Performance of Historically Underrepresented Firms in the Public-Private Sector


  • Troy A. Voelker University of Houston Clear Lake
  • William C. McDowell East Carolina University


This study examines the performance of historically underrepresented firms, which includes women-owned businesses and socially disadvantaged businesses. We examine performance in the context of securing public contracts and compare the performance of these historically underrepresented firms to those of non-minority small and large businesses. Utilizing a sample of all contracts awarded by the Johnson Space Center, a NASA directorate located in Houston, Texas, which identified 5,676 contracts totaling approximately $157 billion, we found that small businesses received around 63% of all contracts. The results indicate that more diverse firms received higher awards than specialists and that disadvantaged firms received higher dollar awards than general small businesses. In addition, women-owned businesses neither outperformed nor performed more poorly than general small business in the dollar amounts of contracts received, and they are neither more or less specialized than general small and large businesses. A discussion, practical implications, and future research ideas are also presented.


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How to Cite

Performance of Historically Underrepresented Firms in the Public-Private Sector. (2010). Journal of Small Business Strategy (archive Only), 21(1), 18-38.