Purpose: Although there is growing academic and business interest in autism employment programs, few studies have examined employee (manager and coworker) attitudes toward these programs. The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of workload changes (a job demand) and perceived supervisor support (a job resource) on commitment to the program and employee engagement more broadly. Design/methodology/approach: A total of 229 employees from two Australian public sector organizations completed a survey about the autism employment program in their organization. Findings: Perceived workload increases were associated with lower affective commitment and higher continuance commitment to the program. Perceived supervisor support was associated with higher affective commitment to the program and employee engagement, but lower continuance commitment to the program. Perceived supervisor support moderated the effect of workload increase on employee engagement, but not in the expected direction. Originality/value: This research helps to fill a gap in the autism employment literature by focusing on commitment toward autism employment programs among existing employees. The research helps to provide a more complete and nuanced view of these programs within their broader organizational context.
The authors thank the individuals who participated in this study and the staff from the two organisations who provided access to participants and supported data collection. The authors also thank Professor Cheryl Dissanayake and Professor Timothy Bartram for their advice in early stages of this research. This research was facilitated by La Trobe University Building Healthy Communities RFA Grants (1025872 and 3.2509.22.20) awarded to Jennifer R. Spoor and Darren Hedley, a La Trobe University School of Psychology and Public Health Engagement Income Growth Grant Scheme and funding provided by the Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services awarded to Rebecca L. Flower, Darren Hedley, and Jennifer R. Spoor. Simon M. Bury and Darren Hedley were supported by funding from DXC Technology and ANZ Bank. Darren Hedley was also supported by the Australian Government Department of Human Services and is currently supported by a Suicide Prevention Australia National Suicide Prevention Research Fellowship. Simon M. Bury is also supported by funding from Untapped Group. At the time of data collection, Rebecca L. Flower was employed by a consultancy company that assisted with the implementation of one of the two autism employment programs. Possible conflicts of interests were planned around and managed within the study's approval from the La Trobe University Human Research Ethics Committee. The funders had no role in the study design, analysis, data interpretation or writing of the manuscript. The authors declare no other actual or potential conflict of interest.
JournalEquality, Diversity and Inclusion
PublisherEmerald Publishing Limited
Rights StatementThe Author reserves all moral rights over the deposited text and must be credited if any re-use occurs. Documents deposited in OPAL are the Open Access versions of outputs published elsewhere, this version is accepted for publication. Changes resulting from the publishing process may therefore not be reflected in this document. The final published version may be obtained via the publisher’s DOI. Please note that additional copyright and access restrictions may apply to the published version.
Spoor, J.R., Flower, R.L., Bury, S.M. and Hedley, D. (2021), "Employee engagement and commitment to two Australian autism employment programs: associations with workload and perceived supervisor support", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/EDI-05-2020-0132