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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Job evaluation in social work : an analysis, description, and classification of social work positions based on a study of worker activities in the Vancouver Child Guidance Clinic, 1955. MacDonald, Robert Wesley


Current studies of social work education have stimulated interest in the analysis and description of what social workers actually do. What activities and services do social workers perform? By whom are these activities usually performed, i.e., worker, supervisor or administrator? What skills are required to perform these activities adequately? What extent or degree of responsibility is involved in each activity at the various job levels of worker, supervisor, administrator. The present study is designed to test the applicability of industrial Job evaluation techniques to professional social work in an attempt to answer the questions posed, A survey of the current literature in social work and of current methods of job evaluation suggests that the "classification" method of job evaluation is most appropriate to the field of social work. Social work literature indicates nine broad areas of function or activities of professional social workers. While each of these areas is traditionally assumed to be assigned to specific job levels, further study of a specific agency (Vancouver, Child Guidance Clinic, Social Service Department) indicates that all workers have some degree of responsibility for each area of activity. Analysis of each worker's activities in units of five minutes: of time for a two week period provides a measure of the degree of skill and responsibility required of staff at various levels. Findings of this time study are then used to sort out job classes, to describe these classes, and to suggest a classification scheme applicable to any setting employing social workers. The findings suggest that all professional social workers require some measure of skill in each of the following areas of activity: Administrative, Consultative, Supervisory, Direct Service, Professional Education, Community Relations, Staff Development, Programme Development, Research, Major determinants of class appear to be the extent of work which is subject to review by others and the degree of knowledge and ability required in fields other than the major area of function. The process of job analysis, description and classification as illustrated in this study is an essential step for all agencies to take in measuring, delegating and interpreting the work of the agency. The classification scheme proposed should enable comparison of social work positions in a variety of settings. At the same time, it offers a partial solution to the dilemma of a profession which seeks to achieve professional practitioner status but offers very limited possibilities, for the direct service practitioner to enhance his earnings without assuming a traditionally higher rank of supervisor or administrator.

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