ASSOCIATION BETWEEN WORK SETTING AND SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE ORIENTATION
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This study explored the association between organizational settings and staff attitudes toward solving dilemmas in social service delivery. An ideal typology of intervention choices was postulated employing the concept of a facilitation-regulation dichotomy. On one hand are facilitation interventions which focus on the self-actualized growth of clients while on the other hand are regulation interventions which focus on controlling the dysfunctional behavior of clients.;The main assumption of the study was that social workers would select interventions similar to the service objectives of their employing organizations. These were assumed to be regulation for correctional institutions and facilitation for counseling agencies. Academic social workers were utilized as a reference group, personifying the ideal facilitation practice orientation characteristic of the profession of social work.;A questionnaire containing case vignettes was constructed in which respondents selected either a facilitation intervention that protected the rights of the client or a regulation intervention that protected the rights of (1)society; (2)other individuals and/or the community; or (3)the organization.;Vignettes were grouped according to the societal subsystem that was in conflict with the client and four hypotheses were formulated. Each hypothesis predicted that correctional social workers would select regulation interventions significantly more frequently than counseling and academic social workers. Demographic and professional characteristics were also examined in order to ascertain their association with the dependent variables.;The sample consisted of 154 respondents--61 academic social workers employed in 6 graduate schools of social work; 55 counseling social workers employed in 14 social agencies; and 38 correctional social workers employed in 22 correctional institutions.;All four hypotheses were confirmed, as correctional social workers selected interventions that were more regulation oriented at a frequency that was significantly different from counseling and academic social workers. Multiple regression analysis indicated that none of the demographic and professional characteristics of respondents were significantly related to the median scores, precluding their use as an alternate explanation to the influence of the work setting.;These findings support the study hypothesis that the practice orientation of social workers is associated with the service objectives of employing organizations.
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