Organizational accommodation of employee mental health conditions and unintended stigma

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Despite the growth in the severity and incidence of mental health conditions (MHCs) in wider society and within workplaces, relatively little research has focused on how organizations accommodate employees’ MHCs, and how different approaches to accommodating MHCs contribute to their stigmatization. Drawing on in-depth interviews with HR managers from a variety of organizational contexts in Australia, our findings show that approaches to accommodating MHCs vary systematically across organizations, and that common approaches to accommodating employees with MHCs unintentionally stigmatize both employees with MHCs, and MHCs more generally. We identify two new forms of structural stigma, which we respectively label business-based structural stigma and care-based structural stigma, that stem from transactional and paternalist approaches to accommodating employees’ MHCs. We explore the implications for de-stigmatizing MHCs in workplaces and for future HRM research that advances understanding of how organizations can better support employees with MHCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3190-3217
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number15
Early online date5 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Macquarie Business School under the Research Accelerator Project Scheme.


  • human resource management
  • Mental health conditions
  • stigma
  • workplace accommodation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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