Influencing the Practitioner’s Organization 159 The social worker considers which formal and informal processes may facilitate or block change efforts and then settles on the most effective individual or indi- viduals to introduce the idea. Organizations can erect elaborate defenses by which a problem can be ratio- nalized, minimized, avoided, or denied. Before there can be any motivation to examine and modify maladaptive practices, structures, and procedures, the worker may have to create discomfort among members of the organization. Heightening discomfort among others is often an impetus for them to initiate action and for others to listen and respond. At times, data can be sufficiently compelling to create organizational discomfort. 3. The Social Worker and Life-Modeled Organizational Practice: Skills After establishing a receptive organizational climate for engagement and the formal introduction of the identified issue and the proposed solution, the worker must decide on methods from among demonstrating, collaborating, persuading, and creating conflict (Brager & Holloway, 2002). The skills of demonstration and presentation are especially effective when the issues reflect professional practice and program gaps. Broadening the conception of an agency or department’s social work function or introducing a new modality, for example, is best achieved using reasoned, logical strategies. Collaborating is effective in relatively open organizations where goal consen- sus exists and there is either equitable resource distribution or the presence of close interpersonal relationships. Persuasion is effective in situations character- ized by goal dissent and disparate power. The existence of a problem must be brought home to key participants, who then must be convinced that solving the problem is necessary and feasible. To influence the opinions and ideas of others, the worker relies on five skill sets when developing and presenting the case for change and participating in debate: 1. Issue definition 2. Presentation of facts, illustrative material, and if possible, by the testimony of colleagues and clients 3. Anticipation and preparation for opposition 4. Monitoring skills 5. Modification of the problem definition, proposed solutions, or the content and method of presentation Low-ranking participants rarely use conflict-oriented methods when they are addressing organizational problems because of their vulnerability to repri- sals. At the same time, certain situations, such as violations of clients’ rights,
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