Building Supportive, Inclusive Workplaces Where Neurodivergent Thinkers Thrive: Approaches in Managing Diversity, Inclusion, and Building Entrepreneurship in the Workplace

Jan Coplan, Lee Crocker, Jeanette Landin, and Tamara Stenn

Citation: Coplan, J., Crocker, L., Landin, J., & Stenn, T. (2021). Building supportive, inclusive workplaces where neurodivergent thinkers thrive: Approaches in managing diversity, inclusion, and building entrepreneurship in the workplace. SAM Advanced Management Journal, 86(1),21-30.



Companies with differently-abled employees outperform their competitors, averaging 28% higher revenue plus higher shareholder returns (Hyland & Connolly, 2018). However, individuals with intellectual and developmental differences have an 85% unemployment rate (Moss, 2019). The disconnect between talent and opportunity is due to job misalignment and neurodiverse individuals’ unique needs (Armstrong, 2010). Self Determination Theory (SDT) shows how individuals who have more control over their work environment and interactions enjoy more significant states of well-being (Deci and Ryan, 2000). Intrapreneurs work in a team and project-based environment, which mimics the entrepreneur’s experience and leads to greater well-being (Shir, Nikolaev & Wincent, 2019). Building successful neurodivergent intrapreneurs requires instruction in thinking awareness, coaching, and teambuilding methods. A hybrid academic and workplace collaboration creates an innovative, self-directed problem-solving approach that benefits the individual and the organization. This approach appears through collaborations with Landmark College and Ernst & Young (EY), SAP software, and DXC Technology – global neurodiverse individuals’ employers.


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