The perception of community work approach by the frontline workers of the outreaching social work teams

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The perception of community work approach by the frontline workers of the outreaching social work teams


Author: Chan, Wai-leung
Title: The perception of community work approach by the frontline workers of the outreaching social work teams
Degree: M.A.
Year: 1998
Subject: Social workers -- China -- Hong Kong
Social work with youth -- China -- Hong Kong
Social service -- China -- Hong Kong
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Applied Social Studies
Pages: v, 101 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record:
Abstract: "Community work approach" is a suggested working approach by the Operation Manual for the Outreaching Social Workers (1988). But there is rare study on what community work approach is in the outreaching social work. In view of this, this paper aimed at examining the perception of community work approach by the frontline workers of outreaching social work teams. Three specific objectives were proposed. The first one was to explore how the frontline workers perceive the community work approach. Secondly, based on the findings, the researcher intended to examine to what extent the community work approach was tackling the external environment and discussed the role of community work approach in the outreaching social work. A quantitative survey was used to collect the data. Structured questionnaires were administrated to all frontline workers by mail except social work officers. The structured questionnaire was constructed from the data obtained from two focus groups. Each of the focus groups consisted of six participants. They were those outreach workers who had more than one years of experience in the service. A continuum was constructed to analyse the community work approach. The two extreme points within the continuum were: the individual change approach which gave treatment to individual who was malfunctioning and the interacting approach which reformed the external environment within the status quo and the structural change approach which advocated the redistribution of power and resources. The findings revealed that individual change approach got a significant weight in community work approach. This was typically revealed on the dimension of intervention task. The findings indicated that the frontline workers perceived most and often performed tasks by them were to enhance the self functioning and develop the potential of individuals. The findings of the objectives, the roles and the intervention tasks showed that those items which related to interacting approach, such as triggering more community concern, more community resources and better understanding between the individuals and the systems, were usually got a higher percentage than items which were related to structural change approach. It showed that in tackling the external environment, frontline workers considered an interacting approach rather than structural change approach. Some problems hindering the community work approach were also identified. Working with other systems was the most often reported problem by the respondents. Other reported problems were scare resources, limitations of casework setting, characteristics of the clients and lack of knowledge. It was concluded that in tackling external environment, the role of community work approach was rather conservative. It seldom advocated policy changes. Very often, it was perceived as an working approach to advocate minor change within the status quo so that there would be more community concern, community resources and better understanding. More importantly, it was regarded by the frontline workers as a means to enhance the self-functioning or the potential of individuals rather than modify the external environment. The study suggested that the outreaching social work should adopt a more balance role when using community work approach. That was to take up the role of advocating fundamentally change in the distribution of power and resources.

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