New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 12

Accepted Abstracts

People with Disabilities at Work: an Italian Experience

Emanuela Zappella, University of Bergamo (Italy)

Fabio Dovigo, University of Bergamo (Italy)


Workers with disabilities face many difficulties in finding an employment. Through in-depth interviews with employers and workers with disabilities involved in a path of recruitment, and two case studies that concerned a worker with physical impairments and other one with intellectual disabilities, this study try to identify which workplace accommodations can help employees with disabilities to complete the required tasks and what factors may influence the decision of employers. The data were analyzed using a interpretative phenomenological approach aimed at gathering the views of the people involved. The main findings were shared with the participants using the DELPHY method which allowed to share the results and obtain additional information. This study shows that the accommodations can affect both the employee with a disability and the organization and they can be decided during the job interview or in the course of their employment activity. The research also emphasizes the importance of training that can allow employers to build an inclusive environment that can accommodate all employees.
A number of researches highlight the difficulties that people with disabilities have to find and to maintain an employment..The objectives of this study are to understand:what adjustments in theworkplace may allow people with disabilities to find and keep a job and how these accommodations can be implemented,how decisions about accommodations are managed by employers and what factors affect the choice.In depth interviews carried out with 30 employers and workers with disabilities during the hiring process.The collected data has been analyzed using the interpretative phenomenological approach addressed at exploring in detail the participants’ views about their experience.The results have been retuned with the participants using the Delphi method to share the interpretation of data and obtain further details.Two longitudinal case studies offered the opportunity of investigating the various stages of the hiring process and exploring tools which can allow employers to
manage the assumption of a worker with disabilities in a more conscious way.We followed the career path of two workers from the first employment application to the end of the trial period into a supermarket.The accommodations can be determined in two stages.During the interview,employers and employees can plan some changes that can be decided before the entry of the worker in the company (adaptation of the physical space,the introduction of technological aids).Most of the
accommodations can not be planned and must be negotiated by employers and employees during the course of business.Employers and employees made a negotiation process in order to identify the
strategies needed to deal with these problematic situations.They can introduce new routines or procedures that are repeated frequently,or draw up diagrams that enable the worker to internalize the correct sequence of actions and the employee may be left with the task of organizing their own work,by identifying an optimal sequence of tasks.The factors that influence the choice of employers to grant an accommodation are:previous experience; expected performances;corporate culture and
understanding of disability.The respondents stated that the solutions are then tested in the field and modified accordingly. Employers declared that they are familiar with the dynamics of the business but they are not always able to understand the needs of people with disabilities and their attitudes.When they do not have clear the motivations that drive the behaviors of workers with disabilities and then struggling to understand what accommodations to introduce, employers are guided in their choices by common sense.Promoting employers’ training would be highly beneficial for helping them to plan and
put into practice an inclusive workplace,so ensuring a high quality work experience for all employees.

Back to the list

Reserved area

Media Partners:

Pixel - Via Luigi Lanzi 12 - 50134 Firenze (FI) - VAT IT 05118710481
    Copyright © 2023 - All rights reserved

Privacy Policy