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The perception of the problems of disabled people by employees of municipal offices in the Silesian province.

1. Introduction

The analysis contained in this publication has been conducted within the framework of the research project entitled "Profile model of factors affecting the level of services provided for the disabled in terms of public administration sustainability illustrated with the example of the Silesian Province", UMO-2012/05 / B / HS4 / 01144 university symbol PBU-12 / ROZ3 / 2013, funded by the National Center for Science in OPUS.

2. Literature review

Over the centuries the attitude toward disabled people varied and was not always positive. Three characteristic periods have been distinguished: the period of hostility, the period of pity and the period of fear (Borowski 2012). In each of these periods we can find both positive and negative aspects of the attitudes toward disabled people. In the source literature (Chodkowska 1994, Ostrowska 1994, Domachowski 2002) we can find both positive and negative attitudes. The positive ones are connected with acceptance of the disabled and willingness to help them while the negative ones show rejection and a lack of respect for such people (Walecka-Matyja 2013). Attitudes toward disabled people have been shown in Fig. 1.

People with disabilities expect fair treatment from the social environment they live in, as well as being provided with decent standards of living such as having access to education, work opportunities and being able to provide for their family (Tomaszewski et all, 2015). All these social expectations of disabled people can be successfully realised when the rest of the society is brought up and educated in the spirit of tolerance and respecting the dignity of people with disabilities (Nowak 1999).

Disabled people very often feel the negative effects of social exclusion. The factor which play a role in this social exclusion is most often bad financial standing due to the fact that such people incur the costs of treatment, rehabilitation and are at risk of loss or change of employment (Kirenko 2007). Very often persons who sustained an accident and as a result became disabled, apart from problems of financial and economic nature also require psychological help, which generates further costs. Disability of one of the family members has the biggest impact on the economic and emotional condition. Several stages have been distinguished in psychology when it comes to the family's emotions related to receiving information about one of the members' disability, including a child. Those stages include:

* a period of shock, when we learn of one of the members' disability;

* a period of emotional crisis, when we cannot come to terms with the situation at hand which seems dramatic and inescapable;

* a period of apparent adaptation to the new conditions, making irrational attempts at adapting to the situation at hand;

* a period of constructive adaptation--taking constructive actions connected with willingness to help the disabled person (Nowak 1999).

Problems of the disabled, whether economic, social or emotional, are often connected to a lack of or bad adaptation to functioning in a certain social environment (Sliwak 2007, Ostrowska 1994). Social adaptation is always connected with personality factors and the attitude of others toward disabled people, as well as the degree of disability--the higher the degree, the harder it is for the person to accept and adapt to the circumstances and conditions of the particular society (Mariahczyk and Otrebski 2008).

Apart from family, society and peer groups, factors such as: legislature, architectonic barriers, social attitudes and culture have a lot of significance in the process of adaptation (integration) of the disabled (Fig. 2).

One of the significant factors which affect the process of disabled people's adaptation to living in the society are architectonic barriers and the restrictions they put on people with disabilities.

The hindrances and barriers disabled people may encounter when dealing with public administration include: movement around public administration offices, finding and obtaining forms and necessary information by disabled persons, both those at the offices and those who use electronic administration services, taking care of formalities and filling in forms.

People with disabilities who need to use public administration services most often encounter the following barriers:

* logistical barriers related to arriving at a public administration office,

* architectonic barriers connected to problems with getting around the building by the disabled,

* information and organisational barriers (Budny 2009).

Logistical barriers are mainly connected with getting to the office by people with disabilities using public transport, waiting for a bus or tram and transferring between them. In the case of disabled people who travel in their own car, problems might arise when it comes to parking it near the entrance of a public administration office.

Methods for reducing logistical barriers include (Wartacz and Szarek 2012):

* adapting public transport to the needs of people with disabilities, installing ramps for wheelchairs in buses and trams, and building convenient staircases;

* locating public transport stops near public administration offices;

* placing relevant information boards at bus and tram stops and train stations adjusted to the needs of people with various types and degrees of disability;

* placing guideposts showing the way to public administration offices.

The easiest way to remove information and organisational barriers is by introducing the following amenities for people with disabilities (Budny 2009):

* a clear and easy to navigate website with which persons with disabilities should, without leaving their home, be able to take care of all their formal errands in public administration offices, e.g.: obtaining and filling in documents and forms;

* legible room designations in public administration buildings;

* large and clear information signs;

* properly marked pathways to individual departments in public administration offices;

* a reception desk organised properly so that people with disabilities can obtain all the necessary information;

* equipping the customer service office with visual aids (form samples, building layouts), employees who work in such offices should know sign language and be trained for working with people with various degrees of disability;

* employing an assistant for the disabled who would help them in taking care of all their errands with the office.

Architectonic barriers which hinder the use of public administration buildings by people with disabilities are most often connected with the design and construction of the buildings. In the case of this type of barriers, the following solutions can be proposed as a means of eliminating them (Kaleta and Zurakowski 2012):

* building driveways and ramps,

* driveways without kerbstones,

* installing lifts in buildings,

* adjusting doorways and doors to the needs of people with disabilities using wheelchairs,

* sufficiently wide passageways, corridors in buildings without thresholds,

* toilets adjusted for disabled people,

* customer service offices adjusted for people with various degrees of disability,

* installing handrails at an appropriate height,

* marking the surfaces with knobs to facilitate orientation for the blind, Architectonic barriers for people with disabilities are the most troublesome and their removal involves large financial outlays (Wartacz and Szarek 2012).

3. Methods

A survey discussed in this publication were conducted among municipal offices operating in Silesia. The study asked about similar issues as in the case of disabled people, only in this case it was sent to the municipal offices. Survey questionnaires were sent in the autumn of 2014, all municipalities in the province of Silesia. The questionnaire was sent to the Secretaries of the City, who were asked to fill out the questionnaire or provide competent person. A total of 71 questionnaires were sent questionnaires.

The questionnaire was returned the 40 municipalities. These were the offices of the following cities: Bedzin, Bielsko-Biala, Blachownia, Bytom, Chorzow, Cieszyn, Czechowice-Dziedzice, Czeladz, Dqbrowa Gornicza, Gliwice, Jaworzno, Kalety, Katowice, Koziegtowy, Krzanowice, Miasteczko Slqskie, Mikotow, Myslowice, Ogrodzieniec, Orzesze, Piekary Slqskie, Porfba, Pszczyna, Pszow, Pyskowice, Raciborz, Radzionkow, Rybnik, Siewierz, Slawkow, Sosnowiec, Swietochlowice, Tychy, Ustron, Wilamowice, Wisla, Wodzistaw Slaski, Wozniki, Zabrze, Zywiec.

In the study, a survey was addressed to employees of municipal offices in Silesia. In this case, we used a shortened version of the questionnaire consisting of 40 questions, linking the issues concerning architectural barriers and classically understood the quality of services. Not asked about expectations, because of the nature of things is not asking only people using the service, but they asked their opinion on the quality of services provided by the office of municipal services to people with disabilities. In the analysis of 40 variables were used:

* U1--modern equipment owned by the office,

* U2--ease of getting to the office (right location),

* U3--a large number of parking spaces,

* U4--parking spaces are located near the entrance,

* U5--parking spaces are clearly marked,

* U6--guarding the parking lot to make room for people with disabilities were not occupied by unauthorized persons,

* U7--Facilities for disabled people in the office,

* U8--elevator in the office for disabled guests,

* U9--toilets at the office adapted to the needs of people with disabilities,

* U10--railing next to the stairs,

* U11--a system of ramps and ramps for disabled people in the office,

* U12--wide door, allowing entry wheelchair,

* U13--non-slip floor in the office,

* U14--equal level flooring and flooring,

* U15--pavements and curbs around the office are tailored to the needs of people with disabilities,

* U16--officials are well groomed and neat look,

* U17--office has attractive and eye-catching guides,

* U18--office has a well-developed website,

* U19--website of the municipality contains important information for people with disabilities,

* U20--office is renovated and maintained,

* U21--office employees perform a service in the strict deadline,

* U22--office is open in the afternoon and at the weekend,

* U23--office takes care of things the right way the first time around,

* U24--office is trying to solve its clients in an appropriate maimer and as quickly,

* U25--at the office, everything is done to bring the matter to an end,

* U26--office employees immediately deal with customers and are willing to provide them with information,

* U27--office employees are always ready to provide assistance to disabled persons,

* U28--office employees are always willing to help customers,

* U29--staff office quickly respond to e-mails,

* U30--the city council keep the client informed about the progress and implementation of its affairs,

* U31--website of the municipality is constantly updated,

* U32--employees of the municipality are competent,

* U33--employees of the office of inspiring confidence,

* U34--office employees care about the security of personal data of customers,

* U35--officials are always polite and sympathetic consideration to the customers,

* U36--officials help direct customers to the appropriate department in case of mistakes,

* U37--municipal office treats each client individually,

* U38--officials should handle until the last customer, even if the time during office comes to an end,

* U39--office is committed to the good of the customer as a primary objective,

* U40--officials are always patient and understanding for their clients.

4. The results of the research

The studies identified how the problems of people with disabilities are perceived by employees of individual municipalities. The Fig. 3 presents an assessment of the level of quality of services provided by municipal offices to persons with disabilities, in the opinion of the office staff.

As expected, before the test, the employees discussed municipalities evaluate the level of customer service with a disability higher than people with disabilities. At the same time, according to the study, they also recognize the shortcomings of the level of service.

In the seven worst scale they have been evaluated issues related to:

* adapt lifts for the disabled--3.27 (in a seven scale);

* office opening hours--3.32;

* anti-slip floor in the office--3.95.

It should especially pay attention to the issues concerning the opening hours of the office, because it is a problem to which pay attention to both people with disabilities and employees surveyed municipalities.

In the figure 4 there is the evaluation by city. The study shows that the best level of customer service with a disability has been assessed in cities such as:

* Bielsko-Biala (ocena 6,80);

* Swietochlowice (6,70);

* Dqbrowa-Gornicza (6,65);

* Gliwice (6,63);

* Katowice (6,63).

The worst implementation of customer service with a disability assessed workers from municipal offices following cities:

* Ustrori (3,48);

* Pszow (4,40);

* Swietochlowice (4,88)

* Wilamowice (4,85).

For these cities, which were repeated in the first and second phase of the research, that is obtained in the case of both a survey of disabled customers and employees of the office, it was decided to examine the differences between the perception of the level of quality by the two sides. The analysis results are shown Table 1.

With the exception of Zywiec and Piekary Slqskie in all other cities employees of municipal authorities assessed the level of quality of service better than people with disabilities. The differences ranged mostly in the range of 1-2. This is understandable from a psychological point of view, because generally everyone has a tendency to overly positive assessment of himself. Rating institutions made on the basis of self-assessment is inflated and performs better than when their customers make.

During the study were also asked studied municipal offices to describe the actions that the city hall has taken during the last three years, adapting its level of service quality to meet the needs of people with disabilities. The question was of an open question, because not all offices answered them. These responses were also very different in nature from the detailed description to a cursory presentation of several key points. Table 1 recapitulation made the most important issues that were included in the survey obtained.

During the study were also asked studied municipal offices to describe the actions That the city hall has taken during the last three years, Adapting its level of service quality to meet the needs of people with disabilities. The question was of an open question, because not all offices answer them. These responses were also very different in nature from the detailed description to a cursory presentation of several key points.

The result is the imposition on the public authorities to make available services allowing people with disabilities to communicate with the office in your chosen format. Public administration body, however, is obliged to disseminate information of that service.

Article 10 of the Act specifies that the obligor (in this case the city council) should provide the possibility for the persons entitled to the help of the selected sign language interpreter or translator-guide.

Action on the elimination of architectural barriers was taken less frequently because, as noted in many polls, offices perform them in previous years. In the last three years they relate to the most commonly adjust elevators and the assignment of parking spaces and the space around the office, sometimes the width of the door to the needs of the physically disabled, wheelchair access.

4. Conclusions

Considering the assessment of the level of service carried out by office workers in almost all the surveyed cities (with the exception of Zywiec and Piekary Slqskie) employees of municipal authorities assessed the level of quality of service better than people with disabilities. The differences ranged mostly in the range of 1-2. This is understandable from a psychological point of view, because generally everyone has a tendency to overly positive assessment of himself. Rating institutions made on the basis of self-assessment is inflated and performs better than when their customers make.


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(1) Silesian University of Technology, Faculty of Organisation and Management; email:

(2) Silesian University of Technology, Faculty of Organisation and Management; email:

(3) Silesian University of Technology, Faculty of Organisation and Management; email:

Caption: Fig. 1. Attitudes towards people with disabilities (Source: Walecka-Matyja K.: Psychologiczne i spoieczno-kulturowe determinanty postaw wobec osob niepeinosprawnych oraz ich rodzin, [in:] Doswiadczanie choroby i niepelnosprawnosci, E. Zasepa (ed.), Warszawa 2013, pp. 24-38)

Caption: Fig. 2. The spheres of social integration of people with disabilities (Source: Goryczycka E.: Integracja spoleczna osob niepeinosprawnych-wyzwania przyszlosci w Lewandowski, J., Lecewicz-Bartoszewski, J., Sekiety, M.: Ergonomia niepelnosprawnych w przyszlosci, Wydawnictwo Politechnik todzkiej, Lodz 2003. pp. 37-45)
Table 1
The level of perceived quality of customer service
by disabled people with disabilities and office employees

City                      Rating       Rating by people    Difference
                       by employees    with disabilities

Bielsko-Biala              6,80              5,48             1,32
Bytom                      5,10              4,78             0,32
Chorzow                    6,50              4,78             1,72
Cieszyn                    5,08              4,51             0,57
Czechowice-Dziedzice       6,48              4,31             2,16
Dqbrowa Gomicza            6,65              5,17             1,48
Gliwice                    6,63              4,98             1,64
Jaworzno                   6,10              5,50             0,60
Katowice                   6,63              4,68             1,95
Mikotow                    5,68              5,61             0,06
Myslowice                  5,35              4,40             0,95
Piekary Slqskie            5,08              5,47            -0,39
Poreba                     5,48              4,46             1,02
Pszczyna                   6,45              4,92             1,53
Rybnik                     5,43              5,54            -0,12
Siewierz                   6,40              4,84             1,56
Sosnowiec                  4,88              4,68             0,19
Tychy                      6,53              5,09             1,43
Zabrze                     5,93              4,89             1,04
Zywiec                     6,30              6,50            -0,20

Source: authors own research

Fig. 3. The assessment of the level of disabled customer service quality
in the opinion of municipalities workers (Source: authors own research)

U40   6,27
U39   6,49
U38   6,37
U37   6,44
U36   6,51
U35   6,37
U34   6,71
U33   6,44
U32   6,41
U31   6,44
U30   5,24
U29   5,98
U28   6,41
U27   6,54
U26   6,34
U25   6,39
U24   6,10
U23   5,71
U22   3,32
U21   5,98
U20   5,46
U19   5,63
U18   6,15
U17   5,44
U16   6,44
U15   4,85
U14   4,98
U13   3,95
U12   6,00
U11   4,54
U10   6,32
U9    4,88
U8    3,27
U7    5,05
U6    5,32
U5    5,85
U4    5,73
U3    4,73
U2    6,34
U1    5,90

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Fig. 4. The assessment of the level of disabled customers'
service quality in the opinion of the employees of the municipal
office (Source: authors own research)

Zywec                  6,30
Zabrze                 5,93
Wozniki                5,93
Wodzislaw Slaski       5,20
Wisla                  5,28
Wilamowice             4,85
Ustron                 3,48
Tychy                  6,53
Swietochlowice         6,70
Sosnowiec              4,88
Slawkow                6,15
Siewierz               6,40
Rybnik                 5,43
Radzionkow             5,03
Raciborz               5,78
Pyskowice              5,90
Pszow                  4,40
Pszczyna               6,45
Poreba                 5,48
Piekary Slaskie        5,08
Orzesze                5,68
Orgrodzieniec          5,95
Myslowice              5,35
Mikolow                5,68
Miasteczko Slaskie     5,83
Krzanowice             5,63
Kozieglowy             5,33
Katowice               6,63
Kalety                 5,18
Jaworzno               6,10
Gliwice                6,63
Dabrowa Gornicza       6,65
Czelauz                5,20
Czechowice-Dziedzice   6,48
Cieszyn                5,08
Chorzow                6,50
Bytom                  5,10
Blachownia             6,43
Bielsko-Biala          6,80
Bedzin                 6,23

Note: Table made from bar graph.
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Author:Wolniak, Radoslaw; Skotnicka-Zasadzien, Bozena; Zasadzien, Michal
Publication:Annals of the University of Bucharest, Economic and Administrative Series
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:4EXPO
Date:Jan 1, 2016
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