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Dr Cara Molyneux

Formerly at Lancaster University

Research overview

I completed my ESRC fully funded (1+3) doctoral studies in the Sociology Department at Lancaster University in 2021. The PhD was a qualitative study and the thesis title is "Disabled People, Work and Small-Medium Size Enterprises". 

My research is located in Disability Studies, a multidisciplinary academic field that seeks to expose the structural and relational barriers that sustain the disability employment gap. I draw upon a wide literature base including business leadership and human resource management to understand the cultural dynamics that can either create enabling or disabling experiences of work. 

While I am interested in what makes work 'good' for disabled people, I am equally keen to understand how smaller businesses can be better supported to improve disabled people's experience of work. My doctoral studies found that smaller organisations play a critical role in offering employment to disabled people and people with long-term health conditions, yet Government policy often neglects the needs of smaller employers in terms of information, advice, guidance and funding (either direct or indirectly via tax incentives) and other resources such as access to legal advice, human resource expertise, and occupational health services. Yet, despite these potential weaknesses in provision, disabled people report feeling welcome and accepted in smaller oganisations. These are interesting insights and ones which I hope to explore further. 

I have substantial experience in quality assurance, including as a QAA reviewer in England and Wales since 2015. I also represented the student interest working as a TEF assessor for Year 2 and Year 4. I am an Associate Fellow of HEA and have experience of teaching undergraduate Social Work students on the module "Contemporary Social Problems". 

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