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EMAC 2020 Annual Conference

Beyond “Diversity”: Employment of Persons with Disabilities as a Sustainable Strategy

Published: May 27, 2020


Jayant Nasa, Indian Institute of Management Udaipur; Arti Srivastava, Indian Institute of Management Udaipur; Prakash Satyavageeswaran, Indian Institute of Management Udaipur; Sundar Bharadwaj, Terry College of Business, University of Georgia


Employment strategy; Persons with disabilities; Customer engagement


Despite increased opportunities for persons with disabilities (PWDs), their employment remains a challenge. Many firms seem to hire PWDs only under CSR initiatives or as tokens for “diversity.” With such motivations, the employment of PWDs cannot be a sustainable business practice. In this research, we study strategic/marketing implications of employing PWDs in the service sector, thus complementing the services marketing literature that has only looked at PWDs as customers. We conduct qualitative interviews to examine how having PWDs as employees impacts customers, other employees, and the organization. We find that employing PWDs has many advantages. Not only are PWDs more focused and sincere than the “normal” employees, but they have much lower attrition rates too. Having them, particularly in customer-facing roles, enhances customer engagement and improves the corporate image. We also discuss the constraining factors that prevent PWDs’ complete integration into the organization.


The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support from the EY-ISB Initiative for Emerging Market Studies (IEMS).