Introduction of Diverse Population
Diversity is a characteristic, which is peculiar to every society. It can be expressed in different forms. People can differ from each other in accordance to their race, nation, religion, age, political beliefs, socio-economic status, and other characteristics. One more group of people, who are considered being diverse, is physically disabled people. The researchers describe this diverse group in the following way, “In the 1960s and early 1970s, a new minority group began to demand attention. People with physical disabilities started speaking up, marching forth, sitting in, and filling suit to demand their rights” (Weinberg, 1983). Diversity is an inevitable part of life of humanity. That is why people should understand those, who differ from common image of ordinary person. However, not every person can do it. The researches concerning people’s attitude towards disabled people showed that healthy people “were neither overly sensitive to discussing their disabilities nor indulgent in self pity” (Donaldson & Martinson, 1977). It is evident that not all people are able to accept disabled ones and treat them in the same way as they treat healthy people. Moreover, presence of a disabled person can cause “avoidance” and “distortion of attitudes” (Stephens, Cooper, & Kinney, 1985). Nevertheless, disabled people need to be accepted by society, and it is necessary to provide different programs in order to improve their social skills, develop their self-reliance, and teach them how to solve problems. Such experience can be also useful for ordinary people because it gives an “opportunity to better know and understand disabled people by ‘living’ with them for a period of time” (Golub, & Ehrlich, 1976).
These facts make the issue of diversity, in particular, physical disability, of vital importance nowadays. That is why I think that this issue should be paid attention to. Certainly, there exist a number of other types of diversity, and in any case, if a person, who is diverse, is not treated respectfully, he/ she feels lonely and unhappy. However, I suppose that being physically disabled is the most complicated type of diversity. Besides the fact that people can treat physically disabled person without sympathy or understanding, this person is often depressed because of inability to do the things, which normal people can do, for example, walk or hear. However, the problem of physically disabled people is not solved only by carrying out social work. Physically disabled people should get help from governments in order to live fulfilled life. For example, governments should provide physically disabled people with wheelchairs; equip streets and buildings in the way, which is convenient for them to move. Thus, the problem of disabled people, as a type of diverse population, is a complicated one, and this very fact determined my choice for the research.
The focus of the issue of physically disabled people will be made on their performance at work. As this aspect is one of the most important, which refer to the problem of disabled people as diverse population, it had been studied by numerous researchers. Research works dedicated to this topic are various, starting from ordinary description of disability at the workplace, and ending with examination of every aspect of this problem. The article “Disability as diversity in fortune 100 companies” by Ball, Schmeling, Monaco, Blanck, and Schartz, is a representation of descriptive paper. The researchers analyzed what status disabled people have in famous American companies and made a conclusion that a great number of companies “do not include (at least explicitly) the contribution of people with disabilities to the diverse work environment” (Ball, Monaco, Schmeling, Schartz, & Blanck, 2005). Another group of researchers, which are Cohen and Avanzino, think that disabled people should be accepted in society, and at the workplace. However, they confirm, “it is safe to say that persons with disabilities face challenges when they attempt to join and participate in the world of work” (Cohen & Avanzino, 2010). One more group of researchers dedicated their study to organizational problems, which are faced while disabled people return to work. The researchers carry out their study on the example of United Kingdom saying, “that rehabilitation in the UK is ‘starved of resources” (Sirvastave & Chamberlain, 2005). Thus, the research is aimed at finding out problems, which can be faced by organizations and disabled people. Another aspect of disability at the workplace, which is discrimination, is also studied by scientists. A group of American researchers dedicated their article to this problem. The topicality of their research is determined by the fact that “people with disabilities are stigmatized and experience discrimination” (Draper, Hawley, McMahon, & Reid, 2012). Different laws, which defend the rights of disabled people at the workplace, are also studied by researchers. For example, the article of Harpur, French, and Bales is focused on Australian’s law, and regards it as “transformational development in the struggle to achieve workplace equality” (Harpur, French, & Bales, 2012).
The issue of physical disability at the workplace is also studied from the point of view of its prevention. This is the topic, which is useful for career field of Human Development and Leadership. As leaders should take care about healthy atmosphere at the workplace, it is useful for them to learn how to prevent problems if possible. One of the works, which helps to understand what is necessary to do in the case of disability at work, is the article of Tate. It is dedicated to disability management and health promotion practice. The author confirms that “early intervention, rehabilitation, and return-to-work policies” (Tate, 1987) can benefit disabled people. One more beneficial article for leaders is “Workplace factors associated with preventing and managing work disability” of Habeck, Hunt, and VanTol. As well as the previous author, these researchers confirm that the best way to manage disability is “safety diligence, safety training, and proactive, return-to-work programs” (Habeck, Hunt, & Van Tol, 1998).