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CRITICAL PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES FOR SUCCESSFUL EMPLOYMENT OUTCOME

OF INDIVIDUALS WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES WORKING

IN THE RESTAURANT BUSINESS:

A QUALITATIVE CASE STUDY

A Dissertation

Presented to

The Graduate Faculty of The University of Akron

In Partial Fulfillment

of the Requirements for the Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Jamal Feerasta

December, 2014

Page 2

Jamal Feerasta

Dissertation

Approved: Accepted:

Advisor Interim Department Chair
Dr. Shernavaz Vakil Dr. Peggy L. McCann

Co-Advisor/Committee Member Interim Dean of the College
Dr. Francis S. Broadway Dr. Susan G. Clark

Committee Member Dean of the Graduate School
Dr. Harold M. Foster Dr. George R. Newkome

Committee Member Date
Dr. Alfred Daviso III

Committee Member
Dr. John Queener

ii

CRITICAL PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES FOR SUCCESSFUL EMPLOYMENT OUTCOME

OF INDIVIDUALS WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES WORKING

IN THE RESTAURANT BUSINESS:

A QUALITATIVE CASE STUDY

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as to minimize post-interview contact between the interviewees. This was necessary to

avoid biases from any pre-interview discussion between the participants. A semi-

structured interview protocol consisting of open-ended and close-ended questions was

used (Appendix – D).

Emerson et al. (2004) points out that individuals with intellectual disabilities

have shown to have high level of acquiescence to questions that require yes/no

answers, especially if the response is considered socially acceptable. For example, ‘I like

going to work’ would solicit a ‘Yes’ answer. On the other hand, Emerson et al. (2004)

cites research by Sigelman et al. (1983) and observes that “ yes/no questions about

activities yielded higher responses than yes/no questions about subjective phenomena

such as happiness” (p.122). Views about personal attributes for employment success are

subjective. Therefore, the researcher had to used semi-structured interview protocol to

better understand the phenomenon under study – what are the critical personal

attributes for successful employment outcome of individuals with intellectual disabilities

working in the restaurant business.

The major reasons to design and to adopt the semi-structured interview protocol

are first, the open-ended questions may be ice breaker with the participants for laying

the foundation for a comfortable trusting relationship. Second, open-ended questions

will also provide opportunities to clarify contents of the questions or the response and

to frame follow-up probing questions, and third, the closed-ended questions provided

room for specific data collection. A familiar location for the interview is an important

consideration to make the participants feel at ease. For this study, in consultation with

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the Job Coach and the individuals with intellectual disabilities, an office in the building

where The Restaurant is located was used. The office was quiet and free of distractions.

With the permission of the participants, the interviews were audio recorded and

key points including non-verbal cues were jotted down by the researcher. These notes

included description of the participants’ expressions and body language that could not

be captured in audio recording. At the same time the researcher was able to focus on

the ongoing dialogue with individual cases. Notes compiled during the interview

provided the researcher important source to refer and to reflect on the one-on one

interview. Later, with the help of the notes and the recordings, the researcher was able

to reconstruct the interview and to code the contents of the interview so as to derive

deeper meaning and context to the interview. The interview with Fred lasted for 18

minutes and with Max for 10 minutes. The data were transcribed over a period of 4 days

after the interview.

One-on-one Interview with Holly

After interviewing Fred & Max, the researcher conducted the interview with

Holly. A separate interview protocol consisting of open-ended and close-ended

questions were used (Appendix – E). With Holly’s permission the interview was audio

taped and the researcher jotted down his observations during the interview. Holly was

interviewed in another office that was reserved for the purpose. Interview with Holly

lasted 30 minutes. The purpose of interviewing Holly was to triangulate the data to seek

answers to the second and the third research questions:

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APPENDIX E


INTERVIEW PROTOCOL FOR JOB COACH



1. Please tell me about yourself?


2. Since how long have you been working here?


3. What is your current job title?


4. What do you look for when hiring Individuals with intellectual disabilities?


5. How do you go about matching the job with job placement of Individuals
with intellectual disabilities?


6. What is the average length of work duration/tenure at this place for

Individuals with intellectual disabilities?


7. In your opinion, what are the key personal attributes for employment
success for Individuals with intellectual disabilities? Please elaborate.


8. How would you describe successful job related outcome for Individuals with

intellectual disabilities? Please elaborate.


9. Is there anything else you would like to share?


10. Do you have any questions for me?












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APPENDIX F

FOCUS GROUP PROTOCOL FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES

I would like to thank you for coming here to take part in this very important study.
Before we start the discussion, I will introduce myself and explain to you the purpose of
this activity and how this focus group will work.



1. Do you have any questions for me before we start the discussion?


2. Few days back, you had completed a questionnaire that asked for your
opinion of key personal attributes for successful employment outcome;
can you please share views on the topic?


3. You had also taken part in one-on-one interview in which amongst other

issues, you had expressed your views about key personal attributes for
successful employment outcome; can you please share you views on the
topic?


The researcher will facilitate the discussion and develop probing questions as the
discussion proceeds.



















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