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Community work has a wealth of definitions depending on context and history. Community work is the help people in concrete life situations in certain territorial unit, no matter, if is concerned on individual, group or whole community. Respect biological, psychological, cultural, social, economic, ecological needs of inhabitants of community.” The
aim of community work is mobilization self-help of citizens on behalf bigger number of people, and it requires cooperation with representative’s local government and political authority. In community work become involved citizen’s activists, so inhabitants. Community worker fulfil the role of stimulator and of organizers (Raatma, 2003). Community work is a method of coping of social change. Community work lean on involving people into problems influencing their lives and:

  • change balance of power, focus on relation of people and institutions

  • appreciate skills, knowledge and experiences of people, as their reaction to social, economic and political problems

  • take notice of inequalities and discrimination, support understanding these problems in groups and organizations

“From global viewpoint community work facilitates social change. Change balance of power by the way, that help to powerless discover and assert their skills. Active they involves into solutions of things, that influence their lives and confront attitudes and behavior and institutions that discriminate somebody.


The general objective of community work we can define as an aspiration (on) any social change. It takes place through two processes:

  • by analyzing of social situation

  • by forming relationship social worker and community and mutual relationships between different groups inside a community

Social works mark so those, who share disadvantage a category of disadvantaged people (clients). This term implies, that it is a groupment of individuals, between them needn’t exist relationships, in sence of a sociological concept it is not a community (Tropman, and Tropman, 2012). Organized community is a result of professional activity of community worker, partly it can be result of a spontaneous need of clients to join together (YouTube 2017). This mixture of associative and solidarity links express well the term “community of interests”. Community workers also work with families (neighbours) etc. – to could in cooperation with professional organisations participate on help providing, so raise organised network, which is based on relationships in community. We can speak about informal networks that are providing informal help (Editorial: Community, Work & Family in the 21st Century, 2000). Their cooperation with professional organizations grow up integration of formal and no-formal care, that we could specify by the term service community.

Social work the term community express:

  • a category of disadvantaged people – unorganized group of people, they need a help

  • a community of interests – organized interest association, that express its interests and work on them

  • a service community – organized connection inhabitants of community, that are able afford a help with a network of professional organizations

  • A municipality – that is mean as social space, in which are built relations between providers of services and disadvantaged, who are able establish their interests and support their realizations by an activity/action

The role of the Community worker

Most of community workers are employed in the public sector, either by local authorities or the voluntary sector, which receives public finances. Increasingly, these agencies are required by founders to meet specific objectives, and those who do not meet these place themselves in a vulnerable position where their funding can be terminated or reduced (YouTube 2017).


Critical Approach

The central uniting focus of critical model in community work is the empowerment of individuals, groups and communities to critically analyze their own experiences to understand the ways dominant institutions and ideology undermine emancipatory social transformation. Critical theory is therefore essentially normative, in that it combines theory and practice as an intrinsic process of praxis to bring about social change to affect human conditions, particularly that of the poor and marginalized in the community (Maistry 2001). According to Friere (1988) Praxis is a continuous, dialectic process through which individuals (“the poor, “the oppressed”) gain greater consciousness of themselves and the world they live in through reflecting on their lived experiences by exchanging these experiences with others in the similar situations. Through dialogue new ideas and understanding are developed that enable personal transformation (“emancipation” of the individuals and groups involved in the dialogue (YouTube 2017). The concept of emancipatory social transformation from Freire perspective comes from a process of “conscientisation” whereby “the oppressed” uncover the contradictions that exist in the economic, social political structures of society controlled by “dominant institutions, individuals and groups”. Conscientisation seeks to enable individuals, groups and communities to make critical link between their personal circumstances of poverty, marginalization and oppression to the wider structural factors in society (Maistry 2001).

Functionalism Approach

Functionalists argue that society consists of a hierarchy of structures and stability is the central essential element to achieve development outcome. Society’s structures and institutions must work together to achieve developmental outcome (Stewart 2015: 16). Pawar and Torres (2010) suggest that ideological, capacity-building and partnership approaches can be used to help develop integrated community. In integrated community according to Pawar and Torres (2010) is one that brings every person into equal membership of a community by creatively combining its social, economic and political (power) aspect. Integrated community minimize division by respecting human dignity, worth and human rights, which it does by meeting basic existential and development needs (YouTube 2017). The functionalist approach assumes that society consist of independent components, “institutions” that fit together to provide a stable functioning and social system. This society works towards stability and these components include the family, education system, culture system, political system and economic system. Each of these components fulfils specific functions to meet the needs of society and individual are socialized into norms and values of society through these institutions (Stewart 2015: 16).

Symbolic Interactionism Approach

According to Stewart (2015) symbolic internationalism argues that our interactions with each other within communities and across society enable us to establish social relationships and give us a sense of identity and belonging. Social relationships in society are constructed from our interpretations and meanings we attach to these symbols. The way we construct our self-identity and well-being also extents to the way we engage with institutions of society, how we interpret the roles of such institutions as representing our interest. According to this theoretical perspective social change come through our active engagement with each other and the construction and reconstruction of social relatives and through being positive and accepting the status quo (functionalist), nor y battling against each other and institutions (conflict).

This perspective allows us to see the importance of understanding of community process, the importance of discussion and conscientisation and the importance of community development being enduring, reliable and positive symbol of a way forward to achieving the goal of all (YouTube 2017). This approach assumes that society is constructed by everyday relationships which consist of both spoken and unspoken rules of behaviour (Stewart 2015). Through the critical approach community development can be achieved by focusing on the empowerment of individuals, groups and communities by critically analyzing their own experiences to understand the ways dominant institutions and ideology undermine emancipatory social transformation. The functionalist approach fails to explains inequality in communities that lead to poverty and hunger, it suggest that inequality has always existed and will continue to exist because it has a social function, such an explanation by the functionalist is based on ignorant to inequality (Stewart 2015).


In order to understand that meaning of community leadership, it is imperative for me to understand the meaning of a Community Leadership. Thus, to move forward with my understanding of the word Community Leadership from this point of view, I would like to also highlight the meaning of a leader. I tackled the meaning of a leader and its qualities in depth from the previous chapter. In this chapter, as a read through to understand the meaning of not just a leader, but the key concepts and the Dimensions of a Community Leadership, I am amazed by the meaning of these qualities, characteristics, and the Dimensions of Leadership such as the Process, Task, Strategic, and Ethical Leadership (YouTube 2017). Throughout the chapter, the author explained, and described each of these dimension in detail. On the reading the author described the meaning of a leader and put it this way, “The leader is one who mobilizes others toward a goal shared by both the leaders and followers.” The reading explained the definition to be elegant in its simplicity and yet comprehensive enough to include all the critical elements in real world leadership. In addition, based on my understanding, Community Leadership and these concepts gives me a sense of a direction to not only my leadership qualities but the entire picture of what it means to be a community leader and why it is important to know the importance of a leadership (Block, 2009).

Now that we understand each of these words in a nutshell, lets comeback to understand chapter two, and the concept of the Community in Community Leadership? What is it? What are the differences between Community Leadership and Community in Community Leadership? In this chapter, the meaning of Community as it frames has multiple meaning, from emotional experience as in sense of “community; as a physical place such as a neighborhood or town; as a set of shared interests or pursuits, like the environmental community or legal community; or as common ethnic or cultural identity, Evangelical community. We often think of community as something fixed; something that just is (Block, 2009). In fact, from a leadership perspective, communities are made and maintained through human relationships. People create community.” Moreover, in reality, the principle and skills of effective community leadership is applicable in business, government and the military as mention in out reading. Community leadership is unique because as our reading highlighted of its context. It takes place in civil society such as large spaces between government and the market where people with the same interest come together to pursued a common good, debate, confront, and find solutions to the issues they care about collectively (Block, 2009).

The four Dimensions of a community pretty much incorporated the sheer aspect of what I mention above. For instance, the first Dimension of a community indicates that “We” as in all of us people, belong to many communities and they are not mutually exclusive. Whereas the second Dimension in Community determines us to be Active,
Dynamic, and changing in responding to our values. This is because we are not one in the sense of Ethnicity, Culture, and Religion, yet we are inclusive in the sense of being human (Skinner, and Ichii, 20141). Tighten this to the third Dimension as to the Multiple Meaning and Locations to the core value and how we see what we see, and how we do what we do typically is wire to the approaches and the ways we approach. In another words, what united us is greater than what divides us as we all have common interest so we can have and live in a better world, where safety, health, education, good governance and all in between unify us yet how we pursue that interest, and our way of thinking, doing, approaching and practicing differentiates us. Now, the last and the final Community Dimension integrates and combines all of us to be one people, neighbors, nation, and community and is rooted as civil servants (YouTube 2017).


In conclusion, “A community is democratic only when the humblest and weakest person can enjoy the highest civil, economic, and social rights that the biggest and most powerful possess.” Nevertheless, grounding my understanding of Community leadership to the story of my community; it is inevitable for us to clearly understand what made them unique. They understand that they are one community with a common interest, good, and values and because of that, they collectively united to seek and protect their interest (Wituk, Ealey, Clark, Heiny, and Meissen, 2012). Yet, they worked, collaborated, created, learned and confront other communities, and neighborhoods, so they can together live one nation under God. Effort is support members of community to receive continuously another knowledge of implications in which live and to accomplish better formulate their opinions. In social work with gypsy community we can speak about method of activation of local groups (Ledwith, 2001). Possibilities of activating depend on the level of development of community. Because to them, this was very important to keep their values, by figuring out what was needed collectively, and together conveyed a solution and accomplished without the help of any other affiliation. That is community leadership, period.


Block, P. (2009). Community. 1st ed. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Editorial: Community, Work & Family in the 21st Century. (2000). Community, Work & Family, 3(1), pp.5-14.

Ledwith, M.2001. Community work as critical pedagogy: Re-envisioning Freire and Gramsci, from Community Development Journal. 36(3): 171-182. Oxford University Press.

Maistry, M. 2001. Towards professionalization: Journey of community development in the African and South African Context, from Africanus Journal of Development Studies. 42(2): 29-41. Unisa Press

Pawar, M & Torres, R. 2011. Integrated community development through dialogue, capacity-building and partnership in an Australian town, from Journal of Comparative Social Welfare. 27(3): 253-268. Routledge 2011.

Raatma, L. (2003). Leadership. Mankato, Minn.: Bridgestone Books.

Skinner, N. and Ichii, R. (2014). Exploring a family, work, and community model of work–family gains and strains. Community, Work & Family, 18(1), pp.79-99.

Stewart, P.D.S. Community Development: Only study guide for DVA 2602. University of South Africa 2015.

Tropman, J. and Tropman, J. (2012). Successful community leadership and organization. Washington, DC: National Association of Social Workers.

Wituk, S., Ealey, S., Clark, M., Heiny, P. and Meissen, G. (2005). Community Development through Community Leadership Programs: Insights from a Statewide Community Leadership Initiative. Community Development, 36(2), pp.89-101.

YouTube. (2017). Lecture 6 Understanding Communities. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 May 2017].

YouTube. (2017). MLW Ch1 Practice Models of Community Work (Social Work — Macro Practice). [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 May 2017].

YouTube. (2017). Social Work with Communities. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 May 2017].

YouTube. (2017). Sustainable community development: from what’s wrong to what’s strong | Cormac Russell | TEDxExeter. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 May 2017].