysis, it was noted that the strategic planning and strategic management body of knowledge is evolving and mutating rapidly, especially after the pandemic in 2020 affected small businesses. The findings pointed to a need for more research involving the innovations and adaptations small businesses used to navigate organizational problems post pandemic, and ways small business owners could use strategy in planning for events that are uncertain or unexpected.

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