Reducing stigmatisation of employees with disability: example of a brief intervention in a company

Empirical studies
By Jennifer Schuhl, Armand Chatard, Éric Lambert

English

Persons with physical disability are often ostracized because of prevalent negative stereotypes about disability. Past research suggests that perspective taking, and imagined intergroup contact, may reduce negative stereotypes towards a stigmatized social group. In the context of a large French company, the present study tested whether a brief intervention of perspective taking may reduce negative stereotypes towards persons with disability. Precisely, the goal of this study is to ask employees to do routine activities from the perspective of a person with a physical disability and to measure the effect this perspective taking has on stereotypes. This study aims to bring scientific validity to a disability awareness action in a large French company. The research is situated in the field of experimental psychology and aims to provide a psychosocial insight into the problem of the occupational integration of persons with recognized disabilities.Employees were recruited to participate in a brief intervention about disability. They were asked to cook in a disabled situation, that is, in a situation of partial privation of audition, vision, and body movements. After cooking, they ate together, and they received information about disability, laws, and other knowledge in this subject. Before and after the cooking workshop, participants completed a social judgment scale assessing the social representation of disabled persons. Results showed that the workshop did not improve perception of warmth about disabled people. However, the workshop increased the perceived courage and skills. These results are encouraging and are discussed along with good work practices. Combating prejudice and managing diversity is important to improve work situations for disabled persons and this short training intervention seems to be efficient for reducing negative representations about disability. These results provide an opportunity to discuss best practices to be put in place in companies to combat stereotypes and prejudices in order to facilitate the inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace.

Keywords

  • Disability
  • work
  • social perception
  • attitudes
  • advocacy
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