Call for Papers

4th Conference on Disability Management

21-22 January 2016 in Olten, Switzerland

Decent Work! International Perspectives on Workplace Integration and Disability Management

In recent years, workplace integration and disability management have gained heightened relevance and importance. Particularly in the context of enterprises, (social) insurance schemes, social firms and institutions, greater efforts are being undertaken to prevent employees from leaving their jobs and to improve integration or reintegration in the labour market.

Workplace integration and health are among the most important factors for social integration in modern societies. Research in this area is highly relevant and up-to-date due to the rising numbers of ill or injured working-age people. Furthermore, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities from 2006 reinforces the rights of persons with disabilities to work on an equal basis with others. However, there exist various forms and concepts of workplace integration in social sciences as well as in social policy around the world. Some people perceive sheltered employment as a form of workplace integration; others only consider integration into the first labour market as workplace integration.

OECD comparisons show that different forms of workplace integration (for example sheltered employment, supported employment, social firms, or integration in private companies) exist in developed economies. Nevertheless, research on workplace integration from an international perspective is still rare. Yet against the backdrop of different conditions prevailing in societies and in respect to the various types of welfare states, very different concepts and understanding have emerged as to what workplace integration and disability management entail. Therefore, the conference will present and discuss theoretical issues of workplace integration; empirical findings of workplace integration (with regard to their different forms and objectives) in various countries; different notions of workplace integration; and specific problems in the process of workplace integration.

For that reason, the 4th Conference on Disability Management will be framed within an international perspective, with a focus on the differing social conditions of workplace integration and disability management. Of paramount importance is a description of the social foundations and various practices of workplace integration and disability management in different countries and the discussion of the effects of these varying foundations and practices. The conference will also feature a comparative analysis and discussion in regard to the possibilities and conditions of decent work (ILO) for employees whose performance has changed or decreased as viewed against the backdrop of labour markets that have become increasingly internationalised and more flexible.

In the conference issues of workplace-integration, disability management, and decent work will be analysed and discussed from various perspectives and in different contexts. 

Proposals can be submitted in the following thematic areas:

  • disability management in companies
  • disability management and welfare states
  • workplace integration and health issues (e.g. workplace health promotion and injury prevention?)
  • social firms, supported employment, sheltered employment, and the labour market
  • the contribution of private and social insurances to workplace integration
  • workplace integration and disability management
  • occupational health, physiotherapy and work psychology

Interested potential presenters are requested to submit an abstract of 500 words maximum with a short title, along with a brief bio and the contact details (e-mail, telephone and postal address). For that purpose, please use this form and indicate whether you can present and discuss either in both of the conference languages (English and German) or only in one language.

Proposal submission deadline:20 June 2015
Notification on proposals by:10 July 2015
Submission of proposal:  by e-mail to

Conference languages: German and English


Thomas Geisen
Prof. Dr. Thomas Geisen

Dozent, Institut Integration und Partizipation, Hochschule für Soziale Arbeit FHNW

Benedikt Hassler
Benedikt Hassler, MA

Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter, Institut Integration und Partizipation, Hochschule für Soziale Arbeit FHNW

Keynotes (invited)

  • Prof. Dr. Henry Harder, University of Northern British Columbia, Canada
  • Prof. Dr. Nick Buys, Griffith University, Australia
  • Prof. Dr. Guido Becke, University of Bremen, Germany
  • Prof. Dr. Shannon Wagner, University of Northern British Columbia, Canada
  • Prof. Dr. Susanne Bruyere, Cornell University, USA
  • Prof. Dr. John Selander, Mid-Sweden University, Sweden
  • Dr. Reuben Escorpizo, University of Vermont, USA and Swiss Paraplegic Research, Switzerland
  • Dr. Christine Randall, Griffith University, Australia
  • Prof. Dr. Ignatius Yu, Hong Kong University, China