Research Paper on Communication Skills of Social Workers

4 pages
1086 words
Sewanee University of the South
Type of paper: 
Research paper
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Unity in diversity is a key national building maxim that every citizen ought to integrate into the social fabric. The country is made of different people hailing from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. These people are endowed with varying abilities and skills that ought to be harnessed for public service. Diversity cuts across many dimensions including race, education levels, age, and gender. In the corporate sector, diversity serves as the tool for improving performance and enhancing productivity. According to Cheruvelli (2014), highly diverse teams are effective in collaboration since people from different backgrounds share experiences and build stronger teams. However, this study cites that good interpersonal skills must first be instilled in teams made of diverse individuals. Humanitarian teams made of social workers from diverse backgrounds not only operate effectively, but also relate well with the mentally ill people receiving health and human services. Since beneficiaries of these services come from various backgrounds, building a culturally and racially diverse team promotes the chances of reaching out to a greater number of people in a more efficient manner.

Limb et. al. (2012) examine how cultural competence affects service delivery in social work. They examine the provisions of the National Association of Social Workers that among other things give the guidelines to oversee the cultural competence of social workers. According to Limb et. al. (2012) social workers working with people from various cultures need to have a background on the traditions of their clients. In this manner, they are able to provide services that are considerate to the customary needs of their clients. Although social work in the health and human services sector is aimed at alleviating pain and suffering in mentally challenged people, the services offered must not violate the spiritual or cultural beliefs of the service recipients. Social workers have the responsibility of meeting the needs of the public that they are serving. Having cultural competence can therefore reduce the discrepancy in the administration of health and human services to the mentally ill people. Cultivating cultural competence starts with undertaking a study on the peoples behavior. After getting hold of this information, a social worker can then plan these activities knowing where and when to find the target populations.

In the administration of health and human services to the marginalized groups, a number of ethical principles should be put into action. Banks (2015) notes that ethical practice in social work draws from the traditional philosophy. In other words, Banks (2015) cites that the line between utilitarianism, deontology, and autonomy and contemporary ethics in social work is blurred. The social workers offering services and humanitarian aid to mentally ill people are bound by the moral law to desist from overriding the recipients autonomy in the administration of these services. Deontology, according to Sacco et. al. (2017) allows social workers to give humanitarian aid to marginalized people since this gesture of altruism draws from the universal virtue of kindness. When ethics are placed at the center of serving humanity, the incessant problem of social inequality will be eliminated forever.

Communication is an area that scholars have strived to deconstruct with numerous studies. The reason for this extensive research is due to the importance of communication in organizational performance. The maintenance of open channels of communication promotes problem solving and moves the operations forward. Helfat and Paterif (2015) recognize that communication skills are one of the cognitive abilities of efficient managers that keep employees informed of the company development. Galvin et al (2014) opine that project managers need to possess more than one leadership styles. This ability allows them to deal with people of different attributes. An effective manager, according to Galvin et. al. (2014) should be able to switch between one communication style to another depending on the context and prevailing circumstances. Working in social work is usually organizes in projects. For instance, providing human services to mentally ill people and the destitute must be planned and organized into a project. The project leader must, therefore, be able to incorporate different leadership styles for smooth operation and management of team members. Team leaders in social work should also possess the cognitive ability to enable them to effectively mobilize their members in the field. Besides top-down communication between team leaders and the members, there is also the aspect of horizontal communication between social workers dealing with the marginalized groups.

Marginalized groups need to see that the care givers understand their predicaments for a harmonious working relationship to be established. Oral communications is the most practical channel that social workers use to interact with mentally disabled people receiving humanitarian services. Brink and Costigan (2014) differentiate three types of oral communication as presenting, listening and conversing. Presenting involves public speaking as identified by Brink and Costigan (2014). In the context of social work, humanitarian services givers will gather the family members of the mentally ill beneficiaries and engage them on their intentions. This engagement will largely involve public speaking and presenting ideas. Listening is also central to oral communication. According to Brink and Costigan (2014), listening world involves active listening as well as understanding and following instructions. Social workers may find it very challenging to make mentally people understand their intentions. It is thus commonplace for these workers to pass through relatives in getting their messages to the beneficiaries. Brink and Costigan (2014) consider conversing as very key in mutual understanding between social workers and the recipients of human services. Conversing involves the active exchange of words between the speaker and the listener. Oral communication, in a nutshell, is applicable in the context social work although it must incorporate the participation of a second party. Oral communication, according to Brink and Costigan (2014), is most productive among people of sound mind who can present, listen and converse among themselves. Therefore, it is a powerful tool of communication between social workers offering health and human services to mentally ill people.



Brink, K. E., & Costigan, R. D. (2015). Oral communication skills: Are the priorities of the workplace and AACSB-accredited business programs aligned?. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 14(2), 205-221.

Cheruvelil, K. S., Soranno, P. A., Weathers, K. C., Hanson, P. C., Goring, S. J., Filstrup, C. T., & Read, E. K. (2014). Creating and maintaining highperforming collaborative research teams: the importance of diversity and interpersonal skills. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 12(1), 31-38.

Galvin, T., Gibbs, M., Sullivan, J., & Williams, C. (2014). Leadership competencies of project managers: An empirical study of emotional, intellectual, and managerial dimensions. Journal of Economic Development, Management, IT, Finance, and Marketing, 6(1), 35.Helfat, C. E., & Peteraf, M. A. (2015). Managerial cognitive capabilities and the microfoundations...

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