Job satisfaction of employees with disabilities: The role of perceived structural flexibility

Miriam K. Baumgärtner, David J.G. Dwertmann, Stephan A. Boehm, Heike Bruch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


With this article we contribute to the inclusion of employees with disabilities in the workplace. Based on Stone and Colella's (1996) model of factors affecting the treatment of employees with disabilities in organizations, we concentrate on the investigation of job satisfaction as a focal affective response. Besides examining job satisfaction differences between employees with and without disabilities, we focus on perceived flexibility as an organizational boundary condition, arguing for its influence on the job satisfaction of employees with disabilities. We introduce perceived centralization and formalization, representing different indicators of flexibility, as moderators of the disability-job satisfaction relationship. Regression analysis using data from 110 small and medium-sized companies with 4,141 employees reveals that employees with disabilities are less satisfied than their colleagues without disabilities in highly centralized environments. As predicted, a decentralized organizational context relates to higher job satisfaction levels for all employees, but especially for those having a disability. Contrary to our hypothesis, perceived formalization does not significantly influence the relationship between having a disability and job satisfaction. However, our results clearly indicate the need for companies and especially human resource departments to better adapt to the needs of people with disabilities by creating flexible working environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-343
Number of pages21
JournalHuman Resource Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


  • Attitudes
  • Diversity
  • Satisfaction


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