What Is Meant by Group Work?

Topics: Sociology, Group action, Sociological terms Pages: 8 (2041 words) Published: February 19, 2011
Question 1

What is meant by group work?

• A number of people or things gather, placed, or classed together for some purpose”. When we think about working in a group, the key words are “for some purpose”. Group working is a situation where there is a common purpose(s), a shared aim(s) • The benefit of the group is :

• Ideas sharing
• Tapping into a pool of wider experience
• Learning to deal with challenges or criticism
• Stimulating thinking and clarifying your own thoughts • Learning to be tolerant and to adjust your own approach/attitude • Helping to keep up morale e.g. all are experiencing the same problems i.e. mutual support- can help each other through any difficulties • Creation of a network of individuals bringing talents, contacts, skills and experiences that one single person would not possess • Particularly useful for complex problems, generating ideas, ideas sharing, reaching difficult decisions • Can increase commitment

• Improvement of listening skills- hearing and understanding others’ point of view or frame of reference • Improvement of speaking skills
• Improvement of diplomacy/negotiation skills
• Promotion of the “ownership” of a solution

Group behaviour must achieve two major objectives:
• Group maintenance
• Task orientation (purpose)

Group maintenance implies building and maintaining relationships between group members, ensuring that all feel valued and valuable. In informal groups, such as 2 or 3 friends working together on homework, this is not a major issue. In a more formal situation, a conscious effert needs to be made for cohesion to be maintained and any conflicts which develop to be managed and resolved within the group.

Task orientation means that each member of the more formal group will have a certain role to play in reaching a common goal. These roles have to be distributed so that the goal is reached effectively by contributions from all group members. Typically group behaviour will encompass the generation of ideas; gathering, sharing and interpreting information; developing, testing or evaluating and implementing solutions or an outcome, for example a joint presentation.

An informal group might, however, have much more general aims, for example working together on homework or revising for an exam. Such a group may divide up task and share them amongst members or may primarily be formed simply for mutual support and encouragement.

The time spent on these aspects will vary. At first, as a general rule, more time will have to be devoted to group maintenance. Then once the group is firmly established, with roles and individual responsibilities assigned, the task will be the central focus.

What is meant by social group work?
Social group work is recognised as a basic aspect of social work practise in social group work is used in social relationships within groups experiences as a means of individual growth and development, and is concerned about the development of social responsibility and active citizenship fro the improvement of democratic society. Social group work is a method through which individuals in many groups in a variety of community agency setting are helped by a worker who guides their interaction in programme activities so that they may relate themselves to other people and experience growth opportunities in accordance with their needs and capacities to the end of individual, group and community development Social group work is a purposeful activity that emphasises the provision of a service to the individual within the context of a group. It is ”a goal directed activity with small group of people aimed at meeting socio-emotional needs and accomplishing task” Toseland and Rivas (2001:12-13). It does not function in a vacuum but is directly linked to institution and the priority is not given to group...
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