Accommodating disability in the workplace

dc.contributor.advisorTaras, Daphne
dc.contributor.authorWilliams, Kelly
dc.descriptionBibliography: p. 296-310en
dc.description.abstractWorkplace disability is an issue of substantial concern to employers, employees, unions, and public policy makers. While a great deal of research on the topic has occurred across a wide array of disciplines, much of the empirical work has been atheoretical. This dissertation describes two prominent workplace disability models and explains the necessity of developing an alternative that is less reliant on the psychological processes of disabled employees and their colleagues, and does not assume the employee is capable of performing the tasks assigned. A qualitative field investigation was therefore conducted in order to identify additional variables and develop an alternative model. The research question asked: what are the key variables impacting the process of workplace reintegration for disabled employees? Data from 72 arbitration cases, 23 in-depth interviews, employer policies, and discussions with industry practitioners was analyzed using grounded theory techniques of coding and constant comparison. Five categories of variables emerged as significant contributors to the ease or difficulty of accommodations: 1) the employment and disabiltty history of the employee, 2) the nature of the disability (particularly chronicity, visibility, and legitimacy), 3) the behaviours and attitudes of the returning employee, 4) employer factors such as degree of accommodation effort, inclusion of the disabled employee, and sophistication of reintegration procedures, as well as 5) outside agent factors ( e.g. the relationship between the employer and the employee's physician). Social capital theory is then utilized to explain much of the interaction among the variables. Social capital is the goodwill available to individuals or groups in a social system. It is contained in the structure and quality of relationships within and outside the social group. Contrary to much of the recent research, I suggest that bonding ( as opposed to bridging) forms of capital are most critical for disabled employees re-entering the workplace. When disability decreased credibility, repayment of favours, or when it prompted behaviours that violated in-group norms, accommodations were more difficult. In addition to social capital theory, some observations are explained using the concepts of locus of control, procedural justice and agency theory.
dc.format.extentix, 348 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm.en
dc.identifier.citationWilliams, K. (2004). Accommodating disability in the workplace (Doctoral thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from doi:10.11575/PRISM/22348en_US
dc.identifier.lccAC1 .T484 2004 W55en
dc.publisher.facultyHaskayne School of Business
dc.publisher.institutionUniversity of Calgaryen
dc.rightsUniversity of Calgary graduate students retain copyright ownership and moral rights for their thesis. You may use this material in any way that is permitted by the Copyright Act or through licensing that has been assigned to the document. For uses that are not allowable under copyright legislation or licensing, you are required to seek permission.
dc.titleAccommodating disability in the workplace
dc.typedoctoral thesis of Calgary of Philosophy (PhD)
ucalgary.thesis.accessionTheses Collection 58.002:Box 1546 520492063
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