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Diversity in context: How organizational culture shapes reactions to workers with disabilities and others who are demographically different


Spataro, Sandra E.


k. A.


Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 2005, Volume 23 (Number 1), Seite 21-38, New York: Wiley, ISSN: 0735-3936




Successfully integrating workers with disabilities into their organizations is both a challenge and an opportunity facing managers today. Despite laws and business practices prohibiting discrimination against those with disabilities, people with disabilities are consistently underutilized in organizations. This article applies theories of demographic diversity in organizations to assert that a richer understanding of organizational cultures and their implications for workers with disabilities may shed light on the question of how and why workers with disabilities may be excluded from mainstream work experiences and career progression.

The article briefly reviews business arguments that support integration of workers with disabilities into organizations based on their contribution to the overall diversity within the organization, and reviews complications in the research on diversity to date that leave important questions of the potential gains or detriments from increasing this diversity unanswered. The article then goes on to introduce organizational culture as an underinvestigated but likely potent tool in explaining how and when workers who are demographically different, in general, and with disabilities, specifically, may be successfully integrated into an organization's work force.

The article introduces three types of organizational culture: culture of differentiation, culture of unity, and culture of integration. Each is explained in terms of its content and its implications for managing diversity. A discussion of the implications of culture as a primary tool for managing the integration of workers with disabilities concludes the paper.

[Abstract, 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.]

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Behavioral Sciences and the Law

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Informationsstand: 10.05.2005

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