BBI has undertaken a number of projects to study corporate practices and the employment of persons with disabilities. Exploration of these issues, through the development of scientifically rigorous and externally valid research standards, and company case studies derived from these standards, helps to address the gap in field research and strives to positively influence the employment of people with disabilities.
- Disability Case Study Research Consortium on Employer Organizational Practices in Employing People with Disabilities
- Demand Side Employment Placement Models Projects
- YAI/BBI Fortune 500 Study – Replication and Extension Project
- Social Surveys and Disability
- Merrill Lynch Corporate Culture and Disability Symposium
- Case Report on Manpower Inc.
- Case Study of Sears, Roebuck, & Co.
Disability Case Study Research Consortium on Employer Organizational Practices in Employing People with Disabilities
This project funded under a grant/contract supported by the Office of Disability Employment Policy of the U. S. Department of Labor, will conduct case studies of companies and identify how organizational structures, values, policies and day-to-day practices affect the employment of people with disabilities (e.g., with respect to recruiting, hiring, retaining, and promoting people with and without disabilities). A multi-case analysis and comparison will identify strategies and best practices across companies that promote the employment of people with disabilities and create inclusive cultures for all diverse employees. Case studies will be conducted in at least six companies, and importantly, establish a standard method of research for future case studies that will facilitate benchmarking.
Demand Side Employment Placement Models Projects
This project, funded by a five-year grant from the U.S Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), sets out scientifically rigorous and evidence-based methods to develop, identify, and evaluate employment demand-side models.
YAI/BBI Fortune 500 Study – Replication and Extension Project:
In a seminal article, Levy, Jessop, Rimmerman, and Levy (1992) investigated the attitudes of executives in Fortune 500 industrial and service corporations towards people with severe disabilities prior to implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This research project, conducted in partnership with the YAI/National Institute for People with Disabilities, will conduct a replication and extension of this work post-ADA and 15 years later. It surveys executives in Fortune 500 companies and adds new attitude measures published since 1992. In addition, we propose to extend the research by broadening the sample, scope, and measures used to collect data, as well as employ BBI’s new survey center tools.
Social Surveys and Disability
BBI and colleagues at Rutgers University have added a set of questions to identify the disability status of respondents to the General Social Survey (GSS) and Maxwell Poll on Citizenship and Inequality. The inclusion of these questions will allow us to examine differences in attitudes and perceptions between people with disabilities and people without disabilities for a variety of the social issues, including perceptions regarding work, work benefits, and corporate culture. The added questions are the same questions that are used to identify disability status of respondents on the American Community Survey conducted by the Census Bureau.
The General Social Survey (GSS) is one of the National Opinion Research Center’s (NORC) flagship surveys and longest running project. The GSS started in 1972 and completed its 26th round in 2006. For the last third of a century the GSS has been monitoring social change and the growing complexity of American society. The GSS is the largest project funded by the Sociology Program of the National Science Foundation. Except for the U.S. Census, the GSS is the most frequently analyzed source of information in the social sciences.
The Maxwell Poll on Citizenship and Inequality is a nation-wide annual survey. The survey asks questions about engagement in political affairs and other aspects of civic life, as well as views on social and economic inequality in the United States.
Sources: Material cited from: www.norc.org/projects/General+Social+Survey.htm; www.maxwell.syr.edu/campbell/Poll/PollHome.htm.
Merrill Lynch Corporate Culture and Disability Symposium
A Blue Ribbon Panel Meeting Hosted by Merrill Lynch & Co-Sponsored by Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Workforce Investment and Employment Policy for Persons with Disabilities at the Law, Health Policy & Disability Center, University of Iowa College of Law on June 9th, 2003.
The objectives of the symposium were:
- Enhance dialogue and discussion among corporations, persons with disabilities, policymakers, and researchers; and
- Promote the study of corporate culture and the employment of persons with disabilities.
The symposium, moderated by Dr. Peter Blanck, included round-table panel discussions with experts on corporate culture and disability studies, corporate leaders, government representatives, and members of the disability community and their families.
Case Report on Manpower Inc.
This report explored how Manpower Inc., credited as the world’s largest staffing agency at the time, generated and sustained competitive employment opportunities for qualified persons with disabilities. In-depth interviews, observations, and archival data sources were utilized for this examination. The findings presented in this report showed that the staffing industry could provide a critical means in offering competitive employment opportunities for people with disabilities, through job assessment services, temporary job assignments, and work skills training.
Case Study of Sears, Roebuck, & Co.
This study, sponsored by the Annenberg Washington Program in Communications Policy Studies examined the pre- and post-ADA employment practices of Sears, Roebuck and Co., while focusing on the relationship of ADA implementation, communications policy, and information technology issues. Interviews, observation, and archival data were used as sources over a two year period. By studying the corporate behavior of Sears, the study aimed to:
- Stimulate discussion and debate about the communication issues that Sears and other companies faced regarding ADA implementation;
- Give hard data – much of which, including specific cost information on accommodations, had been compiled for the first time in the resulting report – and qualitative information resources to companies as they attempted to meet and transcend ADA compliance issues; and
- Identify the implications of Sears’s ADA-related experiences, policies, and philosophy relative to future practices in this critical employment area.
The findings included, among others, the advantages of universal design and access, benefits of creating fact-based disability awareness among managers and work force, and the potential of the ADA to create meaningful career opportunities for people with disabilities. A follow-up report was released with additional findings in 1996.
Sources: Material cited from: Communicating the Americans with Disabilities Act Transcending Compliance: A Case Report on Sears Roebuck and Co. by Peter David Blanck available online at www.annenberg.northwestern.edu/pubs/sears/. Program website: www.annenberg.northwestern.edu/.