Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Robert Donmoyer, PhD, Chair; Fred J. Galloway, EdD, Member; Mary Woods Scherr, PhD, Member


case study, climate of change, cost-containment, human resources, Integrated Disability Management--IDM, Leadership studies, qualitative, risk management, total disability management


Integrated disability management (IDM) is a cost-containment strategy increasingly being employed by human resources and risk management departments to address occupational and non-occupational illness and injury in a consistent manner. The goal is to both reduce on-the-job injury and minimize the loss of work time due to injury or illness. Although a large number of organizations have embraced the IDM concept, implementing IDM often is difficult because of the complex array of contracts, policies, procedures, corporate cultures and structures. Although extensive research has examined leaders' influence on change in various types of businesses, to date, research has not specifically explored major change strategies utilized by leaders to help organizations adapt their programs in ways that facilitate IDM implementation. This study began to explore this topic. It was a qualitative case study of one organization's efforts to implement IDM. The study employed observations and document reviews, along with interviews with a variety of stakeholders, to investigate the IDM change process, in general, and leaders' actions, in particular. The research questions of the study were: (a) Does evidence support the existence of an IDM program in this site? (b) If so, what did leaders do to contribute to implementing IDM? The study utilized two conceptual frameworks. One framework, developed from the IDM literature, consisted of four indicators signaling IDM program achievement (e.g., common reporting, injury prevention/management, a clear return-to-work policy and employing data management systems). The second framework, taken from the change literature, articulated eight indicators of leader behavior associated with successful change initiatives. These indicators were: instilling urgency, utilizing teamwork, creating/communicating vision, empowering subordinates, insuring short-term wins, consolidating gains, and transforming organizational culture. The findings of the study reveal that the site exhibited all four of the characteristics of IDM. Injury prevention strategies, however, were incorporated into the program design only after a change in risk management leadership occurred; significant cost containment also did not occur until this change occurred. The evidence also reveals that program leaders employed most of the strategies associated with successful change initiatives, though there was limited evidence to support claims about fundamental cultural change.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access