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Social Integration in Employment Settings: Application of

Intergroup Contact Theory
Jeanne A. Novak and Patricia M. Rogan

This study used a survey of 106 employment specialists to test the ability of intergroup contact
theory to explain social integration outcomes of employees with disabilities. Contact theory suggests
that coworkers are more accepting of employees with disabilities if they have sufficient
opportunities to interact with them, equal status and interdependent working relationships, and
supervisors who support equality and acceptance. The contact model and an expanded model that
includes workplace culture significantly predicted not only coworker attitudes toward employees
with disabilities but also the employees level of social participation and feelings of social support. In
addition, outcome dependency moderated the relation between the vocational competence of
employees with disabilities and coworker attitudes toward them. Study findings have practical
implications for facilitating social relationships in the supported workplace.
DOI: 10.1352/1934-9556-48.1.31

Supported employment has opened up a new disabilities are obtaining employment in integrated
world of employment possibilities for many people community work settings, many remain socially
with significant disabilities who previously had been segregated from their coworkers (Hagner, Butter-
excluded from the competitive labor force (Kiernan worth, & Keith, 1995; Mank, 1994; Murphy &
& Schalock, 1997; Rusch, 1990; Wehman, Revell, & Rogan, 1994; Wehman & Kregel, 1995). Social
Kregel, 1998). Supported employment also provides a integration requires more than the physical presence
vehicle for secondary students with disabilities to of an employee with a disability at the job site; the
gain authentic work experience, experience that is employee must also be valued as a coworker and as a
empirically linked to future employment success person and included in the social activities of the
(Benz, Lindstrom, & Yovanoff, 2000; Phelps & workplace (Chadsey-Rusch & Heal, 1995; Nisbet &
Hanley-Maxwell, 1997). A valued outcome of Callahan, 1987). Despite the high value placed on
supported employment and school-to-work transition social integration, employees with disabilities are often
services is social integration (Davis, 1994; Halpern, isolated at their job sitesworking in rooms all alone,
1993; Wehman & Moon, 1987). Interpersonal with work schedules that do not correspond to those of
relationships and social inclusion are recognized as coworkers, doing tasks that do not require communi-
important indicators of quality of life for persons with cation with others at the job site. Such situations
intellectual disabilities (Schalock, 2000). In addition, present a challenge to employment specialists at-
meta-analytic reviews of the literature on coworker tempting to facilitate social interaction between the
support and workplace climate indicate that social employees with disabilities and their coworkers.
relationships with coworkers contribute to improved
work performance, job satisfaction, and job longevity
(Carr, Schmidt, Ford, & DeShon, 2003; Chiaburu & Strategies for Promoting
Harrison, 2008). Social Integration
A common criticism of supported employment is Strategies designed to facilitate the social
that although greater numbers of people with integration of employees with disabilities have

American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities 31

Social integration J. A. Novak and P. M. Rogan

ranged from interventions to improve the employ- with disabilities are more likely to be included and
ees social skills to directly encouraging coworkers supported at work if their workplaces have clearly
to interact with them (for reviews, see Chadsey, identified times and places for workers to socialize,
2007; Chadsey & Beyer, 2001; Storey & Lengyel, employees spend time together outside of work, and
1992). The most commonly used interventions employers use a personal management style that
have attempted to change the social behaviors of fosters teambuilding. According to Hagner (1999),
employees with disabilities. Frequently targeted it is participation in the workplace culture that
behaviors include initiating greetings, asking and gives concrete meaning to the term inclusion as a
answering questions, requesting assistance, turn goal for employees with disabilities (p. 1).
taking, and decreasing inappropriate behavior. In addition to investigating these general
Although social skills training has had some workplace characteristics, researchers have exam-
success, particularly for increasing or decreasing ined the structure of contact in the workplace (e.g.,
the frequency of a target behavior, skills learned in Chambless, 1996; Hagner, 2000; Mank, Cioffi, &
the training setting often do not transfer to new Yovanoff, 1997; Parent, Kregel, & Wehman, 2007).
settings or situations. The structure of contact refers to characteristics of
A second type of intervention strategy for workplace relationships between employees with
promoting social integration is enlisting coworker disabilities and their coworkers. Examples of this
involvement in instruction and support. Coworkers intervention strategy include structuring a job so
and supervisors have been used as mentors, skills that the employee (a) has a job description and
trainers, consultants, and advocates for inclusion. work schedule similar to that of other employees,
Coworker interventions have garnered considerable (b) works cooperatively with coworkers to complete
attention because coworkers are often viewed as the tasks, and (c) follows the same chain of command
most natural form of support available at the as other employees. The focus of workplace contact
worksite. However, the available research evidence strategies is not to directly change the social
regarding the effectiveness of these strategies has behavior of people with disabilities or their
been mixed (Chadsey & Beyer, 2001). An under- coworkers but on job selection and design as an
lying assumption of social skills interventions and indirect means of facilitating social relationships.
coworker interventions appears to be that direct The research literature provides a list of
efforts by an employment specialist to change the workplace contact variables associated with suc-
behavior of individuals in the work setting facilitate cessful social integration of employees with disabil-
social interaction and the development of relation- ities. What appears to be missing is a theoretical
ships among coworkers. framework for organizing and understanding these
A third type of strategyone that has received findings. The next section presents one such
relatively less research attentiontargets work- theoretical framework that may prove useful in
place characteristics and job design as a means of integrating past work and guiding future research
promoting social integration. These workplace and practice in this area.
contact strategies focus on the context and the
structure of contact between employees with
disabilities and their nondisabled coworkers. The Intergroup Contact Theory
context of contact refers to characteristics of a First articulated by Allport in 1954, intergroup
setting, including the norms that operate within contact theory posits that attitudes toward members
the setting. Developing a job at a company where of a negatively stereotyped outgroup, such as people
the employer fully endorses hiring individuals with with disabilities, can become more positive after
disabilities and where employees frequently offer direct interpersonal contact with members of the
assistance to one another exemplifies this strategy. outgroup. Allport recognized, however, that inter-
Much of the research in this area has focused on group contact alone is not always sufficient to
workplace culturethe set of shared meanings, automatically lead to the social acceptance of
expectations, values, and assumptions that governs negatively stereotyped individuals. He and other
workplace behavior and how it is interpreted (e.g., researchers (Amir, 1976; Cook, 1978; Pettigrew,
Butterworth, Hagner, Helm, & Whelley, 2000; 1971, 1998; Rothbart & John, 1985) have identi-
Hagner, 1989, 2000). For example, research by fied several conditions that enhance the positive
Butterworth et al. (2000) suggested that employees effects of contact on intergroup relations. After half

32 American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Social integration J. A. Novak and P. M. Rogan

a century of research on contact theory (for programs in racially desegregated classrooms (Brew-
reviews, see Brewer & Brown, 1998; Pettigrew, er & Brown, 1998). Cooperative learning methods
1998), contact has been found to produce favorable incorporate the basic principles of intergroup
attitudes toward outgroup members in situations contact theory: face-to-face contact and coopera-
marked by four key conditions: tion across racial lines, equal-status roles for
students of different races, and explicit teacher
1. Opportunity to interact. Situations with high
support for racial integration. Research reviews (D.
acquaintance potential promote intimate con-
Johnson, Johnson, & Maruyama 1984; Slavin,
tact between individuals that enhances the
1985) have indicated that cooperative learning in
development of meaningful relationships (Cook,
racially integrated classrooms is associated with
1978). Stated explicitly, contact must be of
increased liking for classmates, increased cross-
sufficient frequency, duration, and closeness to
ethnic interactions, and a generalized reduction in
facilitate the development of intergroup (e.g.,
ethnic prejudice.
disablednondisabled) friendships (Brewer &
Intergroup contact theory has since been
Brown, 1998).
applied to a diverse range of social groups, such as
2. Equal status. The way ingroup members perceive
groups with racial, ethnic, cultural, religious,
their status relative to the status of an outgroup
physical, intellectual, political, and status differ-
member can strongly influence the outcome of
ences. The effects of contact have been studied in
the interaction; situations that promote equal
the domains of housing, schooling, employment,
status interactions lead to more positive atti-
recreation, and travel and tourism. In a recent
tudes (Amir, 1976). A common stereotype of
meta-analysis of 203 studies examining the effect of
outgroups is that their members have an inferior
intergroup contact on prejudice, Pettigrew and
ability to perform various tasks. If members of
Tropp (2006) found that the 134 samples that
the outgroup occupy lower status positions
optimized Allports (1954) conditions of contact
within the contact situation, preexisting stereo-
yielded significantly greater reductions of prejudice
types about the inferior abilities of outgroup
than did other samples.
members are likely to be reinforced rather than
Contact theory offers a framework for address-
weakened (E. G. Cohen, 1984). On the other
ing the attitudinal barriers to inclusion that must be
hand, contact under conditions of equal status
removed if people with disabilities are to become
should lead to less prejudiced beliefs if outgroup
full participating members of their communities. As
members repeatedly demonstrate task compe-
intergroup contact theory predicts, contact alone is
not always sufficient to ensure the acceptance of
3. Outcome dependency. According to Allport
people with disabilities by other members of
(1954), It is the cooperative striving for the
society. Research has indicated that contact
goal that engenders solidarity (p. 276). This
sometimes leads to better attitudes, sometimes
statement suggests that when members of
leads to greater prejudice, and sometimes appears
different groups are dependent on one another
to have little overall impact on attitudes (see
to reach mutually desired goals, they have
Yuker, 1988, for a review). For example, the
instrumental reasons to get along and work
mainstreaming efforts of the 1970s were predicated
together toward achieving their shared goals.
on the assumption that placing students with
4. Authority support. Intergroup contact is more
disabilities in general education classrooms would
successful when those in positions of authority
facilitate positive relationships between students
unequivocally endorse the goal of integration
with disabilities and their nondisabled peers.
(Brewer& Brown, 1998).Authority support for
However, reviews of the mainstreaming literature
integration establishes norms of acceptance,
(Corman & Gottlieb, 1978; Gottlieb, Corman, &
equality, and tolerance (Pettigrew, 1998).
Curci, 1984) found that mere physical proximity
The tenets of contact theory were derived between students with disabilities and their non-
largely from experience with intergroup relations in disabled peers was often not associated with an
real-world contexts. Spurred initially by the racial increase in the social acceptance of the students
desegregation efforts of the 1950s (Amir, 1976), the with disabilities. Due to the contradictory evidence
most extensive application of contact theory has from the mainstreaming literature, attention soon
been the implementation of cooperative learning turned to intergroup contact theory as a guide for

American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities 33

Social integration J. A. Novak and P. M. Rogan

Table 1 Conditions of Contact in the Integrated Workplace

Condition of
contact Definition Examples
Opportunity Opportunities exist for employees Proximal work areas; similar work schedules, break
to interact with disabilities to become times, and locations
acquainted with coworkers
Equal status Employees with disabilities have Similar job descriptions and responsibilities; similar
equal status relationships with compensation packages; same chain of command
nondisabled employees at the
Outcome Employees with disabilities have Shared work goals and tasks; teamwork
dependency interdependent working
relationships with coworkers
Authority Management and direct supervisors Supervisors take full responsibility for employees
support unequivocally support the with disabilities and include them in staff
integration of employees with meetings and company-sponsored social
disabilities at the worksite activities

structuring intergroup interactions to promote as they apply to integrated employment settings.

social acceptance in the newly integrated class- Also presented are examples of characteristics of
rooms (D. Johnson & Johnson, 1984). Many of the workplace contact that satisfy each condition.
cooperative learning strategies that had been used The primary objective of this study was to test
in racially desegregated classrooms in the 1950s and the ability of intergroup contact theory to explain
1960s were successfully used to integrate students variability in the social integration outcomes of
with disabilities in general education classrooms employees with disabilities. The social integration
(for a review, see D. Johnson &Johnson, 1989). A outcomes assessed were those identified by Chad-
study by Piercy, Wilton, and Townsend (2002) sey-Rusch and Heal (1995) in their factor-analytic
demonstrated that the power of cooperative contact study of how transition experts think about social
to improve attitudes toward students with disabil- integration outcomes and interventions in employ-
ities extends to attitudes toward students with ment settings: social participation (an employees
moderatesevere intellectual disabilities. participation in social activities with coworkers),
workplace acceptance (coworkers acceptance of
the employee as a fellow worker or colleague),
Present Application: Social Integration personal acceptance (coworkers feelings of wanting
of Employees With Disabilities to get to know the employee better or develop a
Intergroup contact theory is an empirically closer personal relationship with him or her), and
supported theory, with potentially significant im- feelings of social support (an employees satisfaction
plications for supported employment and school-to- with his/her level of interaction and relationships
work transition practice. Although intergroup with others at work). Contact theory provides
contact theory has been applied to work settings specific predictions for the two attitudinal dimen-
(Pettigrew &Tropp, 2006), we do not know of any sions of the Chadsey-Rusch and Heal model,
studies that have assessed the ability of the theory workplace acceptance and personal acceptance.
to explain coworker attitudes toward employees The other two social integration outcomes, social
with disabilities in community work settings. participation and feelings of social support, are not
Intergroup contact theory predicts that contact in measures of attitude and, therefore, are not directly
work settings will lead to favorable attitudes toward addressed by contact theory. Nevertheless, we
employees with disabilities when the qualifying anticipated that the qualifying conditions of
conditions of contact are met. Table 1 presents contact would be associated with greater levels of
definitions of the qualifying conditions of contact social participation and feelings of social support on

34 American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Social integration J. A. Novak and P. M. Rogan

the part of employees with disabilities. Hence, we tion that provides an explanation for this require-
developed the following hypothesis: ment. The model posits that the role of outcome
dependency in impression formation is often
Hypothesis 1: Employees with disabilities whose work situations
mediated by accuracy motivation. Therefore, one
more closely meet Allports (1954) qualifying conditions of
contact will be more socially integrated at work (i.e., intergroup who is outcome dependent on another will be
contact model). motivated to form an accurate impression of the
other person so that the other persons behavior is
Two revisions were made to the intergroup predictable. If the outcome-dependent person feels
contact model to enhance understanding and to he or she can accurately predict the other persons
help predict social integration in the real-world behavior, he or she will have a greater sense of
context of the integrated workplace. First, in the control over his/her own outcomes. Following this
revised model, we took into account several line of reasoning, an outcome-dependent coworker
individual characteristics of employees with dis- should be motivated to form an accurate impression
abilities that may be expected to impact social of an employee with a disability. Accuracy
integration outcomes. Four characteristicsvoca- motivation will not necessarily result in a person-
tional competence, social competence, language based impression of the employee that is more
level, and disability levelwere added as control positive than the impression based on the category
variables in the model. Second, because the label (e.g., intellectually disabled). Rather, the
relationship between workplace culture and social resulting person-based impression may be evalua-
integration has been established clearly in the tively the same, more positive, or more negative
supported employment literature (e.g., Butterworth depending on the perception of the employees
et al., 2000; Chadsey, 2007), we added workplace actual characteristics. In the task-oriented work
culture to the set of workplace contact variables. situation, the characteristics of most relevance are
Compared with the intergroup contact model, we those that provide information about the employ-
expected the revised workplace contact model to ees productivity. Thus, Fiskes model of impression
have greater practical use for guiding the provision formation predicts that the perceived vocational
of employment supports. The revised model focuses competence of an employee with a disability will
on (a) attributes of the work environment that can
play a greater role in determining overall accep-
be selected rather than on characteristics of the
tance of the employee for coworkers who are
employee with a disability, some of which are not
outcome-dependent compared with coworkers who
amenable to change, and (b) alterable characteris-
are not outcome dependent. Application of Fiskes
tics of work relationships. The model suggests
continuum model of impression formation to the
strategies for selecting workplaces and structuring
present context resulted in the following hypoth-
the nature of workplace contact to promote social
integration. The following hypothesis addressed the
workplace contact model: Hypothesis 3: Outcome dependency will moderate the strength of
the relationship between an employees vocational competence
Hypothesis 2: The context and structure of workplace contact will and coworker attitudes toward him/her. Specifically, the
significantly improve prediction of social integration beyond that relationship between an employees vocational competence
which is explained by characteristics of the employee with a and coworker attitudes towards him/her will be stronger for
disability (i.e., workplace contact model). outcome-dependent coworkers than for nonoutcome-depen-
dent coworkers.
In general, the more closely the contact
situation approximates the qualifying conditions, In the present study, we extend the social
the greater the likelihood employees with disabil- integration research literature in several ways.
ities will be accepted by their peers at work. An Previous research seeking to uncover factors
exception is the requirement that for outcome predictive of coworker attitudes and social integra-
dependency to lead to increased social acceptance, tion has rarely relied on theory from mainstream
the outcome of the cooperative endeavor must be social psychology (Yuker, 1994; but see Chadsey
positive (Blanchard, Weigel, & Cook, 1975). Fiske &Shelden, 1998). The present research, by con-
and her colleagues (Erber & Fiske, 1984; Fiske & trast, was based on a longstanding and empirically
Neuberg, 1990; Fiske & Taylor, 1991) have supported theory that provided a cogent framework
advanced a continuum model of impression forma- for identifying workplace variables related to the

American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities 35

Social integration J. A. Novak and P. M. Rogan

social integration of employees with disabilities. At months experience providing employment support
the theoretical level, support for Hypothesis 1 services and (b) were currently working with at
would extend the generalizability of intergroup least 2 employees with disabilities. Eighty-three
contact theory to inclusive employment settings. percent of 127 eligible employment specialists who
The tools and techniques of the theory could then attended an informational session about the study
be used to enhance the social integration of completed a survey. Lack of time was the only
employees with disabilities. In addition, the study reason given by several of the 21 eligible employ-
advanced and tested an expanded model of ment specialists who attended an informational
workplace contact that has particular relevance to session but did not complete a survey. Most
the integrated work setting. Last, the present participating employment specialists were women
research provided a test of Fiskes continuum model (89%), Caucasian (92%), and worked in urban
of impression formation (Fiske & Neuberg, 1990). areas (74%). With regard to age, 2 (2%) partici-
pants identified themselves as 1822 years old, 27
(26%) as 2330, 24 (23%) as 3140, 32 (30%) as
Method 4150, 20 (19%) as over 50, and 1 (1%) did not
Data presented here were collected as part of a respond to this question. The mean number of
larger study designed to explore the relationship months employment specialists had been providing
between characteristics of workplace contact and employment support services was 39.9 (Mdn 5
the social integration of employees with disabilities. 30.0, SD 5 37.1). The mean number of employees
The larger study involved multisite, cross-sectional with disabilities whom the employment specialists
data collection from three participant samples: had supported was 44.5 (Mdn 5 28.5, SD 5 42.2).
employees with disabilities (n 5 98), their nondis-
abled coworkers (n 5 78), and their employment Focus Persons
specialists (n 5 106). In this article, we present The target population of the study was
survey results for the employment specialist sample transition-age youth with disabilities and adult
only. supported employees with developmental disabili-
ties working in individual community jobs. Data on
Participants 212 workers with disabilities were collected from
Participants were 106 employment specialists, the employment specialists. Demographic and
48 of whom were employed across 13 high school employment characteristics of the sample can be
transition programs and 58 of whom were employed found in Table 2. The sample consisted of nearly
across 16 adult supported employment programs. equal numbers of transition-age youth (n 5 96) and
Participants were recruited from a convenience adult supported employees (n 5 116). The majority
sample of high school transition programs and of employees were Caucasian, lived with family,
supported employment programs that serve persons and communicated clearly using sentences. Nearly
with developmental disabilities in Indiana. Profes- three fourths of the workers (72%) were reported to
sional staff from the University Center for Excel- have a label of mental retardation and one third
lence in Developmental Disabilities at Indiana (31%) were reported to have multiple disabilities.
University facilitated contacts with programs that The most commonly noted secondary disability was
receive training and technical assistance from the communication disorder (10%). Target workers had
center. Recruitment efforts with 29 of 43 programs been employed for an average of 18 months. They
resulted in study participation. The contact persons performed predominantly part-time, service-orient-
for two programs declined to participate, citing a ed work in small companies for roughly $1 above
lack of staff time; eight site contacts agreed to minimum wage. Thirty-nine of the transition-age
participate but no surveys were returned; and four youth were completing unpaid work experiences.
sites had no eligible employment specialists. Most (For ease of presentation, hereafter, both paid and
participating sites were located in the southern half unpaid workers are referred to as employees.) The
of the state. Nineteen programs served urban areas demographic and employment characteristics of the
and 10 programs served rural areas. sample were, in general, comparable with those
Employment specialists were eligible to partic- reported by national data sources and large-scale
ipate in the study if they (a) had a minimum of 6 studies with similar target populations available at

36 American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Social integration J. A. Novak and P. M. Rogan

Table 2 Distribution of Demographic and Employ- Table 2 Continued

ment Characteristics for Employees with Disabili-
ties (N 5 212) Characteristic n %
Characteristic n % Assemblymanufacturing 14 7
Gender Other 11 5
Male 115 54 No. company employees
Female 97 46 225 96 45
Racea 2650 41 19
51100 30 14
Caucasian 184 90
.100 45 21
African American 19 9
Other 2 1 Compensation
Age Paid 173 82
Unpaid 39 18
17 or under 32 15
1821 79 37 M SD
2230 28 13
Hr worked/week 17.4 9.6
3140 35 17
Job tenure (months) 18.0 21.5
Over 40 38 18
Hourly wage ($)c 6.13 0.95
Primary disability label Onsite job support (%) 22.5 31.6
Mild MR 94 44 a
n 5 205 for race. bIncluded in the other category
Moderate MR 49 23 are brain injury (n 5 6), Down syndrome (n 5 4),
MR: severity unspecified 8 4 severeprofound intellectual disability (n 5 1),
Learning disabilities 16 8 and schizophrenia (n 5 1). cThe 39 unpaid positions
Autism 13 6 were not included in the calculation of mean hourly
Emotionalbehavior disorder 11 5 wage.
Cerebral palsy 9 4
Otherb 12 6
Communication ability the time of the study (Hayward & Schmidt-Davis,
Speaks clearly in sentences 150 71 2000; Luecking & Fabian, 2000; Morgan, Ellerd,
Speaks unclearly in sentences 47 22 Jensen, & Taylor, 2000; U.S. Department of
Education, 2001; Wehman, Revell, & Kregel,
Uses key words, manual signs, 15 7
1998; Yamaki & Fujiura, 2002).
pictures, sounds, or gestures
Living situation Employment Specialist Survey
Family home 140 66 Instrument development. We designed a survey
Home: with supports 29 14 to gather information about variables of interest in
Home: independent 22 10 the study. We developed scales to measure four
Group home 19 9 conditions of contact (opportunity to interact,
Foster home 2 1 equal status, outcome dependency, and authority
support), four additional variables hypothesized to
Type of work influence social integration (vocational compe-
Food service 57 27 tence, social competence, workplace culture, and
Janitorialhousekeeping 39 18 coworker interventions), and four dimensions of
Retail 27 13 social integration, derived from Chadsey-Rusch and
Clericaloffice 22 10 Heals (1995) original work (social participation,
Grocery 21 10 workplace acceptance, personal acceptance, and
Other service 21 10 feelings of social support). Most scale items were
measured on a 4-point Likert rating scale with

American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities 37

Social integration J. A. Novak and P. M. Rogan

response options ranging from 1 (strongly agree or explained the pattern of correlations within sets
very often/always) to 4 (strongly disagree or rarely/ of scale items (Tabachnick & Fidell, 1996).
never). Scales included both positively and nega- Separate analyses were conducted for predictor
tively worded items interspersed to avoid the and criterion item sets. Bartletts test of sphericity
establishment of response sets. All scale items were and the Kaiser-Meyer-Okin measure of sampling
scored such that higher scores represented higher adequacy indicated that the data were suitable for
levels of a variable. Instrument development factor analysis. In general, items with a minimum
proceeded in three stages: (a) review of the extant factor loading of .40 were considered eligible for
literature (Boles, Griggs, Walker, Schalock, & inclusion in a scale. Items were removed from the
Calkins, 1990; Butterworth & Strauch, 1994; analysis if they had (a) a low factor loading on the
Chadsey-Rusch & Heal, 1995; Chambless, 1996; construct they were designed to measure or (b)
Hagner, 2000; Mank et al., 1997; McNair & Rusch, loadings of .40 or higher on two or more factors
1992; Parent, Kregel, Wehman, & Metzler, 1991; (i.e., dual loadings).
Shafer, Rice, Metzler, & Haring, 1989) and initial Predictor variables. Forty-one of 65 items
item and scale development, (b) expert review and designed to measure eight predictor variables
pretesting, and (c) piloting and instrument revi- (opportunity to interact, equal status, outcome
sion. Scales were modified following pretesting and dependency, authority support, vocational compe-
piloting to bolster the reliability and validity of tence, social competence, workplace culture, and
study measures (DeVellis, 1991). The instrument coworker interventions) loaded on the factors in a
development process is further detailed in Novak manner consistent with the hypothesized underly-
(2002). ing factor structure. The model explained 50% of
Final survey instrument. The final version of the the variance in scores. Twenty items were dropped
survey contained 238 items. The first section due to loadings below .40 on all factors or dual
requested demographic and employment informa- loadings. Two items loaded on factors they were not
tion about the employment specialist and defined originally designed to measure (work schedule is
criteria for selecting employees with disabilities typical to that of nondisabled employees and
about whom to provide data. Employment special- actively helps other employees reach their work
ists were instructed to select 2 employees with goals), but because their item loadings were
whom they were currently working, 1 who had very considered meaningful, the items were retained.
good social relationships with others at work and 1 Two items that did not load cleanly onto a single
who was socially isolated at work. To ensure that factor were retained due their centrality to the
the employees had had sufficient time to become hypothesized underlying construct (hourly pay is
acquainted with their coworkers, they must have typical to that of nondisabled employees and
been continuously employed in their current percentage work hours employee received onsite
positions for at least 2 months. The second survey job support). Items composing each predictor
section contained two counterbalanced item sets: variable are listed in Table 3.
one set referenced the socially included employee Criterion variables. Twenty-four items designed
and the other set referenced the socially isolated to measure the four criterion variables (social
employee. Both item sets were divided into 10 participation, workplace acceptance, personal ac-
subsections: employee demographic and disability ceptance, and feelings of social support) were factor
information, workplace characteristics, employee analyzed. The initial factor solution identified three
characteristics, supervisor support, job design, social distinct factors with eigenvalues greater than 1.0. In
participation, employees feelings about work, the three-factor model, items designed to measure
coworker attitudes, job development and employ- workplace acceptance and personal acceptance
ment specialist interventions, and typicalness of loaded on a single factor. The three-factor model
employment situation. captured 52% of the variance in scores and fit the
data better than the proposed four-factor model.
Construct Measurement Therefore, items measuring workplace acceptance
Factor analysis using maximum likelihood and personal acceptance were combined to create a
extraction with varimax rotation was used to single factor labeled Coworker Attitudes. Eight
identify underlying variables, or factors, that items were dropped from the analysis due to low or

38 American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Social integration J. A. Novak and P. M. Rogan

dual loadings. Items constituting each criterion four options, ranging from uses sounds and gestures
variable are listed in Table 4. (1) to speaks clearly in sentences (4). For disability
The factor analyses for the predictor and level, mild intellectual disabilities and learning
criterion variables resulted in satisfactory factor disabilities were categorized as less severe and all
solutions, with conceptual clarity existing in the other disability labels were categorized as more
dimensions suggested by the solutions. Therefore, severe. Variables measuring workplace contact
factor-based scales were derived for use in subse- (opportunity to interact, equal status, outcome
quent statistical analyses (Kim & Mueller, 1978). dependency, authority support, and workplace
Statistical assumptions of normality, linearity, culture) were entered as a block in the second step
homoscedasticity, and independence of residuals of the regression models. Control variables were
for the newly created composite variables were entered into the regression equation first to rule out
largely supported (Novak, 2002). The internal alternative explanations for an observed relation-
consistency of the final version of each scale was ship between characteristics of workplace contact
assessed using Cronbachs alpha. The mean scale and social integration.
alpha was .83, with all scales yielding alphas greater Because some research evidence has suggested
than .70, indicating acceptable reliability. Alpha that coworkers may be instrumental in facilitating the
coefficients are listed in Tables 3 and 4. social integration of employees with disabilities (Lee,
Storey, Anderson, Goetz, & Zivolich, 1997; Storey &
Data Analyses Garff, 1999), the initial plan for analysis involved
As an initial step, correlational analysis was entering coworker interventions as a third step in the
conducted to examine the bivariate relations regression models to determine if preparing coworkers
among study variables (see Table 5). An alpha to support employees with disabilities would improve
level of .05 was used for these and all subsequent prediction of social integration over that explained by
tests of significance reported in this study. All individual characteristics and workplace contact
significant correlations between conditions of variables. However, a preliminary examination of
contact and social integration outcomes were in the bivariate correlation matrix revealed that co-
the predicted direction. Next, the intergroup worker interventions were not significantly related to
contact model was tested using standard multiple any of the criterion variables. Therefore, for simplicity
regression analysis, with conditions of contact of presentation, the results of the three-step models
(opportunity to interact, equal status, outcome are not presented here.
dependency, and authority support) entered as A moderational analysis was conducted to
predictor variables in the regression equation. determine if the relationship between an employ-
Separate analyses were performed for each of the ees vocational competence and coworker attitudes
three social integration outcome variables (social toward him/her varied as a function of outcome
participation, coworker attitudes, and feelings of dependency (i.e., the hypothesized moderator). An
social support). Data on transition-age youth and interaction between outcome dependency and
adult supported employees were included together vocational competence in the prediction of co-
in the regression analyses. The appropriateness of worker attitudes would signal a moderator effect (cf.
calculating a common regression equation for the Baron & Kenny, 1986). For this analysis, outcome
two groups for each model was established in dependency was dichotomized as outcome dependent
Novak (2002). (scores of 3.0 or higher) and nonoutcome dependent
Next, the workplace contact model was tested (scores below 3.0), and vocational competence was
by using hierarchical regression analyses to deter- measured as a continuous variable. An interaction
mine if the context and structure of workplace term was generated from the product of scores on
contact were related to social integration after outcome dependency and vocational competence.
controlling for four individual characteristics: A hierarchical regression analysis was performed,
language level, disability level, vocational compe- with outcome dependency and vocational compe-
tence, and social competence. These four control tence entered as a block in Step 1 and their
variables were assessed and statistically removed by interaction term entered in Step 2. A significant
entering them as a block in the first step of the change in R2 at Step 2 would constitute evidence of
regression models. Language level was coded with moderation (J. Cohen & Cohen, 1983).

American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities 39

Social integration J. A. Novak and P. M. Rogan

Table 3 Means, Standard Deviations, Cronbachs Alpha Coefficients, and Factor Loading Matrix for
Predictor Variables
Factors and items I II III IV V VI VII VIII
I. Opportunity to interact (M 5 2.38, SD 5 0.85, a 5 .90)
Average no. hr worked/week (quartiles) .67 .19 .01 .00 .00 2.02 .02 2.03
% work hr employee receives onsite job support
(quartiles) .37 .21 .03 2.02 .09 .18 2.11 .01
Works similar hr as other employees .79 .11 .10 .05 .09 2.07 .04 2.05
Arrives at work at the same time as other employees .68 .16 .10 .03 .03 2.02 2.08 .04
Leaves the workplace at the same time as other
employees .78 .17 .16 .03 .11 2.06 .00 2.08
Takes lunchbreaks in the same location as coworkers .54 .09 .27 2.01 .05 .12 .02 .02
Work schedule is typical to that of nondisabled
employees .61 .31 .01 .12 .19 2.12 2.09 2.12
II. Equal status (M 5 3.02, SD 5 0.87, a 5 .90)
Hourly pay is typical to that of nondisabled employees .52 .63 2.08 .05 .01 2.01 2.01 .03
Job responsibilities are typical to those of nondisabled
employees .28 .52 .23 .09 .28 2.11 2.12 2.07
Items issued to employee are typical to those of
nondisabled employees .18 .72 .17 .04 .05 .05 2.05 2.02
Dress code and appearance are typical to those of
nondisabled employees .12 .73 .13 .02 .07 .13 .01 .00
Company benefits received are typical to those of
nondisabled employees .37 .53 2.01 .08 .09 .07 2.03 .07
Chain of command followed is typical to that of
nondisabled employees .19 .70 .02 .17 .12 .11 .03 .03
Performance reviews are typical to those of nondisabled
employees .23 .57 .00 .18 .17 .16 .07 .13
III. Outcome dependency (M 5 2.64, SD 5 0.64, a 5 .83)
Shares common work goals and tasks with coworkers .29 .10 .57 .09 .23 .08 2.07 .08
Individual and target coworker work as part of a team .19 .09 .67 2.03 .09 .05 .16 2.07
Target coworker relies on work of the individual to
get own work done 2.04 .00 .62 .08 2.02 .01 .05 .15
Actively helps other employees reach their work goals .14 .03 .71 2.01 .17 .20 .07 .02
If individual does his/her job well, the target
coworkers job is made easier 2.04 .11 .50 .13 .18 .04 .15 2.02
Individual and his/her coworkers work on tasks
together .20 .02 .67 .00 .10 .07 .11 .01
IV. Authority support (M 5 3.28, SD 5 0.54, a 5 .80)
Supervisor supports and advocates for the individual .05 .09 .12 .67 .08 .14 .21 .19
Supervisor interacts with individual in same way
she/he interacts with others .02 .20 .24 .71 .17 .13 .10 .17
Supervisor treats individual in a manner that sets a
bad example for others (R) .06 .07 2.10 .51 .16 .03 .20 .05

40 American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Social integration J. A. Novak and P. M. Rogan

Table 3 Continued

Factors and items I II III IV V VI VII VIII
Supervisor takes same responsibility for individual as
she/he does for others .08 .20 .13 .56 .26 2.07 .22 .06
V. Vocational competence (M 5 2.88, SD 5 0.62, a 5 .85)
Does his/her fair share of the work .11 .07 .08 .11 .63 .37 .17 .01
Meets the same standards as other workers .17 .17 .15 .11 .76 .14 .07 2.08
Gets necessary information and materials prior to
performing a job .01 .16 .12 .14 .61 .24 .10 .02
Works or produces at a rate that equals or exceeds
standards for the job .08 .09 .23 .13 .75 .13 .05 2.10
Needs more directions than other employees at the
worksite need (R) .13 .08 .11 .10 .46 .09 2.01 2.14
VI. Social competence (M 5 2.89, SD 5 0.68, a 5 .73)
Has friends outside of work 2.15 .10 .12 2.09 .15 .55 .04 .02
Is liked by most people outside of the work setting 2.04 .09 .07 2.05 .21 .60 .12 .00
Lacks social awareness (R) .03 .02 .00 .19 .13 .60 .00 .06
Interacts appropriately with coworkers in informal
situations .11 .10 .15 .18 .13 .56 .02 2.06
VII. Workplace culture (M 5 2.92, SD 5 0.58, a 5 .78)
Employees at the work site are positive, friendly
people 2.10 .04 .18 .29 .04 .25 .49 .17
Work setting has a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere 2.11 2.07 .04 .22 .07 .02 .69 .07
Supervisory style at the work site is informal .06 2.15 .09 .06 .07 .04 .87 .03
Employees talk socially during work time .01 .09 .37 .13 .05 .06 .43 2.01
Workers interact with supervisor about nonwork-
related topics 2.07 .07 .29 .15 .07 2.05 .47 2.02
VIII. Coworker interventions (M 5 2.77, SD 5 0.55, a 5 .74)
Coworkers received training about employment of
people with disabilities 2.03 .02 .03 2.10 .10 2.05 .05 .80
Coworkers received training specific to the support
needs of the individual 2.11 .21 .00 2.05 2.03 2.16 .02 .79
Friendly coworker asked to help individual become
acquainted with others .07 2.04 2.10 .22 2.05 .13 .07 .40
Coworkers were asked to give feedback to the employee2.05 .04 .09 .20 2.11 2.02 .03 .47
Coworkers asked for suggestions to help person become
socially integrated .01 2.07 .09 .11 2.15 .08 2.01 .46
Note. Potential range for each scale is 1 to 4. Higher mean scores indicate higher levels of a variable. (R) 5
item reverse coded for data analysis.

American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities 41

Social integration J. A. Novak and P. M. Rogan

Table 4 Means, Standard Deviations, Cronbachs Alpha Coefficients, and Factor Loading Matrix for
Criterion Variables
Factors and items I II III
I. Social participation (M 5 2.43, SD 5 0.80, a 5 .87)
Coworkers greet the individual on arrival to work .54 .10 .20
Individual talks with coworkers during breakslunch .73 .19 .10
Individual participates in company-sponsored events (e.g., holiday parties) .58 .27 .04
Individual interacts with coworkers continuously throughout workday .77 .25 .08
Individual spends time with coworkers outside of work .42 .25 2.04
Individual participates in joking/teasing with coworkers .80 .11 .14
Individual talks with coworkers about nonwork-related topics (e.g., sports) .75 .18 .17
II. Coworker attitudes (M 5 3.00, SD 5 0.54, a 5 .87)
Coworkers indicate that they like the individual as a person .21 .55 .31
Coworkers have taken the time to get to know the individual as a person .39 .54 .18
Coworkers indicate that they consider the individual to be a team player .19 .83 .24
Coworkers accept the employee as an equal peer .20 .74 .18
Coworkers treat the employee differently than they treat other workers (R) .20 .42 .26
Coworkers indicate that they like to work with the individual .27 .66 .30
III. Employees feelings of social support (M 5 3.27, SD 5 0.58, a 5 .84)
Individual reports that coworkers do not treat him/her well (R) 2.09 .19 .71
Individual indicates that she/he is lonely at work (R) .16 .15 .77
Individual indicates that she/he does not feel liked or accepted by coworkers (R) .04 .25 .78
Individual is excited about going to work .19 .13 .47
Individual generally appears satisfied with level of social inclusion at work .23 .30 .61
Note. Potential range for each scale is 1 to 4. Higher mean scores indicate higher levels of a variable. (R) 5
item reverse coded for data analysis.

conditions of contact. A summary of regression

Results results is displayed in Table 6.
Test of the Intergroup Contact Model
Multiple regression analyses were conducted to Test of the Workplace Contact Model
determine if the intergroup contact model could Hierarchical regression analysis was used to
significantly predict social integration outcomes in determine if the workplace contact model could
the supported workplace. Consistent with the significantly predict social integration outcomes
intergroup contact model (Hypothesis 1), multiple beyond that explained by characteristics of em-
Rs for regression were significantly different from ployees with disabilities (Hypothesis 2). Vocational
zero at the .001 alpha level for social participation, competence, social competence, language level,
R 5 .60, F(4, 207) 5 29.15; coworker attitudes, R and disability level each had a significant zero-order
5 .56, F(4, 207) 5 23.93; and feelings of social correlation with one or more criterion variables and
support, R 5 .41, F(4, 207) 5 10.68. Together, were, therefore, entered as a block in Step 1 of the
36% of the variance in social participation, 32% of regression equations. Step 1 multiple R was
the variance in coworker attitudes, and 17% of the significantly different from zero at the .001 alpha
variance in feelings of social support were predict- level for models predicting each criterion variable:
able from knowledge of scores on the five social participation, R 5 .49, F(4, 207) 5 16.10;

42 American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Social integration J. A. Novak and P. M. Rogan

Table 5 Zero-Order Correlations Among Variables Included in Regression Analyses

Variable 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
1. Opportunity to interact
2. Equal status .57**
3. Outcome dependency .28** .24**
4. Authority support .16* .31** .26**
5. Workplace culture 2.03 .02 .29** .44**
6. Vocational
competence .25** .32** .35** .37** .24**
7. Social competence .09 .19** .20** .25** .19** .38**
8. Language level .27** .22** .16* .05 .13 .017* .19**
9. Disability level 2.23**2.19**2.03 .10 .17* 2.05 2.08 2.28**
10. Social participation .38** .35** .51** .33** .42** .25** .47** .20** .00
11. Coworker attitudes .21** .26** .44** .48** .36** .56** .47** .06 2.01 .54**
12. Feelings of social
support 2.02 .13 .20** .41** .27** .34** .50**2.01 .17* .31** .53**
*p , .05. **p , .01.

coworker attitudes, R 5 .62, F(4, 207) 5 31.98; and 5 8.93, p , .001; and employee feelings of social
feelings of social support, R 5 .56, F(4, 207) 5 support, nR2 5 .05, Finc(5, 202) 5 3.38, p 5 .006. A
23.23. These findings indicate that employee summary of regression results is displayed in Table 7.
characteristics explained a significant proportion
of the variance in social integration outcomes. Moderation Analysis
Workplace contact variables (opportunity to We hypothesized that outcome dependency
interact, equal status, outcome dependency, authority moderates the strength of the relationship between
support, and workplace culture) were entered as a vocational competence and coworker attitudes
block in Step 2 of the regression equations. This (Hypothesis 3). Specifically, we predicted that
provided a test of whether the block of five predictor the relationship between an employees vocational
variables significantly increased R2 above the R2 competence and coworker attitudes toward him/
predicted by the block of control variables in the her would be stronger for outcome-dependent
equation. In combination, workplace contact variables coworkers than for nonoutcome-dependent work-
accounted for significant incremental variance in ers. To test the moderator hypothesis, a hierarchi-
social participation, nR2 5 .31, Finc(5, 202) 5 27.51, cal regression analysis was performed, with out-
p , .001; coworker attitudes, nR2 5 .11, Finc(5, 202) come dependency and vocational competence

Table 6 Regression Analysis Summary for Conditions of Contact Predicting Social Integration Outcomes
(Intergroup Contact Model)
Criterion variable (b)
Predictor variable Social participation Coworker attitudes Feelings of social support
Opportunity to interact .17* .04 2.15
Equal status .11 .05 .07
Outcome dependency .40** .29** .13
Authority support .16** .37** .35**
R2 .36** .32** .17**
*p , .05. **p , .01.

American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities 43

Social integration J. A. Novak and P. M. Rogan

Table 7 Hierarchical Regression Analysis Summary for Workplace Contact Variables Predicting Social
Integration Outcomes (Workplace Contact Model)
Criterion variable (b)
Predictor variable Social participation Coworker attitudes Feelings of social support
Step 1: Individual characteristics
Vocational competence 2.17** .28** .10
Social competence .37** .27** .41**
Language level .00 2.11* 2.06
Disability level .07 2.03 .14*
Step 2: Workplace contact variables
Opportunity to interact .24** .07 2.10
Equal status .13* 2.01 .03
Outcome dependency .32** .17** .04
Authority support .01 .20** .21**
Workplace culture .28** .12* .04
Step 1 R2 .24** .38** .31**
nR2 .31** .11** .05**
Full-model R2 .55** .49** .36**
Note. Standardized regression coefficients (b) are beta weights in the full model.
*p , .05. **p , .01.

entered as a block in Step 1 and their interaction Finc(1,202) 5 5.91, p 5 .02. This significant
term entered in Step 2. At Step 1, outcome change in R2 at Step 2 provides evidence of
dependency and vocational competence together moderation (J. Cohen & Cohen, 1983).
explained significant variance in coworker atti- The moderator effect is graphically depicted in
tudes, R 5 .61, F(2, 203) 5 54.18, p , .001. The Figure 1. The graph illustrates that vocational
key finding was that the addition of the interac- competence had a significant, positive relationship
tion term at Step 2 significantly added to the with coworker attitudes for both the outcome-
prediction of coworker attitudes, nR2 5 .02, dependent group (r 5 .57, p , .001) and the non
outcome-dependent group (r 5 .47, p , .001);
however, vocational competence was more strongly
associated with coworker attitudes for the outcome-
dependent group. In other words, overall, coworkers
had better attitudes (based on employment special-
ist report) toward a vocationally competent sup-
ported employee irrespective of whether they were
outcome dependent on this employee; however,
coworker attitudes were more strongly influenced
by the employees job performance if they were
outcome dependent on him/her.

The findings of the present study highlight the
Figure 1 Coworker attitudes as a function of prominent role of Allports (1954) conditions of
outcome dependency and vocational competence. contact and workplace culture in facilitating the

44 American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Social integration J. A. Novak and P. M. Rogan

social integration of employees with disabilities. controlling for the employees vocational and social
The context and structure of contact between competence. The notion of status equality used in
employees with disabilities and their nondisabled this study overlaps with Mank et al.s (1997)
coworkers predicted not only employees levels of conception of typicalness. Mank et al. found that
social participation and feelings of social support more typical patterns of job acquisition, compen-
but also coworkers attitudes toward the employees sation, work roles, and orientation were associated
with disabilities. The ability of workplace contact with higher levels of social interaction for support-
characteristics to explain these indicators of social ed employees. Together, these findings suggest that
integration was found even after controlling for the employees with disabilities who have more typical
employees level of disability, language ability, job situations are more likely to be socially
social competence, and vocational competence. integrated at work. This is a particularly poignant
The present findings are in line with a growing consideration given the inherent inequality created
body of research literature documenting the when an employee receives employment support
relevance of workplace contact characteristics to from an outside agency.
the social integration of employees with disabilities The third condition of contact deals with the
(e.g., Butterworth et al., 2000; Chadsey, Shelden, interdependency of job design. Specifically, do
Horn De Bardeleben, & Cimera, 1999; Chambless, coworkers rely on the work of the employee with
1996; Hagner, 1989; Mank et al., 1997; Parent et a disability to get their own work done? Outcome
al., 2007). Furthermore, the results indicate that dependency was found to be an essential feature of
various features of workplace contact are differen- workplace contact for predicting social participa-
tially important in accounting for the three tion and coworker acceptance of employees with
dimensions of social integration measured in this disabilities. Compared with nonoutcome-depen-
study (social participation, coworker attitudes, and dent coworkers, coworkers who were outcome
employee feelings of social support). Each of the dependent on an employee with a disability were
five features described below was essential to more likely to socialize with and have a positive
predicting one or more social integration outcome. attitude toward him/her. This finding is consistent
The first condition of contact concerns the with Chambless (1996) finding that interdepen-
extent to which an employee with a disability has dent job designs are associated with higher levels of
opportunities to interact with fellow workers. social integration for supported employees. In
Working similar hours and in physical proximity addition to having a direct relationship with
to coworkers afford opportunities for social inter- coworker attitudes, outcome dependency interacted
action to occur. Study results revealed that greater with vocational competence to predict coworker
opportunity for interaction with coworkers was, in attitudes. Specifically, the relationship between an
fact, associated with greater social participation by employees vocational competence and coworker
employees with disabilities. Social participation, as attitudes toward him/her was stronger for outcome-
operationalized in this study, includes (a) talking dependent coworkers than for nonoutcome-de-
about nonwork-related topics (e.g., sports, fami- pendent coworkers. In other words, outcome
lies, weekend plans), (b) joking around and good- dependency magnified the effect of vocational
natured teasing, (c) socializing during break times, competence on coworker attitudes. For example,
and (d) participating in company-sponsored events for coworkers who relied on an employee with a
(e.g., holiday parties). disability to complete their own work, the employ-
The second condition of contact relates to ees vocational competence was key to explaining
status differences between an employee with a their attitudes toward him/her. For coworkers who
disability and his/her coworkers. Does the employee did not directly rely on the employee with a
follow the same chain of command as other disability, the employees vocational competence
workers? Are the employees job responsibilities had less of an influence on their attitudes toward
equal in importance to those of other workers? Is him/her.
the employees compensation package similar to The fourth condition of contact concerns the
that of other company employees? Employees with degree of equality, tolerance, and acceptance
disabilities whose status was similar to that of present in the work environment. Does the direct
coworkers were more likely to be included in the supervisor take the same responsibility for super-
social activities of the workplace, even after vising an employee with a disability that he/she

American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities 45

Social integration J. A. Novak and P. M. Rogan

takes for supervising other workers? Does the though workplace culture is related to conditions of
supervisor interact with this employee in the same intergroup contact, it remains a distinct construct.
way as with other employees? In this study, the Multiple regression analysis revealed that the
supervisors stance with regard to the employee conditions of workplace contact explained a
with a disability was critical to understanding the significant proportion of variance in social integra-
employees level of social participation and feelings tion outcomes in addition to the variance explained
of social support as well as coworker attitudes by characteristics of employees with disabilities.
toward the employee. These findings suggest that
supervisors set the tone for the social inclusion, or Implications for Practice
exclusion, of an employee with a disability at the The results of this study have clear implica-
job site. tions for how to assist people with disabilities to get
The final feature of workplace contact that was and keep employment and for how workplaces can
hypothesized to account for differences in social best support a diverse workforce. The following
integration was workplace culture. Workplace cul- practices for maximizing workplace integration are
ture refers to the social and behavioral norms of a suggested for worksite selection, job design, and job
workplace. That is, what is the typical climate or training and support.
atmosphere of the workplace? Are employees Murphy and Rogan (1994) recommended that
positive and friendly? Do they interact and talk employment consultants consider not only the
socially during work time? Murphy and Rogan person-task match, but also the level of person-
(1994) and Hagner (2000) have suggested that setting compatibility, the extent to which the jobs
cultures with these characteristics offer more social culture will be inclusive and supportive of the
possibilities for inclusion. In the present study, we person being served (p. 24). Employment special-
found that employees with disabilities who worked ists and job seekers must examine the attributes, or
in settings with positive organizational cultures characteristics, of a potential work setting, includ-
were more likely to interact socially with cowork- ing the physical features (e.g., layout and location
ers; this relationship held even after controlling for of employees), coworker interactions (e.g., the
the effects of individual characteristics. Moreover, extent to which they appear supportive of each
coworkers in work settings with positive cultures other, have informal interactions during work and
were more accepting of employees with disabilities. breaks, share job tasks, and cooperate with each
other), and other aspects of the social climate, such
Implications for Theory as the employee turnover rate. The purpose of such
The results of this study provide support for the an analysis is to identify workplaces with a positive
applicability of Allports (1954) intergroup contact culture and a stable workforce to maximize onsite,
theory to the social integration of employees with sustained relationships and supports. Another
disabilities. Results of factor analysis support the important factor to consider in worksite selection
distinctiveness of four conditions of contact: is whether employers actively promote workplace
opportunity to interact, equal status, outcome diversity through activities such as disability or
dependency, and authority support. The intergroup diversity training.
contact model significantly predicted social inte- The design or structure of a supported employ-
gration outcomes. In addition, the finding that ees job can enhance or impede opportunities for
vocational competence had a stronger association social interactions with coworkers and can impact
with coworker attitudes for outcome-dependent coworkers attitudes toward him/her. It is important
coworkers than for nonoutcome-dependent co- to negotiate job features that ensure individuals
workers lends support to Fiskes continuum model with disabilities work in physical proximity to their
of impression formation (Fiske & Neuberg, 1990). coworkers so that frequent work-related and social
The results also provide support for the revised interactions can occur naturally. In addition, to the
workplace contact model. The revised model takes extent possible, the supported employees work
into account several characteristics of employees schedule should be designed to reflect typical work
with disabilities that may impact social integration hours and to encompass break and meal times to
and includes workplace culture in the set of contact capture natural opportunities for coworker interac-
variables. Factor analysis demonstrated that al- tions. Status-enhancing work tasks that have some

46 American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Social integration J. A. Novak and P. M. Rogan

type of overlap or intersection with the tasks of Third, the significant multiple regression
coworkers should be targeted. Opportunities for results found in this study provide evidence of an
cooperation and interdependence within work association between the conditions of workplace
routines should be promoted. contact and coworker attitudes toward employees
Given that supported employees benefit from with disabilities. However, because measures of
job training and ongoing support, it is critical that coworker attitudes were taken at a single point in
internal workplace supports, often termed natural time, with contact already underway, the question
supports, are maximized. The typical methods, of causality must be considered: Did contact lead to
people, and resources of the workplace should be favorable attitudes or vice versa? Both directions of
used to orient, train, and support the employee with causality are plausible. Evidence from tests of
a disability. In other words, employment specialists contact effects using experimental designs, longi-
should adhere to the employers typical training tudinal studies, no-choice paradigms, and structural
routines and should facilitate the involvement of equation models has demonstrated that the contact
worksite personnel in training the employee. does affect attitudes (Pettigrew &Tropp, 2006).
Training and support may also be needed to ensure Thus, the most plausible answer to the question of
that the employee with a disability understands and causality is that a cumulative or bidirectional
follows the chain of command. The goal is to process exists in which contact reduces prejudice,
promote acceptance and ownership on the part of which, in turn, makes additional contact more
workplace personnel while increasing the supported likely to occur (Pettigrew, 1997). Additional
employees participation in social activities and research is needed to confirm the direction of
feelings of social support. causality among study variables. One research
strategy that might be informative would be to
use a multiple-baseline design across participants to
Study Limitations and Recommendations for implement a change in the conditions of contact
Future Research (e.g., outcome dependency) at several worksites
Although this study is informative, a number of where employees with disabilities are socially
potential limitations are important to consider isolated from their coworkers. Evidence of im-
when interpreting the findings. First, the external proved coworker attitudes following implementa-
validity of study findings may be limited by the tion of the intervention would provide support for a
nonrandom sampling procedure used. All partici- causal interpretation of findings.
pants were residents of Indiana, and the majority of Research is also needed to explicate how the
the 212 employees with disabilities in the study had structure of workplace relationships between em-
intellectual disabilities. The employee sample, ployees with disabilities and their coworkers
although similar in most regards to available supports or undermines integration. Understanding
national data, may not be representative of all the mediators of the observed relationship between
transition-age workers and adult supported employ- the conditions of contact and social integration
ees. The tenets of intergroup contact theory have may provide additional insight into how employ-
been shown to generalize to a diverse array of social ment specialists can intervene to foster a social
groups; however, it is possible that replication climate conducive to inclusion. In-depth qualita-
efforts conducted in other states or with employees tive study of how the conditions of contact are
with other types of disabilities (e.g., mental illness, exemplified within the workplaces of especially
traumatic brain injury, physical disabilities) would well-integrated employees with disabilities would
produce different findings. further inform employment support practice.
Second, the measures constructed for use in Much of the previous research on correlates of
this study need to be further refined and psycho- attitudes toward people with disabilities has been
metrically assessed. Although the assessment of criticized for not being underpinned by theory
internal consistency for each of the 11 subscales (Chubon, 1992; Yuker, 1994). By contrast, in the
yielded acceptable alphas (M a 5 .83), other present study, we demonstrated the ability of
measures of reliability, such as coefficients of intergroup contact theory, a longstanding social
stability and equivalence, were not calculated. psychological theory with a strong empirical base,
Additional validity and reliability evidence would to explain social integration outcomes of employees
increase confidence in the study measures. with disabilities. Study findings suggest concrete

American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities 47

Social integration J. A. Novak and P. M. Rogan

strategies for structuring workplace contact to meta-analytic path analysis relating molar
optimize opportunities for employees with disabil- climate, cognitive and affective states, and
ities to become socially integrated at work. individual level work outcomes. Journal of
Applied Psychology, 88, 605619.
Chadsey, J. (2007). Adult social relationships. In S.
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(1989). A survey of nondisabled employees Editor-in-Charge: Sheryl Larson
attitudes toward supported employees with
mental retardation. Journal of the Association
of Persons With Severe Handicaps, 14, 137 This study was supported by Grant H324B000044
144. from the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation
Slavin, R. E. (1985). Cooperative learning: Apply- Services, U.S. Department of Education. This article is
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Journal of Social Issues, 41(3), , 4562. which was chaired by the second author (P.M.R.). We
Storey, K., & Garff, J. (1997). The cumulative thank the other dissertation committee members:
effect of natural support strategies and social Samuel Guskin, David Mank, and Teresa Grossi.

50 American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Social integration J. A. Novak and P. M. Rogan

State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403-

Authors: 0239. Patricia M. Rogan, PhD (E-mail: progan@
Jeanne A. Novak, PhD (E-mail: jnovak@bgsu. iupui.edu), Executive Associate Dean, School of
edu), Assistant Professor, School of Intervention Education, Indiana University Purdue University
Services, 412 Education Bldg., Bowling Green Indianapolis.

American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities 51