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Deaf World, That’s Where I’m At A Phenomenological Study Exploring the Experience of Being a Deaf Employee in the Workplace Anita G. Wells October 29, 2007 The University of Memphis
Unique Deaf Culture • Education • Many deaf individuals acquire less than a 4th grade reading level (Bowe, 2003; Paden & Humphries, 1988; Vernon & Andrews, 1990) • Work • For promotions, deaf employees must out-perform hearing employees (Johnson, 1993) • Have difficulty accessing valuable information (Lussier, Say, & Corman, 2000) • Social Needs • Deaf individuals have a strong need to interact with others (Stinson, Whitmire, & Kluwin, 1996; Lussier, Say, & Corman, 2000)
Purpose of the Study • To explore the experiences of four deaf employees in the workplace • What is the essential invariant structure of quality of camaraderie between deaf employees, hearing employees, and supervisors as experienced by deaf participants? • What are the underlying invariant themes and contexts that account for the experiences of the participants?
Theoretical Framework • Social Cognitive Theory: Reciprocal Determinism (Bandura, 1986) Self-Concept
Theoretical Framework • Social Theory of Learning: Communities of Practice (Wenger, 1998) Participation Living in the World Membership Acting Interacting Mutuality
Methods • Phenomenology: Exploring the Lived Experience (Patton, 2002) • Develop a richer and deeper level of understanding of a human problem or social condition (Creswell, 1998; Denzin & Lincoln, 2003) • “How people perceive describe, feel about, judge, remember, and make sense of their experience” (Patton, 2002, p. 104) • Shape a written narrative of meaning for the experience (Creswell, 1998; Denzin & Lincoln, 2003)
Participants • Sampling method • Purposeful (Creswell, 1998) • Had indeed experienced the phenomenon • Homogenous (Miles & Huberman, 1994; Creswell, 1998; Patton, 2002) • All participants had experienced the phenomenon • Criterion based (Patton, 2002) • 18 years old or older • Profound hearing loss before age 2 (Halgin & McEntee, 1986) • Worked at least 18 months in the workplace • ASL is the preferred method of communication
Data Collection Methods 286 PAGES
Data Reduction (Moustakas, 1994) • Interviews transcribed • Data read and re-read • Horizontalizations • Horizons • Clustered Horizons • Themes • Essential Invariant Theme
Invariant Themes • Hitting the Ceiling Quickly and Choosing to Stay Here is where I am going to end up, I ‘m not going to advance
Invariant Theme • Feeling Unvalued in the Workplace I got no voice so I’m a boring person in the meeting
Invariant Theme • Support and Reinforcement Influence Self-Concept I went to school when I was three because of being deaf
Academic Rigor and Trustworthiness • Triangulation (Creswell, 1998) : • Memos – notes to myself in the margins • I think the employer or supervisor in the workplace does not effectively utilize Sherry’s work skills. • Peer debriefing – consulted with professional colleagues • She sort of lives and works in spite of the hearing world around her. • Member checks – through interpreter, shared results of analysis • I didn’t see any problems. That sounds like what I was saying.
Essential Invariant Structure • Incompatible forms of camaraderie between deaf employees and hearing employees. Participation Incidental Communication Self-Concept Participation Self-Concept
Discussion • What Can I claim from this? • The deaf participants do not consider themselves to be full members of the work community • Day-to-day interactions influence feelings of belongingness • Full participation includes being included in the decision making process of the work community • Methodologically • The invisible voice was made more visible • My daughter should love that. I will get her to read this. I want her to understand more about me. This will help out a lot, will be great for her
Limitation of Study • Results cannot be generalized to all deaf employees. • Study does not include the view of supervisors and hearing colleagues
Implications for Practice • Results are useful to numerous individuals • Psychologists • Counseling Psychologists • Human resources • Supervisors • Deaf Employees • Hearing Employees
Implications for Future Research • Replicate current study with younger participants • Explore experiences of deaf employees who have worked in multiple workplaces for short periods of time • Explore experiences of deaf employees who have limited communication skills • Explore experiences of deaf employees in the primary job market
References Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. Bowe, F. G. (2003). Transition for deaf and hard-of-hearing students: A blueprint for change. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 8, 485-493. Creswell, J. W. (1998). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five traditions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (2003). Introduction: The discipline and practice of qualitative research. In Handbook of qualitative research (2nd ed., pp. 1-129). Thousand Oaks: CA: Sage Publications. Johnson, V. A. (1993). Factors impacting the job retention and advancement of workers who are deaf. The Volta Review, 95, 341-356. Lussier, R. N., Say, K., & Corman, J (2000). Need satisfaction of deaf and hearing employees. The Mid-Atlantic Journal of Business, 36, 47-61. Moustakas, C. (1994). Phenomenological research methods. Thousands Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Padden, C., & Humphries, T. (1988). Deaf in America: Voices from a culture. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research and evaluation methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Stinson, M. S., Whitmire, K., & Kluwin, T. N. (1996). Self-perceptions of social relationships in hearing-impaired adolescents. Journal of Educational Psychology, 88, 132-143. Vernon, M., & Andrews, J. F. (1990). The psychology of deafness: Understanding deaf And hard-of-hearing people. New York, NY: Longman. Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. New York: Cambridge University Press.