Types, Models & Skills of Social Group Work

Social group work, it signifies that more than one individual can form a group. The group workers try to strengthen multi members to bring some changes. A social group considers, where a group of people lives in a geographical area having the same culture, we-feelings, ideology, sharing each other views, etc, so that group must be confined.

Social group work is a primary method of social work through which, an individual from a variety community settings could get such experiences with growth and opportunities in accordance with their needs and capacities to influence and change personal, group, organizational and community problems. Here group work helps an individual for removing him/her weakness and strengthen him/her internal power to perform a person’s job satisfactorily. A group worker must have the theoretical knowledge of social group work, its principles, its skills, its models, its assumption, its dynamics so that, he/she may be able to perform the jobs satisfactorily.

How we develop group?

  There are several theories as to why groups develop. A classic theory, developed by George Homans, suggests that groups develop based on activities, interactions, and sentiments. The theory means that when individuals share common activities, they will have more interaction and will develop attitudes (positive or negative) toward each other.

During these stages group members must address several issues and find the way in which these issues are resolved determines whether the group will succeed in accomplishing its tasks or not.

1.   Forming. The major goals of the group have not been established. Thus, forming is an orientation period when members get to know one another and share expectations about the group. Members learn the purpose of the group as well as the rules to be followed. The forming stage should not be rushed because trust and openness must be developed. These feelings strengthen in later stages of development.

2.   Storming. In this stage, the group is likely to see the highest level of disagreement and conflict. Members often challenge group goals and struggle for power. Individuals often need for the leadership position during this stage of development. This can be a positive experience for all groups if members can achieve cohesiveness through resolution. If members are not able to resolve the conflict, then the group will often disband or continue in existence but will remain ineffective and never advance to the other stages.

3.   Norming. At this stage, the group members will begin to develop a feeling of group cohesion and identity. Cooperative effort should begin to reach into results. Responsibilities are divided among members and the group decides how it will evaluate progress.

4.   Performing. Performing occurs when the group has matured and attains a feeling of cohesiveness. During this stage of development, individuals accept one another and conflict is resolved through group discussion. Members of the group make decisions through a rational process that is focused on relevant goals rather than emotional issues.

5.   Adjourning. Not all groups experience this stage of development because it is characterized by the disbandment of the group. Reasons that groups disband vary, with common reasons being the accomplishment of the task or individuals deciding to go their own ways. Members of the group often experience feelings of closure and sadness as they prepare to leave.

Types Of Group

One common way to classify a group is by whether they are formal or informal in nature. Formal workgroups are established by an organization to achieve organizational goals. Formal groups may take the form of command groups, task groups, and functional groups.

Formal Group it is a group where managers and subordinates meet in the place and discuss accordingly. It also is known as a permanent group. The formal groups work under a single supervisor with a common goal.

Informal Group  Whereas, informal groups are formed by the members of such groups by themselves. They are formed spontaneously, without any formal, having some common interests such as self-defense, work assistance, and social interaction plays in an informal group. It knows as a temporary group, which has no static.


Command groups are specified by the organizational chart and often consist of a supervisor and the subordinates that report to that supervisor


Task groups consist of people who work together to achieve a common task. Task groups are also commonly referred to some task forces. The organization appoints members and assigns the goals and tasks to be accomplished. Other common task groups are committees, project groups, and standing committees. committees are temporary groups created to resolve a specific complaint or develop a process. Project groups are similar to committees and normally disband after the group completes the assigned task. Standing committees are more permanent than committees and project groups. They maintain long term by rotating members into the group.


Functional groups remain in existence after the achievement of current goals and objectives.In contrast to formal groups, informal groups are formed naturally and in response to the common interests and shared values of individuals. They are created for purposes other than the accomplishment of organizational goals and do not have a specified time frame. Informal groups are not appointed by the organization and members can invite others to join from time to time. Informal groups can have a strong influence in organizations that can either be positive or negative. Informal groups can take the form of interest groups, friendship groups, or reference groups.


Interest groups usually continue over time and may last longer than general informal groups. The goals and objectives of group interests are specific to each group and may not be related to organizational goals and objectives.


Friendship groups are formed by members who enjoy similar social activities, political beliefs, religious values, or other common bonds. Members enjoy each other's company and often meet after work to participate in these activities.


A reference group is a type of group that people use to evaluate themselves. Reference groups are different from the previously discussed groups because they may not actually meet or form voluntarily.

Models of Group work

Models are designed to bring social norms and values in the group and address the problems within the communities where group worker councils to solve the issue and accompanying group growth and development. Models of Social Group Work On the basis of varied assumptions about the role of the worker, the group members and the content of the group, social workers proposed four distinct group work models. These are:

1)     Remedial

Remedial Model Remedial model focuses on the individual's dysfunction and utilizes the group as a context and means for altering deviant behavior. Clients of such social group work practice are physically and mentally handicapped, legal offenders, emotionally disturbed, isolated and alienated persons. In this model, attempts are being made by social workers to bring change in the individual. He/she is the target point. According to the Remedial Model, the group can be used to treat problems of adjustments in personal and social relations.

2)     Mediating

This model is based on open systems theory, humanistic psychology, and an existential perspective. The following are the chief characteristics of this model.

1.   People and society are interdependent because they have mutual needs. When there is interference with these mutual strivings, it results in conflict.

2.     The resolution of this conflict is possible only when interested parties try to understand their dilemmas with all of these inner resources and they utilize that at that moment.

3.    In this model attention is directed towards the relationship of members in the group with each other, with the worker and the group as a whole.

4.   It is the relationship among the members that shows the characteristics of the group.

5.   In this model emphasis is placed on the continuing and reciprocal transactions of sets of members with each other, the worker and the group.


3)     Developmental Model

 In this approach, groups are seen as having “a degree of independence and autonomy, but the to and fro flow between them and their members, between them and their social settings, is crucial to their existence, viability and achievements. The chief characteristics of this model are:

1.   It is primarily based on the dynamics of intimacy and closeness between the members over a span of time.

2.   The degree of intimacy is taken into account for appropriate worker interventions. Conceptualization of study, diagnosis and treatment is made at all three levels of individuals, group and the setting.

3.   This model derives knowledge from Erikson’s ego psychology, group dynamics and conflict theory.

4.   The group worker is engaged in study, diagnosis and treatment.


4)     Social goal model

The Social Goals Model The basic concepts of this model are social consciousness, social responsibility, and social change. It is suggested that by participation with others in a group situation, individuals can affect social change. Social action is the desired outcome, and the group worker is regarded as an influence person and enabler, who personifies the values of social responsibility and acts as stimulator and role model without purveying any political viewpoint. Implicit in this model is the emerging leader within the group.

Gestalt Therapy: Therapy In gestalt therapy the worker aids the clients in learning how they prevent themselves from maturing. It is the aim of worker to help the client to become aware of and accept responsibility for how they make themselves feel better

Transactional Analysis:  Transactional Analysis It is a process of analyzing and explaining intra-personal and interpersonal processes. This therapeutic model was developed by Berne. He proposes that personal change can be maximized through group psychotherapy where the social processes are much more varied than just one to one relationships

The Behavioral Model Gestalt. Behavioral Model According to this model, specific group programs are implemented to alter dysfunctional patterns and learn new styles.

 Skills of Group work

I) Skill in Using Agency Functions -The group worker must be skillful in carrying the functions of the agency. He should always try to propagate what the agency in the community wants to do. He does the following activities for

·         The Intake Process

·         Connecting the Group 

·         Serving the Individual through the Group Work Process

·         Working with the Individual Outside

·         The Referral

II) Skill in Communication of Feelings- The social group worker should have the following skills.     Principles, Skills and Models of Group Work Practice

1.   The Worker’s Feelings High

2.    The Group Member’s Feelings

3.   Group Feelings

III) Skills in Using the Reality of the Present Under this the social worker does two things.

1.   Utilizing the group’s current interest for purposeful activity.

2.   Helping the group to take responsible decision.

  IV) Skill in Stimulating and Using Group Relations

1.   The social group worker should enable each group member to find and take his part in a relationship with other members.

2.   He should be skillful in using programs to strengthen group relations.


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