158 Influencing the Practitioner’s Organization attending to clients’ direct and indirect expressions, review of records, and other data. Colleagues are another resource. By attentive listening and observation in staff meetings, in-service training programs, group supervision, and informal conversations, the worker learns of maladaptive organizational patterns. Once workers identify and document the maladaptive organizational pattern, they consider alternative solutions or objectives and the specific means for achieving them. The social worker then carefully examines the advantages, potential conse- quences, and feasibility of each potential hoped-for outcome. Based on the initial appraisal, a tentative objective and specific means for achieving it are determined. Having tentatively identified and documented an organizational problem and selected an objective and means for achieving it, the worker then under- takes a formal organizational analysis. A force field analysis helps the prac- titioner to identify and visualize the specific forces promoting and resisting change. The social worker identifies aspects of the organization’s external and internal environments that can either work for or against the proposed inter- vention. In addition to external and internal influences, the worker attends to interpersonal forces. Practitioners need to identify key participants who will affect and be affected by the proposed change. Workers then anticipate each participant’s likely response to the proposed change and evaluate its probable impact on job performance and satisfaction. Social workers also consider their own influence based upon their formal position in the organization, as well as any informal sources of influence they may possess. Workers interested in influencing their organization must also assess how others view them in the organization. In developing organizational self-awareness, practitioners must try to see themselves as others do, rather than how they would like to be seen. Through analysis of organizational forces, social workers can evaluate the potential for success of their proposed effort to influence the organization. To develop a receptive organizational climate, we use anticipatory empathy to explore with staff their thoughts and feelings about the organizational prob- lems that we hope to address and our proposed solutions. As we cite in the textbook, Brager and Holloway (2002) suggest three methods of preparing a system: personal positioning, structural positioning, and creation and manage- ment of discomfort. Because practitioners usually have limited formal author- ity, their organizational effectiveness depends upon personal positioning, which relies upon professional competence. Being seen as competent means that our knowledge and expertise are respected and valued, enhancing our credibility and influence. The social worker who is an insider, is attentive to colleagues’ interests and concerns, and possesses interpersonal skills will acquire a support system and organizational allies. Structural positioning involves workers’ efforts to identify individuals who have the formal authority and informal power to effect—or block—change efforts.
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