Identify Funding Sources What are the agency’s funding sources? How much and what percentage of funds are received from each source? Which funds are earmarked for certain programs or services and which are flexible?

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The Conceptual Analysis of the Practicum Agency

A: IDENTIFYING THE AGENCY’S TASK ENVIRONMENT

Task I: Identify Funding Sources What are the agency’s funding sources? How much and what percentage of funds are received from each source? Which funds are earmarked for certain programs or services and which are flexible?

Task 2: Identify Sources of Non-Cash Revenues Does the organization use volunteers? If yes, how many and for what purposes? What material resources (e.g., food, clothing, physical facilities, etc.) does the organization receive? What tax benefits does the organization receive? How important are non-cash revenues to the organization’s operation?

Task 3: Identify Clients and Client Sources What client groups does this organization serve? How many duplicated clients are served by each program? How are client needs determined? Within each client group, how many (or what percentage) are able to pay? Contract eligible? Unable to pay (low-pay or no-pay)? What percentage of clients are ethnic/racial minorities, women, gays or lesbians, or members of other oppressed groups? How and by whom (i.e., self, family, provider) are clients referred to this organization? How and to which agencies does this organization refer clients?

Task 4: Identify Other Constituents What state and federal regulatory bodies oversee programs provided by this organization? What agencies contract with this organization for service delivery? What professional associations, labor unions, or accrediting bodies influence agency operations? Is this organization affiliated with or sponsored by religious, ethnic, or fraternal bodies? How does this organization define its “public,” and what groups are parts of this definition?

B: RECOGNIZING THE DYNAMICS OF AGENCY/ENVIRONMENT RELATIONS

Task 5: Observe Relationships with Clients. Has this organization targeted new or different clients within the last five years? What is the organization’s domain (specifically, what types of clients does the organization serve)? Are these clients ones who bring resources to the agency or for whose services resources must be obtained elsewhere? Does the organization claim a larger domain than it serves, and are significant numbers of clients turned away? What types of clients does the organization refuse (e.g., are most of these the poorest or most troubled clients; are most of these minorities as opposed to non-minorities)? What happens to these clients?

Task 6: Observe Relationships with Resource Sources How good are the relationships between funding sources and organizational leaders? How does the organization use and work with volunteers? How good are the relationships between important external various constituencies and organizational members? What types of changes have recently affected the organization, particularly in the area of access to resource?

Task 7: Observe Relationships with Competitors What other agencies provide the same services to the same clientele as this organization? Are there mechanisms for interagency cooperation, and are they used? With whom does the organization compete? With whom does the organization cooperate? Are these relationships formal or informal (e.g., is the organization part of a coalition or an alliance)?

C: ANALYZING THE ORGANIZATION

Task 8: Identify Corporate Authority and Mission Is the organization operating in a manner that is consistent with its mission and authority? To what extent is the mission supported by staff that performs different roles within the organization? Are policies and procedures consistent with mission and authority?

Task 9: Understand Organizational Structure What is the organizing theme for the basic organizational structure (e.g., bureaucratic, organized around programs, organized around professional disciplines, alternative or nontraditional, etc.)? Is this the most logical structure? Is it consistent with and supportive of the mission? Is staff clear about reporting lines and accountability? Is supervision logical and capable of performing expected functions? Is there an informal organization (people who carry authority because they are respected by staff and thus exert influence outside those in formally designated positions)? Are there clear distinctions between staff and line functions?

Task 10: Understand Administration, Management, and Leadership How is the work-place organized and work allocated? Is appropriate authority assigned along with responsibility? How close is supervision and what, exactly, is supervised? Is it tasks, or is it functions, or is it the employee, depending on need? How are people treated in the work-place, including the very lowest level employees? Do employees feel valued at every level? Do they believe they are making a contribution to the success of the organization? How are decisions made? Is information solicited from those affected? Is it used? Are there individuals or units within the organization that are left out of decision-making? If so, why? How is conflict handled?

Task 11: Recognize the Organization’s Culture How would one begin to describe the organization’s culture? What are the organization’s artifacts and creations? What are the organization’s stated values, and what is actually valued within the organization? How do leaders within the organization influence organizational values and assumptions? What are the taken-for-granted patterns within this organization? Is behavior consistent with culture? Are there minorities or others who feel left out of the accepted organizational culture?

Task 12: Assess the Organization’s Programs and Services What programs are offered? What services are offered within each program? Are the services consistent with the goals and objectives of the program? Is there a common understanding among management and line staff within each program about problems to be addressed, populations to be served, services to be provided, and outcomes to be achieved? Are staffing patterns appropriate to the services to be provided? Are any staff over- or under-qualified? Are workload expectations reasonable given expectations for achievement with each client and within each service and program? Is consideration given to cultural and racial understanding of workers and clients? What data is collected on clients, and how is it used? What evaluative information is expected from the evaluation plan? Is there a plan to gather information about clients and the extent of improvement at the point of termination and in a follow-up survey or interview? Is there an effort to determine level of client satisfaction with services? What do the findings reveal to date?

Task 13: Assess Organizational Technology What are the job expectations for each level of staff within the organization? What background education and experience is required to perform these jobs? Do those who hold these jobs have the appropriate credentials? Are staff members performing competently in their positions? Are they meeting expectations? Are they effective (do they get good results) in working with clients? Is each discipline supervised and evaluated by someone with appropriate knowledge, values, skills, and professional identification? In what ways are various units representing different disciplines (e.g., social work, psychology, medical, data processing, etc.) linked with each other for the purposes of collaboration and communication?

Task 14: Locate Personnel Policies and Procedures How diverse is the work-force? Are differences valued in this organization? How do managers and administrators view staff? As people who carry out tasks? As members of teams or units? As creative problem solvers who have an important stake in organizational success? What formal and informal criteria are used for evaluating performance? What kinds of behavior does the organization reward? What is the organization’s philosophy and policy about staff development and training? What resources are invested in it? How attractive are wages, hours, working conditions, and fringe benefits? How attractive is the facility and the work environment? What are the affirmative action policies and how are they implemented? To what extent does the organization groom people for higher level positions, and to what extent do they promote from within.

Task 15: Recognize How the Organization Deals with Community Relations Is there a clearly defined public image, and is there a strategy for communicating this image to the public? What kinds of resources, including funding does the organization invest in promoting its public image? What is the reputation of the agency, its programs and services, its board, executive, management, and line staff with the general public, other agencies, funding sources, clients, and other relevant constituencies such as minority communities? Do the agency’s facilities and published materials contribute to its desired public image? Does the agency respond when needed by other community agencies for political activities, fund raising, dealing with community social problems or other issues?

Task 16: Recognize Methods of Financial Management and Accountability Is the budget prepared in accordance with accepted standards of accounting and financial reporting? Are annual audits conducted? Are program staff involved in a meaningful way in preparing the budget, and do they get useful feedback about expenditures and unit costs during the year? Do program staff use budget data as a measure by which they attempt to improve efficiency? Do resources appear to be adequate to achieve stated program goals and objectives? What are the major sources of revenue for the organization? What demands and restrictions does each funding source place on the organization and its programs?

Task 17: Assess Facilities, Equipment, Computer Utilization, and Records Management Do employees feel that they have enough space? Is the physical work environment attractive and conducive to high productivity? Have problems been identified with current facilities and equipment? Is there a plan to address the problems and to fund solutions? Are there conditions related to facilities or equipment that appear to act as barriers to productivity or work flow? Is the agency able to produce data that will answer important questions about clients, programs, and services? Does the agency have a computerized record-keeping and management information system that includes client data?

The Conceptual Analysis of the Practicum Agency

A: IDENTIFYING THE AGENCY’S TASK ENVIRONMENT

Task I: Identify Funding Sources What are the agency’s funding sources? How much and what percentage of funds are received from each source? Which funds are earmarked for certain programs or services and which are flexible?

Task 2: Identify Sources of Non-Cash Revenues Does the organization use volunteers? If yes, how many and for what purposes? What material resources (e.g., food, clothing, physical facilities, etc.) does the organization receive? What tax benefits does the organization receive? How important are non-cash revenues to the organization’s operation?

Task 3: Identify Clients and Client Sources What client groups does this organization serve? How many duplicated clients are served by each program? How are client needs determined? Within each client group, how many (or what percentage) are able to pay? Contract eligible? Unable to pay (low-pay or no-pay)? What percentage of clients are ethnic/racial minorities, women, gays or lesbians, or members of other oppressed groups? How and by whom (i.e., self, family, provider) are clients referred to this organization? How and to which agencies does this organization refer clients?

Task 4: Identify Other Constituents What state and federal regulatory bodies oversee programs provided by this organization? What agencies contract with this organization for service delivery? What professional associations, labor unions, or accrediting bodies influence agency operations? Is this organization affiliated with or sponsored by religious, ethnic, or fraternal bodies? How does this organization define its “public,” and what groups are parts of this definition?

B: RECOGNIZING THE DYNAMICS OF AGENCY/ENVIRONMENT RELATIONS

Task 5: Observe Relationships with Clients. Has this organization targeted new or different clients within the last five years? What is the organization’s domain (specifically, what types of clients does the organization serve)? Are these clients ones who bring resources to the agency or for whose services resources must be obtained elsewhere? Does the organization claim a larger domain than it serves, and are significant numbers of clients turned away? What types of clients does the organization refuse (e.g., are most of these the poorest or most troubled clients; are most of these minorities as opposed to non-minorities)? What happens to these clients?

Task 6: Observe Relationships with Resource Sources How good are the relationships between funding sources and organizational leaders? How does the organization use and work with volunteers? How good are the relationships between important external various constituencies and organizational members? What types of changes have recently affected the organization, particularly in the area of access to resource?

Task 7: Observe Relationships with Competitors What other agencies provide the same services to the same clientele as this organization? Are there mechanisms for interagency cooperation, and are they used? With whom does the organization compete? With whom does the organization cooperate? Are these relationships formal or informal (e.g., is the organization part of a coalition or an alliance)?

C: ANALYZING THE ORGANIZATION

Task 8: Identify Corporate Authority and Mission Is the organization operating in a manner that is consistent with its mission and authority? To what extent is the mission supported by staff that performs different roles within the organization? Are policies and procedures consistent with mission and authority?

Task 9: Understand Organizational Structure What is the organizing theme for the basic organizational structure (e.g., bureaucratic, organized around programs, organized around professional disciplines, alternative or nontraditional, etc.)? Is this the most logical structure? Is it consistent with and supportive of the mission? Is staff clear about reporting lines and accountability? Is supervision logical and capable of performing expected functions? Is there an informal organization (people who carry authority because they are respected by staff and thus exert influence outside those in formally designated positions)? Are there clear distinctions between staff and line functions?

Task 10: Understand Administration, Management, and Leadership How is the work-place organized and work allocated? Is appropriate authority assigned along with responsibility? How close is supervision and what, exactly, is supervised? Is it tasks, or is it functions, or is it the employee, depending on need? How are people treated in the work-place, including the very lowest level employees? Do employees feel valued at every level? Do they believe they are making a contribution to the success of the organization? How are decisions made? Is information solicited from those affected? Is it used? Are there individuals or units within the organization that are left out of decision-making? If so, why? How is conflict handled?

Task 11: Recognize the Organization’s Culture How would one begin to describe the organization’s culture? What are the organization’s artifacts and creations? What are the organization’s stated values, and what is actually valued within the organization? How do leaders within the organization influence organizational values and assumptions? What are the taken-for-granted patterns within this organization? Is behavior consistent with culture? Are there minorities or others who feel left out of the accepted organizational culture?

Task 12: Assess the Organization’s Programs and Services What programs are offered? What services are offered within each program? Are the services consistent with the goals and objectives of the program? Is there a common understanding among management and line staff within each program about problems to be addressed, populations to be served, services to be provided, and outcomes to be achieved? Are staffing patterns appropriate to the services to be provided? Are any staff over- or under-qualified? Are workload expectations reasonable given expectations for achievement with each client and within each service and program? Is consideration given to cultural and racial understanding of workers and clients? What data is collected on clients, and how is it used? What evaluative information is expected from the evaluation plan? Is there a plan to gather information about clients and the extent of improvement at the point of termination and in a follow-up survey or interview? Is there an effort to determine level of client satisfaction with services? What do the findings reveal to date?

Task 13: Assess Organizational Technology What are the job expectations for each level of staff within the organization? What background education and experience is required to perform these jobs? Do those who hold these jobs have the appropriate credentials? Are staff members performing competently in their positions? Are they meeting expectations? Are they effective (do they get good results) in working with clients? Is each discipline supervised and evaluated by someone with appropriate knowledge, values, skills, and professional identification? In what ways are various units representing different disciplines (e.g., social work, psychology, medical, data processing, etc.) linked with each other for the purposes of collaboration and communication?

Task 14: Locate Personnel Policies and Procedures How diverse is the work-force? Are differences valued in this organization? How do managers and administrators view staff? As people who carry out tasks? As members of teams or units? As creative problem solvers who have an important stake in organizational success? What formal and informal criteria are used for evaluating performance? What kinds of behavior does the organization reward? What is the organization’s philosophy and policy about staff development and training? What resources are invested in it? How attractive are wages, hours, working conditions, and fringe benefits? How attractive is the facility and the work environment? What are the affirmative action policies and how are they implemented? To what extent does the organization groom people for higher level positions, and to what extent do they promote from within.

Task 15: Recognize How the Organization Deals with Community Relations Is there a clearly defined public image, and is there a strategy for communicating this image to the public? What kinds of resources, including funding does the organization invest in promoting its public image? What is the reputation of the agency, its programs and services, its board, executive, management, and line staff with the general public, other agencies, funding sources, clients, and other relevant constituencies such as minority communities? Do the agency’s facilities and published materials contribute to its desired public image? Does the agency respond when needed by other community agencies for political activities, fund raising, dealing with community social problems or other issues?

Task 16: Recognize Methods of Financial Management and Accountability Is the budget prepared in accordance with accepted standards of accounting and financial reporting? Are annual audits conducted? Are program staff involved in a meaningful way in preparing the budget, and do they get useful feedback about expenditures and unit costs during the year? Do program staff use budget data as a measure by which they attempt to improve efficiency? Do resources appear to be adequate to achieve stated program goals and objectives? What are the major sources of revenue for the organization? What demands and restrictions does each funding source place on the organization and its programs?

Task 17: Assess Facilities, Equipment, Computer Utilization, and Records Management Do employees feel that they have enough space? Is the physical work environment attractive and conducive to high productivity? Have problems been identified with current facilities and equipment? Is there a plan to address the problems and to fund solutions? Are there conditions related to facilities or equipment that appear to act as barriers to productivity or work flow? Is the agency able to produce data that will answer important questions about clients, programs, and services? Does the agency have a computerized record-keeping and management information system that includes client data?

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