A research project into changing the behaviour of employers, so that they hire more people with working disabilities, will be supported by Instituut Gak in the coming years. Five scholars from Utrecht University tackle this issue together, by combining insights from public administration and psychology.

We are not only going to map out why employers are having difficulties in hiring people with certain disabilities. We will then actually implement an intervention that will hopefully bring about a real change in the behaviour of employers.

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The field experiment focuses not only on what organisations can do independently, but also on the role of agencies for labour market integration, who mediate between people with disabilities and employers. Possible interventions that can be valuable will first be identified and, if necessary, developed in-house. The interventions may concern, for example, reducing administrative burdens, emphasizing social responsibility, facilitating job adaptation and job creation for new employees and developing an action plan to hire more ‘vulnerable’ workers.

In the Netherlands, several public policies are intended to lead people who do not yet participate in the labour market to work. Preferably to a regular job. In practice, however, this is hard to do for employers. That is why the researchers think that, thanks to the grant from Instituut Gak, they can make an important contribution to a more inclusive labour market. A noble cause for which employers, government and people with disabilities should ‘work together’.


  • Professor Lars Tummers, Expert behavioural public administration and field experiments (Principal Investigator, PI)
  • Professor Belle Derks, Expert social psychology and work and organisational psychology, expert on diversity, (co-PI)
  • Dr Rik van Berkel, Expert on activation policy, Human Resource Management, employer behaviour towards disabled people and social services (co-PI)
  • Dr Noortje de Boer, Expert on behavioural public administration, quantitative research (co-PI)
  • Rosanna Nagtegaal, MSc, expert on behavioural public administration and systematic reviews (postdoc)

Note: Based on press release by Utrecht University, including quotes of co-PI Noortje de Boer.

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