Creating succession management systems that address the increasing challenges of acquisition, development, and retention of talent within small business is becoming a significant concern. The anticipated changes in the nation’s demographics are a precursor to a talent shortage that must be addressed within small business to minimize the impact on the national economy. The purpose of this study was to explore the impact that the executive leader of a small business had on the development of dynamic succession management systems within the organization. This qualitative study used a phenomenological methodology to explore succession in small businesses. Seven organizations in service industries were chosen to participate; the executive leader, human resource manager, and one senior manager participated in each organization. This purposeful sample was developed to provide information-rich data in relation to the phenomenon. Each participant answered a leadership survey and participated in a 90-minute semi-structured interview. The human resource manager was also responsible for completing an organizational survey that provided detail about the internal dynamics and statistics of the organization. Major themes identified by the study were concepts relating to upper echelon theory, strategic identification and acquisition of talent, developmental differences in generational cohorts, communication systems, and capability-driven human resource development (HRD). The study also identified a common theme of hiring for aptitude, attitude, and values in order to positively impact organizational culture. The research had far reaching internal and external implications. There was a connection found between upper echelon theory, expectancy theory, psychological contracts, and resource restriction in relation to the development of dynamic succession management systems in small businesses. Another implication was developed in relation to higher education and the Generation X and Generation Y cohorts. Higher-education institutions have an opportunity to develop programs to help bridge the gap between what organizations need, what they are able to provide internally, and what higher-education currently focuses on within the classroom.
|Adviser||April Boyington Wall|
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