Original Research

Exploring employees’ coping with disability management practices at a South African university

Aletta M. Moll
African Journal of Disability | Vol 12 | a1123 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v12i0.1123 | © 2023 Aletta M. Moll | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 August 2022 | Published: 25 July 2023

About the author(s)

Aletta M. Moll, Department of Psychology of Education, College of Education, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

Background: South African legislation promotes the accommodation of employees with disabilities through enabling modifications and adjustments in the workplace. The literature about the experiences of employees with disabilities in higher education environments regarding accommodation is scant. Filling the gap, this research aimed to explore how employees with disabilities at a South African university cope with disability management practices by means of accommodations.

Objectives: The objectives entailed exploring the encounters of employees with disabilities regarding accommodation in the workplace, their beliefs about these encounters and the meaning that the employees with disabilities attached to them.

Method: The study design is grounded in the subjectivist epistemology of social constructionism and took on a qualitative approach. The bounded single-case study concerned formative evaluations. The homogeneous purposive sampling strategy amounted to 13 employees with disabilities. Twelve semi-structured interviews were analysed using thematic analysis.

Results: The participants relied strongly on self-agency to address splintered or unresponsive disability management practices. To avoid marginalisation, they worked extra hard for securing a rightful place at work. Misconceptions of able-bodied peers or managers triggered psychological stress.

Conclusion: Coping with the university’s disability management practices is mainly a stressful challenge, consequently endangering people’s well-being.

Contribution: Exploring the coping of university employees with disabilities through accommodations filled a gap in the literature.


Keywords

psychological stress; appraisal; coping; coping theory of Lazarus and Folkman; employees with disabilities; disability management; accommodation; workplace.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 10: Reduced inequalities

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