The Building Blocks of an Inclusive Climate

Friday, November 1, 2013
First author:
Nelissen P.
The Essentials of Belonging: Inclusive Employment

Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Department of Work and Organizational Psychology, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands

All authors:

Philippe T. J. H. Nelissen, Ute R. Hülsheger, Gemma M.C. van Ruitenbeek, Fred R.H. Zijlstra

Inclusive Employment
inclusive organizations, sustainable employment, placement boundary conditions


Inclusive organizations value and target a diverse workforce and therefore aim to include people with disabilities (PWD). Hereby, it is important that coworkers display helping behavior towards PWD (inclusive behavior). In this study, we investigated the boundary conditions of an inclusive climate that foster helping behavior towards PWD.


Eighty-four teams consisting of 372 employees of various Dutch organizations, who work with PWD, provided self-ratings of inclusive climate factors. Helping behavior towards PWD was rated by 313 work colleagues and 92 supervisors.


Multilevel random coefficient modeling and linear regression analysis confirmed the link between various individual and team level factors and helping behavior towards PWD.


This study shows that inclusive organizations should be aware of the boundary conditions that need to be met in order to facilitate inclusion of PWD. Only if an inclusive climate is present, coworkers will engage in helping behavior towards PWD. Individual as well as team level factors contribute to the extent to which coworkers display helping behavior towards PWD. Organizations can select and recruit new employees on the basis of individual predictors for helping behavior, or train teams and team leaders to create a hospitable environment that stimulates helping behavior towards PWD.