The Self-Directed Career Growth Success Factors of Autistic Business Leaders Who Serve The United States Tech Industry. A Phenomenological Study
Date of Award
Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
When autistic professionals in the United States secure employment, over half remain underemployed (Linden & Wiscarson, 2019). Underemployment impacts a significant portion of the U.S. population, as autism appears in 2.4% of males and 0.5% of females in the United States (Austin & Pisano, 2017). Even with a college degree, 85% of autistic Americans remain unemployed compared to 4.5% of the general U.S. population (Lyn Pesce, 2019). Employment programs have been developed for autistic people. However, these programs may stereotype autistic people as pattern-recognizing-savants and build autism employment programs centered on these stereotypes (Austin et al., 2017). Furthermore, autistic professionals, especially those lacking visible characteristics of autism, feel that a disclosure of a clinical autism diagnosis negatively affects their employability (McMahon, 2021). However, limited autism self-disclosures by prominent tech executives, such as Elon Musk (Musk, 2021), anecdotally demonstrate autistic professionals self-directing themselves to attain leadership roles. This study used qualitative research to determine 12 self-directed career growth success factors of autistic business leaders who served the U.S. Tech industry. A phenomenological approach with semi-structured interviews was used in the research to understand themes as data was collected to determine how autistic business leaders self-directed themselves to their leadership roles. The research study aims to empower autistic professionals to own their career development with or without third-party support.
Cohen, Jason Todd, "The Self-Directed Career Growth Success Factors of Autistic Business Leaders Who Serve The United States Tech Industry. A Phenomenological Study" (2023). Doctoral Student Dissertations. 109.