Document Type



Doctor of Business Administration


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First Advisor's Name

George Marakas

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Hemang Subramanian

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Arijit Sengupta

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Robert Rodriguez

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


supported employment, organizational behavior, hiring, employer, attitudes towards disability

Date of Defense



When employers hire people with disabilities, collective behavioral change occurs within organizations. Specifically, attitudes towards people with disabilities improve through professional interventions and encourage organizational citizenship behavior. Previous studies have demonstrated the economic and client-focused impact of hiring people with disabilities — resulting in a tested model of competitive integrated employment. This study indicates that — when organizations employ best practices when integrating people with disabilities into the workplace — there is a performance-based behavioral change in non-disabled employees.

This study uses intergroup contact theory and social exchange theory to develop a model and a corresponding survey instrument that measures how several factors impact co-worker attitudes toward people with disabilities. Most importantly, this allows the assessment of behavioral changes from those attitudes. This quantitative research study incorporates eight constructs with the non-disabled employee as the unit of analysis: employee knowledge, workplace contact, supported employment, employer openness, attitude towards an employee with a disability, job satisfaction, personality, and organizational citizenship behavior. To develop the survey instrument and refine the model, three pilot studies - with 187 participants - were conducted. The main study included 211 participants spread across many different organizations, covering at least 17 industries. To test the effects of two independent variables, four moderators, and a mediator on a behavioral outcome variable - hierarchical linear regressions were performed. The results show that employee knowledge and workplace contact positively affect attitudes towards people with disabilities. In addition, employer openness moderated knowledge and workplace contact regarding attitudes; the effect was positive and significant. Correspondingly, attitudes have a positive direct effect on organizational citizenship behavior. Finally, job satisfaction and personality (for two of the five factors considered) moderated attitudes positively and significantly.

Overall, this study demonstrates that employers benefit from hiring people with disabilities. As a result, employers must realize the importance of employee attitudes in shaping structured interventions. This study’s findings justify additional resource allocation for training non-disabled employees by utilizing existing opportunities — such as supportive employment.







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