Improving inclusion in employment for people impaired by Asperger syndrome: Towards practices informed by theories of contemporary employment


  • James Richards Heriot-Watt University


Asperger syndrome, a social and life-long impairment, has yet to find its way into critical research surrounding contemporary work and employment. The extant literature is typically over-characterised by psychological perspectives of Asperger syndrome and an overly descriptive and atheoretical employment framework.  As such, the purpose of this paper, via discussions of the main theories surrounding Asperger syndrome and a sample of literature based on the sociology of contemporary employment, is to propose a more holistic means to improve the employment prospects for people impaired by Asperger syndrome. The main finding from the proposed paper is to suggest strategies to increase employment rates and the quality of working life for people impaired by Asperger syndrome must more accurately reflect the nature of contemporary employment. In practical terms this suggests experts on contemporary work and employment need to be far more central to the design and implementation of employment support strategies.

Author Biography

James Richards, Heriot-Watt University

James Richards is an Associate Professor in Human Resource Management in the School of Languages and Management, Heriot-Watt University. James is an Academic Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. James has published research in a range of human resource management journals, including: New Technology, Work and Employment, Personnel Review and Employee Relations. James has also contributed to a range of edited book collections and consultancy based reports. James' research interests are grounded in industrial sociology and employment relations. Early research projects looked at employee misbehaviour and followed on to include employee misbehaviour expressed through social media. His more recent research looks at trade union organising around hidden/neurological impairments and is currently working on a range of in-work poverty projects.


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