Publication Date

Summer 2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Jacquelyn M. Brady

Subject Areas



This study sought to understand the impact of disability status and level of employment (i.e., supervisor or employee) on ratings of performance outcomes and legitimately earning one’s role. It was hypothesized that leaders with disability (LWD) would be rated as poorer performers compared to non-disabled leaders and that co-workers with disability (CWD) would be rated more favorably than LWD. It was also hypothesized that the perceived legitimacy of disability status would moderate the impact of disability status and employment level on performance outcomes. 102 participants read one of four vignettes describing an organization member they regularly interacted with and responded to items about them as well as their own beliefs. Vignettes had either a co-worker who is blind, a supervisor who is blind, a co-worker without a disability, or a supervisor without a disability. While the primary study hypotheses were not supported, results showed that people with disability (PWD) were rated higher on task performance and having legitimately earned their role compared to those without disability, and that LWD were rated as more likely to have earned their role legitimately compared to non-disabled leaders. Implications for future research are discussed, including a need to identify what moderating variables influence perceptions of legitimately earning one's role and performance for those LWD and PWD more generally.