Small family business (SFB) leaders are constantly challenged with the quandary of how to retain experienced and talented employees from outside the family. The purpose of this qualitative multiple-case study was to understand the relationship between Talent Management (TM) retention research findings and TM retention practices in SFBs. The study purposefully sampled 16 SFB senior-level human resource decision makers with at least two years of experience dealing with both family and non-family employees within their organization of 250 employees or less, located in Massachusetts. Herzberg's two-factor theory and the Three-Circle Model were used to guide the study so as to generate data and information for determining the organizational culture and the relationship between the theoretical frameworks presented in the literature and the actual business practices of selected SFBs. Primary data were collected through documentation of the responses to open-ended interview questions generated from three primary research questions; secondary data were collected from institutional documents and physical artifacts through observation. Both primary and secondary data were transcribed and imported into QSR NVivo 10 software for analysis, from which the identification of themes and codes were generated. Fifteen findings answered the questions of how SFB owners retain non-family members and remain competitive and the questions of what factors promote and inhibit this retention. The study contribute to the SFB research literature by bringing into focus the research findings on TM retention from literature and actual business practices of SFBs. Moreover, the study contribute to the theory and practice of TM retention in SFBs by providing empirical evidence on factors that promote and inhibit SFBs with regard to the utilization of talent retention research findings toward retaining skilled non-family members necessary to gain or maintain a competitive edge.
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