In order to deliver competent service, the social work practitioner must have an understanding of the organizational structure, culture, and behavior of the agency in which they work. The purpose of this assignment is to describe and critically analyze the structure and culture of an agency (this can be your field placement or another agency in which you worked or are working). Applying concepts from organizational theory, class readings, and other material, discuss how the organization’s structure and culture influence the agency’s development, practice, and response to change. You are to assume the role of a “consultant” as you work on this assignment. As a consultant, you will examine agency documents, observe agency processes, and interview staff to thoughtfully/critically examine how this human service organization carries out its mission, does or does not empower its staff and clients, employs a diverse workforce and implements effective multicultural practice methods, responds to consumer needs, evaluates its performance, and plans for the future; and prepare a report outliningyour findings and recommendations.
This assignment has been divided into two parts in order to provide students early feedback on their written communication skills. This will enable the student to edit Part 1 based on faculty feedback prior to submitting the entire assignment. Only the final paper (a combination of Parts 1 and 2) will be graded.
Part 1 (3 pages) double-spaced pages, (due 7/21 if you want feedback), should include the following:
- A description of the agency’s formal structure including its decision-making patterns (hierarchical vs. egalitarian), the agency’s stated mission, tax status, size, and auspices (public/private, non-profit/private for-profit; sectarian/non-sectarian); the composition of its clients or constituents; the type of services it offers and the goals of these services; and the composition of its staff.
- The key features of the organization’s culture. What are the organization’s fundamental values, norms and beliefs?
- The organization’s operating style, traditions, rituals, history, implicit and explicit rules of behavior. Part 2 (5-7 double-spaced pages), must address the following questions:
- How does the culture of the organization affect staff morale and performance? What is the prevailing leadership style in the organization? Reflect on staff commitment to their jobs/morale, administration’s view of staff, the primacy of the consumer, and the quality of the work of the organization.
- How does the agency’s culture affect its everyday operations/practice, its development and its response to change? Reflect on how services are delivered, rules/regulations/procedures are implemented, the agency’s approach to program planning and development, the agency’s relationship to the community, and its response to internal and external opportunities and threats.
Reflect on how the agency transmits its values to staff, how the values influence the way staff think and behave, whether staff buy into these values, and if any
- subgroups or subcultures exist in the organization. How do the agency’s values fit with social work values?
- In what ways does the organization’s culture promote or resist acceptance of human diversity?
- Based on what you have learned from both stages of the assignment, what do you see as the agency’s major assets or strengths? What features of the organization appear to facilitate or impede organizational effectiveness? Describe what you see as the areas in need of change or improvement, and what barriers to organizational effectiveness exist. The final 8-10 page report should incorporate Part 1 revised – based on faculty feedback – plus Part 2. The final assignment will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
- Your responses to the above items;
- The extent to which you effectively integrate and critically apply the theories/models/concepts from the course readings and lectures throughout your analysis;
- Your assessment of the assets and needs of the agency;
- The clarity and organization of writing (appropriate spelling, sentence structure, and grammar).