Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Alison Konrad


Having employees who are willing to request employer-sponsored disability accommodations and employers who are willing to grant them is a necessary prerequisite for the successful provision of needed accommodations. This research examines the predictors of accommodation requesting and granting among adult workers with disabilities using data collected from 5,418 respondents to a Statistics Canada post 2006 census survey called the Participation and Activity Limitation Survey. Using a rational choice perspective that focuses on maximizing personal utility, I test a series of hypotheses about individual, organizational, and institutional variables that predict willingness to both request and grant needed disability-related workplace accommodations. One key finding is that different predictors are significant for different types of accommodations, highlighting the need to avoid generalizing from one type of accommodation to another. Another important finding is that, as a category, individual variables directly related to disability explained a greater amount of variance in both accommodation requesting and granting than other aspects of personal identity, organizational factors, or institutional variables. While there was some evidence of decision-making based on fear of stigmatization (when requesting), and discrimination (when granting), the data suggests that industry and occupational specific logics are highly salient influencers for decisions related to accommodations. Prior experiences of discrimination also seem to have a politicizing effect, increasing the likelihood of both accommodation requesting and, surprisingly, granting. Meanwhile institutional forces meant to act as behavioural controls, such as legislation and union protection, do not seem to be having the intended positive influence on accommodation provision in the workplace. This finding suggests that other forms of intervention, such as community education, may be required to encourage greater access to workplace accommodations.