Why disability mainstreaming is good for business: A new narrative
In Western and developed economies, powerful legislative and regulatory frameworks, together with sophisticated approaches such as integrated disability management (IDM), effective public policies and active skill-building advocacy and agendas for people with disability (PWD) over the last five decades, have provided major motivation for business compliance with disability law and accepting people with disability in workplaces. In a developing economy like India, marked by emergent disability legislation, weak institutional enforcement and an evolving disability rights movement, the private sector’s role in mainstreaming the disability agenda has been largely an act of voluntary participation. Drawing upon an in-depth, multilevel, cross-functional qualitative study of four Indian information technology (IT) sector companies, this paper explores why these companies engage in pro-social corporate behaviour in favour of disability, in the absence of strong institutional expectations. The study locates itself in the context of conceptualisation of PWD as employee stakeholders and the literature on strategic CSR. The findings uncover strategic factors that promote voluntary business engagement with disability at workplaces and contribute to understanding business response to socially marginalised issues and workplace integration of minority employees.
Keywords: Disability, strategic CSR, minority employees, India