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Sociology Assignment: Applying Group Work to Practice in Social Work



Write a sociology assignment drawing on relevant literature to critically analyze the strengths and limitations of group work methods and then apply group work to practice description and analysis of group work using Barbra Teater book. The practice context should be from your previous work/voluntary experience, but with no identifying information.


The current sociology assignment discusses about the group working which is a very common observable incidents found in the field of social work. Group working is important within the social work context as human beings are relational and social in nature and it allows incorporation of different perspectives and insights which can be converted into a pool of resources that helps achieving the target of the social worker group. The book by Barbra Teater highlights some theories including small group theory and inters group relations which would be applied while implementing group work in social work practice. Additionally, the essay would also enumerate methods of group work and using the Tuckman’s Theory group work stages and effectiveness of group formation and its performance would also be analysed.

Case example
I have been working within my community with 6 other individuals in a group namely A to deal with the domestic violence issue such as beating, abusing, physical and mental afflict and others. I have experienced conflicts within the group while making decisions. Additionally, the creativity of the individuals and contribution to the group activity and decision making has helped to achieve success in reaching the ultimate goal of the group that is to make the community free from domestic violence cases.

Implementing group work in social work and anti oppressive practice by applying Social work theories and methods and Tuckman’s theory

One of the famous group work theories is Small Group Theory by Cooley in his Doctrine of primary groups. As proposed by the theory, there are different types of small groups among which some groups demonstrate intimate association and cooperation which is also considered as a building block of the society (Lindsay and Orton, 2008). Therefore, the emotional interaction, depth of relationship can be higher than any large group within these types of groups. Treating the group mentioned above as a form of small group, it can be stated that the group has been developed building on a primary bonding between the members influencing their emotions and actions which enhance motivation to achieve the goal of the group effectively. The group members are exposed to negative emotions of the help seeker while working within the community. As per Teater (2014), certain social sentiments including resentment, emulation, consciousness about self and others are crucial part of a primary group. Social groups can also adopt anti-oppressive practices to help the victims of domestic violence irrespective of the structural patterns of the society where similar attitude towards oppression and motivation to achieve a certain goal can be influenced by the group sentiment. Therefore, it can be stated that if the group working capacity needs to be improved by effective management of attitudes and sentiments of the members would imperative to overcome the negativity experienced.

The Social identity theory is also a relevant to the current context as it describes the importance of perceived membership within a group in developing the self concept which influence behaviours of the individuals. As per this theory individuals identify with a particular social group which can be considered as in-group in relation to the other groups that are addressed as out groups (Loughran, 2009). In this context out groups can be rejected by the in-group members from partnering or working together by exaggerating the differences between them. While working in a community, this might reduce the openness of the group towards different ideas and expertise that might harm the quality of service delivered by the group workers. One who considers the anti oppression practice into the social work need to develop a chain of social networks with different supportive group such as local authorities, NGOs and others to improve the group outcome.

The developmental sequences in the small groups are crucial to determine the effectiveness of forming of the group and the potential to serve the desired objectives. As mentioned by (), Tuckman has phrased the small group’s journey by categorising them into some stages such as forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning. During the forming stage, a small group is likely to be confused about the group purpose, theory roles and if they would work with the other members (Tuckman, 1965). Similarly, during the formation of the current social group every member did not have face to face relations with each other. However, when the group has been formed successfully, the stage of storming takes place. The established rules and boundaries are pushed by the group of the individuals which also gives rise of conflict between the members. As identified from the case study, conflict between the groups members could be identified while making decisions and taking actions during this stage of the group formation. However, the group could overcome the issues and enter into the stage of norming, when the norms and rules are developed and implemented by the individual members spontaneously and started to focus on the group’s collective aim (Coulshed and Orme, 2006). After the development of agreed rules and norms, group members focused on their activities relevant to the goal. This is the performing stage where team cooperation, coordination and mutual help and understanding could be identified significantly. The group may also experience the projected end of the group where the ultimate goal of the group could be achieved. This stage is adjourning stage and group members develop core working relationships with each other and might find this time difficult.

In conclusion, it can be stated that small group is categorised intense emotions, in-depth interaction, face to face communication and others. The attitudes of the group members also influence their motivation to achieve the common goal due to which formation of positive group attitude would be imperative to motivate them. Additionally, small groups can work collaboratively to achieve shared goals as different ideas and insights help achieving the overall success. However, each small group would need to go through five certain stages where formation, norming and performing within the group and on the behalf of the group would be identifiable.

Coulshed, V. and Orme, J. (2006) Social work practice, Palgrave, London. NB Chapter 11 Working with groups Benson, J. (1987) Working More Creatively with Groups (3rd edition). Routledge:Oxon

Healy, K. (2012) Social Work Methods and Skills: The Essential Foundations of Practice. London: Palgrave Macmillan (Chapter 6)

Lindsay, T., and Orton, S. (2008) Groupwork Practice in Social Work. Learning Matters: Exeter Preston-Shoot, M. (2007) Effective Groupwork. Palgrave Macmillan: Basingstoke

Loughran, H. (2009) Group Work in the Context of Alcohol Treatment Journal of Teaching in the Addictions, 9:125–141.

Teater, B. (2014) An Introduction to applying social work theories and methods: second edition. Maidenhead: Open University Press. (Chapter 14)

Tuckman , B (1965) Developmental sequence in small groups, Psychological Bulletin, 63:6:384-99 Tuckman, B. and Jensen, M. (1977) Stages in small group development revisited, Group Organization Management, 2:419-427 Yalom, I. and Leszcz, M. (2005)The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy. Basic Books:NY


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