Skip to main content
6 February 2024

Latest News

Research by St Hugh’s Fellow suggests that having employees with disabilities is a source of competitive advantage for organisations

Professor Luisa Alemany, St Hugh’s Fellow by Resolution in Management is the co-author of some ground-breaking research which suggests that having employees with disabilities in its workforce can build a company’s competitive advantage.

The research, published in Harvard Business Review, highlights four ways in which organisations can benefit from employing disabled staff:

  1. Disabilities often confer unique talents that make people better at particular jobs
  2. The presence of employees with disabilities elevates the culture of the entire organisation, making it more collaborative and boosting productivity;
  3. A reputation for inclusiveness enhances a firm’s value proposition with customers, who become more willing to build long-term relationships with the company;
  4. Being recognised as socially responsible gives a firm an edge in the competition for capital and talent.

Commenting on the research, Luisa said, ‘Employing people with disabilities is usually seen as a social cause—one best suited to nonprofits or the public sector. That is a mistake—and more importantly, a missed opportunity. Not only can it raise an organisation’s competitive advantage, it can also lead to long-term profitability.

‘I believe the culture of an organisation is one of the major contributing factors towards its overall success. We surveyed HR executives at 57 companies that had hired one or more people with disabilities about their experiences with those workers and about the effect they had on the organisation as a whole. No fewer than 88% of the HR professionals agreed that the internal culture of their firms had improved significantly since they had hired employees with disabilities.’

Read the full article on the research here. You can also listen to Luisa talking about the research in this HBR IdeaCast podcast.

Co-author: Freek Vermeulen is a professor at London Business School

Share this post

Related News Posts

New edition of book written by St Hugh’s alumna, Mary Renault, to be published
We are delighted to announce that a stunning new hardback edition of The Persian Boy written by novelist and alumna Mary Renault (English Lan...
Read More
Test-of-time award for article co-authored by St Hugh’s Fellow
The 2006 article titled "Reachability Analysis of Controlled Discrete-Time Stochastic Hybrid Systems", which appeared in the Proceedings of the "Hybri...
Read More
Second annual PalEvo-PalMeso lecture takes place at St Hugh’s
The 2nd Annual PalEvo-PalMeso Lecture, entitled "Geoanthropology - Long-term Human Interactions with the Earth System," took place on Wednesday 8 May ...
Read More