Employees with Asperger’s syndrome and their experiences within the work environment
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DBS Library Press
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This qualitative study gathered experiences of employees with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) within their workplaces. Data were collected by conducting six semi-structured interviews: three face-to-face, one by phone and two by Skype with audio only. A thematic analysis with an inductive approach was applied. Four main themes with multiple sub-themes emerged: Competence and Work Performance; Self-improvement and Career Progression; Supportive Work Environment; and AS in the Workplace. Findings revealed that these employees were team-oriented, productive and highly skilled professionals with a strong work ethic. Furthermore, their diagnoses did not hinder fulfilling careers. They emphasised knowledge sharing and factual communication while cooperating with their work colleagues. However, decoding workplace politics presented a major hurdle to their job satisfaction. Also, the traditional hiring process, as well as bright fluorescent overhead lights and noisy surroundings (for example canteens, office spaces) were sources of distraction and distress. Therefore, the essential role of HR would be to re-visit and adjust the interview process. Whereas managers should, perhaps, reflect on their leadership and communication styles, show some recognition for their employees’ quality-consciousness and become advocates of a more inclusive culture. Finally, enabling career-progression and providing sufficient learning opportunities for these employees should also be prioritised by managers.