Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Public Affairs and Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Helenan Robin

Second Advisor

Dr. Stanley Robin

Third Advisor

Dr. Michael Payne


The purpose of this research was to discover the extent and patterns of resistance the concept of an early return to work policy is encountering in private corporations. Early return to work policies encourage and enable injured/disabled employees to return to duty before being fully recuperated. The degree of resistance was examined through variables which are component elements of the macro themes of corporate culture and corporate structure theory. Corporate culture embodies a set of beliefs and values collectively held and socialized by a corporation. Specific elements of corporate culture which were examined are corporate goals (to increase market share, to maximize profits, to manufacture a quality product, to value employees, to provide quality service, and to serve society), corporate flexibility, personnel principles, and union presence. Corporate structure is the formal pattern of relationships among the various parts of the organization. The specific elements of corporate structure that were examined are corporate size, corporate shape, work force complexity (blue collar versus white collar and line personnel versus staff personnel), degree of centralization, and degree of bureaucratization.

The research efforts were confined to the state of Michigan. The determination was made to identify as a population all employers with 250 employees or more in the state involved in manufacturing. The data were collected through the use of a survey questionnaire mailed to the corporate official identified as responsible for the human resources function.

The relationships between the dependent and independent variables were analyzed through the use of Pearson product-moment correlation and eta for the bivariate hypotheses. Multiple regression was used to test the three multivariate hypotheses involving models of resistance.

The research findings were as follows: Corporations that have a higher degree of bureaucracy, do not value employees, do not endorse the personnel principles of retaining and retraining employees, and do not support job and work place accommodations are more likely to be resistant to early return to work policies than those corporations with a relatively lower degree of bureaucracy, that value employees, and endorse the personnel principles of retaining and retraining employees and job and work place accommodations.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access