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UTSA Researchers Study Why Disabled People Have a Harder Time Finding Jobs
(May 21, 2012) --- Christopher Langford, UTSA doctoral student in organizational management and studies; Mark Lengnick-Hall, UTSA professor of management in the College of Business and Mukta Kulkarni, a UTSA doctoral graduate have completed research that suggests the discrepancy between employment rates between people with disabilities and those without disabilities is related to the strength and characteristics of their professional contacts. The article titled "How Do Social Networks Influence the Employment Prospects of People with Disabilities?" is available online at http://www.springerlink.com/content/ch9mx5q6054702h7/ and is forthcoming in the Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal.
Researchers identified different types of professional contacts in an individual's network. These contacts include strong ties ("close relationships") and weak ties ("acquaintance relationships"). Although it is generally believed that strong professional ties have a greater impact on one's job search, research shows that acquaintance relationships are more important. Since individuals with disabilities have a harder time establishing acquaintance relationships, their employment prospects may be reduced.
This team of researchers suggests that a closer look at disabled individuals' use of professional networks is necessary. In examining this issue, future researchers will need to identify training and development opportunities to assist disabled individuals during the job search.
"By conducting this in-depth study regarding people with disabilities and their professional networks, we hope to have an impact on closing the employment gap between those with disabilities and those without," said Lengnick-Hall.
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