Last Updated 28 Mar 2023

Social Work Management and Its Relevance to the Social Work Profession

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Management and the study and refinement of management sciences are by no means a recent field of study. Basically, as long as human beings have been organizing themselves in groups to fulfil a common purpose or goal, some form of management has been employed to keep things under control, running smoothly and more effectively.

In fact, one of the earliest recordings of a management technique can be found in the Christian Bible in chapter 18 of the book of Exodus where after encountering numerous problems resulting from being the only direct report to millions of Israelite people, Moses decides to “choose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens”.

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Considering management has been used by human civilization since the beginning of its existence (even if it is done completely unwittingly), I find it rather surprising that management as a field of study has only been in existence since around 1890, when Frederick Taylor developed the “Scientific Management Theory”, which characterized the emphasis on scientific measurement of tasks and use of highly mechanized, assembly line and routine activities by workers (Very Brief History of Management Theories). From between 1930 and 1950; Taylor’s management theory began to give way to Max Webber’s “Bureaucratic Management Theory”.

He “focused on dividing organizations into hierarchies, establishing strong lines of authority and control” (Very Brief History of Management Theories) and emphasized detailed, standardized operational structures with very little room for flexibility (Very brief history of management theories). From then on human rights groups like trade unions began to heavily influence governments which in turn began creating legislation which reacted to these inhuman management structures. Human resource divisions were added to companies and it became common to relate the prosperity of the organization to the wellbeing of its employees.

Added to this, breakthroughs made in the human sciences fields of study played a strong role in helping management to understand and take into consideration the needs of workers (Very brief history of management theories). So, with the momentum that management as a field of study has gained over the past century and the mark that it has left on organizational functioning (hopefully for the better) as it has developed, it’s relevance to the social work profession is an important topic of discussion.

Over the course of this assignment I will be critically discussing social work management and its relevance to the social work profession. I will also use a case study to explain how management influences the effectiveness and efficiency within One Way Community Services (the non profit organization with which I have been placed for my practical work for this year). I will start off by introducing the social work profession as it will be discussed in this essay, specifically within the context of non-profit organizations.

I will then define management as it is applied to both for and non -profit organizations and how these practices influence the success of non profit organizations. Then, I will define social work management specifically and its relevance to the social work profession. Finally I will discuss the influence of social work management on social welfare service effectiveness within the non-profit organization with whom I have been placed for my practical work (One Way Community Services) before I conclude with some final thoughts on social work management.

The social work profession

In order to understand the relevance of social work management to the social work profession, I feel that it is of importance to have a clear understanding of the history of the social work profession, how it is currently defined and the context it operates in. When Christianity was legalized by Emperor Constantine the first, the church started setting up poor houses, orphanages and homes for the aged and these were funded in part with grants from the Roman Empire.

By 590, the early church had an established system of circulating food and consumables to the poor. In the Middle Ages, giving to the poor was considered part of one’s religious duty and although it was common to give items like food and clothing, the root causes of poverty however, were never addressed. As a profession, social work began in the 19th century in America and the United Kingdom – mainly because the poor were seen as threatening to the social order.

When the industrial revolution began, the leap in technology and science also led to increased migration to urban areas which in turn lead to increased social problems which naturally lead to an increase in social activism. The settlement movement, during this time focused on the causes of poverty – Research, reform and residence. They provided educational, legal and health services that advocated reforms in social policy. Workers in the settlement movement pioneered the immersement of workers in the culture of those they were helping.

Two pioneers in the establishment of social work as a profession were Mary Richmond (Mary Richmond's Charity Organization Society) and Jane Addams (Jane Addams's Settlement House Movement). They debated whether or not problems should be taken from a scientific method (Richmond) or immersion into the problem which blurred the boundary between professional and client. The first social work class was offered at the University of Columbia in 1898 and in 1947 Lindeman “affirmed criteria” by which it could be seen as an actual profession.

In 1957, Lindeman described social work as being a profession but on the lower end of the development continuum. After a few decades of the increased formalisation of social work, and an increased understanding of the skill it requires to understand people fully and to assist them in helping themselves, Spiro et al describes social work as having achieved a “full-fledged professional status”.

Since then social workers have taken the lead in developing programmes and organizations that have made a difference in the lives of people in need (NASW –History of Social Work).

Current definition of social work

The social work profession is described by the International Federation of Social Workers as a profession that; “... promotes social change, problem solving in human relationships and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance well-being.

Utilising theories of human behaviour and social systems, social work intervenes at the points where people interact with their environments. Principles of human rights and social justice are fundamental to social work. ” (International Federation of Social workers – definition of social work) It is further defined by the National association of social workers as; “the professional activity of helping individuals, groups or communities to enhance or restore their capacity for social functioning and to create societal conditions favourable to their goals. Zastrow Basically, social work profession definitions all point to people’s relationship between themselves and their social environments, a concern for social functioning, problems, needs, policy, institutions and wellbeing and ongoing interaction between individuals, groups and communities. The social work profession needs to understand the contexts within which it works (SCK 407-G Study guide 1:4), and for the purposes of this assignment, one of those contexts is the organization.

Social workers hardly ever operate by themselves, in isolation of some sort of organization – most of the time the organization is a non-profit but it not unheard of to find a social worker being employed by a for-profit organization for the sake of the wellbeing of its employees. Organizations exist to meet the needs of people and as history has evolved, people have realized that human needs are better met with collective efforts and social needs are no exception, thus social work is also practiced in organizations, particularly welfare or non-profit organizations.

In addition to this, social worker’s actions are sanctioned and accountable to these organizations. A non-profit organization is characterized most importantly by the fact that the people involved for a reason other than benefitting financially (they are actually banned from doing so) and that a non-profit organization usually meets a need or goal of the public or a subsection of the public that supports its existence.

As mentioned earlier, one type of non-profit organization in which the social work operates in, is the welfare organization (and for the purposes of this assignment will be used inter-changeably with the term non-profit organization). Dealing with people directly The core activities are interactions between the public (customers) and the staff of the organization The results of the rendered service are difficult to predict There are many interested partied involved The organization is staffed by professional people all belonging to organized professions Organizations are highly dependent on their environments.

Organizational factors influence how social work services are organized, delivered and evaluated and so it makes sense that the management of this organizational context would play a big role in the quality of social work services that are rendered, the next section we will introduce the concept of management and how effective management of a non-profit organization can improve its services before exploring how a specific type of management (Social work management), is specifically needed for the special challenges facing the social work profession within the non-profit organizational context.

Definition of management

Management is defined by dictionary. com as being: “The act, manner, or practice of managing; handling, supervision, or control: management of a crisis; management of factory workers; the person or persons who control or direct a business or other enterprise; skill in managing; executive ability". It is also defined by Kroontz & Weihrich as: “the process of designing and maintaining an environment in which individuals working together in groups, accomplish efficiently selected aims. From this definition we can infer a number of things: Management helps to facilitate & guide the actions of people and the use of resources towards accomplishing a specific goal. Management is responsible for creating an environment in which people can perform optimally – thus increasing productivity. Management can be utilized in any type of organization Management also consists of 4 or so (depending on the source) basic management tasks which are perfomed in order for every task that is carried out. These basic management tasks are: planning, organization, activation & control.

Management has a number of benefits when used correctly in any organization, adapted from Weinbach a number of which are listed below: Management provides a structure for employee accountability. Management provides a structure for employee discipline. Management provides a structure for the co-ordination of a number of activities by a number of people all resulting in the accomplishment of the desired goal. Management provides the structures and means for evaluation of employee and organizational performance.

Management provides an indication of where the organization stands within the greater environmental context Management structures provide guidelines for employee behaviour Management provides a vehicle for the improvement and expansion of employee knowledge and skills. Aside from the many benefits management has for the organization as a whole, good management is also associated with a number of benefits experienced by employees. Here are a few as listed by Brian Amble (Benefits all round from good talent management):

  • Employees feel more engaged by their work
  • Employees feel more satisfied with their jobs overall
  • Employees feel more satisfied with their companies overall
  • Employees are more likely to have confidence in the future of the organizations at which they are employed
  • Employees have a positive impression of the people in management positions – they believe that the work load is managed effectively and that people in senior positions value the input of all employees and see it as an important contribution to the success of the organization.
  • Employees feel a strong sense of job security
  • Employees feel that their performance is evaluated fairly
  • Employees experience more feelings of personal accomplishment

In summary, when employees are satisfied, productivity increases and when productivity is high in any given organization, it can be said with great certainty that the management of that organization is fulfilling its role in making sure that the organization is running as effectively and efficiently as possible, resulting not only in a more competitive organization but an organization that is a better place for its employees to work.

What is social work management?

Social work management is defined by Trecker as the following: “Social work administration (management) is the process of working with people in ways that release and relate their energies so that they use all available resources to accomplish the purpose of providing needed community services and programs. Here one can see that this definition that relates specifically to social work management but that the definition is exceptionally similar to those of management as stated in the previous section in the following ways: Both refer to the co-ordination of people and resources to facilitate the accomplishment of a specific goal. Both refer to the creation of an environment in which an organization and the people in the organization can function optimally (ensuring maximum productivity).

On first glance it would appear that management and social work management are two terms which refer to the same thing, but that is not really the case. Although the functions of management and social work management are essentially the same, the difference is that in the case of a non-profit or welfare organization, although effective management is most definitely required, social work management is the ideal. This is because success for this type of organization requires more than just management, it “requires a breadth of view, rooted in social work knowledge and values” Teichman in Slavin (in SCK 407-G Study Guide 1:33).

An article by Mind tools called “Managing in non-profit organizations”, states that managers need more than just management skills to succeed and that they need a clear understanding of the very specific nature of non-profit organizations (Managing in non-profit organizations). Teichman goes further to state that employing a manager instead of a social worker could actually have a negative impact on this type of organization.

The purposes of a non-profit or welfare organization are best accomplished when someone has a professional social work education and some experience. This in combination with a strong identification with social work values and ethics AND training in management is ideal and exactly what a welfare organization needs to fully accomplish its goals in the most productive way possible (SCK 407-G Study Guide 1:33). The relevance of social work management can be found when the unique challenges facing non-profit and welfare organizations and the wider context in which these operate are considered. text:list-item} A challenge facing social work management which does not exist in other organizations is the absence of the profit motive. In for-profit organizations the motivation for the existence as well as personal involvement in the organization is financial gain (profit), this motive does not usually exist in non-profit organizations as the organization exists to provide a service to others and if workers are paid employees, remuneration is generally not as high as with for-profit organizations.

For this reason it is fair to say that people choose to work in non-profit organizations because they identify with the mission and/ or vision of the organization or because they have other personal reasons for joining the organization (it is important to note however that this is not always the case and there are some exceptions). It is thus important for social work management to understand what motivates their paid team and to use this motivation to increase worker effectiveness and efficiency.

Providing incentive that links the worker personally to the organizational mission rather than career orientated incentives like promotion might be more effective (Managing in non-profit organizations). A social worker in management is more qualified for this type of thing because social workers are especially trained in the art of understanding people in their totality and these skills can easily be used in different contexts including management contexts. text:list-item} In for-profit organizations, profit gives an overall measure of effectiveness and efficiency of the organization as it is concrete and easy to measure(SCK 407-G study guide 1:29). In non-profit organization it is not as easy to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of the organization as firstly, each organization decides for itself (depending on its vision and mission) what the criterion are.

Social workers have an advantage in that their understanding of human condition and the root causes of poverty and this might help them to quantify a way that would enable them to notice if the services of the non-profit organization in question have actually improved it. For this reason I believe that social work management is relevant to the social work profession.  In a non-profit organization income is not really proportional to how many people make use of your product or services in comparison to for-profit organizations where this relationship is directly proportional.

Non-profit organizations need to rely on grants from government and donations from other organizations and individuals in the public for the means to continue its existence (as adequate finances are indispensible for the increased frequency of service provision as well as the improvement in quality of these services). An added dynamic is that non-profit organizations normally cooperate with other organizations (discussed later), but have to compete for limited finances.

This means that social work managers need to be very careful when using their resources responsibly, in a sustainable way and at the same time balance donor expectations (which usually involve wanting to see money go directly to the beneficiaries when a lot of money also needs to go into operating expenses)(Managing in non profit organizations). In addition to this social workers also need to master another skill which a manager in a for-profit organization would probably never need.

I do not believe that a social work manager would necessarily be better at this task as in my opinion it would not really require skills specific to the social work profession but rather skills specific to financial management, public relations and marketing. {text:list-item} Non-profit organizations are also different to for-profit organizations in that instead of competing with other organizations that render similar services, it actually pays to cooperate with them. This is because a non-profit organization’s situation improves if ts clients are made independent of its services or if it has less customers than its capacity limit. It also ensures better service to the client. Cooperation with similar organizations is a good way to achieve this (SCK 407-G Study Guide 1:31). A special skill required for the social work manager is that of the ability to network and form partnerships with other organizations. This includes the ability to influence these relationships for the organization’s and clients’ benefits (Management in non-profit organizations).  Social work management also has the unique task of managing unpaid staff as in a non-profit organization, volunteers could sometimes out number paid staff. Volunteers need to be managed like any other human resource – staffing planning, job descriptions, performance management and evaluation as well providing appropriate awards and actions that could lead to the termination of services (non-profit specific management skills). In addition to this, a manager needs to manage volunteers and paid staff in such a way that ensures that all feel valued and motivated equally.

Social work management is also more effective in terms of this challenge as in addition to management skills which they possess which allow them to create suitable job descriptions, planning the roles of volunteers into the organizational structure and managing them with the same professionalism as other volunteers, they possess skills needed to understand human behaviour and what motivates people, and then using this understanding to ensure motivation of volunteers as discussed in section 4. In most cases, there is a vast difference in the availability of technology to assist in the accomplishment of organizational goals when one compares non-profit and for-profit organizations. In for-profit organizations, the application of technology is precise in its application and in non-profit organizations there is a wide range of responses to a limited number of techniques (case, group and community work).

The technology used in social work is therefore very vague and imprecise in comparison, making it difficult to predict results and link cause and effect in relation to technology used in social work (SCK 407-G study guide 1:32). The social work manager’s task is to understand the technology used in the profession and also develop means to use it the most effective and efficient ways possible – minimizing its disadvantages and maximizing its benefits.

The social work manager is also better suited to handle this challenge as the social work manager spends most of his or her time in professional training mastering the techniques mentioned above and so he or she is in the best position to understand them the most and thus use them most effectively. {text:list-item} Non-profit organizations possess another unique trait in that the climate in which it operates is very often emotionally charged and draining.

Employees and volunteers very often become personally involved in what they do and their clients and although this sometimes does mean that they are highly motivated and committed to what the organization does, it also leaves them drained and sometimes traumatized by the situations that they encounter. This becomes a risk factor as it leaves employees demoralized and sometimes even desensitized by their experiences and their productivity decreases.

Although workers at for-profit organizations experience some form of emotional distress at their place of work, it is the nature of this distress (usually stress related to the pace at which the organization moves and not the emotionally content of the work done) which makes it different to what is experienced at non-profit organizations It takes a wise and highly competent manager to negotiate this challenge in such a way that does not create a sterile and uncaring environment which at the same time does not create a space which leaves employees emotionally drained and exhausted.

This, according to Jean Roberts requires an organizational commitment to reducing the possibility of risk by allocating resources to the identification, analysis and prevention of risk and monitoring the cause and effects of this risk and managing it effectively. Social work managers are once again better equipped at navigating these kinds of situations because of their knowledge of and probably their experience with the nature of the social work profession and the kinds of situations are encountered.

A social work manager would need to combine the social work skills of empathy and the advanced skills with skills related specifically to management (creating structures and roles as well as allocating resources within the organization) to reduce the risk of this challenge without removing the personal nature of the work done in non-profit organizations. {text:list-item} Just as much as management in for-profit organizations need a strong knowledge of the laws and policies influencing the nature of the services and products that are rovided to the public, so the management of the non-profit organization needs a strong knowledge of policies and legislation that relate specifically to the kinds of services rendered by the organization (child welfare laws, fundraising laws, laws relating to non-profit organizational management structure) as well as policies relating to employment of employees, human resources and income tax laws.

In addition to this, non-profit organizations have an ethical responsibility towards improving and changing legislation and policy to better meet the needs of the people it is supposed to help and serve. Board members and management need to have strong working knowledge of the various agencies and organizations that influence legislation as well as rules and regulations effecting government and private funding – this is most definitely a non-profit specific management skill (non profit management skills).

Social work management is best equipped for this unique attribute of the non-profit organization sector. Once again social workers are trained in the knowledge of legislation and policy that specifically effects the profession and the organizations in which it operates.

This puts social work management in the position it needs to be in to not only react to these policies by complying with them and making sure that the organization stays on the right side of the law, but it being on the forefront of service delivery also allows it to be in the best position to make important recommendations to how policies and legislation can be changed for the betterment of the profession and overall, to improve the lives of the people who make use of these services.

Case study: Management in one way community services

One Way Community Services is a section 21 company, non-profit organization, which focuses mainly on community development. It was started as the response of One Way Community Church to the needs it saw within its local community – the Vaal Triangle (which consists of Vanderbijlpark, Vereeniging, Sasolburg and the surrounding townships).

One Way Community Services was started 9 years ago and its emphasis is on community development, specifically in the focal points of children and HIV/AIDS. The organization is proudly South African and firmly believes in the “purpose and potential locked up in the lives of the people they work with” (One Way Community Services Brochure). They have six core values which they try and incorporate into everything that they do and these are: Unconditional love, compassion, faith, excellence, brightness and fun.

Projects which are run by One Way Community Services include Ikageng Shelter for homeless boys, Khanya Khaya Home for abandoned girls, One Way Early learning center, Breakfast club, Princess project, Public Hospital play time and once off community renovations. Currently, One way Community Services employs five full time staff members 2 full time volunteers. The management team consists of Ellouise Jansen Van Vuuren who is the managing director, as well as four other people from various spheres of the community. I met with the managing director of One Way Community Services, Ellouise Jansen van Vuuren who is a qualified social worker who was trained at UNISA. Ellouise fits the description of social work management as described in section 4 and that is why I decided to interview her for the purposes of this assignment. It is important to remember that while reading the findings of this case study that they represent the frame of reference and perceptions of Ellouise within the context of her organization.

I have however tried as far as possible to indicate contextual information as such as it could have an effect of my overall conclusion at the end of this assignment. When asked where her organization would be without management, Ellouise simply responded, “nowhere” (Jansen Van Vuuren 2010). When I asked her to elaborate she said that management literally makes the difference between life and death for any kind of organization, no matter if they were for-profit or non-profit.

She also said that the difference between a terrible organization, a good organization and a great organization usually has very little to do with the type of service it renders but the quality of the management. She mentioned further that administration and management keep the wheels turning in her organization and that one could have all the best intentions and resources in the world but if management was not there to administer them, they would not be used to their fullest potential.

The benefits of planning

Ellouise said that the management function of planning has helped her organization to increase its effectiveness and efficiency mostly in the area of how they use their finances. When it comes to government funding, the organization needs to submit a financial plan to the department of social development on how they plan on spending the money that they need almost 6 months in advance. This not only helps them to identify the resources needed for the next year but it also forces them to plan their activities and calendar ahead of time too (Jansen Van Vuuren 2010).

This means that things no longer happen haphazardly, but intentionally as the organization deems necessary. This type of planning allows the organization to be purposeful about its priorities. The things that they say are important to them and are priority for them to do to fulfil their goals and objectives (as well as their mission and vision) can now happen according to a schedule which allows them to be as prepared as possible for these events – this is because they know that they are coming and prepare adequately for them, and the more prepared they are, the more effective and efficient their services can be .

The benefits of organizing

Organizing by a manager at One Way Community Services involves meeting with people from different departments, meeting with the management committee and the marketing team and arranging with them the different activities that need to be done and who needs to do them. Ellouise, who is the managing director, oversees the various areas within the organization and is constantly concerned with the bigger picture and how every department fits in with the others but leaves the smaller details and nitty-gritty’s of running each department or project to the department or project heads.

Each project head then has a team that works under them and so this ensures that Ellouise does organizing for the organization as a whole but each project has a team that organizes activities and responsibilities for that specific department or project (Jansen van Vuuren 2010). This ensures (as mentioned earlier), that Ellouise can focus on the bigger picture of the organization in that when she looks at the organization as a whole she makes sure that its meeting its mission and vision while projects and departments are making sure that they meet their own objectives (which contribute to the organization's mission and vision). Organizing in One Way Community Services also has an added benefit of ensuring service effectiveness and efficiency and that is because when jobs, time, departments etc are organized, things stand a better chance of actually being done. When things get done, service is delivered and when service is delivered in a certain way by certain people it is also easier to evaluate which means that it is easier to improve (Jansen Van Vuuren 2010).

Ensuring that everyone has a specific role and that departments and projects are well organized also ensures employee and volunteer security in that they know what is expected of them. Ellouise has found that people who are unsure of what is expected of them and how what they do fits into the bigger picture, are less motivated and productive than their counterparts who have a clear understanding of where they fit within the organization and a specific project (Jansen Van Vuuren 2010).

The benefits of activating

Activating in One Way Community Services takes place by the setting into motion of the plans, people and departments that have been organized. Having everybody actually performing the role that has been assigned to them vastly increases the capacity of the organization. Ellouise noted that when you give somebody a responsibility, you need to be serious about it because a lot of the time people are given responsibilities as a token measure but they do not really function in it.

She mentioned a simple example of telling someone they were in charge of answering the phone , sending faxes and making photocopies – if you are always answering the phone before that person and doing the faxing and photocopying yourself you are doing yourself, the organization and the employee or volunteer a disservice. For an organization to truly maximize its capacity and in doing so increasing its efficiency, you need to play people at their strengths and let them do what they are supposed to do.

She said that if she was the only one doing the work in the organization, there would be no leading or future planning or big picture thinking and the organization would be limited to only what she could do – but when you start relying on other people to do what was planned to the capacity of the organization expands and you are able to do more (Jansen Van Vuuren 2010).

The benefits of control

Control takes place in 3 key areas at One Way Community Services: Finances, staff performance and project progress (Jansen Van Vuuren 2010).

Financial control takes place via auditing of the organizations books which takes place once a year, an accountant on the management team that does book keeping of the books once a month, quarterly expenditure reports, 6 monthly progress reports, all the money that enters and leaves the organization (even cash), must go through the back account and there are 2 signatories and passwords on the bank account (Jansen van Vuuren 2010). All of these measures project the organization from financial mismanagement and it enhances accountability and transparency.

This improves the effectiveness and efficiency of the organization because these measures ensure that funds are not easy to spend which means they are not easy to mismanage thus making them difficult to waste or spend unnecessarily. When financial resources are used optimally the effectiveness of the services provided by One way Community is increased and efficiency is improved (Jansen van Vuuren 2010). Control of staff performance is maintained through 6 monthly appraisals and weekly staff meetings. Management also does its best to create climate of trust amoungst the staff so that it is easier to talk about things.

These measures enhance accountability between staff members and management but they also allow for the improvement of performance by staff members. Receiving regular feedback at staff meetings and more in-depth, specific feedback at appraisals are done in a very constructive way which encourage the improvement of performance and the development of skills. When staff members receive feedback in such a way that motivates them to improve themselves and how they do their work, effectiveness and efficiency of the organization improves (Jansen Van Vuuren).

Measures that provide control for projects and different departments are department heads filling in quarterly reports which are submitted to the management team for review, strict policies regarding the spending of money and accountability measures which put project leaders directly responsible for money spent as well as objectives for each department and project which are determined before hand against which projects are evaluated. These provide a guideline for project leaders and department heads to keep track of their own performance and they know against what criteria they will be evaluated in the future (Jansen van Vuuren 2010).

These measures provide both a yardstick for success as well as a means of using that yardstick. When projects and departments know how they measure success they can not only streamline their activities to meet their goals but they also have a means of evaluating their success and determining where to make changes if they are necessary. Any form of evaluation and positive change as a result can only hold positive results for the quality of the services rendered by the organization as activities that are evaluated and adjusted constantly, improve both the effectiveness and efficiency of those services (Jansen van Vuuren 2010). text:list-item} I will now discuss how Ellouise being a social worker in a management position improves the effectiveness and efficiency of social welfare services rendered at One Way Community Services. At the onset of our interview, I asked Ellouise if she felt that as a qualified social worker in a management position she had an advantage when it came to improving the effectiveness and efficiency of services rendered at One way Community Services, her reply was “definitely”, (Jansen van Vuuren 2010).

When asked to explain why she thinks so she said that she had previously been involved in the management committee of another non profit organization and being the only social worker, she noticed that although her colleges had the best of intentions, their lack of understanding of the context of community development and how to properly identify needs, a lot of the time lead to money being put into projects which were “nice thoughts”, but made no real difference to the root causes of poverty or the real needs experienced by the people.

Basically money gets wasted on good ideas when people do not have a proper understanding of the theory behind the profession. She went further to say that she wondered how much financial resource had been put into projects that made no real difference in the lives of people they were intended to reach and what kind of a country we would be living in today if management of some non profit organizations had some form of social work training (Jansen van Vuuren 2010).

I will now explain the specific experiences One Way Community services has had with the unique challenges facing non-profit and welfare organizations and if social work management has been able to assist the organization in improving its effectiveness and efficiency as a result. Ellouise agreed that the absence of the profit motive existed in non-profit organizations. The staff at One way Community Services are not motivated by corporate money or the ladder or promotion and success but she knows that every person does need money to survive (Jansen van Vuuren 2010).

At One Way Community services, management uses principles of the person centred approach like self determination to handle problems that arise as a result of the absence of large salaries etc. They do not beg anyone to stay and freely allow any employee to leave the organization is not serving their needs. They also do their best to hire the right people for the job – people who are motivated by the desire to help others. This eliminates a lot of problems that can occur later.

The organization also tries to keep their staff motivated by regular team building, staff meetings, socials and one on one chats between employees and management (Jansen van Vuuren 2010). I can see that Ellouise as the managing director has used a lot of the person centred theory she learnt as a social worker in the interaction with her staff, she however, doesn’t seem to think that her social work training has left her in a much better position than someone in management who has not had training in the field of social work

The absence of the profit measure

The lack of profit measure has proved a challenge for One Way Community Services management because outcomes of the services that they deliver can be very vague to quantify at times (Jansen van Vuuren 2010). Ellouises training as a social worker has however put her in a position where is better able to identify guidelines and objectives for development projects and departments that fit in with the theory that she learnt as part of her training which in turn fit in with development standards like empowerment of participants and encouraging independence in the organization’s clients.

Objectives for the boy’s shelter and girl’s home for example include reunifications with families because the organization understands the importance of releasing people to independence rather than dependence on the organization. Ellouise has also promoted the importance of sustainability within the organization which is also something she learnt to be important during her studies (Jansen Van Vuuren 2010). In this instance, it is clear how social work training can be used by management to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of social welfare services within an organization

The sources of financial support at One Way Community Services include grants from government, donations from members of the public and funds raised by the newly established marketing team (Jansen van Vuuren 2010). Ellouise said that her specific training for social work didn’t really help her in these areas. She agrees that it is a unique challenge that management in for-profit organizations would not have to face and that she would probably not have been trained in fundraising if she studied a management degree.

She said that perhaps social worker students from other institutions received more input on how to raise funds and work with government funding but she did not feel that she did. She did mention that just being exposed to the social welfare context as a student may have helped her a little bit but she did not feel that as a social worker she had any real advantage over a manager without her training in social work and that she had to stumble around blindly for a while before she got her bearings and figured out how to go about things (Jansen van Vuuren 2010).

I believe that the problem in this instance is not necessarily with social work management in itself but rather the training Ellouise received as a social worker. If I look at this case study in isolation, taking no other evidence from other organizations into account, I would have to say that social work management has not been able to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the social welfare services of One Way Community Services in this specific situation.

One Way Community Services has a lot of relationships and networks with other organizations like the Vaal Alliance for Street Children, Over the Wall and One Life (to name a few). Ellouise says that networks play a big part in what they do and that they assist the organization greatly in the accumulation of financial, support and knowledge resources (Jansen Van Vuuren 2010).

Once again Ellouise said that her training as a social worker didn’t necessarily prepare her for collaboration and that a lot of what she learnt about how to go about it and who to collaborate with, she learnt as she went along. She mentioned that in her specific case, what was emphasised more during her training was the specific approaches that must be followed and not really the day to day running life of organizations. She mentioned that her practical placements helped to prepare her a lot but in

Adolescence: Developmental Psychology and Social Work Practice

Module Title: Human Growth and Behaviour. Assessment Title: What are the advantages and disadvantages of viewing behaviour through the life-p perspective for social practise? ADOLESCENCE The author’s aim is to outline the advantages as well as disadvantages in adolescence behaviour and human development processes across people life p, and particular adolescence. This essay will look at the different models, theories of social work and the factors that may have influence social work practice.

The physical, psychological, socio-cultural, environmental and politico-economical are the factors that Bowlby (1999), Erikson (1995), Freud and Piaget (1977) have mentioned in their theories and the author will explore, discuses and examine them. The factors and the theories are numerous to cover in the essay of this size, and with this in mind the author is looking at examining same of them very briefly and same more in depth. In the first part, the author will cover human development through the life p. The reasons why knowledge and understanding of human development throughout the life course are important to social work practice.

The author will also outline the importance of our own personal values, and the impact that these may have on social work practice. Understanding the impact of transactions within a person’s life course is important for social work practice in order to understand other people’s lives. However, it is important to remember that although people may experience the same life event, their response to the situation and the decisions that they make will differ. Deferent people have different perceptions of what is happening to them as they move through transitions in their lives.

Their response and learning from it might be very different from one individual to the other. For example, one may have enjoyed school, another tolerated it or hated it. Social workers need to recognise in working with people the different transitions and may use them as an opportunity in helping the service users to grow, change, or develop. Of course, there are numbers of different perspectives that could be taken into account of how we develop into who ‘we are’. That is why the author will look at some ideas and theories from biology, sociology, psychology, and their assumptions of what influences they may have on human life.

Firstly, the author will look at two theories and try to explain the individual’s behaviour namely, ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’. (Crawford, 2003) The nature viewpoint believes that our genes predetermine who we are and the characteristics we have are inherited, for example people’s physical appearance etc. The problem with this believes is that it suggests that the change is impossible, we are who we are and there is nothing we can do about it. The danger in this thinking is the stereotyping people, and thus supporting prejudice and oppression.

On the other hand, the nurture’s viewpoint argues that the environment, and the way we are brought up influence our development, giving the evidence in patterns of family behaviour, for example, introverted or extroverted family members. Again, there is a danger in stereotyping people thus contributing towards oppression. (Crawford, 2003) A sociological approach explains human identity by examining the interactions between people and society in which they live. It explores the different classes of society starting from wide perspective then looking at them and the influence it may have on the individuals. (Giddens, 2001)

Physiological approach explains human development by examining the physical development and genetic make-up, for example, biological theories explain a child’s growth and development, concentrating on characteristics inherited from biological family. (Crawford, 2003) Psychology is a discipline, which studies people their thoughts, feelings and emotions. There are many different theories the most relevant to the subject are the developmental psychology and psychosocial theory. Developmental psychology has an approach of how people develop across life course, by exploring their thoughts, feelings and behaviours (Aronson, 2005).

Piaget (1977) the author of cognitive development theory believed that the child seeks to understand and adopt into the environment. In doing so, the child undertakes certain actions as it moves through stages of development. Another approach to understand the human life course from a developmental psychology perspective is presented trough theories that focus on behaviour and how behaviour and actions influence our learning. (Piaget, 1977) Skinner’s (1953) behaviourism explained human development as the acquisition of behaviourism that is learned through responses to experiences.

Skinner did not see the individual’s thoughts or conscious mind as influencing their behaviours, but rather behaviour as a response controlled by the rewards or punishments in the individual’s environment. (Skinner, 1953) Albert Bandura (1977) also emphasised in his social learning theory the importance of behaviour and the environment, but he saw cognition or thoughts as being a significant factor in the person’s development. Therefore, the social learning theories consider the influence of values, beliefs, self-determination, emotions and thought on the learning process.

Psychosocial theories arise from a combination of two perspectives psychology and sociology disciplines. David Howe describes psychosocial as being created by the interplay between the individual’s psychological condition and the social environment (Howe, 1998) Erik Erikson (1995) in his model of life stage development saw people building their identity as they move through ‘crisis’ points in their lives. Each person moving through stages by moral excellence, however the successful progression through each stage, by negotiation of the particular ‘crisis’ to a positive outcome, ensures healthy development (Erikson, 1995)

All these theories explain human development as being largely dependent upon the impact of the environment, social and cultural influences. They can be criticised or appreciated for their strengths and weaknesses in the way they explain and describe certain aspects of development. For example, Jean’s Piaget’s (1977) theory of cognitive development could be considered as one of the most comprehensive and logical in helping to understand children’s mental development. However, Piaget’s (1977) theory is not as useful in understanding how life events and challenges influence growth and development in adulthood. Piaget, 1977) For this area of life, course development Erikson’s model of life stage development is more likely to be relevant. (Erikson, 1995) The human life can be very complex, influenced by interactions of biological, social, psychological and environmental factors. It is therefore, very important to appreciate a range of theories from across disciplines. It may not be possible for anyone’s theory to explain all aspects of human life and its development. Taking one approach would lead to one aspect of someone’s life leaving the other aspects of the person’s ignored (Adams, 2003).

The author believes that each of the models and theories introduced within this essay are valuable to our understanding of human development through the life p. Social workers need to develop an understanding of these theories from a range of disciplines in order to take holistic approach in their practice. Very important aspects of social work practice are assessments, planning, intervention and reviews. Parker (2003) describes a number of aids and activities that social workers may use when gathering and analysing information as they make assessments with service users. (Parker, 2003)

Before moving on more deeply to adolescence, the author will briefly look at the importance of childhood and the implications that it has on adolescence, and the rest of life. One of the most important parts of social worker practice is empowering people to be actively involved in processes and decisions that affect their lives. Social workers need to develop this skill as well as other skills like communication and listening to help those who are unable to speak or express themselves. The right of children to have their voices heard has been enshrined in an international treaty, the convention on the Rights of Children (1999).

The Convention on the Rights of Children 1991 is a universally agreed set of standards and obligations in relation to the basic human rights that all children have – without discrimination Grant (1991). Early relationships are often viewed by theorists as having a critical role in the person’s emotional well being throughout their life. Attachment theory involves the study of relationships, in particularly early relationships of infants and children. ( Lindon, 1998) Attachment by Lindon (1998) is described as a positive emotional link between two people (a link of affection).

The original concept of attachment has been attributed to the studies of John Bowlby (Howe, 1999). He believed that the source development of personality lay in early childhood and that any trauma of failure in these early relationships could permanently shape the development of the child’s personality thus have a great impact on adult’s life. Dozens of studies shown that children rated as securely attached to their mother in infancy are later more sociable, and more positive in their behaviour towards friends and family.

They are less dependent on people, less aggressive and disruptive, more empathetic and more emotionally mature in their interactions in school and other settings. Adolescents are also more socially skilled, have friendships that are more intimate, are more likely to be rated as leaders, and have higher self-esteem and better grades Bee (2002). Attachment theory also provides a sophisticated set of ideas for making sense of people’s feelings and behaviours. (Lindon, 1998)) Adolescence in Latin, adolescere means ‘to grow up’ it usually starts with the physical changes associated with puberty, which begin the physical changes to the body. Carlson, 2000) Whilst these are important, there are other critical processes of development: ‘self’ and the search for identity, the development of relationships, for example with friends, and very important changing nature of relationships within families, that are a central feature of this period of an individual’s life. It is a time of not only biological changes but also, psychological and social. Adolescence as a period of life is often seen as a whole period of transition, the transition from childhood to adulthood, probably the most challenging and difficult period of life in terms of development (Herbert, 2002).

All adolescence confronts the some development tasks – adjusting to changes in their bodies and the challenge of their developing sexuality and new ways of thinking, as they strive for their own identity, emotional maturity and independence. Consequently, relationships, particularly with the family, will be subject to adoption and change. However, the timing of these changes varies between individuals, influenced by such things as gender, genes and culture (Ackerman, 1958). Adolescence as a period of development maybe considered for a range of different perspectives that focus on biological, psychological and social aspects of development. Davies, 1997) Biological development in adolescence is associated with a whole range of physical changes. Puberty is the period of rapid changes that occur as the person moves from childhood and begins adolescence. Hormones affect every aspect of growth and development and the level of certain hormones rises naturally during adolescence, primarily causing increased sexual interest and mood swings Numbers of physical changes take place, for example a rapid acceleration in growth and weight. (Bee, 2002) Social development in adolescence is a period of transitions from being a child into being an adult.

Adolescents seek greater independence from their parent’s relationships moving more towards their peer relationships (Sugerman, 2001). The peer group and the friendship within it play very important part not only in sharing inner feeling and secrets but also in the development of the individual’s identity, changes in our self-concept and self-image. It provides new ways of thinking about problems, values and relationships. It gives the opportunity to think about themselves and the person they are becoming (Erikson, 1995). Erikson (1995) recognised this as the critical crisis of adolescence in the eight stages of development.

He believed that the successful resolution of this depends on how the individual resolved the previous crisis of childhood. This period is critical in making sense of the future. Erikson (1995) believed the key to this is the interactions with peers, families, institutions, especially school, society and so on. Erikson(1995) also suggests that the search for identity is ongoing process during adolescence. He says that they may adopt identity based on parents or society they live in, or opposite to that in which the adolescent adopts rebellious, negative stereotype.

There can be a situation where a child does not know or care for their identity may explore different alternatives without making any choices. Another one may achieve their identity through assimilation of the experiences and the future plans. Two important parts of identity in social context are gender and ethnicity. Few studies had explored the issue of possible gender differences in relation to social context, with no trends apparent. In sum, there has been little evidence of gender differences regarding questions of identity structure or developmental process (Adams, 2003).

For young people who are not part of a dominant cultural group, there is concern to establish their cultural identity. They must develop a sense of individual identity and ethnic identity that includes self-identification as a member of their specific group, commitment to that group and its values and attitudes (Bee, 2002). For some young people from an ethnic minority group this may be an issue. However, the critical issue is the decisions they may have to make in operating in a culture of racism and in dealing with negative and racist situation.

As a social worker, we need to make sure that our practice is anti-racist and anti-discriminatory with promotion of positive images of people from different cultures and ethnic backgrounds. Moving on to the end of this piece of work the author will look at the complexity of human life in context of sexual exploration, usage of substances and some of major events and their influences upon adolescence life. Herbert (2002) says that homosexual and lesbian experimentation are ordinary in adolescence however longer term attraction to the some sex or both sexes is reported in fewer than 10 per cent of the population.

The way of how others see ‘us’ and think of ‘us’ is of vital importance to the way ‘we’ perceive ‘ourselves’ – our self image. This has particular bearing on how adolescents deal with their dawning realisation of the permanence of homosexual feelings of identification. (Herbert, 2002) Our society relies upon various kind of drugs and substances for every day living. It has become a ‘drug culture’. There is a huge increase of drugs and alcohol usage among young people. For the majority of young people this may be a serious issue.

Young people who use substances may demonstrate low self-esteem and self-worth, rebelliousness and lack of aspiration in relation to academic achievement. A distinction needs to be made there are those young people who present with a range of anti-social behaviour, such as criminal activity, aggression, and so on. (Coleman, 1990) This might be difficult but social workers need to know how to balance the rights of young people and their responsibility to society. It might be very difficult to understand people’s life course, especially the influences and the complex events that they may have been through.

Recognising the impact of life events is very important, their complexity and the effects, they can have not only on people’s lives but on social work practice too. The impact of parental conflicts, for example being exposed to verbal and physical violence will have an impact on children’s behaviour. Children are generally the losers when their parents’ marriages end in divorce or their long-term partnerships are terminated. Boys and girls are both equally vulnerable says Herbert (2002). Divorce is usually a lengthy process, not simply a single incident in children’s lives.

Parental conflict has been associated with poor academic performance, depression and antisocial behaviour (Carlson, 2000). Although not all children will be affected by parental conflict, this behaviour has clear and negative effect on children and their future behaviour. Children who loss their mother before age 11 are more vulnerable to depression and suicide thoughts. Suicide attempts are very much a late adolescent phenomenon, the peak being among 15-19 years old. The rate of attempted suicides for adolescent girls far exceeds that for boys.

Frequently the action is unplanned, impulsive and undertaken in a manner that is likely to be discovered. Teenagers sometimes have fantasies about their own death, which involve their ‘ending it all’, and yet surviving the event by ‘attending’ their own funeral where they are able to savour the grief and guilt displayed by errant parents or boyfriend/girlfriend. These fantasies indicate how, in some adolescents, the finality of death is not fully comprehended, or at least not while in a depressed or hysterical state. Herbert, 2002) Other young people may present emotional issues, such as depression and anxiety. A distinction also needs to be made between those that might be associated with development issues and those that may be more serious. For example, small portion of young people will present with psychiatric disorders such as the author mentioned above suicide attempts, schizophrenia, anorexia or bulimia nervosa. (Barker, 2003) One in five children and adolescents suffer from moderate to sever mental health problems.

A significant number of sever problems in childhood, if not adequately treated can lead to lifelong mental illness in adulthood Children whose parent have mental health illness are known to be at higher risk of developing the same difficulty of their own. (Barker, 2003) The cognitive explanation of children’s and young people’s behaviour is concerned not only with what is actually happening but also with their understanding and a mental representation of what is going on. That is why it is important for social workers to have an understanding of ‘normal’ child growth and development.

This will allow comparing, and assessing the development of a child that needs to be assessed. Additionally it would help to judge the role of parents, or carers and their ability to meet the demands of the different stages of the child development, their ability to respond to good parenting, their values, attitudes, and the impact that this can have on the child. (Herbert, 2002) Throughout this essay, the author tried to attempt to identify issues that may specifically affect the individual’s experience of adolescence, namely issues of gender, race and culture.

Social workers response to different behaviour issues has to depend of an assessment of the individual, and the range of factors, planning a response and supporting children, young people, parents and others to understand and manage their behaviour problems. Understanding of the theories of human development is necessary in establishing effective partnership with people who use social services. In conclusion, the author presents in this essay some of the advantages and disadvantages of viewing behaviour across the life p.

Social workers need to look at the particular individual behaviour in context of life p perspective because only then they can make the right judgement of that person. However, it is very important for social workers to have a holistic approach in understanding someone’s behaviour. This means taking to account every aspect of the individual’s life. In other words, building an understanding of the whole person’s life, not only physical or psychical but also social, cultural, historical factors that may have influence their life.

Looking at human behaviour gives also a wider perspective, and it takes the social worker beyond his own particular life experience giving a ‘bigger picture’, understanding of people’s behaviour. However, it is important again to be careful to not stereotyping or labelling people. Finally, social workers need to remember that they are dealing with human beings, unique individuals that is way they need to make sure that when they talk to them they must listen carefully and try to understand them from their perspective. 3,228 words Reference: Ackerman, N.

W. (1958) Psychodynamics of family life, Imprint Adams, G. R. (2003) Blackwell's handbook of adolescence, Blackwell Publishing,  Adams, R (2002) Social work, Themes issues and critical debates. Palgrave, New York. Aronson, E (2005) Social psychology 5ed. Upper Saddle River, Pearson Education,  Barker, P (2003) Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing. The craft of caring. Arnold, London Bee, H. (2002) Lifep development 3ed. Allyn ; Bacon,  Boston. Carlson, N. R. (2000) Psychology, The science of behaviour, Allyn ; Bacon  Coleman, J.

C. (1990) The nature of adolescence, 2ed. Routledge. Crawford, K. (2003) Social work and human development, Learning Matters, Exeter. Davies, M. (1997) Blackwell companion to social work, Blackwell Publishers, Erikson, E. H. (1995) Childhood and society, Vintage. Giddens, A. (2001) Sociology, 4ed. Polity Press, Cambridge. Grant, J. P. (1991) The state of the world’s children 1991, Unicef. Herbert, M. (2002) Typical and atypical development. From conception to adolescence. BPS Blackwell, Oxford. Howe. D. 1999) Attachment theory, Child maltreatment and family support, A practice and assessment model. Macmillan Press. Lindon, J. (1998) Understanding child development, Knowledge theory and practice. Macmillan Press. Parker, J. (2003) Social work practice. Assessment, planning, intervention and review. Learning Matters, Exeter. Piaget, J. (1977) The origin of intelligence in the child, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth. Skinner, B. F. (1953) Science and human behaviour, Macmillan Press. Sugarman, L. (2001) Lifep development, Frameworks, accounts and strategies. 2ed. Psychology Press, Hove.

Social Welfare Seeks To Enhance

Social welfare Is based upon the premise that In an Ideal place, all people are treated with respect and dignity, and that; for a community to be responsive, It needs to be a place where members are valued for who they are and what they can offer the community. The goal of social welfare Is to fulfill the social, financial, health and recreational needs of all Individuals In a society. Social welfare seeks to enhance the social functioning of all age groups, both rich and poor.

When other institutions in our society such as family and market economy fails, at times, to meet the basic deeds of individuals, or groups of people, then social welfare is needed and demanded. Richard Times argued that social welfare is much more than aid to the poor, and in fact, represents a broader system of support to the middle and upper class. It is the business of social welfare to: Find homes for apparentness children. Rehabilitate people who are addicted to alcohol.

Make life more meaningful to older adults Provide vocational rehabilitation for persons with physical and mental dillydally Meet flannel needs of the poor Rehabilitate Juveniles and adults who have committed criminal offense End all hypes of discrimination and oppression Counteract violence in family including child abuse Provide services to people with WAITS and to their families and friends Counsel individuals and groups experiencing a variety of personal and social difficulties Serve families struck by physical disasters such as fire, hurricanes Provide housing for the homeless When a society strives for community betterment by developing methods and programs to promote social Justice and address social needs, this effort Is referred to as social welfare. However, the [perceptions of social welfare vary and there are several definitions of social welfare. Times, 1995, defines social welfare as: 1.

The assignment of claims from one set of people who are said to produce or earn the national product to another set of people who may merit compassion and charity but not economic rewards for productive service. 2. Collective interventions to meet certain needs of individuals and to serve the wider interest of society Other available definitions include: 3. A system of social services and institutions designed to aid individuals and groups o attain satisfying standards of life, health and personal social relationships which permit them to develop their full capacities and promote their well being In harmony with the needs of the families and community (Friendlier,1 995, P. 140) 4. A subject of social policy which may be defined as the formal and consistent ordering of affairs (Gagger & Stores, 2010, P. 3) 5.

A nations system of programs, benefits, and services that help people meet those social, economic, education and health needs that are encompasses people health, economic condition, happiness and quality of life. (Seal &Brzuzy,1998, P. ) 7. Society's organized way to provide for the persistent needs of all people for health, education, socio-economic support, personal rights and political freedom. Mamma 1995, P. 6) Own definition of social welfare The common themes in the definition above are: 1. Social welfare includes a variety of programs and services that benefit a target group. 2. Beneficiaries are not able to meet their basic needs on their own and so qualify for charity 3.

Social welfare involves a system of programs designed to meet the needs of a people socio-economically and social well-being 4. End result of social lifer is to improve well-being of individuals/groups or organizations Therefore, according to me, social welfare refers to a variety of systems, programs and services designed and provided by a society, either on its own or in partnership with other institutions, to meet the specific needs of individual members, groups or communities to ensure a life of dignity for all its members and development of capacities for productive services. Definitions of other relevant terms Social services: Services delivered by social welfare agencies. May include individual services or institutional services e. Income projects, housing projects Welfare: Refers to the provision of minimal level of well-being and social support for all citizens, sometimes referred to as public aid. In developed countries, welfare is largely provided by the government and to a lesser extent, charities, informal groups, religious groups and intergovernmental organizations. Social Justice: Refers to ideal conditions in which all members of a society have the same basic rights, protection, opportunities, obligations and social benefit Social welfare policy: A designed framework, sometimes legislated, that offers a remark on how social welfare is provided by the government.

Human services: Refers to welfare programs administered by the federal government and by non-profit and for-profit agencies The residual concept asserts that people should take care of themselves and rely on charity from the government or non-governmental agencies for support only in times of crisis or emergencies. Characteristics of residual social welfare 1. In residual welfare, people are not considered eligible for help until all of their won private resources, which include family wealth and inheritance, help from church, friends, employers and so no, have been exploited. 2. Social services are only welfare one must prove their inability to provide for themselves and their families and this must be documented 4.

Beneficiaries are routinely rectified for continued eligibility every few months to determine that they are still unable to meet their needs Residual welfare is mostly carried out by governments using tax funds. It is criticized for being too rigid. Critics say it can create a barrier for those who seek assistance due to the numerous eligibility criteria, which often causes clients to produce a variety of supporting documents and cause clients to forgo assistance even when the need is persistent due to the routine recertification processes. Beneficiaries in residual programs also carry stigma as they are often regarded as failures, labeled lazy, lacking in morals and dishonest and are often accused of making bad decisions and of needing constant monitoring because of their untrustworthiness.

Sociology and Economics for Social Work

Module 1 Introduction to Sociology

1.1 Introduction
In the family of social sciences, Sociology is comparatively a new entrant. But because of its dealing with social problems, social relationships and social interactions the importance of the study of this subject has considerably increased. It has considerably developed in methodology, scope and approach. Sociology is the systematic study of social behavior and human groups. It focuses primarily on the influence of social relationships upon people’s attitudes and behavior and on how societies are established and change. Sociology emerged at the end of the 19th century through the work of sociologists such as Augste Comte, Max Weber, Émile Durkheim, Georg Simmel, Robert E. Park and Albion Small. According to Jonathan H. Turner 1982, Max Weber defines sociology, as a “science, which aims at the interpretative understanding of social behaviour in order to gain an explanation of its causes, its course and its effects”.


The term sociology is a combination of two words. The first part of the term is a Latin, socius- that may variously mean society, association, togetherness or companionship. The other word, logos, is of Greek origin and the term is generally understood as study or science. Thus, the etymological, literal definition of sociology is that it is the word or speaking about society. A simple definition here is that it is the study of society and culture. Sociology is the study of man’s behavior in groups or of the interaction among human beings of social relationships and the processes by which human group activity takes place. Sociology can be defined as, “the systematic study of human society”. More technically, sociology is the analysis of the structure of social relationships as constituted by social interaction. Auguste Comte (1798-1857) the French philosopher and sociologist is considered as the ‘Father of Sociology’ Sociology is being defined differently by sociologists

Auguste Comte defines Sociology “as the science of social phenomena subject to natural and invariable laws, the discovery of which is the object of investigation." According to L.F. Ward, “Sociology is the science of society or of social phenomena”. George Simmel opines that it is a subject which studies human inter-relationship. According to W.F. Ogburn, Sociology is a body of learning about Society. It is a description of of ways to make society better. It is social ethics, a social philosophy. Generally, however, it is defined as a science of society Max Weber has viewed sociology as “Science which attempts the interpretative understanding of social action”. From all these definitions it becomes clear that sociology is concerned with social relationships and studies society, human interactions, inter-personal and intra-personal relations. It tries to study scientifically social institutions, organizations and systems.

To summarise this section, therefore:

Sociology is a social science concerned with the study of human social relationships and the various ways these relationships are patterned in terms of social groups, organisations and societies.

Development of Sociology

Sociology is a relatively new academic discipline among other social sciences including economics, political science, anthropology, history, and psychology. The ideas behind it, however, have a long history and can trace their origins to a mixture of common human knowledge and philosophy. Auguste Comte coined the word 'sociology' in his “Positive Philosophy” published in 1838. He believed that a science of sociology should be based on systematic observation and classification, not on authority and speculation. This was a relatively new idea at that time. Herbert Spencer in England published his Principles of Sociology in 1876. He applied the theory of organic evolution to human society and developed a grand theory of social evolution. Lester F Ward, an American published his Dynamic Sociology in 1883 calling for social progress through intelligent social action which sociologists should guide. All these founders of sociology were basically social philosophers.

They proclaimed that sociologists should collect, organize and classify factual data and derive sound social theories from these facts. While they called for scientific investigation they did relatively little of it themselves. Emile Durkheim gave the most notable early demonstration of scientific methodology in sociology. In his Rules of sociological Method published in 1895, he outlined the methodology which he pursued in his study 'Suicide' published in 1897. Instead of speculating upon the causes of suicide, he first planned his research design and then collected a large mass of data on the characteristics of people who commit suicide and then derived a theory of suicide from these data. Courses in sociology appeared in many universities in the 1890s.The American Journal of Sociology began publication in 1895 and the American Sociological Society was organized in 1905.Whereas most of the early European sociologists came from the fields of history, political economy or philosophy many of the early American sociologists had been social workers, ministers and nearly all were from rural backgrounds. Herbert Spenser (1820-1903)

He was an Englishman and is sometimes called second founder of sociology. He too believed that society operates under some fixed laws. He was evolutionary and considered that societies evolve from lower to higher forms. In this way he applied the ideas of Darwin to the development of human society, and hence this approach may be called as Social Darwinism. By following the basic principle of Social Darwinism Spenser advocated that ‘let the fittest survive’. There should be no reform because it will help in the survival of lower order individuals. (Charity and helping the poor were considered to be wrong). Spenser was a social philosopher rather than a social researcher. Karl Marx (1818-1883)

Karl Marx was a German. According to him the key to human history is Class Conflict. Not really a sociologist but wrote widely about history, philosophy, economics, political science. Because of his insights into the relationship between the social classes, he is claimed to be an early sociologist. He introduced one of the major perspectives in sociology – conflict perspective. Emile Durkheim (1858-1917)

He was French. His primary goal was of getting sociology recognized as a separate academic discipline. His systematic study comparing suicide rates among several countries revealed an underlying social factor: People were more likely to commit suicide if their ties to others in their communities were weak. He identified the key role of social integration in social life. Max Weber (1864-1920)

Max Weber was a German. He used cross-cultural and historical materials in order to determine how extensively social groups affect people’s orientations to life. Urbanization and industrialization were creating grave social problems and these early sociologists were looking for scientific solutions. They saw sociology as a scientific guide to social progress. The early volumes of the American Journal of Sociology contained relatively few articles devoted to scientific description or research but carried many sermons filled with advice etc. By 1930s the several sociological journals were well filled with research articles and scientific descriptions. Sociology was becoming a body of scientific knowledge with its theories based upon scientific observation rather than upon impressionistic observation. Sociology in India

The study of Sociology in India started in 1919 at the University of Bombay, it was in 1930 that its study as a separate discipline started. Prominent Indian sociologists like G.S Ghurye, R.K Mukherjee, H.T Mazumdar, A.R Desai have also made original contributions to Sociological studies.

Characteristics of Sociology

Sociology as a branch of knowledge has its own characteristics. It is different from other social sciences. Let us discuss in brief the characteristics of sociology. 1. Sociology is an independent science:

Sociology as an independent science has its own field of study, its own boundary and methods. It is not treated and studied as a branch of any other science like philosophy, Political science and History. 2. Sociology is a Social science and not a Physical science: Sociology is a humanistic science i.e. it deals with the social universe and not with the physical universe. It is particularly concerned with social facts and man's relationships, social activities and social life. It is intimately related to the social sciences like History, Political science, Economic, Psychology, Anthropology etc. It can be distinguished from Astronomy, Physics, Chemistry and other physical sciences. 3. Sociology is a Categorical and not a normative discipline: Sociology as a science cannot deal with problem of good and evil, right and wrong and moral or immoral. It does not make any recommendations on matters of social policy or legislation or programme. It maintains a neutral posture making no value judgments of social issues. It only critically analyses social facts, objectively and scientifically. It confines itself to "what is" and not "what should be" or "what ought to be". 4. Sociology is a pure science and not an applied science:

Pure science refers to the acquisition of knowledge and applied science is converted with the applicability of knowledge of that science. Sociology is a pure science because its main purpose is to acquire knowledge about human society. It never bothers about the utilisation of knowledge. It only helps in the systematic analysis of social facts and issues, which ultimately helps the policy planners to utilise this knowledge for solutions. But sociologists themselves do not utilise this knowledge to life.

5. Sociology is relatively as Abstract Science and not a Concrete Science: Sociology is not interested in concrete manifestations of human events. It is more concerned with the form of human events and their patterns. It is not concerned with a particular war or revolution in general as social phenomena. It analyses the types of social phenomena, social conflict and social control. Sociology does not confine itself to the study of this society or that particular society. It is in this simple sense that sociology is an abstract and not a concrete science. 6. Sociology is a Generalising and not a Particularising Science: It aims to establish general laws or principles about inter-human interaction and associations; it seeks to find general principles about the nature, form, content and structure of human groups and societies. But it does not make a comprehensive description of particular events or societies.

7. Sociology is a General Science and not a Special Science: Sociology as a science is concerned with human interaction and human life in general. Other social sciences like Economics, Political Science and History also study human interaction, but not the all-inclusive aspect of human relationship. The other social sciences concentrate on certain aspects of human interaction and activities. For example, Economics deals with the economic activities and political science deals with political activities and so on and so forth. Sociology of course, does not investigate economic, religious, political or any other kind of special phenomena. It studies human activities is a general way. 8. Sociology is both Rational and Empirical science:

Rational approach stresses on reason, logic and theories that result from logical inference. Empirical method stresses on facts and figures and not on speculation. Empiricists collect facts and rationalists co-ordinate and arrange them. Both theories and facts are necessary in the construction of knowledge. It is also required in sociological inquiry. If a theory is not backed by facts, then it is just a matter of opinion. Similarly, facts without theories are blind and directionless. Isolated facts are meaningless without theorization. Thus, sociology is both empirical and rational in nature. So, from the above discussion, we can conclude that sociology is an independent, a social, a categorical, a pure, an abstract, a generalizing and both a rational and empirical general social science.

Importance of Sociology

Sociology makes a scientific study of society: Prior to the emergence of sociology the study of society was carried on in an unscientific manner and society had never been the central concern of any science. It is through the study of sociology that the truly scientific study of the society has been possible. Sociology because of its bearing upon many of the problems of the present world has assumed such a great importance that it is considered to be the best approach to all the social sciences.

Sociology studies role of the institutions in the development of the individuals: It is through sociology that scientific study of the great social institutions and the relation of the individual to each is being made. The home and family ,the school and educaton,the church and religion, the state and government ,industry and work ,the community and association, these are institutions through which society functions. Sociology studies these institutions and their role in the development of the individual and suggests suitable measures for restrengthening them with a view to enable them to serve the individual better. Study of sociology is indispensable for understanding and planning of society: Society is a complex phenomenon with a multitude of intricacies. It is impossible to understand and solve its numerous problems without support of sociology. It is rightly said that we cannot understand and mend society without any knowledge of its mechanism and construction. Without the investigation carried out by sociology no real effective social planning would be possible. It helps us to determine the most efficient means for reaching the goals agreed upon. A certain amount of knowledge about society is necessary before any social policies can be carried out.

Sociology is of great importance in the solution of social problems: The present world is suffering from many problems which can be solved through scientific study of the society. It is the task of sociology to study the social problems through the methods of scientific research and to find out solution to them. The scientific study of human affairs will ultimately provide the body of knowledge and principles that will enable us to control the conditions of social life and improve them.

Sociology has drawn our attention to the intrinsic worth and dignity of man: Sociology has been instrumental in changing our attitude towards human beings. In a specialized society we are all limited as to the amount of the whole organization and culture that we can experience directly. We can hardly know the people of other areas intimately. In order to have insight into and appreciation of the motives by which others live and the conditions under which they exist knowledge of sociology is essential.

Sociology has changed our outlook with regard to the problems of crime etc:It is through the study of sociology that our whole outlook on various aspects of crime has change. The criminals are now treated as human beings suffering from mental deficiencies and efforts are accordingly made to rehabilitate them as useful members of the society.

Sociology has made great contribution to enrich human culture: Human culture has been made richer by the contribution of sociology. The social phenomenon is now understood in the light of scientific knowledge and enquiry. Sociology has given us training to have rational approach to questions concerning oneself, one's religion, customs, morals and institutions. It has further taught us to be objective, critical and dispassionate.

Sociology is of great importance in the solution of international problems: The progress made by physical sciences has brought the nations of the world nearer to each other. But in the social field the world has been left behind by the revolutionary progress of the science. The world is divided politically giving rise to stress and conflict. Men have failed to bring in peace. Sociology can help us in understanding the underlying causes and tensions.

The value of sociology lies in the fact that it keeps us update on modern situations: It contributes to making good citizens and finding solutions to the community problems. It adds to the knowledge of the society. It helps the individual find his relation to society. The study of social phenomena and of the ways and means of promoting what Giddens calls social adequacy is one of the most urgent needs of the modern society. 1.6 Scope of Sociology

There are two schools of thought with different viewpoints regarding scope and subject matter of sociology- formal school and synthetic school. According to formal school sociology was conceived to be a social science with a specifically defined field. This school had George Simmel, Ferdinand Tonnies, Alfred Vierkandt and Leopord Von Wiese as its main advocates. On the other hand the synthetic school with Durkheim, Hobhouse and Sorokin advocated a synthesis in form of coordination among all social sciences. Formal School of Sociology

Formal school argued in favor of giving sociology a definite subject matter to make it a distinct discipline. It emphasized upon the study of forms of social relationships and regarded sociology as independent. According to Simmel sociology is a specific social science which describes, classifies, analyses and delineates the forms of social relationships or in other words social interactions should be classified into various forms or types and analysed. Simmel argued that social interactions have various forms. He carried out studies of such formal relationships as cooperation, competition, sub and super ordinate relationships and so forth.

He emphasized on the process of abstraction of these forms from human relationship which are common to diverse situations. Vierkandt maintained that sociology should be concerned with ultimate forms of mental or psychic relationship which knit the people together in a society. Tonnies divided societies into two categories namely Gemeinschaft (community) and Gesellschaft (association) on the basis of degree of intimacy among the members of the society. He has on the basis of forms of relationship tried to differentiate between community and society. Max Weber also makes out a definite field for sociology. According to him the aim of sociology is to interpret or understand social behaviour. But social behavior does not cover the whole field of human relations. Indeed not all human interactions are social. Sociology is concerned with the analysis and classification of types of social relationships. Criticism of formal School

Formal school has been criticized on the issue that it has emphasized on merely abstract forms and neglected the concrete contents of social life. Abstract forms separated from concrete relations cannot be studied. Ginsberg says that a study of social relationships would remain barren if it is conducted in the abstract without the full knowledge of the terms to which in concrete life they relate. Sociology doesn't alone study the forms of social relationship. Political science, International law also studies forms of social relationship. The conception of pure sociology is not practical as no social science can be studied in isolation from other social sciences. Synthetic School of Sociology

Synthetic school wanted sociology to be synthesis of the social sciences and thus wanted to widen the scope of sociology. According to Durkheim, sociology has three principal divisions' namely-Social morphology, social physiology and general sociology. Social morphology is concerned with geographical or territorial basis of life of people such as population, its size, density and distribution etc. This can be done at two levels -analysis of size and quality of population which affects the quality of social relationship and social groups. Secondly, the study of social structure or description of the main forms of social groups and institutions with their classification. Social physiology deals with the genesis and nature of various social institutions namely religion, morals, law and economic institutions etc. In general sociology the main aim is to formulate general social laws. Attempt is made to find out if there are links among various institutions which would be treated independently in social physiology and
in the course to discover general social laws.

Hobhouse perceived sociology as a science which has the whole social life of man as its sphere. Its relations with the other social sciences are considered to be one of mutual exchange and mutual stimulation. Karl Mannheim's divides sociology into two main sections-systematic and general sociology and historical sociology. Systematic sociology describes one by one the main factors of living together as far as they may be found in every kind of society. The historical sociology deals with the historical variety and actuality of the general forms of society. It falls into two sections-comparative sociology and social dynamics.

Comparative sociology deals mainly with the historical variations of the same phenomenon and tries to find by comparison general features as separated from industrial features. Social dynamics deals with the interrelations between the various social factors and institutions in a certain given society for example in a primitive society. Ginsberg has summed up the chief functions of sociology as it seeks to provide a classification of types and forms of social relationships especially of those which have come to be defined institutions and associations. It tries to determine the relation between different parts of factors of social life for example the economic and political, the moral and the legal, the intellectual and the social elements. It endeavors to disentangle the fundamental conditions of social change and persistence and to discover sociological principles governing social life. Conclusion

Thus on the basis of viewpoints of different sociologists we can get a general outline of the scope of sociology. Firstly the analysis of various institutions, associations and social groups which are results of social relationships of individuals should be the concern of sociology. Secondly the links among different parts of society should be studied. This objective is dealt with justice by functionalist school of sociology and Marxist school also gives importance to this viewpoint. Thus social structure should be given adequate importance in subject matter of sociology. Thirdly sociology addresses itself to the factors which contribute to social stability and social change. Fourthly sociology should also explain the trend of the changing pattern and the aftermath of the changes in the

Sociology and Social work

Sociology is concerned with the study of the social life of man and its relation to the factor of cultural, natural environment, heredity and group. Sociology is about social relationship, the network of social relationship we call society. The subject matter of sociology is (i)social morphology-population, its qualities, social groups, social institutions and organizations(ii)social processes-cooperation, competition, conflict, accommodation, adaptation, assimilation, adjustment, socialization etc.(iii)Social control-religion, tradition, folklore, morality, laws..etc. (iv) Social Pathology-crime juvenile delinquency, suicide, unemployment, corruption, cultural deviation etc. Thus we can say sociology is the scientific study of human organizations, groups and their interactions. Social work derives most of its knowledge from sociology because the psycho-social problems of an individual cannot be diagnosed and solved without having the knowledge of his social environment.

The study of sociology is important for social workers because of the following reasons. The study of social organizations is essential for treatment. Sociology studies the interactions of groups, and individuals whereas social work is responsible for the solution of the problems of these groups. If a social worker does not have the knowledge of individuals and group, he can neither diagnose nor can take any corrective measures. The knowledge of social relations is essential in social work, whatever the individual be and the type of personality he has. Without understanding the nature of social relations, problems cannot be understood. Social relations are the subject matter of sociology. Social work lays emphasis on the study of culture. Individuals behavior is mostly conditioned by traditions, customs, folkways, values, norms etc. these are the constituents of the culture which is studied in sociology Social work always tries to have knowledge of social roles and expectations.

When one person fails to perform any of these roles one feels maladjusted. Social worker therefore always tries to understand the roles and thus studies sociology. Social work studies life, community relations and its characteristics for social development. The function of social work is not only to solve psycho-social problems but it also enters into the field of social development. This work is possible only when the characteristics of groups and community are studied. This knowledge we derive from sociology. All this does not mean that social work is a branch of sociology. It differs in many ways Sociology studies principles of social organizations and groups whereas social work studies mutual interactions among individuals. Sociology is concerned with theory and it has no concern with practice. Social work provides practical shape to theoretical concepts. Sociology explains problems, it does not try to solve them but the basic aim of social work is to solve these problems. Sociology presents the development model for the development of society but which model will be suited is determined by social work. Both sociology and social work look to society as essentially a network of social relationships. But sociology provides a scientific and suitable means and methods for scientific solution.


The term society is most fundamental to sociology. It is derived from the Latin word socius which means companionship or friendship. Companionship means sociability. It indicates that man always lives in the company of other people. Man is a social animal said Aristotle centuries ago. Man needs society for his living, working and enjoying life. Society has become an essential condition for human life to continue. We can define society as a group of people who share a common culture, occupy a particular territorial area and feel themselves to constitute a unified and distinct entity. It is the mutual interactions and interrelations of individuals and groups.

Definitions of Society

August Comte the father of sociology saw society as a social organism possessing a harmony of structure and function. Emile Durkheim the founding father of the modern sociology treated society as a reality in its own right. According to Talcott Parsons Society is a total complex of human relationships in so far as they grow out of the action in terms of means-end relationship intrinsic or symbolic.

Morris Ginsberg defines society as a collection of individuals united by certain relations or mode of behavior which mark them off from others who do not enter into these relations or who differ from them in behavior. Colee sees Society as the complex of organized associations and institutions with a community. According to Mac lver and Page society is a system of usages and procedures of authority and mutual aid of many groupings and divisions, of controls of human behavior and liberties. This ever changing complex system which is called society is a web of social relationship

Social Work Management and Its Relevance to the Social Work Profession essay

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on Social Work Management and Its Relevance to the Social Work Profession

What is the importance of management in social work practice?
Management is an important part of social work practice because it helps to ensure that social workers are able to effectively and efficiently provide services to their clients. Management also helps to ensure that social workers are able to stay organized and on track with their goals and objectives. Finally, management helps to ensure that social workers are able to effectively collaborate with other professionals and organizations to provide the best possible services to their clients.
What is the relevance of project development and management in social work profession?
Project development and management are important skills for social workers to have in order to effectively plan, implement, and evaluate programs and services that meet the needs of their clients. Project development and management also help social workers to identify and address gaps in services, develop strategies to address those gaps, and ensure that resources are used efficiently and effectively.
What is the relevance of professional social work?
Professional social work is an important field that helps individuals, families, and communities to cope with and overcome challenges. It is a profession that is dedicated to helping people improve their lives and the lives of those around them. Professional social workers provide a range of services, including counseling, advocacy, and support, to help people achieve their goals and lead healthier, more fulfilling lives.

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