La Trobe
Social challenges in the workplace - Author-Accepted Version JADD.pdf (318.17 kB)

Workplace Social Challenges Experienced by Employees on the Autism Spectrum: An International Exploratory Study Examining Employee and Supervisor Perspectives

Download (318.17 kB)
Version 2 2022-11-09, 05:47
Version 1 2020-10-15, 01:32
journal contribution
posted on 2022-11-09, 05:47 authored by Simon BurySimon Bury, Rebecca FlowerRebecca Flower, Rosslynn Zulla, David B Nicholas, Darren HedleyDarren Hedley

Social challenges represent a significantly under-researched area when it comes to the poor employment outcomes in autism. In this exploratory study employees on the autism spectrum (N = 29) and supervisors (N = 15), representing seven continents, provided 128 written examples of workplace-based social challenges, their interpretation, consequences and resolution. Content analysis revealed that types of social challenges were individually oriented or associated with the work-environment. Social challenges were frequently attributed to internal or personal factors with direct consequences for the employee. Resolutions were more frequently targeted toward the individual than the workplace, and hindered employees’ experience of work. This international study represents a first look at the types of social challenges that impact equitable work participation of autistic people.


La Trobe University School of Psychology and Public Health Income Growth Grant Scheme

La Trobe University Building Health Communities Research Focus Area Collaboration Ready Grant #2000004415

Vocational Abilities Innovation Lab at the University of Calgary received funding from the Sinneave Family Foundation



  • School of Psychology and Public Health

Publication Date



Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders






p. 1614-1627


Springer Nature



Rights Statement

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020. The following restrictions apply: 1. Archived content may only be used for academic research and must be destroyed when the experiment is complete. 2. Use must not be for Commercial Purposes. 3. Wholesale re-publishing is prohibited. Archived content may not be published verbatim in whole or in part, whether or not this is done for Commercial Purposes. 4. This restriction does not apply to reproducing normal quotations with an appropriate citation. 5. All use must be fully attributed in the form of a DOI link to the published article on the journal's website. 6. All use must ensure that the authors' moral right to the integrity of their work is not compromised. 7. Where content in the document is identified as belonging to a third party, it is the obligation of the user to ensure that any use complies with copyright policies of the owner.