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Mobile assistive technology and the job fit of blind workers

Rakesh Babu (School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee , Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA)
Donald Heath (Department of Information Systems, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh , Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA)

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society

ISSN: 1477-996X

Article publication date: 8 May 2017

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Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore the potential of mobile assistive technology (MAT) as a vocational tool for blind workers (BW). Specifically, it investigates: Can MAT-enabled BW to perform better at the workplace and will insight into MAT-enabled capabilities impact employer perception regarding BW employability.

Design/methodology/approach

Exploratory case study which draws on theories of fit to analyze observational and interview data at an organization familiar with employing, training and referring BW.

Findings

MAT can increase blind worker job fit, positively impacting their performance, self-reliance and managerial perceptions regarding their employability.

Research limitations/implications

A conceptual framework is articulated which expands current literature on fit to better account for the assistive potential of mobile technology for differently abled workers.

Practical implications

The positive impact of MAT on managerial perceptions of BW fit and employability can inform the regimes of employers, job skills trainers, vocational rehabilitation specialists and policy makers.

Social implications

Insights on the use of MAT as a vocational tool can reduce the systemic workplace disenfranchisement of blind people.

Originality/value

This paper presents novel theory which accounts for the impact of MAT on the job fit of differently abled workers.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by the UW Oshkosh Faculty Development Program.

Citation

Babu, R. and Heath, D. (2017), "Mobile assistive technology and the job fit of blind workers", Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 110-124. https://doi.org/10.1108/JICES-10-2016-0041

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited