Fulfilling the Promise of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities through the Evolution of Organisational Forms in the Disability Service Sector

Monday, 11 July 2016: 14:30
Location: Seminarsaal 10 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Oliver KOENIG, University of Vienna, Austria
The UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD) envisions an “emerging future”, in which disability is no longer seen as a minority issue or individual problem, but as result of inadequate or even missing support. This shifted understanding, embedded in a human rights discourse, challenges service provider organisations. This has been affirmed in the EU Disability Strategy which addresses the need for a transformation from institutional to community-based support. The paper is part of my on-going habilitation project on the evolution and development of organisational forms and learning frameworks in regard to the disability service industry and it`s perceived (in-)ability to fundamentally affect the intended (transformational) change. In my paper I will show how the disability service industry in Western countries, following the first (pre-UNCRPD) movement towards de-institutionalisation, has become locked in an efficiency based organisational care model. In its wake the former seamless biographical take of „total institutions“ has gradually been re-engineered into a continuum of services and programmatic solutions intended to assist individuals to graduate to increasing levels of independence (Meissner 2014). This development however seems unable to deliver the promise of the UNCRPD leaving a majority of people with severe disabilities in ever repeating cycles of lifelong preparation. The paper is based on a series of generative Interviews (Scharmer 2009) with (organisational) leaders who have shaped the evolvement of an independent disability service sector in Austria in the past thirty years. Furthermore it takes into account (theoretical) frameworks on the intersections of economic, organisational and consciousness evolution (e.g. Glasl 1994, Scharmer & Käufer 2013, Laloux 2015). Through this approach a grounded framework of current challenges and potential leverage points is taking shape and which addressed the needed organisational and leadership evolution towards participation of people with disabilities based on principles of self-management and democratisation.