This exam essay was to describe the organization where I under took my field practice training with primary focus on how the professionals in the organization collaborated as a team to work with each other, and to compare the differences between the organization and my study group in terms of strength, weakness structure and however, highlight the stage level of my study group according to Wheelan’s theory with focus on my role and participation.
I undertook my 5weeks field practice training at Rapatc in the summer this year. Pondering over the experience was momentous since it enabled me to gain important and Specialised skills in social work field practice, expressly were diverse theories and social work skills was harnessed when working for different clients devoid of unhealthy practices such as discrimination and oppression in a manner that will increase the dignity and worth of clients(IFSW,2012). Rapatac is known to be non-profit organization since its inception in 2004 by Mr Moussa N’Diaye, the founder and chairman. The organization is situated at a safe and conducive location in Nordost for both young people and children at the heart of Gavle centrum with the focus render high quality skills and trainings to increase good up bring in areas such as helping children with schools assignments, render quality teachings to children to always take responsibilities in all areas of endeavours and conduct activities in a way to accelerate leisure hours. Thus, because of its open-door policy, it ensures that all children are accorded fair and equal treatment regardless of nationality, age, and gender. The conducive atmosphere and facilities enables children to utilize undiscovered potentials for self-growth and development with the bide to maximize opportunities. Hence, the vison of the organization is inspired by the chairman (Mr Moussa N’Diaye), also known as the founder in collaboration with seasoned and dedicated professionals endowered with skills that works as staff of the organization. Though I worked with a team of professionals pioneering Rapatac’s project called Sustainable Nordost outside the activity centre. My experience was both working with children and Sustainable Nordost project outside the centre. Sustainable Nordost was geared to maintain high standard of cleanliness, living condition, security and infrastructure. Notwithstanding, the Practical experience was an eye opener as an intern with little or no knowledge about organizational structures, effective management as a leader to achieve organizational goals and objective. However, I was under the strict supervision of the Founder and boss ( Mr Moussa N’Diaye) of Rapatac as an intern student. Observing children and activities as one of my first task in the centre in the first week of my internship opened my eyes to hierarchy and organization structure in Rapatac. Organizational structure is characterized with assigning responsibilities to employees, this is very vital because an erroneous organization structure will ruin and hinder set goals and objectives. The importance of structure in an organization is to maximize efficiency that can enhance quality relationship amid several functions that exist in the organization (Hughes ; Wearing,2007). Since the inception of Rapatac till date, Rapatac organizational structure consist of the Chairman (Leader and Boss), Stake holders, Manager, Staff Facilitators, Volunteer staff and cleaner etc. According to Letchfield (2009), Strategic leaders are empowered with the overall vision and coordinate the activities of an organization. However, Mr Musa sees to the overall and smooth running of the organization according to hierarchy and structure, inspiring and motivating dedicated staff who works tirelessly as a team that reports to him through his manager at the activity centre. The hierarchy and structure has contributed enormously to the success and smooth running of Rapatac in different way since formation. The significance of Rapatacs structure can be ascribed to factors such as clarity in authority, delegation of duties, communication pattern, relationships, motivation of creativity, Centre of decision making for the organization, encourage development and growth, and the use of technological advancement(ibid). Hughes ; Wearing (2007) opined that managers are equipped with high standard of organizational, they ensure that organization is working according to specified organizational goals. The manager reports the day to day activities at the centre to the overall boss while staff facilitators, volunteers, cleaners report directly to the manager. Thus, the manager in Rapatac is saddled with the responsibility to delegate and assign work to staff, monitor and supervise them to ensure that staff are working in line with the interest of the specified organizational goals, in return, the staff work collaborate with the manager, report issues associated to job specification for help and support. Nevertheless, this structure immensely has contributed to high standard of professionalism in the day to day duties among staff when dealing with clients (Children, Parents, Stake holders etc), improved creativity and innovations (ibid). However, with deep holistic perception, it is apparent that Rapatac operate a simple organizational structure that has improve efficiency, productivity and professionalism among staff because the chain of command comes from the Top (Founder and Boss) making it easy to exercise measures of control as the person who conceptualize the vision of the organization. Likewise, communication between manager and staff is cordial, staff can easily report issues and call for help when necessary to the manager and however has promoted team spirit in the organization and participation, accelerated decision process that would have been too bureaucratic. Thus, it will help staff to carry out their duties effectively as a team with the aim to improve productivity in line with stipulated goals since constructive feedback is given serious attention (REFERENCE CHAPTER 7). In contrast, since few people are involved in the decision process as a small organization as a typical characteristic of a conventional authority style of many organizational structure ,wrong decision can be taken since staff at lower level are not allowed to participate in the decision process of the organization obviously causing failure and hindrance to the growth and development of the organization (REFERENCE CHAPTER 2).
(REFERENCE CHAPTER 2) postulated in the cause of defining a team as a kind of organizational group consists of members working independently to accomplish a task in line with a common goal. All team members work collectively to achieve a set goal. The team can be in different geographical location, but communication can be in any form of technological means. Thus, all members of the group have the avenue to express personal feelings, beliefs, ideas thoughts, participate in interactions with the aim to make experiences known to members of the group. Members of the group feel a sense of belonging and joint independence, work in harmony to solve complex issues that might occur, accomplish task easily since the team consist of people with diverse competencies. (REFERENCE CHAPTER 2) went on to argue that since the team members worker collaboratively in harmony to accomplish as a common goal, it will entail clarity of power, strategic planning, accountability and definition of roles. However, it will lead to a desirable outcome such as good problem solving, better productivity, effective communication, creativity\innovation and easy decision making. Contrast to this argument, group also experience stages of period of crises, trust disengagement, conflicts and structuring. These characteristics associated to group development is like human development. Further opined that group work was a collection of people working together for a common gain and thereafter theories were formulated to give deep understanding about dynamics relating to group formation and structure with clearer knowledge regrading human behaviour. However, to get an in-depth knowledge of group or team (Chapter 2) group model formation, consist of the following stages: Inclusion and dependency, Fight and counter dependency, structure\ Trust and work etc. According to (Chapter 2) members at the first stage depend solely on the group leader for feeling of self-belonging and compliance to envisioned plans. The second stage is characterised with conflict, members are likely to free from leader and fight each other about operational procedures and set goals. If in the event the conflict or fight is not resolved amicably, it will cause impediment in the groups growth and success. Nevertheless, a group that survived the conflict stage will develop trust on fellow members at stage three, the ability to cooperate and willingness will spur up, communication becomes cordial, boundaries and territories decreases while members are more concerned with about accomplished task with less attention to influence, power and status. Thus, the fourth stage is known to get the work done haven’t dealt with issues in the different stages. Team members channel energy to achieving set goals and accomplishing task and however celebrate accomplishment of completed task.
With deep reflection on my group and the task that was accomplished, I am quite sure my group worked as a team and went through Wheelan’s theories on group development stages that consisted of: Inclusion and dependency, Fight and counter dependency, structure\ Trust and work. At the beginning, group members depended on a member acting as the leader of the group. The group further went through the fighting and counter dependency (Conflicts) stage, characterised with conflicts and disagreement. Group members engaged in conflicts of interest as to what and how the group task should be shared and presented in line with stipulated goals and contract binding all members. A member of the group was always picking on me each time I asked a simple question on our group chat regarding the group task because at one of the group meetings I was indisposed to attend. I observed that the member had a way of imposing self-opinion and feelings with the aim to influence other members of the group. I was very upset about this development in my group when decision was made behind me that I should take a particular task of the group assignment, I obliged to it but a night to when the assignment was to be submitted, I realised that the same member of the group acting as the leader had changed decision regarding my task without any prior notice. I felt very upset and lost the feeling of been part of the group. On the long run it escalated into using insulting and abusive words through the group online chat, distance and boundaries were kept and defined. The only choice I had was to call a member whom I think I was comfortable with to report the issue, but it was glaring that the member had been instigate through the feedback I got. However, as conflicts within my group began to escalate, members decided to write a Lecturer to intervene to ensure peace and harmony within the group. The work of (Chapter 2) further highlighted roles and responsibilities of group members in the different stages of group development. However, it was deduced according to my personal knowledge and perception that group or team members are experts, innovators, team maintainer, completers, team shapers, implementers, evaluators. Again, with conscious thought and reflections, my group members brought in perspectives and strength deeply rooted in their experience and skills as prospective international social worker that enabled my group to work effectively as we progressed further to accomplish our group task. Throughout working with my group, I participated actively especially in the task given to me, I did my best to ensure I send in my contribution on time to enable the group to meet up with stipulated dead line. Thus, this inspired me to read wide and do more research since group members will have the access to read my contributions on our group file created online. I would obviously say I was a team player and implementor because I worked hard my group members and did research on my given task to ensure that my task was completed in due time. I learnt so much from my group members contribution posted online, it broadened my insight and knowledge about my field of studies (International Social work) and on the other shaped my skills and abilities to work amicably with people from different cultural backgrounds. As the group progressed from the fighting and conflict stage, I can vividly opine that our group is at the last stage where members have understood each other, high level of concern about getting the task done in a timely manner with less attention to interest, status and personal boundaries. Group members work amicably in completing task with the primary intention to achieve the common goal and success of the group. Nevertheless, in comparing Rapatac where I did my practical placement, I was more of a team player and investigator in the project team (Sustainable Nordost) I worked with and the few days of working with the overall boss at the beginning of my internship. I was however made to study and observe how activities was conducted by staff at Rapatac activity centre for children, working relationship among staff and stake holders. In comparing Rapatac and my study group, Rapatac has an official and traditional organizational structure that is adhered to strictly by staff, decision making, and authority follows the hierarchy in the organizational structure highlighted during this essay. The overall boss makes the decision from top passed to the manager, thereafter to members and staff of the organization without any objections. The manager ensures that staff work strictly accordingly in pursuit of the organization decision and goals. Thus, work is done effectively and professionally in a timely manner without any form of conflicts of interest and impediments that will jeopardise the overall success and organizational goal. Staff also stand chances of been fired in the bid of not working according to organizational goals and objective. Though my study group has no official organizational structure as compared to Rapatac where one person (Overall Boss) takes decision on behalf of all members. All members are stake holders therefore participate actively in the group contract and decision making. In contrast, it adversely slows the success and progress of the group especially in decision making due to conflicts of interest that will manifest among group members. Consequently, unresolved conflicts and fights can cause the group to get stuck or fail completely in the pursuit of group task that is proposed to be accomplished at a stipulated time. When members of the group lost trust on each other, feeling of insecurity sets in, focus is lost, then members will intentionally back off leaving the task alone for the leader with much frustrations that could hinder productivity and effectiveness ( Refrence Chapter 2).
Conclusively, working with my study group has taught me the importance of cooperation and working as a team to accomplish any task easily. Conscious effort to respect and recognise people’s view points and opinions while on the other hand dealing with my personal values and beliefs about people from different background. Now, I have gained in depth knowledge of why it is necessary to share and accept responsibilities as a member of a group or team with active participation in decision making and the use of good communication. Thus, my self-confidence is developed in exchanging ideas with people in a way to buttress my opinion. As a prospective international social worker, my leadership skills are shaped to function in any team or group work against associated challenges that may transpire, and the capacity identify professional cultures that exist in a team. According to my understanding of ( Refrence Chapter 2), to work confidently and effectively with different professional, it is important to understand personal identity as a future social worker. However, the experiences in the feedback from members of my group and personal observation, I have discovered my dysfunctional way of relating to members of my group and perpetual misrepresentation. I have learnt to appreciate differences in people, adapt and adjust with conscious effort when interacting with members. Hence, if I find myself in a similar situation in the future, I will make frantic effort to accept ideas of other people acknowledging the fact that the differences among people shapes their ideas, perspectives and methods in carrying out tasks.