Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


Bisk College of Business

First Advisor

Theodore Richardson

Second Advisor

Emily Martinez-Vogt

Third Advisor

Amitabh S. Dutta

Fourth Advisor

Jeffrey D. Cerny


The strategic planning and decision-making process of a firm is what drives the future of a firm, but what are all the correct stakeholders involved in that process? Historically, the Chief Executive Officer of the firm has been in charge of the firm’s strategic plan, guiding the firm based on his/her past experiences, and the Chief Financial Officer of the firm has been in charge of the back-office financial records and reporting. This study utilized the case study approach to explore the level of involvement a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) has in firms' strategic planning and decision-making processes that contract with the Department of Defense in the Washington, D.C. region. To specifically understand the CFO’s role in defense contracting firms, that role was compared with the same role in a manufacturing firm from the United States. Findings from the research indicated that the role of a CFO in present-day defense firms has not evolved much beyond decades-old stereotyping of an executive, which maintains responsibility for the integrity of the organization’s accounting processes and financial reporting, with the added industry requirement

to have an understanding and management of defense contract terms and rates. The role of a CFO in manufacturing firms was found to be much more comprehensive and impacted all areas of the business. This study highlights the negative impact of a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) operating autonomously and without input from members of the company’s top management team in the strategic planning and decision-making processes of the firm. The limitations of the study and recommended areas for further research are also explained.


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