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AMO perspectives on the well-being of neurodivergent human capital

Joanna Maria Szulc (Huddersfield Business School, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK)
Julie Davies (Manchester Metropolitan University Business School, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK)
Michał T. Tomczak (Gdańsk University of Technology, Gdańsk, Poland)
Frances-Louise McGregor (Huddersfield Business School, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK)

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Article publication date: 22 March 2021

Issue publication date: 8 June 2021

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Abstract

Purpose

Existing management research and management practices frequently overlook the relationship between the above-average human capital of highly functioning neurodivergent employees, their subjective well-being in the workplace and performance outcomes. This paper calls for greater attention to the hidden human capital associated with neurodiversity by mainstreaming implementation of neurodiversity-friendly policies and practices.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on the ability, motivation and opportunity (AMO) framework, this conceptual paper integrates research on employee neurodiversity and well-being to provide a model of HR-systems level and human capital development policies, systems and practices for neurodivergent minorities in the workplace.

Findings

This paper illustrates that workplace neurodiversity, like biodiversity, is a natural phenomenon. For subjective individual psychological and organisational well-being, neurodivergent employees require an empathetic culture and innovative talent management approaches that respect cognitive differences.

Practical implications

The case is made for neurodivergent human capital development and policy-makers to promote inclusive employment and decent work in a context of relatively high unemployment for neurodivergent individuals.

Originality/value

This paper extends current debates on organisational equality, diversity and inclusion to a consideration of workplace well-being for highly functioning neurodivergent workers. It calls for more equitable and empathetic approaches to investing in employees with neurodevelopmental and cognitive disabilities.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Funding: The research has been financially supported by the University Forum for Human Resource Development, UK and the National Science Centre, Poland (NCN) (Project No. 2019/03/X/HS4/00304).

Citation

Szulc, J.M., Davies, J., Tomczak, M.T. and McGregor, F.-L. (2021), "AMO perspectives on the well-being of neurodivergent human capital", Employee Relations, Vol. 43 No. 4, pp. 858-872. https://doi.org/10.1108/ER-09-2020-0446

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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