Creating 1 Million Jobs for People with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Case Study of Specialisterne and the Specialist People Foundation

Josefine Welcher-Ulholm

Student thesis: Master thesis


Executive Summary: The purpose of this thesis is to assess the achievability of Specialisterne and Specialist People Foundation’s (SPF) mission of creating 1 million jobs worldwide for people with ASD (autism spectrum disorder). Specialisterne/SPF is a social enterprise seeking to exploit the traits of autism as a competitive advantage in the labor market. The analysis has been conducted based on two proposed parameters of which this mission, among others, is dependent. These parameters are 1) Shared value creation, and 2) Market potential. The first parameter aims at analyzing how and as to what extent Specialisterne in Denmark creates shared value. This has been chosen since Specialisterne in Denmark largely functions as a showcase for Specialisterne operations all over the world. The second parameter aims at analyzing the market potential of Spain compared to that of Denmark. This has been chosen, since Spain is an important European market, and since SPF is currently setting up an operation here. These parameters have been investigated based on a Theoretical Framework consisting of a range of theories including CSR by Carroll and Shabana, shared value creation by Porter and Kramer, social entrepreneurship by Dacin et al, as well as models of PESTEL and SWOT. The main conclusion of this thesis is that the mission of creating 1 million jobs for people with ASD currently is unrealistic and unachievable. This is due to the fact that the first parameter of shared value creation shows both potential and challenges with regards to the mission. Specialisterne Denmark does create shared value, but the impact may not be the same in other countries. The second parameter of market potential is unsatisfying with regards to the mission, seeing as the market of Spain presented challenges that overweighed its potential. Furthermore, the market of Denmark presented favoring conditions for a Specialisterne operation, and only 35 jobs had been created here in 10 years. Finally, Specialisterne and SPF show a lack of overall strategic approach in scaling methods and market research, which further limits the potential of the mission.

EducationsMSc in International Marketing and Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2014
Number of pages106