Abstract: The aim of this study is to discuss the role of human values and relations in the employment of people with work-relevant disabilities. Purpose: Finding and maintaining a paid job is known to be more difficult for people with a disability. The aim of the study is to explore the use which people with a disability make of their private and professional network in finding and maintaining a paid job and the role values play in these relations. This was placed in the context of three complementary perspectives: a perspective that stresses the importance of other than merely rationalistic values, a perspective that stresses the importance of values in work and an interpersonal perspective in which ‘the Other’ is central. Methods:Semi-structured interviews were held with 8 people with a working disability. As well, 4 interviews were held with people from their private network (family and partner) and 4 interviews with people from their professional network (colleagues and employers). All interviews were audio-taped and transcribed verbatim. A framework analysis was used to identify the different values in the interviews. This was done with use of MAXqda. Results: The interviews showed that both romantic and rational values and arguments were mentioned by the employers in the context of hiring people with a work-relevant disability; they need to be willing to adjust. The importance of human relations was emphasised in the values mentioned by the respondents when talking about having a paid job. Moreover, ‘the Other’ played an important role in the employment process of people with a work-relevant disability. People with such a disability asked their private network to help them and to provide emotional support. Conclusion:Enabling values and relations had more chance if they were in line with the mission and central value of the organisation. This was one of the first studies on the role that human values and relations play in maintaining a paid job for people with a work-relevant disability. The study gives a first impression of how human values and relations play a role, but more research is needed to provide more detailed insights, for example in different groups (e.g. non-employed people with a disability).
Keywords: disability; employment; human relations; values; work