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A phenomenological study of the employment experiences of persons affected by acquired brain injuries (ABI) in South Africa.

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The rationale for conducting this study is, firstly, to encourage people with Acquired Brain Injuries (ABI) to become aware of employment prospects and, secondly, to provide organisations with recommendations on how they could assist these individuals by amending Human Resource (HR) policies and procedures. South African legislation stipulates that there is provision for employment with disabilities; however, there is a lack of literature to indicate how reasonable accommodation can be made for these particular individuals in the workplace. The study also seeks to establish the extent in which people with ABI’s are aware of legislation and policies that affect their employment opportunities. Studies need to be done in order to examine the experiences of people with Acquired Brain Injuries (ABI’s) regarding employment and survival in the workplace. South African organisations aim to attain diversity in the workplace; however, they lack accommodation for people with ABI’s. The study thus aims to examine specific experiences of people with ABI’s regarding employment so that Human Resource policies and practices can be tailor made to accommodate them in gaining and sustaining employment. The findings of this study provide an overview of the problems experienced and barriers faced by people gaining employment following ABI’s in South Africa. Thus it can be said that it is essential that the management of challenging issues should take place in terms of language and communication, promotions and development, motivation, the design of the programme and job security. The findings of this study also have several implications for future research that needs to be conducted in this area of study within the fields of Management and Entrepreneurship, Governance, Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations. In terms of research approach, the phenomenological approach used in this study may encourage other researchers to study ABI in South Africa through the lived experiences of persons with ABI, so as to understand the direct needs, challenges and success of people with this type of disability. The results of this study will provide managers with information that will facilitate early detection and strategies to assist in the employment of persons following an ABI in the South African workplace. This study responds to the numerous calls for research in the area of employment of persons following ABI’s in South Africa. The empirical and theoretical findings suggest that minimal research has been conducted in the area of the perceptions and experiences of employment of persons post ABI in South Africa. Therefore this study will contribute to the expansion of knowledge on this issue with the aid of the model of The Model of Employability for persons who are affected by Acquired Brain Injury in South African organisations, which was developed through this study. There is very little literature on employee perceptions and experiences of employment of persons following ABI in South Africa. Thus the understanding gained here on how South African employees understand and experience misfit will make a notable contribution to existing research, theory and practice in the fields of Governance, Entrepreneurship, Management, Psychology and HRM.


Doctor of Philosophy in Human Resource Management. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 2015.