Original Research

Effects of institutional policies on employees with nonobvious disabilities

Anthony G. Stacey
African Journal of Disability | Vol 12 | a1103 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v12i0.1103 | © 2023 Anthony G. Stacey | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 June 2022 | Published: 17 March 2023

About the author(s)

Anthony G. Stacey, Wits Business School, Faculty of Commerce Law and Management, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa


Background: While legislation protects persons with disabilities against discrimination, decisions taken in line with institutional policies may still have a negative impact on the lived experience of those individuals.

Objectives: The purpose of the study is to evaluate the efficacy of institutional policies, to describe the unintended psychosocial impact of policies and to identify factors that moderate the impact of the policies.

Method: The study adopted an autoethnographic approach involving recollecting life experiences, reading archival and policy documents, reflecting on experiences, articulating lived experiences, deep thought, reviewing and repetition. Activities were carried out as and when appropriate, not necessarily sequentially. The aim was to produce a coherent narrative with credibility, authenticity and integrity.

Results: The results indicate that decisions based on interpretation of policies did not necessarily result in persons with disabilities being fully included in normal academic activities. A disablist institutional culture substantially moderates the intended consequences of institutional policies on the experiences of persons living with disabilities, particularly those that are nonobvious.

Conclusions: Consideration of persons of all abilities should be no different from recognising the diverse needs of persons of different genders, ages, educational backgrounds, financial means, languages and other demographics. A culture of disability prejudice, even among well-meaning individuals, prevents a progressive policy framework from ensuring inclusivity for persons with disabilities.

Contribution: The study demonstrates that a supportive institutional culture is necessary to give effect to disability policies and legislation and to optimise the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the workplace.


ableism; disablism; aversive ableism; discrimination; autoethnography; reasonable accommodation; inclusivity.


Total abstract views: 1222
Total article views: 1285

Crossref Citations

No related citations found.