Year of Publication


Season of Publication


Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Leadership, School Counseling & Sport Management

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Leadership, School Counseling & Sports Management

First Advisor

Dr. Francis Godwyll

Second Advisor

Dr. Sandra L. Gupta

Third Advisor

Dr. Luke M. Cornelius

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Luke M.

Department Chair

Dr. Jennifer Kane

College Dean

Dr. Marsha Lupi


The intent of this study was to examine the leadership behaviors and learning strategies of Successful Small Business Leaders (SSBLs) in Northeast Florida. Information gathered during this study may help current and future small business owners develop, maintain, and make their organizations more productive through the use of the learning strategies and leadership behaviors employed by SSBLs. Through a two-prong approach, the study examined both leadership and learning. The study addressed the following two questions: 1) What learning strategies are used most by successful small business leaders? and 2) What leadership behaviors are exhibited most by successful small business leaders?

The Delphi method was selected as the research approach for this study because it provides the most flexible approach to seeking the perspective of SSBLs. The Delphi method uses a group of experts who anonymously discuss and respond to the research issue. A two-phase Delphi study design utilized both participant surveys and interviews. An analysis of the data collected during Phase 1, or the survey phase, identified seven leadership behaviors and six learning strategies. Examination of the seven leadership behaviors and six learning strategies by the participants demonstrated agreement among the behaviors and strategies identified. However, participants did not reach an agreement in the ranking of the leadership behaviors or learning strategies.

The study contributes to the research of leadership behaviors and learning strategies of leaders as the focus was solely on those in a small business setting. The best practices and other data discovered during this Delphi study on small business may be used to better define and understand the characteristics of SSBLs.