Inclusive Management Research: Persons with Disabilities and Self-Employment Activity as an Exemplar

We highlight exclusionary practices in management research, and demonstrate through example how a more inclusive management literature can address the unique contexts of persons with disabilities, a group that is disadvantaged in society, globally. Drawing from social psychology, disability, self-employment, entrepreneurship, and vocational rehabilitation literatures, we develop and test a holistic model that demonstrates how persons with disabilities might attain meaningful work and improved self-image via self-employment, thus accessing some of the economic and social-psychological benefits often unavailable to them due to organizational-employment barriers. Our longitudinal study provides evidence of the self-image value of ‘doing’ in self-employment, highlighting the potential to reduce stigma and improve generalized self-efficacy and self-esteem. Implications for self-image theory, entrepreneurship training and development, and public policy related to persons with disabilities are discussed.

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