RRBM Honor Roll

The RRBM Honor Roll publications have been selected as examples of research that is both rigorous and relevant. The listing below offers credible insights for society.

These publications have been selected for the RRBM Honor Roll by the Selection Board with the exception of 2019 articles selected by a pre-test review panel.


Nature of the publicationJournal article
Title of the publicationInclusive manufacturing: The impact of disability diversity on productivity in a work integration social enterprise
Journal name/Book publisherManufacturing & Service Operations Management

According to statistics, workers with disabilities have low rates of employment (19.1%) compared to those without (63.7%)and high rates of underemployment (29% of the individuals are employed part time) compared to those without (16%) -- according to Bureau of Labor Standards 2021 data. Against this backdrop, this study has important practical and academic relevance. Specifically, this study examines the impact of disability diversity on the productivity of apparel manufacturing teams using microdata from a Michigan-based work integration social enterprise. Two measures of disability diversity are examined: the number of disability categories employed in a production line and the evenness of disability category dispersion among workers employed in an apparel production line. Two key insights emerged from the analyses. First, productivity can be enhanced by increasing the diversity of workers with disabilities in the workforce within a garment-manufacturing cell. Specifically, productivity is best at moderate levels of disability categories in a team. Second, team productivity is higher at greater levels of evenness of disability category dispersion. From practice vantage point, in current competitive integrative employment environment regime under the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act organizations are encouraged to deploy individuals with and without disabilities side by side. This study analyzes such context and the results encourage companies to support a diverse range of disabilities, rather than a narrow range, and finds that it can be beneficial. Overall, the arguments throughout the study, and the results of the analyses point firms to take an open-minded approach to disability employment.

Author #1Sriram Narayanan
Affiliation Author #1Michigan State University
Author #2Edward Terris
Affiliation Author #2Michigan State University