Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration (PhD)

Degree Level





Lauren S. Simon

Committee Member

Jonathan L. Johnson

Second Committee Member

Anne M. O'Leary-Kelly


Disability Identity, Employees with Disabilities, Full Utilization, Future Time Perspective, Organizational Behavior, Social Interactions


In the United States, approximately eight million individuals with disabilities are active in the workforce (Erickson et al., 2008). These individuals seek employment that allows for full use of their education, experience, and abilities, and provides growth and development opportunities (Ali et al., 2011). Despite protective legislation and inclusive organizational policies, individuals with disabilities are at least twice as likely as individuals without disabilities to experience underemployment and reduced access to advancement opportunities (Schur et al., 2009). Evidence suggests that some of these issues may be related to social interaction patterns. It appears that individuals with disabilities have a strong tendency to ask for work-related advice from people with whom they perceive as accepting of their disabilities. Underutilization may, in part, be the result of an inability to access necessary social capital resources due to social interaction partner preference (Kulkarni & Lengnick-Hall, 2011). A lack of overarching theory hinders our ability to explain the motives that drive individuals with disabilities to prefer interactions with some individuals and not with others, how within person fluctuations in disability identity salience, which might be driven by factors such as disability progression, influence social interaction patterns, or how those social interaction preferences translate to positive or negative outcomes.

Drawing from socioemotional selectivity and social network theories I propose and test a theoretical model that examines the social interaction patterns of individuals with disabilities and an important work-related outcome: full utilization. Results from a experiential sample methodology reveal that disability identity salience leads to perceptions of future time as limited and that this relationship is stronger when disability progression is high versus low. This research also provides evidence that future time perspective predicts the likelihood that individuals with disabilities will engage in social interactions or avoid social interactions. This pattern suggests that self-development and self-maintenance interactions are positively related to full utilization, whereas avoiding social interactions is negatively related. Findings from this study advance our understanding of the social interaction patterns of individuals with disabilities, how they help or hinder career advancement efforts, and suggest how organizations could better support individuals with disabilities at work.

Available for download on Saturday, June 29, 2024