Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award


Document Type



Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Dr. Karmyn Downs

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Dr. Colleen Ramos

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Dr. Dianne Reed


African American women–owned small businesses fail more often than non-Black-owned
businesses. The purpose of this phenomenological qualitative study was to describe successful
African American women small business owners’ leadership styles, traits, strategies, and
behaviors. Additionally, this study aimed to provide insights into specific leadership traits,
strategies, and behaviors that affect the sustainability of African American women–owned
businesses. Three leadership styles that have contributed to their business success were used to
frame this study: transformational, transactional, and situational leadership. All three of these
styles of leadership have been shown to help businesses succeed. Data were collected from
African American women business owners using a phenomenological qualitative methodology.
The researcher collected data through semistructured interviews with seven African American
women small business owners from a variety of industries. A purposeful participant search was
conducted with the criteria of being female, African American, and a business owner; having
employees for a minimum of 4 years; and having minimal yearly earnings of $50,000 from 2020
to 2022. Findings suggested that specific behaviors, strategies, and traits may contribute to
business success. The findings also indicated that African American women business owners did
experience success when they used transformational, transactional, or situational leadership
Keywords: African American, Black female, Black women, entrepreneur, small business
owner, leadership styles

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Previous Versions

Jan 9 2024 (withdrawn)



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