Social Work Management in Youth and Communities
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Youth work in the community, which is mainly performed by specially trained youth workers who work with youth at risk in group homes and community centres demands a high level of managerial skills blend with the skill in social work as argued by Mark Krueger (2000). The fact that the youth work is a non-profit approach makes it clear that the established management concepts were successful in profit-based organization need necessarily prove effective when deployed. In this report an overview of the theories embracing the management and social work with regards to youth and community work is presented to the reader. The report also demonstrates relevant examples from my previous experience in order to justify that the author of this report is ready to perform as an autonomous and reflective practitioner in the area of youth and community work. Furthermore, the report also presents a critical analysis on the British Social policies and the European Union perspective. A brief review on the global view on the youth work is also presented before concluding the report.
2.0: Overview of the theoretical concepts embracing youth and community work with examples
This section commences with the overview on the management and historical content that reflects upon the youth work is presented to the reader. This is then followed by the analysis of the information and control system where the importance of the planning and information management is presented to the reader. The section is then concluded with an overview on the human resource management concepts embracing the youth work.
2.1: Management and historical content
Peter F. Druker (1990) says that management in the non-profit context is not only about effective performance and development but mainly embraces the idea of value addition to the society. The fact that the non-profit organizations are increasing in number with the support from government and public as argued by Robert F. Ashcraft (2000). This is not only because of the fact that the non-profit organizations are focused upon charity and fund raising but also involves the development of people at risk. The youth at risk development, which is of interest in this report, was given high level of importance only since the dawn of the twenty-first century even though it was emphasised by many researchers as early as 1978 by Paul Osterman (1978).
As stated before, youth work in the community is a non-profit approach where the aim is to provide support and development to the youth at risk. This makes it clear that the nature of the work involved is varied and hence management skills that embrace the social work and value addition are essential than the effective performance managers who fair well in the profit-based organizations.
Furthermore, it is also interesting to note that the youth work is not always about the social work to revive youth in danger but also to provide value-added service to the community in order to develop the youth of the nation through imparting culture and discipline. Alongside, it is also an intriguing fact that even through the youth work is a non-profit approach, the investment involved with the setting up and the running costs of the community work are relatively high with negligible or no income being generated. The support by the government and the local city council being the major source of the support financially, the management skills of the youth workers should not only embrace the efficient cost management methods but also focus upon developing the effective relationship strategy with the community in order to involve the neighbourhood to support the community work morally or even financially as argued by Mark Krueger (2000).
The fact that youth work is predominantly involves the counselling, teaching and caring for the youth who come to the youth shelter having been abused, or in need of respite from home. In these cases the managerial skills of the youth worker should be more empathetic than focusing upon the development. The soft skills of the management like patience, proactive management to support people in need are the essential elements of management that should be demonstrated by a youth worker as argued by Mark Schoenhals (1998). This justifies that the effective management in the social work context is not about performance but mainly about the deployment of the soft skills to support the youth in need.
Alongside it is also essential to mention that the youth worker’s management skills should not only reflect upon the development of the youth but also to focus upon the entire neighbourhood the youth worker is working at as argued by Mark Krueger (2000). The fact that the youth worker predominantly working in a volatile environment (i.e.) an unstable work place like the temporary youth shelter, working with the parents, foster parents etc as identified by Mark Krueger (2000) makes it clear that the youth worker management skills should be versatile to accommodate the changes in the environment effectively.
The author’s experience from working with the Coventry Youth service has justified the aforementioned argument where the author gained experience of working with the Asian community youth in Hill-fields are of Coventry. Alongside, the student development programme conducted at Binley area which was focused upon the development of the youth through working with the parents and foster parents of the youth is another justification that the versatile management skills that embrace the soft skills is essential for the successful development of the youth work. It is also critical to state here that the author who led the youth development programme at Binley with a team of six youth workers accomplished the goals of the project (provide support and development opportunity to the youth in the community through working with their parents or foster parents) through the efficient deployment of the management skills discussed above.
2.2: Information and Control system
Information and control in the youth work is a critical element in order to achieve the goal of providing development services to the youth. This is mainly because of the fact that the youth worker having to face a varied environment requires accurate and comprehensive information so as to effectively deploy the development plan. Mark Krueger (2000) argues that the information is a vital element for the successful planning of the development plan in a give youth and community work scenario. This is not only because of the need to effectively deploy the resources but also to accomplish the goal of the youth work that is projected for the day. Alongside, it is also essential to note that the control over the youth work is essential in order to accomplish the set goals of the project on hand without wastage of time and resources.
Sara Banks (1998) argues that the youth work in a community should be deployed in a controlled manner reflecting upon the ethical conduct and code of ethics mainly because of the fact that the youth work itself involves the deployment of self-discipline and control by the youth worker who strives to set an example of himself to the youth community he/she targeting to reform or protect. The fact that the control in the youth work is not the control of the youth but the stages of the programme being deployed makes it a critical that the information gathered is accurate and effective in nature.
The information being the vital ingredient for the deployment of a plan in the youth work as argued by Sara Banks (1998) further justifies that the youth work should comprise effective background research on the community targeted prior to planning. Sara Banks (198) further argues that the information research and the planning can be accomplished effectively and successfully deployed through closely working with the city council and the local community centres by which the youth worker enjoys higher level of support and help from the community.
Sara Banks (1998) also state that stating the objective of the youth work for a particular project is the critical element for the successful planning itself. This is also justified by the arguments of Abraham Daniel (1999) who says that the objective of the youth work is the main element that attracts the community to participate in the youth development programme by the youth workers. Apart from the objective setting the factors of planning and evaluation are essential in order to deploy the resources since the plan of the youth work devised can be accomplished only through the effective evaluation of the information and plan in the light of the needs in the community targeted.
The youth work participated by the author at Shotton in North Wales where the major barrier was the language because of the predominant Welsh population in the community. Alongside the cultural differences faced by the author and his team members along with the language barrier was overcome only through the effective information research on the community and closely working with the city council. The objective of the work being the rehabilitation of the youth who were under drug abuse was effectively planned through the effective information gathering on the activities of the youth in the community as well as the involvement of the local community centres to support the planning of the project. Furthermore, it is also essential to mention that the author who was the team member during the deployment of this project was given the opportunity of planning the work along with the team leader. It was clearly evident from the experience gained that the efficient planning is an essential element for the successful deployment of the youth work on hand.
Alongside, the work at Shotton also provided valuable experience on the development of the controls around the project and the targets to meet in order to effectively accomplish the revival of the youth from drug abuse in the community. Since the project was initially misinterpreted as a rehabilitation project than support to the community, the marketing and communication of the project objective as a supporting element to develop the youth in the neighbourhood rather than a rehabilitation school. The process of working closely with the local community centres and the city council was highly supportive to achieve the confidence and support from the parents and foster parents of the youth. This is synonymous to the arguments of Philip Kotler and Kevin Lane Keller (2005) who argue that the marketing communication is the vital tool for successfully reaching the target customers both in case of the profit-based and non-profit organizations.
The discussions cited above comprise a vital example for the critical nature of the information and control in the youth work.
2.3: Human Resource management in youth work
Human resource in any kind of work is indispensable in nature as argued by Derek Torrington and Laura Hall (2003). This is apparently because of the fact that the effective performance of the personnel involved in the project is the kindling element for accomplishing the project goals. This is also evident from the arguments of Michael Armstrong (2003) who emphasises the fact that the human resource especially in a non-profit scenario is the foundation pillar for the entire project itself.
The fact that the motivation and encouragement in the youth work or in any other form of social work is only through the effective leadership skills of the team leader who has to consider that the motivation is purely moral in nature and does not always include financial benefits. This apparently means that the leadership skills of the manager managing the project should be exemplary and must also demonstrate flexibility along with the authority and control. This is essential because of the volatile nature of the community work and the continuous changes that can affect the performance of the team members in involved in the community work.
Andrew Rothwell and John Arnold (2005) argue that the human resource management in a non-profit scenario and mainly the performance management are dependent upon the level of authority and control exercised by the manager in deploying the resources. This is also because of the fact that the results are not easily measurable in case of youth and community work, which makes it critical to understand that the performance of the youth workers is predominantly dependant upon their adherence to the controls and effectiveness in deploying the plan.
Alongside, the authority element as argued by Mark Krueger (2000) is also an element of management and influence among the team members mainly because of the fact that the managers in the youth and community work do not have direct supervisory control over the team members since they work in a dispersed nature within the community under consideration itself. This makes it clear that the effective management can be accomplished only through the effective exercise of the authority.
Furthermore, the fact that the youth workers and the youth with whom they work comprise the overall project plan makes it a complex job to effectively manage the youth worker to demonstrate self-discipline and character so as to set an example in the youth community they work. This being an essential element for the success of the youth and community work project is the major element that attributes to the human resource management by the managers in the youth work.
Unlike the profit-based organization the non-profit approach with the need to demonstrate empathy and maintain effective relationship with the community makes it further critical for the managers to deploy a structured approach to the management of the youth and social work as argued by Peter F Druker (1990). A structured approach will not only enhance the performance of the youth workers but also help accomplish the objectives of the project effectively. This is also evident from the need to effectively organize the resources in order to accomplish the objectives as well as establish effective relationship with the community. The fact that the relationship with the community can be effectively nurtured through the structured deployment of the project by the managers emphasises the importance of the structured approach and performance management in youth and community work.
The learning development project by the author and his team members at Tividale, in Dudley port at Birmingham is a classical example for the aforementioned discussions. The author being the team leader not only faced the language and cultural barriers but also a level of non-cooperation by certain community centres. Since the population in the target community was of diverse origin the need for a structured approach was essential to accomplish the planning and information research stages itself. This is not only because of the structured deployment but also through the effective deployment of the human resource (i.e.) management of the team members. The team had an inherent advantage of inclusion and diversity since the members were of different origin working for the same goal. This was effectively utilised to liaise with the community centres and gather required information and involvement to the project. The management of the members through the exercise of authority for example the emphasis on working for target by the author was the factor that contributed to the effective performance among the team members. Furthermore, the planning and deployment of the project through allocating each team member a team of youth and an attached community centre also proved successful to the youth work as well as motivating to the youth worker.
The effective planning process, which provided effective management as well as accomplishment of the targets within the time frame agreed, helped to the success of the project greatly.
From the above discussions it is clear that the author of the report has strived to demonstrate a clear understanding of the management theoretical concepts with examples from this experience gained through fieldwork. In the next section a critical analysis on the big picture of the British Youth policies and comparison to that of the European Union and a global perspective is presented to the reader.
3.0: The big picture
The British youth policies as argued by John A. Calhoun (2002) is predominantly rehabilitation based (i.e.) the use of law and order to accomplish the youth development can be seen in the system. Although the youth development in the UK embraces the welfare of the youth, the stringent laws present on the Binge drinking and other anti-social activities that results in cash penalties and even imprisonment makes the youth policy a little overstated in the UK.
Bill Katz (2004) further argues that the policies adhered in the UK is not only the critical element for the successful deployment of youth and community work in the society but also establishes the need to establish trust among the public in order to gain their co-operation. The British youth policies in general even through as stringent laws is focused upon the overall development of the youth community in the UK in order to present an effective and sustainable environment for the future. This approach of the government is necessary because of the increasing diversity in the population in the UK.
The interesting fact that the diversity in the UK population has not tarnished the support by the community to government’s strive to youth development but is also against the use of force and law against youth accused for anti-social activities.
The need for self-discipline and control in the society as stated by John A Calhoun (2002) makes it clear that the need to use force when necessary to accomplish the aforementioned is inevitable. Furthermore, an insight into the Greater Manchester Metropolitan Police report (2004) makes it clear that the use of force is the last used method to control anti-social behaviour by the youth involved in anti-social behaviour. This further makes it clear that youth policy both at the local and national level use force to control anti-social behaviour of youth as a last sought method rather than using it in the first instance. This justifies the youth policy of the nation, which is focused upon the development of youth and protection from abuse whilst exercising force when involved in anti-social behaviour.
The youth policy proposed by the European Union is similar to the approach of UK except for the emphasis on the use of force on youth. The policy not only reflects upon the need to provide development and support to the youth but also emphasises upon the restricted use of force in by the authorities. Since the approach of European Union embraces the member states it is thus essential to emphasise upon the restriction on the use of force. This is because of the varied nature of the exercise of law and order across European Union member states thus making it essential to prevent the use of force on the youth.
It is also intriguing to note that not only the western countries are involved in the youth development and support but also the countries in the Far East like China and India. The Chinese government approach to youth development as a critical element for the economic growth of the nation makes it clear that the Far eastern countries have realised the importance of youth development in order to sustain the economic growth of their nation.
Thus to conclude this report, it is clear that the management of youth and community work by the youth workers and managers is a challenging role that requires versatile people skills blended with effective management and planning. The overview on the theoretical concepts and the examples has revealed the author’s understanding and knowledge in managing youth and community work.
The overview on the big picture detailing the British youth policy and the European Union has also justified the extent of research conducted in order to establish as an autonomous and reflective practitioner in the area of youth and community work by the author.
Derek Torrington and Laura Hall (2003), Personnel Management HRM in Action, UK: Prentice Hall
Michael Armstrong and Tina Stephens (2003) A handbook of employee reward management and practice, London Kogan Page
Peter F. Druker (1990), Managing the non-profit organization: practices and principles, London: Butterworth-Heinemann
Philip Kotler and Kevin Lane Keller (2005), Marketing Management 12e, Prentice Hall India
Journals and reports
Abraham Daniel (1999), ESTABLISHMENT OF INDUSTRIAL CO-OPERATIVE UNITS. Annals of Public & Cooperative Economics, Vol. 42 Issue 2, p169
Andrew Rothwell and John Arnold (2005), How HR professionals rate 'continuing professional development' Human Resource Management Journal, 2005, Vol. 15 Issue 3, p18-32
Bill Katz (2004), Youth Policy: The Monthly Report on National Youth Program and Issues. Library Journal, 4/1/89, Vol. 114 Issue 6, p119-119
Greater Manchester Metropolitan Police (2004), Performance Statistics
John A. Calhoun (2002), Claiming youth: A new paradigm in youth policy. New Directions for Philanthropic Fundraising, Winter2002, Vol. 2002 Issue 38, p67-80
Mark Krueger (2000), Presence, Fear, Curiosity, and Other Themes in Community Youth Work. Applied Developmental Science, 2000 Supplement 1, Vol. 4.
Mark Krueger (2000), Presence, Fear, Curiosity, and Other Themes in Community Youth Work Applied Developmental Science, Jun2000 Supplement 1, Vol. 4 Issue 3, p21-27
Mark Schoenhals (1998), The Educational and Personal Consequences of Adolescent Employment. Social Forces, Dec98, Vol. 77 Issue 2, p723-762
Paul Osterman (1978), Youth, Work, and Unemployment. May/Jun78, Vol. 21 Issue 2
Robert F. Ashcraft (2000), Where Youth Work Preparation Meets Higher Education: Perspectives From an American Humanics Campus Program. Applied Developmental Science, 2000 Supplement 1, Vol. 4
Sara Banks (1998), Codes of Ethics and Ethical Conduct: A View from the Caring Professions. Public Money & Management, Jan-Mar98, Vol. 18 Issue 1, p27
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