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Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) represent a growing segment of the population but face important obstacles in the workplace. Even for ASD individuals with the mildest form/highest-functioning type, unemployment is 80 percent, and many of those who work are underemployed. This in spite of the fact that these individuals are highly intelligent and capable of excellent work. The purpose of this paper is to present a model of the unique challenges that workers with ASD face in the modern workplace based on stigmas and discrimination surrounding mental health, attribution theory and the disconnect between behaviors common to neurodiverse individuals and some of the most researched theories in the field of organizational behavior. The goal of the paper is to encourage more empirical research focused specifically on ASD workers.Design/methodology/approachA review of the literature on ASD in juxtaposed to evidence-based social psychology and management theories to demonstrate the difficulties faced by individuals with ASD.FindingsRecommendations for overcoming these barriers and using management theories to help integrate ASD workers are discussed.Originality/valueWorkers with ASD are a growing population in the workforce, but have received scant research attention. This is the first paper to link several theories to ASD and the hope is that subsequent research will illuminate these relationships empirically.
Personnel Review – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 23, 2019
Keywords: Critical; Autism spectrum disorder; Diversity management
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