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Life at work with “invisible” chronic illness (ICI): the “unseen”, unspoken, unrecognized dilemma of disclosure

Margaret H. Vickers (Lecturer at the Australian Graduate School of Police Management, Charles Sturt University, Manly, New South Wales, Australia)

Journal of Workplace Learning

ISSN: 1366-5626

Article publication date: 1 December 1997



Spotlights the existence of “invisible” chronic illness (ICI) in organizations and, in particular, how disclosure of these conditions presents a potentially traumatizing dilemma for affected individuals. “Damned if they do, damned if they do not”, the person with “invisible” chronic illness (PwICI) risks deviant labelling, stigmatization and discrimination if they disclose a stigmatizing condition, and real threats to physical and emotional well‐being if they do not. Arguments for and against disclosure are framed, with some notes underscoring the western capitalist philosophy that efficiency in organizations must predominate, regardless of the cost to the individual. The attention of management scholars and practitioners is drawn to the“pain of silence” at a time when chronic illness is increasing, yet little understanding of the working life of the PwICI exists.



Vickers, M.H. (1997), "Life at work with “invisible” chronic illness (ICI): the “unseen”, unspoken, unrecognized dilemma of disclosure", Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 9 No. 7, pp. 240-252.




Copyright © 1997, MCB UP Limited

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