Increasing neurodiversity within groups can increase the skills base

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At the start of Neurodiversity Celebration Week, new research from Cranfield University highlights the importance of organizations being more inclusive employers when it comes to neurodiversity.

It is estimated that one in seven of the UK population is neurodiverse. However, according to a study by the Institute of Leadership and Management, only half of managers would hire a neurodiverse person.

Last week, in an interview with The Times, Second Sea Deputy Admiral Nick Hine revealed that autism had been diagnosed ten years ago.

Talking to The Times, the Deputy Admiral said: “” The world is made for neuro-normal people with neuro-normal people, so it’s no surprise that non-neuro-normal people have a series of challenges or a series of problems. -usual both in interacting with that world, but also in the world interacting with them.

“If you want transformation, if you want a different way of doing business, you can’t keep asking the same question to the same people and expect a different answer. “

Although the original use of the term, neurodiversity, is rooted in research related to Asperger syndrome, it has since been expanded to include dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Tourette syndrome and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD).

Research published in the journal, Employee Relations with Cranfield University featuring:

  • Stereotype Threat comes before stereotype actually occurs and the discovery process begins before individuals join a group – those who are neurodiverse are afraid to join a group based on an idea what the group will look like.
  • The neurodiverse treats discrimination in similar ways to those with visible difference – the neurodiverse can be distracted from applying for jobs or showing their difference when hired because of potential risk from stereotyping.

Dr Robby Allen from Cranfield University said: “More and more enlightenment firms including NASA, Willis Towers Watson, Microsoft and Ford have reviewed their recruitment processes to take on more neurodiverse people. .

“In such a competitive global economy, it is surprising that more and more companies are not embracing the unique skills that those who break away from the ‘norm’ can give an organization.

“Internationally, the neurodiverse represents an undeveloped source of specific skills that can be of great benefit to organizations. However, this research reveals potential paradoxes. where an organization cannot identify those who would be more beneficial to employees if the neurodiverse within those employees are willing to expose themselves because of stereotyping stigma. “

As part of the research, two studies were conducted. One study, using three exercises consisting of booklets, learning sets and posters to test organizational locks, feedback on information and positioning issues. It collected data from 53 participants to determine whether perceived stereotype threat in visible differences such as race, gender, and information are equally relevant to neurodiversity. The second study included interviews with 44 participants to establish the source of stereotype threat, response and impact on the manifestation of invisible difference.

Study examining the benefits of neurodiversity in the workplace

Further information:
Tamsin Priscott et al, Human capital inequality: a study of stereotype threat expectation, Employee Relations: The International Journal (2021). DOI: 10.1108 / ER-06-2020-0304

Presented by Cranfield University

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