Diversity management - efficiency and disability - a strategic problem?

Silvia Moosmaier

Disability or austerity can hit everybody any time. Some people have been affected since they were born, others due to illnesses and accidents and in exercise of their duties. At present, there are about 11% of the staff members in the department with a handicap – officers, non-commissioned officers, and civilians. To be correct, the percentage of persons with special needs ought to be increased by the quota of the employees who are over 55 years old (social category age), and would thus be about 15-20%.

The following article deals with the correct assessment of the efficiency of employees as a planning value for fulfilling military tasks, from the vantage point of human-oriented command and control.

Here, the focus is on the social category handicap in partial consideration of the social category age, as well as the invisible “deep-level-dimensions” such as attitudes and values. First, the definition and location of diversity management are explained, followed by information on the legal basics, the present number of employees with handicaps, the introduction of three employees with handicaps in their working environments, the topical situation of employees with handicaps in consideration of disabilities in military missions. Finally, methods of resolution from the vantage point of diversity management are presented.

With the knowledge about efficiency and the extent of ability to cope with strain, one could apply the approach of group performance and the personalised assignment of activities connected with it. This might be done as follows: At present, job-descriptions are considered to be the theoretical basic paper describing the performance which is to be produced by the employee. As it is well-known, employees have to be active according to directives or orders by superiors. This does not compulsively have to be in accordance with all issues of the job-description, but can be a displacement or a bundling of activities within a group. And exactly this approach could be a simple method of including employees with disabilities.

The advantage of this would be that all persons of a group fulfil their tasks, there would be no „overload or underload”, and the working atmosphere as well as group dynamics would be strengthened. Thus, it is recommended to take the factor DISABILITY into account in the military basic conceptions on the strategic level, as well as in the operational sense in all assessments of the situation and the orders derived from them, and to include it both in training and in military exercises. Accessibility is a legal obligation. In addition, it is necessary to sustainably increase the acceptance of disability by leaders. In the field of military task fulfilment, appropriate measures would be taken in the phases of preparation, in order to treat people with disabilities equivalently within a target group, and at the same time possible effects of disabilities on troop protection would be paid attention to.