The twofold perspective, by which the scope of social work can be characterized, was developed historically (Burghardt, 2013). Mary Richmond, one of the social work pioneers, addressed the areas of micro and macro social practice when specifying that the target population should be viewed as not only individuals but also a community, including both individual residents and families (Burghardt, 2013). Thus, the significance of paying attention to both micro- and macro-related aspects of social practice emerged.
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Despite the fact that catering to the needs of individuals, i.e., a micro practice, is traditionally viewed as the crucial goal of social workers, it is also necessary to embrace the specifics of the community, i.e., the local culture, the interactions between the member, the way in which information can be dispersed among the residents, etc. By focusing on the implementation of macro practice in the social work, one is likely to create the paradigm that will allow meeting the needs of all target stakeholders successfully and provide them with the services of to finest quality. Herein the primary difference between micro and macro practices lies (Burghardt, 2013).
A social worker must consider the needs of a specific community from a macro level since the identified perspective helps overview the local infrastructure and determine the existing problems and opportunities, especially as far as the information management is concerned. Thus, the premises for improving the communication process between the social services and the community members can be created.
For instance, raising awareness about a specific issue, receiving people’s feedback, providing responses to the victims of crisis situations in a timely and efficient manner, etc., becomes a possibility once the target area is viewed from a macro-level perspective. Once the essential communication patterns are recognized, the foundation for creating a successful general framework for addressing the needs of the target population can be built (Burghardt, 2013).
Furthermore, the analysis of the general tendencies in the identified society, including the factors that influence its development (i.e., social, cultural, economic, political, financial, technological, and environmental ones) helps determine the available resources, the threats to which the community members are exposed, the avenues for managing the said threats, etc. However, the specified analysis is only possible once the community is viewed from a macro-level perspective, i.e., once the assessment of the external factors that define the well-being of the residents is provided (Burghardt, 2013).
The presence of macro elements in the social work can be maintained by creating social programs aimed at exploiting the target environment, determining the factors that have a tangible influence on the population, and determining the strategies for inhibiting the negative impacts. Thus, the balance between the micro- and micro-levels of social work can be retained. It is crucial that the programs should keep track of the community needs, at the same time making sure that individual should be provided with the necessary services. Therefore, macro practices serve as the tools for determining general tendencies, setting the framework for managing people’s needs, and identifying the current trends in the target community (Burghardt, 2013).
Implementing macro practices in the social work will help build the foundation for successful management of the needs of all members of the community. Particularly, the opportunities for identifying the specifics of the local culture and introducing the information management tools that will allow for cooperation between the community members, as well as the target participants and the social services, should be mentioned.
Burghardt, S. (2013). Macro practice in social work for the 21st century: Bridging the macro-micro divide. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.