Casework Relationship - Its Scope in Labour setting


Prof. Dileep Kumar M.


The industrial case work has been defined as an art in which knowledge of the science of human relations are used to mobilize capacities in the individual and resources in the industry and community appropriate for better adjustment between the industrial client and all or any part of his total environment.  The industrial client in this article is the employees and managers who face socio-emotional and organisational problems, in their work or social environment in an in the industrial setting. The purpose of industrial casework according to this definition is to help the client to make a better adjustment. Industrial casework helps a person meet a problem, fill needs and receive services. The means to this purpose are the mobilization of appropriate industrial and community resources depending upon the needs of each industrial client.

Science of Human Relation

Knowledge of science of human relations is necessary because the case industrial worker deals intimately with employees and managers in the organisation.  The knowledge of how human personality grows, changes, reacts to stressors normally or abnormally serves as a framework in which the individual client is better understood. To understand individual it is very helpful to know as much as possible about the common characteristics of human nature.

The relationship between the industrial caseworker and the client is the medium through which the knowledge of human nature and of the individual is used. Knowledge alone, without skill in relationship is inadequate. The relationship is the channel of the entire case work process, though it flow the mobilization of the capacities of the individual and the mobilization of the industrial and community resources, through the skill in interviewing, study, diagnosis and treatment.

Casework Relationship

 The casework relation ship is has been compared to an atmosphere, to flesh & blood, to a bridge and to an atmosphere. The essence of the relationship has been call an interplay, a mutual emotional exchange, an attitude, a dynamic interaction, a medium a connection, between two parties, (the industrial worker and the industrial case worker) a professional mediating and a mutual process. The materials of this dynamic interaction is described as personalities, thoughts, feelings, actions ingredients from both parties and the sum total of all that happens between the participants.

The purpose of the relationship is described as creating an atmosphere, the development of the personality, better solutions to the clients problems, the means of carrying out functions, starting and focusing reality of emotional problems. The relationship has general and specific purposes. More over in some cases the relationship is the principal for of treatment. While in others it is an aid to treatment.

The Purpose of casework relationship

In general the purpose of the relationship is a part of the over all-purpose of entire casework process. To help the client which is psychosocial need and problems. In addition the relationship has more proximate purpose.  All of which can be categorized as creating an atmosphere in which the industrial client free to engage effectively in the study diagnosis and treatment. Since, each casework situation is individual occurring in agencies with different functions and with clients who differ in personality, needs and problems. The relationship may serve one or more proximate purposes in each case.

Industrial Casework

The case work relationship is a dynamic interaction of attitudes and emotions between the industrial case worker and the individual employee in an industrial setting, with the purpose of helping the individual employee to achieve a better adjustment between himself and his environment.

Casework Process

Study: The initial phase of the casework relationship is to study the problem faced by the industrial client. This understanding required the information of the social, psychological, economical, health, organisational and related facts on the industrial client. Detailed data gathering and understanding is the purpose of casework relationship in the first phase of interaction.

Diagnosis: Based on the data gathered it is the effort of the caseworker to identify the symptoms of the problem faced whether is emotional, psychosocial or others. A proper diagnosis required the effective understanding and analysis of facts and figures.


In the treatment phase, the caseworker helps the client to understand the problem by himself by detailing and referring all the related facts and figures. In majority cases, the client finds the solution to the problem by himself with the support of the caseworker.  While in some cases if the problem is beyond the capacities and abilities to resolve it, there the caseworker refer the case to some treatment agencies and help him to solve the problem.

Scope of casework in labour setting

In the factory setting one meets the working men with different economic, political and socio cultural back ground and tradition, with different physical capacities, mental abilities, emotional qualities and institutional moves they have came together to make their living through work. When they come with a social mind set, which is inadequate to become an industrial man, he find himself maladjusted and his behaviour turn to become abnormal to work and work organisation. An organisation more concentrate to business surplus and in the acute state of competition and business changes there is little time to spend some time with the worker to resolve the personal crisis. Remove the maladjusted personnel from the payroll and appoint another who is competent enough to perform the functions may be the organisational solution. They don't have the knowledge or skill to intervene into personal problems of the employees.

Mistreated by the management and neglected by labour unions he is always anxious to know about his job and how he fits in the total scheme of things, what his status in the organisation is and where he stands in the hierarchy of relationship, how he is respected by his fellow workers and what role he plays in promoting prosperity of the entire enterprise from where he seeks his own satisfaction. Thus he works under condition, which is more open than not, results in indiscipline and low morale. He thinks that the existing pattern of labour management relations hardly provides proper machinery for amicable settlement of differences and creates conditions of industrial peace. Above all the worker is under the greatest handicap of the paucity proper referral agencies. 

In many organisations service conditions are often intolerable. There is high task orientation and less relationship orientation managerial approach in addition to capital incentive approaches. Here the management neglects the greatest asset, human resources, and it affect the morale and motivation of employees at work. A worker may be good in his skill and knowledge to contribute best to the organisation. But because of lack of experience in handling human problems at work, the managers in the organisation have to leave those worker problems aside. His service conditions are often intolerable the climate of human relations at the work places is hopelessly impaired and the personnel organisation where he works to rarely knit. The organisational climate, prevalent practices and the managerial approaches thus affect the worker adjustment of the members in their work situation.

Lack of integration of the personal and organisational goal is the main factor that leads to maladjustment of the workers in the organisation. Organisational stress is one of the major intervention areas of the industrial casework process. Many stress inducing factors like lack of supervisory support, lack of acceptance of the innovative suggestions, feeling of inequality, inadequate authority, lack of group cohesiveness, job requirement capability mismatch, role conflict role ambiguity etc are all directly affecting the individual worker at the personal level and develop maladjustments. In the day-to-day work relationships he often comes in clash with the supervisor, strains his relation with him and he is charge sheeted for insubordination. A feeling enter his mind that he is misunderstood by the management that they are prejudiced against him. Due to the lack of adequate proper training accounts keeping he commits a clerical error and is unfortunately charged for the misappropriation of companies fund. He may be exposed to many disciplinary actions. The disciplinary actions affect the reputation of the worker in the industry. The single way to cope up with this problem is to quit the employment to protect his self-esteem. Organisation may not take effort to correct the individual worker and help him to identify his mistake. A proper guidance and better support itself can lead employees to better performance and high integrity. Absenteeism and the labour turnover are the best examples of the individual workers maladjustment in the organisational setting. Indian organisations are facing these problems in its acute level. The problems at the organisational level and the psychosocial level of employees in the labour setting have better opportunity to resolve those crisis thorough Industrial case work process.


Many problems situations, which the industrial man meets in his working life, are largely indicative of the nature and scope of social casework in the industrial setting in India. The worker wants to solve his situations but since by himself he is unable to find the situation he needs some guidance and some confidence and encouragement and the case worker must extend helping hand to him who deserves empathy, support, advices and solutions to his problems.


Perlman HH (1962) Social Case Work A Problem Solving Process,' The University of Chicago Press. Chicago, Illinois, USA.

Prof. Dileep Kumar M.

Source: E-mail April 26, 2006


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