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Social Work in the Social Environment Definitions


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Access Provision
Actions taken by an agency to ensure that its (or a program's) services are available to the target population. Examples include educating the public about the service, establishing convenient referral procedures,and having ombudsman serivces to deal with obstacles to getting the service
1. the duty of a profession to notify the public about its functions and methods and to provide assurances to its consumers that members of the profession meet certain standards of competence. 2. The condition o being answerable to the community, to one's consumers, or to supervisory groups (e.g., board of directors)
Accural Accounting
Accounting method in which every expense is regarded as a debt, even if actual funds have not been spent, and every payment owed is viewed as an asset, even if payment has not been received.
Organized behaviors (e.g., developing coalitions, voter registration drives, publicity) that seeks to achieve societal or political objectives.
Activist Role
Involves taking specific action (e.g., making recommendations, leading a campaign) on behalf of a client system: as an activist, a social worker gives up his/her normally neutral or passive role.
Administration in Social Work
Includes activities and skills geared toward making staff and processes in an organization operate in a way that achieves desired goals. It is typically humanistic in nature. Administrative functions include planning, organizing, developing resources, budgeting, program evaluation, staff development, interorganizational relations, public relations, and management.
Advisory Board
Comprised of individuals who have particular expertise; their role is to provide information, expert opinion, and recommendations to an organization about how its goals can be achieved. The members may be hired, elected or drafted as volunteers,and sometimes include the agency board of directors.
In social welfare administration, activities aimed at informing the public in order to persuade people that change is necessary: administrators use advocacy to get professional support for their view on how the community should develop. The goal is to get support ( including resources) from financial an/or decision making powers.
Associated with community organizing. A person or group who tries to promote change in a societal institution. This can be done in many different ways (e.g., voter registration, publicity) but the goal is always institutional change.
Occurs when the values, mores, norms and codes of conduct for a community, society, or other group have been either eliminated or weakened. In this condition, individuals are often alienated and apathetic, and lose sight of their goals. Anomie is often found in rapidly changing communities or societies or in groups that experience extreme stress.
The designation of funds to a specific group, agency, or program. These funds are typically allocated by a governmental acency to enable the recipient to meet a specific goal.
Authoritarinan Management
A management style in which organizational leaders have a fairly non-democratic philosophy of leadership. The manager typically does not involve employees in decision-making, and submission to authority is expected.
Autonomous Practice
Those who practice professionally without being under the auspices of an agency or other formal organization. Such professionals usually determine their own procedures and policies, according to the goals and objectives of their practice; however, they are expected to follow the ethical and procedural guidelines established by their profession.
Barclay Report
A report resulting from a 1980 British study on the need and delivery of social services and the role of social workers in delivering social services. The report recommended more socila worker involvement in counseling, social planning, promoting community decision networks, negotiation, and social advocacy.
Associated with community organizing and planning. A process of negotiating/compromise that takes place between disputing parties. The give-and take process ideally results in an even exchange between groups.
Basic Needs
Items considered by social planners to be necessary for maintaining persnal well-being, include adequate food, shelter, clothes, heating fuel, clean water, and security from bodily harm
Behaviorally-Anchored Rating Scale (Bars)
A method of performance appraisal in which dimensions of job performance are assessed in terms of behavioral anchors (critical incidents) arranged along a continuum (e.g., from very low to very high effectiveness)
Block Grant
A system of allocating money to communities for social welfare programs. It is not predetermined which specific proram the money will go to but rather is up to the discretion of the organizations in the community to determine where the funds are needed.
Block Organization
Formal or informal social groups who live near one another ( e.g., on the same block), have values and problems in common, and get together to achieve their mutual goals.
Board of Directors
A group of individuals that establishes an organization's policies and objectives and supervises the activities of personnel charged with implementing those policies. In social agencies, the board often includes volunteers who are influenced in the community and who reflect the typical views of the community.
Bounded Rationality
The concept in social planning that even though "rationality" (identifying all possible strategies toward goal achievement, determining all their consequences, and evaluating all the consequences) is the bet approach, it is impractical. Instead a social planner must choose a strategy that is good enough to meet minimal standards.
A method of encouraging the development of ideas. Entails convening staff and board members, encouraging open discussion, and delaying any analysis of people's
ideas until later.
Broker Role
Associated with community organizing. Involves helping peole identify, obtain, and link resources , and uniting segments of a community to make sure that common needs are met.
A record of funds, credit and debts by an organization. A budget allows mangement to oversee funding and expenditures. In human service organizations, a budget represents a summary of the organization's policies, goals, values, priorities, decision and programs. The major question in the budgetary process is how resources can be allocated in a way that will maximize an orgtanization's service capability; thus effective budgetary administration requires the productive use of resources relative to an agency's objectives.
The formal organization, with specific tasks and goals and a clealy defined hierarchy. Organizational procedures, rules and regulations are clearly defined.
The recent pull for social organizations to become more rigid (centralized) in terms of procedures and policies.
Case of Conference
A meeting of professional staff and others to discuss a client's problems, objectives, intervention plans and prognoses. Conference goals are to improve communication, generate new ideas, and improve services. Some agencies schedule conferences on all open cases, while others review only cases of special concern.
Case Finding
The obligation of a social worker or agency to seek out individuals or groups who will benefit from the services they offer.
Case Intergration
Involves coordinating the activities of all providers who are serving the needs of one client. The goal is to ensure that the providers' services are consistent, additive, nonduplicative, and pursuing the same goals. Occurs both between and within organizations.
Case Management
Involves planning, seeking, and monitoring services from different social agenciesand staff on behalf of the client. Typically one agency takes primary responsibility for the client and assigns a case manager. This procedure makes it possible for many social workers in one agency, or in different agencies, to coordinate their efforts to serve one client through teamwork, thus expanding the range of services that can be offered.
Catalyst Role
Associated with community organizing. In this role, a social worker provides an environment which promotes self-awareness and self-assessment in clients, encourages communication, and facilitates change.
Catchment Area
Geographical area in which all potential clients are served by a given social agency.
Categorical Grant
Payment of funds or other resources from an organization, agency, or individual to a recipient (grantee) when the grantee has agreed to achieve a specific objective.
The concentration of administrative power of a group, organization or political body.
Change Residue
The side effects ( which may not be desired or planned) that always occur when community organizers bring about change in community structures. Community social workers usually incorporate ways of dealing with change residue into their change plan.
Process associated with case management in which social aency staff direct clients to relevant programs in the community for additional or supplementary service during the helping process.
Child Protective Services (CPS)
Social, residential, medical, legal, and custodial care services given to children whose parent or other caretaker is not meeting their needs. Social workers who work in government agencies often help law enforcement personnel with investigations to find out if childern need these services and help childern get the services when they need them. The social worker may also provide the services themselves.
An alliance of groups brought together to achieve a goal. Community organizers ofen try to form coalitions among influencial groups or among powerless groups in order to increase their influence. Coalitions may be ad hoc (organized to address a single issue only), semipermanent (organized around longer-range goals) or permanent (e.g., as in political party).
Two or more professionals working together to serve a client (who may be an individual, family, group, community, or population). Althought the professionals may work relatively independently, they communicate and coordinate their efforts to avoid duplication of services. Althernatively, they may work as members of a single helping team. Collaboration also takes place among organizations working on projects.
Collective Action
Social movement to bring about economic, political, or cultural changes.
Community is generally considered to be a social system consisting of a group of individuals who live in the same geographic region or have common interests. A community develops and supports organizations to meet the needs of its subsystems and their environment.
Community Decision Network
All of the importnat individuals and organizations in a community who have formal or informal power to decide on the actions taken by the community. Its membership may include political leaders, industrial leaders, religious, groups, and civic associations.
Community Development
Efforts made by professionals and community members to improve social ties among residents of the community, motivate residenct for self-help, develop reliable local leadership, and create or restore local institutions. Relies on a grass-root, non-bereaucratic approach, which emphasizes community solidarity. Efforts are purposeful and involve a clear strategy and set of activities. Associated interventions include social action, public education, national and local planning, and community organizing.
Community of Interests
A group of individuals who feel they are bound together because they share common goals, needs, values, or activities.
Community Organizing
A type of macro practice used to help individuals and grups deal with social problems and improve their social welfare through organized collective action. It seeks to prevent and resolve social problems. The individuals or groups who become "organized" have common interests or are from the same geographic region.
Community Psychology
Area of psychology that emphasizes the prevention of mental illness; education about good mental health practices; and early diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders.
Community Self-Help
Entails having community members (including volunteers) become involved in decision-making, planning, and working with professionals and agency personnel. Control and resonsibility are decentralized from national, state or local organizations to community groups and individuals.
A professional's ability to provide effective, appropriate services to the public and to uphold the standards of the profession and communty. In many professions, such as social work, this is achieed via education, licensing/certification exams, and supervision of entry-level professionals.
Comprehensive Planning
Policy-makers organize their knowlege, resources and influence on a broad scale in order to achieve general goals. Includes looking for causes rather than symptoms of problems and seeking to help people reach their potential rather than just solve their problems.
A mediation that seeks to reduce or eliminate the differences between two parties. Social worker functions include refereeing, arbitrating, and advising.
Conflict Induction
Community organizing method used to compel community members to actively debate issues or value differences and form new coalitions. The social worker brings up issues and differences to motivate group members to work on them.
Conflict Management
Involves four basic steps : recognize the conflict; asses the conflict; select a stretegy; and intervene. In organizations, conflict is unavoidable and can be useful for identifying problems and motivating personnel to change.
Consensual Validation
Associated with community organizing and clinical social work. Refers to using mutual agreement as the criterion for defining what is true. Often used to define goals and assess progress toward goal achievement.
Occurs when individuals or grous reach a general agrement about goals of mutual interest and how the goals will be achieved. Often facilitated by community organizers, who focus on goals and methods of high acceptability, emphasize shared values, and then mediate and seek to prevent conflict.
The use of a specialist in a particular area to help with a work-related problem. Usually occurs on an ad hoc basis and always has a problem-solving, educational function.
Contingency Theory
Fiedler's theory of leadership effectiveness, which proposes that leadership effectiveness is related to an interaction of the leader's style and the nature (favorableness) of situations.
Continuing Education
Training provided to individuals who are already professinals but seek to update their skills and/or knowedge in their field. Professionals with licensed members (such as social workers) often require professionals to participate in continuing education.
Continuity of Care
The cooperative functioning of an organization (or a group of related organizations) to ensure that clients are provided with the services they they need, without repetition of services from fvarious departments or facilities.
Associated with community organizing. This stratgey minimizes expected opposition by including the opponent in the group. As part of the group, the opponent is less effective because he/she is in the monority.
Correlational Studies
In program evaluation, an evaluaiton of the connection between program variables and intended program outcomes. Two major types of correlational design include the group comparison and one-group before-and-after-design.
A management/budgeting plan involving an evaluation of programs and services based on the cost of the program. The results of this analysis help the organization determine if programs are worthwhile.
Cost Effectiveness/Cost-Benefit Analysis
Budgeting technique that quantitatively evaluates different program alternatives. The Cost Effective Analysis (CEA) component evaluates the cost and benefits of a given program approach. The answer is a "cost-benetif-ratio" (the cost over the benefit). A program's cost-benefit ratio is then compared to the cost-benefit ratios of other program alternatives to determine which approach is most cost effective.
Involves estimating ahead of time all of the costs associated with a plan or program that seek to meet a specific goal. A.k.a. "costing out"
Budgeting system that involves dividing the cost of various resources between different organizations e.g., two schools might share the cost of one social worker who will spend time in both facilities. Allows organizations to use services which theymight not otherwise be able to afford.
Critical Incidents
Specific behavioral descriptions of important job behaviors; behaviors related to successful and unsuccessful job performance.
The delegation of responsibilities and activities by the leadership level of an organization to lower-level organization members who are closer to the problem or activitiy.
Decision Support System (DSS)
In an agency, use of computers to collect and organize information and make decisions from among specific choices. A computer program uses a predefined set of facts and rules to determine the best decision, and an administrator then agrees with or rejects the computer's decision.
Department of Health and Human Services
The umbrella organization for several departments that deal with public health and social serivces.
Disurptive Tactics
Activities designed to disrupt the day-to-day functioning of social institutions in order to cause changes in law, norms, or structure. These tacticts are organized by activities, community organizers, and others to increase public awareness of problems and injustices and pressure organizations to change.
Double-Entry Bookkeeping
Accounting method in which every transaction is recorded twice and the resulting increase or decrease in one account is relfected by a descrea or increase in another account.
In community organizing and activisit social work, involves helping a group or community acquire political and/ or legal power.
Associated with community organizing. Role in which a social worker tries to unite diverse individuals, groups, or organizations. The role is usually nondirective and emphasizes communication and the development of a shared awareness among group members.
Evaluation Research
The systematic assessment of a program's outcome.
Face-to-Face Group
Associated with community development. Community group meetings that focus on needs and issues that community members and community developers want to work on. In meetings, community developers try to empower community members, buid their knowedge and skills, and improve their leadership abilities, while also working toward developing solutions to specific community problems.
Associted with community organizing. Technique in which a social worker both activates and interceded into the relationship between client systems, and helps create new systems or improve existing ones. The social worker acts as a mediator, supporter, and enabler for the client so that the client can achieve his/her goals.
Feasibility Study
A concurrent evaluation of the resources needed to achieve a specific goal, and of an organization's current and expected ability to provide these resources.
Financial management
The administrative process of controlling money. Involves budgeting, record keeping, fiscal planning, etc. When social workers are in administrative positions, financial management is often part of their duties. Sound finaicial management is also important for social workers in private practice.
Fixed Assets
An organization's financial assets that are not readily negotiable (e.g., land, buildings). These assets do not include available case, expertise of employees, or the organizations reputation.
Forced Field Analysis (FFA)
Problem-Solving method for determinng the forces that either support or oppose an intended program or policy change. Involves analyzing the factors supporting and opposing the cange. For example, a social service agnecy might wnt to establish a job training program for the homeless. In this situation, a supporting force might be the reduced need for shelter if more homeless people become employed; an opposing foce might be the cost of a job training program, which could take funds from existing programs.
A method of performance appraisal in which the rater is forced to choose between equally favorable or unfavorable descriptive statements. Can be used to overcome certain response biases.
Forced Distribution
A comparative performance appraisal method in which ratees are assigned to a small number of categories which usually reflect a normal distribution.
Formative Evaluation
Assessment of a program as it is being developed; viewed as less threatening than summative evaluation (A revie of existing programs that compare them to other existing programs), because it results in the modificatio nof a program rather than its continuation or termination. Formative evaluation results are not typically generalized to othe programs.
Functioal Community
A community defined in terms of a purpose, function, or problem that needs to be addressed.
Functional Community
A community defined in terms of a purpose, function, or problem that needs to be addressed
Functional Requisites
In the policy process, a detailed description of the target population and the interventions, services, and activities associated with a program.
Allotment of money to an organization for prgram implementation during a speciic time period.
Gantt Chart
A scheduling technique that graphically represents all of an organization's activities, and a time-line for completing each activity. Horizontal bars on a calandar show the time alloted for each activity. The chart does not indicate the relationship among activities and therefore is less tetailed than a PERT chart. (see PERT)
A transfer of money or other assets from a government, organization, or person to another organization or person so that the latter can achieve some particular, broad function or purpose (typically, to educate or otherwise improve the well-being of people and cultural institutions).
Skill at developing proposals for project funding. Includes abilities in research design, needs assessment, problem-solving, comunication, writing, sales, planning, and political and administrative activity, and knowledge about potential sources of funds.
Grass-Roots Organizing
Community social work method directed toward helping community members develop shared goals, strengthen their relationships, and organize in a way that will help them achieve their goals. The emphasis is on organizing al people who will be affected by a change, rather than just the community's leaders. It differs from a more bureaucratic means to social change, or one involving decisions that come from power centers in the community.
Hawthorne Effect
The concept that organizations change, regardless of its intent or content, produces a positive effect on worker motivation and/or performance.
Helping Network
For example, a "natural helping network." A linkage of individuals, groups, families, organizations, government offices, social agencies, etc. who work together or alone to provide an individual with the resources, information, and supports he /she needs to fulfill a need or resolve a problem. Unlike social networks, helping networks are linked only by the help they give.
Horizontal Community
Community in which units are linked at the local levels. This type of community (e.g., small town) was once very common in the U.S.
Impact Analysis
A policy evaluation technique used to measure the effect of a new social policy or law; indicates the extent to which the targeted community has been affected.
Incentive contracting
Procedure used by public agencies to improve the quality and delivery of services. The contractor (provider) is promised more compensation if his/her services meet specific time and quality standards.
Used in socail planning. Involves compromising and reaching agreements based on the needs and wishes of various political and pluralistic forces.
Informal Helping Groups
Informal self-help (mutual assistance) community groups that help people cope with stress and other problems. For example: "Close-Knit networks" consist of mutual friendships and kinship connections and provide important social support to individuals. "Helping social networks" allow individuals to give and receive support for a specific problem. Their concerns are specialized, membership is heterogenous, and members lack other common values. "Loose-knit social networks" are heterogenous, temporary, and non-intimate, and operate primarily in employment settings and neighborhoods or else as transitional forms of group life.
Indirect practice
Professional social work activities that don't involve direct or personal contact with the clients being served (e.g., administration, research, policy development, education). Indirect practice is as important as direct practice because it makes the latter more efficient.
Input-Output Analysis
Graphic Illustration on the linkages among organizations. Allows policy planners and others to see which organizations have overlapping resources and which agencies operate alone, with little or no interaction with other organizations. Involves listing all agencies along both horizontal and vertical axes and noting the frequency of their contact with one another.
In-service Training
A training or educational program offered to employees by their employer. Training is typically in skills and knowedge related to job performance.
Institutional-Relations Group
Community groups that mediate the relationships between institutions and individuals (e.g., trade unions, civ rights groups). They may help a community organizer whose goal is to help serve consumers meet their needs and protect their interests. Simular to organizations, these groups have a stable structure, rules and procedures, and a specialized sense of purpose.
Integrated Communities
A "well-intergrated" community is associated with a low rate of mental disorders. Indicators of high integration indlude: Strong community associations and groups; able and adequate leadership; diverse recreational and leisure opportunities; cohesive informal social networks; high income level and stable incomes; differences between cultures are acknowledged and resolved; and religios and spiritual values are emphasized.
Interorganizational Collaboration
Entails professionals from two or more agencies woking together to make decisions and provide services to one client: by collaborating, the professionals can provide a wider range of services than one agency or professional could provide working alone. The collaboration may be integrated (the professionals are working towards one goal and a central mechanism is supervising the work towar that goal), or loose (the professionals only communicate about how they are pursuig their individual goals for the client).
Intersectoral Planning
A social planning method that involves obtaining an overall view of problems and groups to facilitate cooperative efforts among organizations that deal with the same issue or problem (i.e., among organizations involved in sectoral planning).
Job Analysis
A process determining how a job differs from other jobs in terms of required responsibilities, activities, and skills. The first step in the development of a predictor: used to identify behaviors necessary for satisfactory job performance and to identify appropriate criterion measures.
Job Evaluaton
An analysis of job requirements for the purpose of setting wages.
Job Motivation
The physical and mental energy exerted to achieve a goal. Along with ability, a determinant of job performance.
Job Satisfaction
The attitude of the worker towars his/her job. Although positively correlated with performance, correlation coefficients are typically very low. Job satisfaction is inversely related to absenteeism and turnover.
Joint Budgeting
Financial relationship in which two or more organizaions are linked when making finaicla decisions about current and future services. For example, two family planning clinics may join together to privide adoption services: instead o each incurring the expense of an adoption program, the agencies link their resouces for one program, thereby eliminating duplicate services and reducing their expenses.
Joing Funding
Linkage between organizations in which two or more providers or to or more funding services fund a project or service together.
Labor Intensive
Organizations in which the greatest expenditures is for staffing. Also, companies and organizations in which a larg number of employees is needed to provide services or other products (e.g., social service agencies).
1. Related to social policy; a system in which the government interferes as little as possiblein the economy, and financial incentives lead citizens to provide servies (e.g. as in capitalism) 2. In social service organizations, a leadership style in which lower-level staff in the organization are allowed to function with as little interference from management as possible.
Lane Report
Based on a 1939 study (Robert P. Lane) of community organization; the report persuaded the social work profession to include community organization as one of its main practice methods, along with social casework and social group work.
Legislative Advocacy
Process of influecing the progress or content of a legislative proposal such as a bill. May entail using specific legislative advocacy tactics or mobilizing community groups.
Legislative Advocacy Tacticts
Techniques used to influence lawmakers to pass, defeat, or change a piece of legislation. For example, to influence lawmakers to pass a bill, advocates may clearly define the problem addressed by the bill: provide clear information to committee members; help sponsors get the bill throuhg the legislative process; mobilize constituencies; etc.
Line Item Budgeting
Finaical planning technique in which each proposed expense for a given year is listed and may be comared to the amount spent on the same item in the pervious year. Includes specific items, such as utilities and rent, and not tied to performance.
Bringing together the resources of different agencies, voluntary groups, and individuals, and organizing their eforts on behalf of a client or a goal.
Live Supervision
Educational technique used by supervisors to enhance social workers' skills. Involves observing the social worker in session with a client by using one way-way-mirrors, siting in on the sessions, etc. The supervisor notes specific points in the interaction, makes suggestions, gives instructions, etc. based on his/her observation.
Locality (Community) Development Model
Community organizing model that focuses on promoting economic and social development for the whole community and helping the community to help itself. The client system includes all groups within a geograhic-spatial community, and community power centers are viewed as potential collaborators in an action, leadership, education and democratic process
Loose Coupling
The notion that, although an oragnization is interdependent with its environment (coupled), its responses to environmental forces can be flexible (i.e., they don't have to be signiicant or immediate because effects from the environment tend to be gradual and unclear).
Macro Orientation
Orientation to social work that emphasizes the sociopolitical, economic, historical, and environmental factors that affect the human condition. These factors either cause problems for humans or afford them opportunities for growth, satisfaction, and justice.
Macro Practice
Social work activities that emphasize problem-solving and developmental activities in the social environment. Macro social workers use their skills to improve and change society in general. Macro practice activities include planning, administration, evaluation, and community organizing. See also mezzo and micro practice.
Maintenance Activities
In social welfare administration, those activities are concerned with efficiency; include tasks that ensure the survival of the organization, such as problem-solving, maintenance of resources, standardization of procedures, and control and coordination of agency functions.
Management By Objectives (MBO)
An organizational development technique based on goal-setting theory. MBO emphasizes the establishment of measurable, concrete goals, the participation of subordinates in goal-setting, and frequent feedback to subordinates about their goal accomplishment. In MBO budgeting, goals are the basis for budgeting, and the relative contributions of different activities to achieving these goals determine spending priorities.
Management Information Systems
Used by administrators to keep track of and comunicate all information related to the organization's goals and objectives. In social servie agencies, MISs are used to promote and maintain intraorganizational communication about programs, activities, and client services.
Manpower Planning
Managerial process involing identifying the problems and staffing requirements of an organization, determining objectives related to these probems and requirements and the activities needed to achieve them, assessing job tasks, creating positios and criteria for job achievement, and providing continued traiining of employees.
Market Strategy
Policy development concept that the free enterprise system can provide all the necessary social servies without the need for delivery systems of centralization. Some believe this approach accommodates only the privledged, and neglects those in need.
Associated with community organizing. An intervention into disagreeents between groups, designed to help them setle their differences, find compromises, or reach mutually satisfying agreements.
Merit System
Organizational rules and policies that base opportunities for promotions and job security on performance.
Mezzo Practice
Level of social work practice that usually takes place with small groups and families. Activities empahsize facilitating communication, medication, and negotiation, educating, and bringing people together.
Micro Practice
Level of social work practice that usually takes place on a case-by-case basis or in a clinical setting. Micro social workers use their technical skills t help solve the psychological problems of indivdiuals, families, or small groups.
Minimum Needs Estimation
Methods used by socil welfare planners to set income proverty lines - the least amount of housing, food, clothing and goods needed for survival.
Natual Helping Networks
Informal linkage amoung professinals who voluntarily provide services and other help to people in need and the people to whom they provide the help. Usually include members of a needy person's family, neighbors, co-workers, church members, co-members of associations or social classes, or altruistic people in the community.
Physical, psychological, economic, cultural, and social requirements for survival, fulfillment and well-being. There are several types of needs: 1. Normative needs - what a person needs in order to attain a level of well-being that meets the stanards of his/her community or culture. 2. Perceived needs - what individuals believe they must have to achieve an acceptable level of well-being. 3 Expressed Needs - how many people perceive themselves to have the need. 4 Relative needs - what people need in order to attain an acceptable level of well-being as compared to the resources available to people to meet these needs.
Needs Analysis
A process for determining job performance requirements and employee performance deficits before developing a training program.
Needs Assessment (NA)
Technique used to evaluate client needs in terms of problems, existing resources, potential solutions, and obstacles to problem-solving. The purpose is to document client needs and determine priorities for servie. Information for needs assessment comes from sources such as existing records, surveys, and interviews.
Need Group
Associated with community organizing. Individuals who are familiar wth a problem through personal experiene. These people are often included in groups that are planning ways of helping others with a simular problem.
Used in community organizing and other forms of social work. Involves uniting opposing groups and organizations for them to communicate and bargin with each other, compromise, and arive at mutually acceptable agreements.
Need Hierarchy Theory
The theory that all human behavior (icluding job performance) is motivated by needs that are arranged in the following hierarchial order: Physiological, safety, social ego, sel-actualization
Nominal Group Tecnhinque
Organizational development method used to evaluate problems, needs, interests, or objectives. In a meeting, participaants write issues on cards, which are then posted and considered by the group. Alternative actions are discused in terms of costs, availability, acceptability etc.
NVP Analysis ( Net Present Value Analysis)
Program planning and budgeting method that evaluates programs according to the difference between the current value of their benefits and the costs needed over time to achieve those benefits. An alternative to cost-benefit analysis
Opportunity Costs
Associated with social planning. The value of the recources that must be used to achieve a certain goal as weighted agains the cost of other opportunities that would have been abandoned to achieve that goal.
Organizational Development
Encompasses a number of organizational change method designed to increase organizational effectiveness. Although there are many types of OD interventions, most share the following characteristicts (Wexley and Yukl, 1984). : 1 Involvement of the entire organizational change methods designed to increase organizational effectiveness. Although there are many types of OD interventions, most share the following characteristicts (Wexley and Yukl, 1984): 1. Involvement of the entire organization 2. Adoption of a systems approach and a humanistic philosophy: 3. Commitment and support of top management: 4. use of third-party "change-agent" (consultant); 5 focus on groups rather than individuals 6. emphasis on goal-setting and problem-setting: 7. reliance on experimental learning ; and 8 view of OD as an ongoing long-term process.
Organizational Theory
A set of concepts that tries to describe how organizations discharge their functions. for example, the "classical approach" emphasizes bureaucratic structure, while the "human relations approach" emphasizes the relationship between an organization's goals and its workers social needs. The structuralist or systems approachs view organizations as adaptivve structures in a changing environment.
Organizational-Development Groups
Community groups with large and fluid memberships that serve to introduce people to others with simular interests. Group activities may include rallies, or demonstrations. These groups may help a community organizer enlarge a constituency, broaden support, and develop new coalitions.
Outcome Evaluation
Evaluation that assess whether a program is achieving its objectives and whether the outcomes are due to the program's interventions. May be based on research or client reports.
Paried Comparision
A comparative method of performance appraisal in which the rather compares each employee with every other employee. Useful for eliminating certain rater biases.
Individuals with specialized training and knowledge who work with and are supervised by professionals, and who perform many tasks that used to be done by the professionals. For example social work associates.
Participative Management
A decision-making method used by some administrators involving the participation of all who are likely to be affected by the proposed change. Involves obtaining voluntary consensus and commitment.
Path-Goal Theory
A theory of leadeship that proposes that effective leadership is related to the leader's ability to help employees identify and achieve personal goals through the achievement of organizational goals.
Performance Budgeting
Administrative budgeting method that distributes resources based on expected or existing results (outcomes) rather than on the costs needed to maintain current structures.
Permanency Planning
Child welfare stragegy used to provide alternative to tempory foster care placement through organized efforts to provide long-term continuity in the care of dependent childern
PERT (Program Evaluation Review Technique)
Management technique used to systematically relate goals to the means of achieving them. PERT assesses program objectives, the activities, resources, and time needed to achieve the objectives and the order in which the objectives should be performed.
In community organizing; refers to a division in an organization's membership due to disputes over an issue or policy. Such a division often lead to a deadlockin the organization's ability to make decions. A skilled social worker can use polarization to the organization's advantage by emphasizing the differenes between the grups, thereby encouraging stronger rivaries, greater involvement, and more powerful coalitions. This can lead to organizational improvements in each group, allowing them to achieve their original objectives.
A written idea ratified by a legitimate authority that represents a guide to acthion and results from the policy process.
Policy Analysis
Appraisal of a policy and how it was developed (e.g., is the policy fair, legal, feasible). According to Gilbert and Specht (1986), three ways of analyzing policies are : 1 Study the process (the sociopolitical variables related to policy formation)2. study the product (the values and assumptions that underlie policy choices) and 3 study performance (cost-benefit outcomes of a policy after ithas been implemented).
Policy Decision-Making Theories
Theories used to explain how policy decisions are made. For example 1. Decision process model - decision-making is a process in which final decisons are the product of a series of interactions between many systems that all have a stake in the outcome. 2. Traditional model - citizens develop planning groups , hire a planner, make rational decisions and submit fair plans. 3. Power pyramid model- business leaders influence politicians and impose decisions on people lower in the social structure.
Policy Process
Process of policy planning and implementation which has been described by some in terms of a cycle consisting of five interrelated steps. 1. Problem phase, when the problem is defined 2. proposal development phase, when suggestions for dealing with the problem is defined. 3. decision phase, when one of the proposals is accepted, or "ratified" ; 4 planning and program design phase, when the ratified policy is expanded and objectives are specified in preparation for implementing the policy; and 5 programming and evaluation phase, when the policy is operating and its effectiveness is evaluated.
Policy Statement
A formal explanation of the policies that guide an organization.
Political Action
Organized eforts to influece legislative, social causes, and elcetions. Samples activities include lobbying and testifying before legislative comittees.
Political Activism
Participating in efforts to influecne the decision and positions of elected officials, civil servants, and the electorate. Sample activities include voter registration drives, social consciousness-raising, running for political office, and engaging in a media campaign.
Power Group
The individuals in a community who have the greatest access to resources and who, due to their social status, influece the decisons made on behalf of the community. These individuals are often political leaders, financial and industrial exectutives , clergy members and indigenous community leaders.
Planning and budgeting technique that relates spending to outputs (services) rather than inputs (capital, etc.), and specifies objectives and measures progress in terms of end products. The essential concept is that each program component included in a budget must carry a stated objective: this way, the spending can be justified in terms of how a program's various activities contribute to its overall objecties. The focus is on a program's individual components and how each fits in terms of a cost-benefit analysis into an overall, long-range plan. Agencies using this process must analysize their goals, priorities, and capabilities every year.
Primary Group
Informal community groups (e.g., families, peer groups, neighborhoods) that emphasize long-term emotional relationships. Their purpose is to mee the emotional and social needs of their members, but a primary grou mayalso be concerned with changing institutions.
Primary Prvention
Communit mental heath intervenins aimed at reducing the prevalence of mental disorders by reducing the incidence of new cases. Examplse include prenatal nutrition programs for lower SES mothers and public education programs on drug abuse.
Private Social Agencies
Nonprofit agencies funded by voluntaryand philanthropic contributions and money from government grants, and providing personal social servies to members of a target group. These usually have elected board members who establish the agency's policy and represent the community.
Program Evaluation
In social work, assessment carried out to obtain information that can be used to improve social programs and social service accountability. Involving using applied social research to discover the extent to which social programs are carried out efficiently and effectively.
Proprietary Social Agencies
Agencies,usually owned or staffed by social workers and other professionals, that attempt to make profit by providing a certain social service.
Protective Services
Intervention on behalf of individuals who may be in danger of harm from others or who are unable to care for themselves (e.g., childern, the elderly, the handicapped). Main activities include investigating situations in which a person is alleged to be at risk, minimizing further risk, improving current conditions, accessing resources, and facilitating placement in alternative environments when necessary.
Phase-of-Service (POS) Agreement
Finaicla arrangement between two or more social agencies or between an agencyand government organization. Often consists of a contract between one agency that has funds and another agency that can provide certain servies. Allows the purchaser agency to exapnd its servies, and the provider agency to otbain more funds and exapand its services.
Quality Assurance
A.K.A Quality Control. Procedures and steps undertaken by an organization to determine whether its goods and servies meet the standards established for them. Quality assurance programs usually examine whether professionals complied with standards rahter tan the outcome of their services. Quality assurance procedures for social workers include the need for adequate education frm an accredited school of social work, supervision, licensing and certification, and continuing education requirements. For the professon, sample procedures include the code of ethids, peer review,utilization reivew, program evaluation, professional sanctions, and lawsuits.
Quality Circles
Management technique involving regular problem-solving meetings of groups of employee volunteers who share simular tasks. Employees are allowed to reach decisions without organizational interference. Employees ingisthg into problems is considered significant.
Recurrent Expenditures
Salaries, supply costs, and other costs incurred by an organization on a regular basis
Resource Mobilization
Process of consolidating and making available on organization's assets, including it existing funds, the funds to be raised, its information base, its personnel and volunteers, and the knowedge and skills of its board members. To accomplish this, the organization must be clear about its mission and needs, identify its target population, and communicate this information to the public.
Respite Care
Involves temporarily taking over the duties of an individual who takes care of another person at home. The goal is to give the caretaker a break from his/her responsibilities in order to reduce tension and allow him/her to take care of other business or personal crisis. Another goal is to keep the client out of institutional care.
"Respondeat Superior" Doctrine
Denies the legal liability of supervisors (and employers) for the job-related actions of their supervisees (for employees). Social work suervisors may be held liable (along with supervisees) for supervisee actions that damage a client.
Associated with community organizing. Decision-making among divergent groups in which the choosen alternative is a compromise rather than the best possible choice. It keeps groups processing toward their goals.
Scientific Management
Management theory that advocates the use of scientific methods to achieve improved worker efficiency and productivity.
Scientific Method
Strict precise steps used to collect facts when conducting research i.e., 1. operationally definng the method to be used to measure the problem 2. pre-defining the standards that wil be used to reject the research hypothesis. 3. using reliable and valid research tools. 4. including all cases or a representative sample in observation measurements 5 allowing public inspectoin of methods and findings and providing enough detail to allow replication of the research and 6 basing conclusions only on factors that are supported by the research results.
Secondary Prevention
Community mental health intervenion that attempts to reduce the prevalance of mental disorders by reducing their duration through early detection and intervention; e.g., training teachers to recognize the early signs of behavior disorders and 24 hour emergency services such as walk-in clinics and hotlines.
Sectoral Planning
Social Planning concerning a specific population, often focusing on a particular locality or population (e.g., the disabled).
Social Action
Organized effort to bring about institutional change; the goal is usually to meet a certain need, address a social problem, correct an injustice, or improve the quality of life. An effort may be organized by professionals or by the people who are directly affected by the desired change or the problem.
Social Action Model
Community organizing model that focuses on redistributing power and resources via institutional change. The client system is a segment of the community that has expereinced social injustice and therefore has difficulty making demands in the larger society. Community power cetners are the targets of social change.
Social Agency
Organizatons providing social services under the ausspicies of a board of directors. An agency has bylaws that determine which clients it will serve, what problems it will fight, and what methods it will use in providing service; thus it provides a specific set of services to a certain population that has or is vulnerable to a specific social problem. The board of directors estblishes the policies for the agency, and adminiistrators supervise line staff as they implement the policies on a day-to-day-basis. An agency is accountable to its board and may be funded by philanthropic donations, privately solicited donations, the government, fees paid by clients or third-party-payments.
Social Control
Systematic efforts of a society or its citizens to preserve a stable social order and manage social change.
Social Inddicatiors
Comprehensive social planning technique involving measuring in numerical terms, environmental, societal, and demographic factors.
Social Legislation
Laws and resource distributions that provide for human welfare needs, income security, education and cultural progress, civil rights, consumer protections, and programs that deal with social problems.
Social Networks
Groups or individuals connected by a common bond, common social status, simular functions, or a geographical or cultural association. These networks are temporay and develop on an as-needed-basis. Examples include support systems, natural helping networks, and grup organizatons that deal with a common problem.
Social Planning
Use of organized procedures to achieve desired socioeconomic structures and to manage social change in a rational way. Usually includes assigning an individual or organization to collect facts, defining service courses of action, andmaking recommendations to those with power to carry out the plan.
Social Planning Model
Community organizing model that often fouss on providing needed gods and services. This is a technical process and therefore empahsizes fact-gathering, rational decison-making and regulated change by experts, usually with the backing of an existing organization. The client system is a functional community, which may include all residents or a geographic-spatial community or one of its segments. Community power centers are regulated as potentioal sponsors of social programs.
Social Policy
Broadly defined to include almostall government decisions that affect quality of life and welfare of peole. Focuses on using or changing social relationships and on disadvantaged people, and is collective in terms of both resource use and meetin needs.
Socialization Groups
Community groups that influecne members by teaching the beliefs, values, motives, and skills accepted by the community.
Span of Control
Measure of 1. The amount of time required for effective supervision of staff and 2. The number of staff and activities under the jurisdiction of one administrator.
An organizatoin's efforts to preserve and improve its staff effectiveness. Indludes recruiting and hiring applicants and volunteers, promoting, transferring, and firing employees, and providing staff development.
Strategic Marketing
Technical method for defining the market that a program or agency will serve. Divides publics according to demographic, geographic, functional and psychological factors. Publics include inputs (those who supply resources), outputs (clients receiving services). and throughputs (those who turn resources into services). (Lauffer, 1978).
Strategic Planning
Process for specifying long-range goals and the ways they may be accomplished. May lead to service or program modifications. Goal-settng includes identifying the intervention target, related value considerations, the backing for the intervention, feasibility, and the connections among relevant parts of the social system. Goal definition provides the basis for assessing alternative means of goal attainment.
Structured Interview
In employee selecton, interview format involving the use of predetermined questions designed to obtain information that has been found to be related to job performance. Associated with higher levels of validity than nonstructured interviews.
Summative Evaluation
A review of existing programs that compares them to other existing programs. Results are generalized to other programs, situatos and populations and are relevant to decisions regarding the closing of existing programs or opening of other programs similar to the one that was evaluated.
Sunk Costs
Associated with social welfare planning and administration: the amount of effort and time used to develop, maintain, and facilitate current relationships, power, structure, and standard ways of operating in an organization.
In agencies, an educatioal and administrative procedure used to help social workers develop and improve their skills; also provides quality assurance for clients. Educational supervision, which is geared toward professional concerns and related to specific cases, is different from administrative supervision, which is geared toward agency policy and public accountability.
Systemic Requisites
Associated with policy development and community organizing. The identification of current and future programs and resources and their subsequent linkage to enhance service quality and availability and avoid service duplication.
Tactics of Influence
Associated with community organizing and social activism. Actions designed to indluece relevant individuals to adopt one policy over another. Examples include holding case conferences with organizations and individuals to determine needs, gathering information, participating in committees, providing expert testimony, workig as a lobbyist, etc.
Target Segments of Society
Associated with policy development and social planning. Particular groups of peole who are most likely to hve a certain social problem or who are given special attention in intervention efforts.
Task Groups
Meetings in agencies that facilitate agency goals. These groups provide a forum for staff members to exchange information and give and receive feedback, for the distribution of tasks, for planning and decision-making, for problem-solving, and for the provision of support to agency personnel. Skillful leadership in meetings by administrators is essential for making sure that meetings are productive, task-oriented and satisfying to staff members.
Tertiary Prevention
Community mental health intervention that attempts to reduce the duration of mental disorders by reducing their duration and consequences; e.g., rehabilitation programs and halfway houses.
Structured or unstructured training group emphasizing open communication, self-development,and cooperative problem-solving. Participants are usually employees of one organization.
Theory X
Management approach that assumes that employees are inherently lazy, incapable of self-discipline and seek to avoid work and, therefore, must be externally controlled and motivated. Simular to traditional scientific management.
Theory Y
Management approach that assmes that employees are capable of autonomy, are primarily self-motivated and will naturally integrate personal goals with those of the organization. Simular to human relations model.
Total Quality Management (TQM)
An approach to organizational management in which quality (as defined by consumers) is the predominant goal, and consmer satisfaction, worker empowerment, and long-term relationships underlie decisions about procedures.
Utilization Review
Method of service evaluation that assesses the kind and amount of service that exists and is provided n order to determine if the service is warrented. May be used to determine over- or underutilization of services. Most often conducted when an agency receives governmental or other outside funding.
Vertical Community
Community in which local units are functionally associated with "extracommunity" systems (units outside the local community). Results in less autonomy and cohesion. This orientation is increasingly common in U.S. communities.
Zero-Based Budgeting
Budgeting technique in which, instead of using as a basis the prevous year's allocation, every program component begins the year with a "zero"budget allocation: in other words, each program component must justify its allocation for the current budget. Administrators don't simply evaluate whether to increase or decrease funding for the program component, but rather consider the organization's objectives and the means for achieving them.
Zero Sum Orientation
Administrative orientation proposing that the amount of available resources is relatively stable, so that if one agency, organization etc. spends more money or uses more resources, another agency must, in equal proportion, reduce its sue of funds and resources.

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