Organizations and Communities

These are discussions. I need one reference which is the textbook (Kirst-Ashman, K. K., Hull, G. H. Generalist Practice with Organizations and Communities, 5th edition. Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole, 2012) and the rest can be internet references. See Discussions below.

Discussion Assignment 2: Why do you think supervision is considered to be such an important value for the fields of Human Services? In your answer, incorporate your thoughts on the concept of accountability and why it is needed, or not. You might also incorporate the importance of good communication in the role of a supervisor. Then, while on the subject of supervision, watch this short video on motivating employees, “How to Motivate Employees Using the 6 Hidden Motivators”: Which one of the six motivators listed would you think most common for human services workers? Which one is your top motivator? Which one is your #2?

Discussion Assignment 3: An important discussion in Chapter 3 is that of managing conflict. Conflict is part of life. It is unavoidable, but if handled correctly, it can help us to become better. Watch this short video, “Handling Difficult People,” by Deaver Brown, who has also written a book on managing conflict in the work place: Using some of the concepts discussed by Mr. Brown, specifically the concepts also discussed in your textbook under the heading of “Types of Conflict,” describe a situation that has happened in your own work life. Tell us what “type” of conflict it was (pages 114-116), what “type” of person was the cause of the conflict (from the video – he lists four types of individuals who tend to cause conflict), and then tell us what, if anything, was done to resolve the conflict.

Discussion Assignment 4: It is very important to view organizations from a systems’ perspective. This is easy for a human services worker, since we are trained to view about everything as a system, at least on some level. The following paragraphs are written by Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting, LLC. Very simply, a system is a collection of parts (or subsystems) integrated to accomplish an overall goal (a system of people is an organization). Systems have input, processes, outputs and outcomes, with ongoing feedback among these various parts. If one part of the system is removed, the nature of the system is changed. Systems range from very simple to very complex. There are numerous types of systems. For example, there are biological systems (the heart, etc.), mechanical systems (thermostat, etc.), human/mechanical systems (riding a bicycle, etc.), ecological systems (predator/prey, etc.), and social systems (groups, supply and demand, friendship, etc.). Complex systems, such as social systems, are comprised of numerous subsystems, as well. These subsystems are arranged in hierarchies, and integrated to accomplish the overall goal of the overall system. Each subsystem has its own boundaries of sorts, and includes various inputs, processes, outputs and outcomes geared to accomplish an overall goal for the subsystem. A pile of sand is not a system. If one removes a sand particle, you’ve still got a pile of sand. However, a functioning car is a system. Remove the carburetor and you’ve no longer got a working car.
For Discussion 4, incorporate the systems theory terms discussed in your textbook under the heading “Social Agencies as Systems” (pages 137-141) and describe a current organizational system in your life. You don’t have to use all the terms, but incorporate as many of them as apply. For example, what are the boundaries, are there subsystems, do you notice homeostasis at work, describe the input, describe the output, what kind of feedback is there, what about differentiation, etc. These are just some of the observations you could make. There are more.

Discussion Assignment 5: Your textbook describes five functions of communities. Different communities may carry out these functions in very different ways. For example, a typical community in San Francisco would carry out the function of socialization in very different ways than an Amish community in Iowa would. As an example of the differences, the video “The Neighborhoods of San Francisco” ( tells about a few different communities in San Francisco, and the video “Olbermann: Amish Forgiveness is Christ Like” ( is an excellent news segment done after the 2006 shooting in an Amish school. (For those who want to know more, there is an excellent scholarly discussion of the Amish-type people by Penn State Public Broadcasting. It is an hour long panel discussion and can be found at the following website: Additionally, along the lines of socialization, there is an old African proverb which says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” (And yes, I know Hillary used it in the title of a book. Regardless of your personal opinion of Hillary, the proverb is true. I personally haven’t read the book, but maybe we should.) Anyway, the proverb speaks of one of the important functions of a community. For Discussion 5, I want you to tell us about your own community and how the five functions are carried out from your personal vantage point. Talk about how you and/or your family interface and interact with the five community functions. Be sure to incorporate the teachings of the text.


Organizations and Communities