Factors affecting decisions about making business facilities accessible for disabled persons
Johnson, Sonja E.
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This research project examined the factors that affect (1) business owners' decisions about whether or not to make their facilities accessible to disabled persons, and (2) citizens' beliefs that businesses need to provide access for disabled persons. Using M. Fishbein and I. Ajzen's Theory of Reasoned Action (published in 1975), it was expected that the following factors would play a role in such a decision: (a) the consequences of making a decision to provide access, (b> a person's social normative beliefs (i.e., perceptions that relevant reference groups think the behavior should be engaged in), and <c) a person's personal normative beliefs (i.e., perceptions of the social and/or moral responsibility to engage in a behavior). Business owners and members of the general public who were not business owners were surveyed as to their beliefs about providing access. Through the use of multiple regression analysis, it was discovered that business owners and citizens differ in what issues they find important with regard to businesses providing access for disabled persons. Business owners' decisions about providing access were most strongly affected by the issue of the cost involved and by their social normative beliefs. Business owners tended to believe that providing access would be costly, and were therefore less willing to provide access. Citizens were like business owners in being affected by social normative beliefs, but differed from business owners in that they were affected by personal normative beliefs rather than the issue of cost. Citizens were more affected by the belief that business owners have a social and/or moral responsibility to provide access than with their belief that providing access would be costly. The present study showed that business owners and citizens are affected by different factors with regard to providing access to business facilities. Therefore, action taken to lessen the problem of facility non-accessibility needs to focus on the issue of most importance for the target population: cost, for business owners, and personal normative beliefs, for citizens.