The handbook of social research methods

RESPONSE 1

Respond to at least two colleagues by doing all of the following:

  • Offer an analysis of their evaluations and subsequent      recommendation. Note both strengths and areas that could be improved. 
  • Identify areas where your own original recommendations or      evaluation was similar to or different from your colleagues’ original      evaluation and explain why.

Colleague 1: Kamran

Chris the social worker and her team of caseworkers are using a strategy that blends elements of geriatric case management with short-term treatment methods, they are primarily using the solution-focused and task-centered models. As part of their continuous practice, the team regularly conducts practice evaluations.  To evaluate its practice approach, the team used a multiple-baseline, single-subject design. Each of the full-time case managers on the team selected one client new to the caseload to participate in the study. The research project is explained to clients by their respective case manager and sign informed consent paperwork in order to participate. As part of the practice process, the case manager uses clinical rating scales that are adapted from the task-centered model. At the beginning of each client meeting, the case manager and client collaboratively evaluate how well the practice steps or tasks that are undertaken by the client and/or case manager were completed using a 10-point clinical scale. While concurrently, they evaluated changes to the respective client problems, also using a 10-point clinical scale (Plummer Makris & Brocksen, 2014b).

The outcome of Chris’s study with her client George would lead me to adopt this model of case management with solution focused and task-centered approaches because the basic logic underlying single subject research (SSR) is straightforward. Data on the behavior of interest which is collected over a period of time until the baseline rate is clearly established.  The intervention then introduced as data continue to be collected. Repeated measurement of the dependent variables over a period of time, is central to SSR. being accurate with high levels of control and validity (Mattaini, 2010). Also, Chris and her team met many quality indicators, that must be present and adequately addressed for a study to be a credible example of single-subject research which includes a description of participants and setting, dependent variable, independent variable, baseline, experimental control/internal validity, external validity, and social validity (Tankersley, Cook, & Cook, 2008). Chris and her team are doing clinical practice research by using a single-subject design because they are fairly easy to implement and can provide very useful information on a case level. While their empirical strength is often considered weak, their applicability and usefulness make them a good method for clinical practice and, if following multiple baseline designs, they can provide good research data as well (Plummer, Makris & Brocksen, 2014b).

I believe that Chris and her team’s research and the data that they recorded in the study and outcomes are adequate to be considered as evidenced-based research in order to support some types of programs. If Chris and her coworkers wanted to submit the study to an evidence-based practice registry, they may be required to develop and add an evaluation segment to their documentation. Other factors that Chris’s team should consider is how individuals with certain characteristics will respond to the intervention, and how the sampling variability was done. The study Chris and her colleagues conducted is I believe is sufficient to state that it is a form of evidence-based practice. The study might have met their needs for their organization, although it could use more detail in many aspects of their research process to be considered an actual program in an evidenced-based registry (Dudley, 2010).

References

Dudley, J. R. (2014). Social work evaluation: Enhancing what we do. (2nd ed.) Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books. Chapter 9, “Is the Intervention Effective?” (pp. 226-244)

Mattaini, M. A.(2010). Single-system studies. In B. Thyer (Ed.). The handbook of social research methods (2nd ed., p.241-273). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. (PDF)

Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen S. (Eds.). (2014b). Social work case studies: Concentration year. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing. [Vital Source e-reader]. Social Work Research: Single Subject (pp. 70–72)

Tankersley, M., Cook, B. G., & Cook, L. (2008). A preliminary examination to identify the presence of quality indicators in single-subject research. Education & Treatment of Children, 31(4), 523–548.

Colleague 2: Rachel

Chris is a MSW for a geriatric case management program that wants to evaluate the effectiveness of short-term treatment approach, combining case management was solution-focused and task-centered goals with a practice approach of a multiple-baseline, single-subject design.  Chris is client, George enter the program after he was hospitalized for fainting in public. There was no medical reasoning for his feet other than signs of slight cognitive impairments and dementia.  The caseworker did an assessment of needs for the client which included personal care, decrease in mobility, and longer-term planning around living arrangement and home safety. At the beginning of each session, the client and social worker evaluated the task-centered approach on a 10 point scale.  The results showed that most needs were at least partially addressed and some task were completed.  The outcome of Chris’s study with her client George would lead me to adopt the model of case management which solution focused on task centered approach is because it is a collaborative approach including the client. The client is able to generate task with the social worker that are measurable and reachable.  George previously lost his wife two years ago, so the task centered model would help to keep him busy with a smaller chance of depression symptoms.  Also, the social worker and client are collaboratively scoring the task at the beginning of each session which allows the client to review his progress.  One recommendation for improvement Chris could consider is treatment for his slight cognitive impairments and dementia. These factors could greatly improve his scores each session. Due to these factors, he could be doing great at completing tasks at home, but may not be able to recall during his sessions.  Although I would personally adopt this model, if Chris wanted to submit their intervention to an evidence-based registry, she would have to provide more research (Plummer, Makris, & Brocksen, 2014).

Reference:

Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen S. (Eds.). (2014b). Social work case studies: Concentration year. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing. [Vital Source e-reader].“Social Work Research: Single Subject” (pp. 70–72)

 

RESPONSE 2

Respond to at least two colleagues by addressing an example in each colleague’s post in at least one of the following ways:

  • Suggest a strategy for addressing a situation that your      colleague described in one of his or her examples. 
  • Offer additional thoughts regarding the impact of the interaction      described in the example.

Colleague 1: MaShunda

How a social work administrator’s personal leadership philosophy style may influence a human service organization culture

The culture of an organization can affect how business if being completed with stakeholders, clients, workers and the community. Leadership philosophy style can dictate and affect the culture of an organization. If the culture of administration is Authoritarian, others may find that while the administration is well organized,  it can also be controlling and individuals are not allowed to have a say in what is taking place within the organization which can diminish how a person views his or goals within the organization (Northhouse, 2018). Example, when I worked for the Department of Social Services we were not allowed to socialize with colleagues, we had to always share with our supervisor what we were doing (even share when we were going to the restroom), we had a set quota of work that needed to be completed each day (even if you were the person that was doing intake for the day), and workers were never given the opportunity to share their concerns. This made for a very stressful work environment and a high turnover rate within the department. On the other hand, this could be the perfect administration for someone just starting out in the human service field, due to the authoritarian style being more structure it will a good learning environment (Northhouse, 2018).

In a Democratic organization, administration shows a willingness to assist each other and work together to complete a common goal. This organization may not be as organized as an authoritative organization but does give individuals that opportunity to grow, is goal orientated, and work with followers (Northhouse, 2018). Example, in the organization that I currently work for I am a community-based worker so supervision is minimal most of the time. The company is very knowledgeable about staff goals and always attempts to assist staff in reaching their goals.   Workers make their own schedules but meet with supervisors weekly to discuss how administration challenges impact their work. Although I am in the field, I still feel as if I am apart of the organization and that may need are being met. Most of the individuals that I have met while working with this organization have been there for years due to the administration often hiring from within and learning staff goals and strengths. The downside is that there is no real structure because you are by yourself most of the time and the individuals have to be task-oriented to ensure that agency and client expectation are met.

Explain how the organization’s culture might influence a social worker administrators personal leadership style

An administrator leadership style is often times dictated by the culture of the organization. As an administrator, I have found that my personal leadership style is more on the Democratic side so working within an organization that has a totally authoritative culture is a little difficult for me at times. I like to take into consideration what is taking place with followers, learn the strengths of staff and make adjustments accordingly and in an authoritative culture, this is not always acceptable behavior. Also, I come from an educational career path so I love teachable moments and to assist individuals with reaching goals. I do believe in meeting the needs of the agency but in my opinion, you don’t have to be authoritative to get the job done. I feel as if I cannot share my thoughts or creative side then I am doing the agency or organization and injustice and stifling the chances of growth.

Explain how interactions with stakeholders may ultimately impact the organization’s treatment of clients

In dealing with stakeholders that sway more to towards the Theory X way of doing business, the organization may not take into consideration how the client feels or if client needs are always being met. Theory X stakeholder may only see the bottom line which could take away the human side of dealing with a client in the community or office setting. Stakeholders taking on this style may not have much communication with clients because they are only sharing with organization how they need to address clients.

If stakeholders are more of the Theory Y type, then the client may be apart of addressing how the organization does business. In this setting, stakeholders may take the time to build relationships with the clients and become aware of personal and environmental needs. These stakeholders may be very in tune with the needs of the client by may be less in tune as to how the company should be structured to meet such needs.

Reference

Northhouse, P. G. (2018). Introduction To Leadership Concepts and Practice. Fourth Edition. Washington, D.C: Sage.

Colleague 2: Daneilia

Personal Leadership Philosophy and Style

A social work administrator’s leadership philosophy and style may influence a human services organization’s culture by the nature and behavior of the work executed (Northouse, 2018).  The social work administrator can be influential through one’s demeanor and thought process.  For example, as an administrator, I believe that individuals will work if I am motivated and can do the things I ask others to do.  Therefore, emphasizing I understand the job, or I am willing to learn the job, and I am open to suggestions or opinions.

The Organization’s Culture Influence Leadership Style

The organization’s culture can be an influential component in one’s leadership style.  If the organization’s focus is on interaction with people, then the leader may take on a relationship style.  Relationship style is defined by the moment when interacting with another individual or group (Northouse, 2018).  The leader might not be an extremely social person, but because of the work environment, the leader might socially project themselves.  Alternatively, depending on the agency, the culture may lean on laissez-faire, and it is a to each their own and everyone is self-sufficient.  A leader in this situation might have to take down a high functioning style to a relaxed, laid-back style.

Interactions with Stakeholders Are Influential

Interactions with stakeholders such as community members are influential to the impact on the treatment of clients.  If community members feel that there may be the unjust treatment of clients or that a policy needs to be reformed to give more efficient coverage, the delivery of services may need altering.  There is a possibility of missing something during a client’s session that is dominantly seen in a majority of the clients’ sessions.  The organization’s staff may have issues with the practices used to treat clients.  The staff might have findings of the specific practices used by the organization not efficient for the use of the population in which one treats.  Therefore, the request to use various other practices or incorporating other resources during therapy may be encouraged or demanded.

Reference

Northouse, P. G. (2018). Introduction to leadership: Concepts and practice (4th ed.). Washington, DC: Sage.

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