Navigating Neurodiversity

University essay from Lunds universitet/Företagsekonomiska institutionen

Abstract: In the last few decades, the neurodiversity movement has fought for the wider acceptance and destigmatization of previously pathologized neurological conditions, such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyspraxia, dyslexia, dyscalculia, and Tourette syndrome. Increased recognition of the unique skills possessed by neurodivergent individuals, combined with the pressure to take on social responsibility, has increased organizations' desire to hire neurodivergent employees. However, the diversity initiatives aimed at accommodating the needs of neurodivergent individuals have been noted to disregard the emotional needs of their managers. This exploratory study therefore aims to research how managers can be supported in retaining their work engagement while dealing with the additional organizational demands imposed on them, when managing neurodivergent employees. Multiple supporting factors for managers of neurodivergent employees were identified through reviewing existing literature, and complemented by a qualitative expert survey. The degree of correlation of the various factors to the engagement levels of the managers were subsequently tested, using a quantitative survey consisting of a sample of 13 managers of neurodivergent employees. In addition, the managers’ perceptions of the supporting factors’ value, as well as their managerial experience and their own neurodivergence, were assessed, in order to enable further analysis of their benefits. The research indicates that some of the supporting factors seem to correlate with higher engagement levels among the participating managers, partially confirming the main hypothesis of the study. However, the additional hypotheses of the study, assuming that managerial experience and a managers' own neurodivergence would correlate positively with their engagement levels, were indicated not to be true. Furthermore, a connection between managers ensuring psychological safety and neurodivergent individuals disclosing their diagnosis was indicated, providing a potential improvement in order to reduce the apparent toll which reluctance to disclose their diagnosis seems to take on managers. These results are only indicative and not statistically significant, yet they present a starting point for further research.

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