This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Exploring Small Retail Businesses’ Perceived Competition during Post-Recession and Perceived Importance, Benefits and Challenges of B2B Networking




Han, Siyuan

Type of Degree



Consumer Affairs


This study is the first to investigate small businesses’ perceived market competition and their beliefs about B2B networking during the post-recession period. The existing data collected through in-depth interviews with 51 small business owners/mangers in Alabama were analyzed. This study found that the majority of the small businesses did not feel competition within/outside the community or with national brands/large retailers, findings that contradict traditional views. This study uncovered diverse underlying reasons for feeling vs. not feeling competition. Also, most of the small businesses recognized the importance of B2B networking and benefits of using SNSs as a B2B networking tool. However, the perceived range of benefits tends to be narrow. They also reported diverse challenges for adopting SNSs for B2B networking. Lastly, their perceptions or beliefs varied by business or owner/manager characteristics. This study provides numerous theoretical and practical implications to improve the competitiveness of small businesses.