9th Conference European Sociological Association

RS01 Sociology and Disability

2009-09-05 13:30:00 2009-09-05 15:00:00 Saturday, 5 September 13:30 - 15:00 Disability:Difference and Inclusion Building II, C3.01

Does size matter?

In Europe, most enterprises have less than 20 employees. Small enterprises have a large potential for job creation. However, the potential of small enterprises as workplaces for people with disabilities, have received relative little attention in the research literature. This paper builds on qualitative data from a comparative project on enabling and disabling factors within three sectors (ICT, construction and health). The situation in three countries (Norway, the Netherlands and UK) are compared. A special qualitative study of a sample of Norwegian small enterprises was done as a part of the larger study. The study revealed a pronounced difference in employers' perception between insiders and outsiders, influencing recruitment practices. While recruitment of people with disabilities was looked upon as unnecessary risk taking, many of the small enterprises already had employees with disabilities, but they were seldom thought of as that. The study reveals that financial incentives and measures for recruitment and retention of workers with disabilities do not necessarily balance out the employers' negative views of disability. However, incentives might be more effective if they are combined with measures that permit employers to learn from personal experience with disabled workers.