Social Work Macro Practice

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  • Edition: 6th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2016-01-03
  • Publisher: Pearson

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A thoroughly up-to-date look at the field of social work using a unique macro practice model focused on making changes within diverse communities and organizations.

Social Work Macro Practice approaches the field of social work recognizing that all social workers must be able to engage, assess, and intervene with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. It focuses on enabling social work practitioners to undertake whatever types of macro-level interventions are needed in an informed, analytical manner, confident that they can do a competent job and achieve positive results. Bringing readers up to date on the latest changes in the field, this practice-oriented edition integrates many field-based vignettes and examples throughout and elaborates a planned change model introduced in previous editions. Among the numerous updates, improvements, and new material, the new edition incorporates material on international/global content, pays special attention to the use of technology, and reinforces the role of advocacy in all aspects of social work practice. The Enhanced Pearson eText features embedded videos and assessments.


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Author Biography

F. Ellen Netting is Professor Emerita in Social Work and the former Samuel S. Wurtzel Endowed Chair at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) where she taught for 19 years, having previously taught 10 years at Arizona State University. Her practice experience includes directing a county office on aging, directing a foster grandparent program, serving as the trainer and program evaluator for a 16 county area agency on aging, and consulting with numerous local and state health and human service organizations. She received her B.A. from Duke University, her M.S.S.W. from The University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and her Ph.D. from The University of Chicago. She is the co-author of eight, and co-editor of four books, and has published over 30 book chapters and 175 refereed journal articles. Co-authored books include a trilogy with O’Connor published by Wiley: Analyzing Social Policy (2011), Organization Practice (2009), and Comparative Approaches to Program Planning (2008). In her retirement, she continues her writing and provides community service to state, regional, and local agencies that plan for and deliver services to older adults.


Peter M. Kettner is Professor Emeritus at Arizona State University School of Social Work. He is author or co-author of six books, four of which have been translated into multiple languages. He has also authored over 50 articles, monographs, and book chapters on the topics of purchase-of-service contracting, privatization, macro practice in social work, human services planning, and social work administration. Over his 30 year career in academia he served as consultant to five different state human service agencies and dozens of local nonprofit agencies on their purchase of service contracting practices and in the design and implementation of effectiveness-based planning systems. In retirement he has continued his writing and consultation with local government and nonprofit agencies.


Steven L. McMurtry is a professor in the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He received his Ph.D. in Social Welfare from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to assuming his current position he was a member of the faculty at Arizona State University and a Fulbright Research Fellow at the University of Calgary. Early in his career he served as a child welfare worker and evaluator, and he continues to study the movement of children through out-of-home care and retention of staff in child welfare organizations. He is also interested in assessment using brief standardized measures. He currently chairs the Ph.D. program in his school and co-directs a federally funded training program for current and prospective child welfare workers.


M. Lori Thomas is an Associate Professor of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a John A. Hartford Geriatric Social Work Faculty Scholar.  She completed her PhD in Social Work at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. Her scholarship examines organization, community, and policy practice in homelessness, particularly for older adults and those experiencing serious mental illness and co-occurring disorders. Most recently she completed research examining the housing and health outcomes of a housing first permanent supportive housing model. Lori is also interested in the intersection of religion and social welfare, completing national collaborative research on best practices in faith-based human services and research on faith-based advocacy organizations. Lori has over 15 years of work experience in affordable housing and homeless services.

Table of Contents

Brief Table of Contents

1. An Introduction to Macro Practice in Social Work

2. Historical and Contemporary Influences on Macro Practice

3. Engaging with Diverse Populations

4. Assessing Community and Organizational Problems

5. Understanding Communities

6. Assessing Communities

7. Understanding Organizations

8. Assessing Human Service Organizations

9. Building Support for the Proposed Change

10. Selecting Appropriate Strategies and Tactics

11. Planning and Implementing the Intervention

12. Monitoring and Evaluating the Intervention



Detailed Table of Contents

1. An Introduction to Macro Practice in Social Work 1

What Is Macro Practice? 1

The Interrelationship of Micro and Macro Social Work Practice 2

Macro-Level Change 3

Macro-Practice Arenas and Roles 4

CORE COMPETENCY: Policy Practice 5

A Systematic Approach to Macro Social Work Practice 7

The Foundation of Macro Practice 9

The Importance of Terminology 9

CORE COMPETENCY: Diversity and Difference 9

Theories, Models, and Approaches 11

Values and Ethics 13

CORE COMPETENCY: Ethical and Professional Behavior 16

CORE COMPETENCY: Research-informed Practice (or Practice-informed Research) 17

Four Case Examples 19

Case Example 1: Child Protective Services 19

Case Example 2: Case Management with Older Adults and Disabled Persons 21

Case Example 3: Advocacy and Organizing with Immigrant Youth 23

Case Example 4: Chronic Homelessness 24

Surviving in Professional Practice 26

Summary 27


2. Historical and Contemporary Influences on Macro Practice 29

The Context within Which Professional Social Work Emerged 29

Social Conditions 30

Ideological Influences 32

The Development of Social Work as a Profession 33

Charity Organization Societies and Settlement Houses 34

Early Social Work Education 35

Recognizing the Importance of Macro Roles 36

Social Work’s Commitment to Diverse and Oppressed Populations 40

CORE COMPETENCY: Diversity and Difference in Practice 40

Native Americans 41

Latinos 42

African Americans 43

Asian Americans 44

Women 45

Persons with Disabilities 46

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Persons 47

CORE COMPETENCY: Human Rights and Justice 47

Contemporary Challenges 48

Addressing Poverty and Welfare Reform 48

CORE COMPETENCY: Policy Practice 49

Recognizing Income Inequality 50

Assessing Changing Community Patterns of Affiliation and Identification 51

Assessing Changing Organizations and Delivery Systems 52

Wisely Using Technology 54

CORE COMPETENCY: Ethical and Professional Behavior 55

The Importance of Change 56

Summary 57


3. Engaging with Diverse Populations 59

Diversity and Difference 59

Advancing Human Rights and Social and Economic Justice 60

CORE COMPETENCY: Human Rights and Justice 61

Where Does One Begin? 61

A Framework for Engaging Population Groups 62

Task 1: Start Where the Population Is 63

CORE COMPETENCY: Diversity and Difference in Practice 65

Task 2: Assess the Impact of Difference, Discrimination, and Oppression 67

Task 3: Search the Professional Knowledge Base on the Target Population 73

CORE COMPETENCY: Research-informed Practice (or Practice-informed Research) 73

Task 4: Develop Strategies for Authentic Engagement 77

CORE COMPETENCY: Engagement 82

Summary 84


4. Assessing Community and Organizational Problems 87

The Social Worker’s Entry into an Episode of Macro-Level Change 87

Conditions, Problems, Issues, Needs, and Opportunities 89

Narrowing Down to the Most Useful Data and Information 91

Framing and Reframing Problems 91

CORE COMPETENCY: Assessment 93

A Framework for Assessing Community and Organizational Problems 94

Task 1: Gather Information from Persons within the Community or Organization 95

CORE COMPETENCY: Engagement 98

Task 2: Explore the Professional Knowledge Base on the Condition, Problem, Need, or Opportunity 98

CORE COMPETENCY: Research-informed Practice (or Practice-informed Research) 106

Task 3: Frame the Problem and Develop Working Hypotheses 107

CORE COMPETENCY: Intervention 110

Summary 113


5. Understanding Communities 116

Conceptualizing Community 116

CORE COMPETENCY: Diversity and Difference in Practice 118

Defining Community 118

Dimensions of Communities 119

Community Functions 122

When Community Functions Fail 124

Community Theories 125

Systems Theories 125

Human, Population, or Social Ecology Theories 130

CORE COMPETENCY: Engagement 131

Human Behavior Theories 133

Theories about Power, Politics, and Change 137

CORE COMPETENCY: Policy Practice 139

Contemporary Perspectives 140

Strengths, Empowerment, and Resiliency Perspectives 141

Asset Mapping 143

Capacity Building 144

Community Practice Models 147

CORE COMPETENCY: Intervention 149

Summary 151


6. Assessing Communities 153

Engaging Communities 153

Two Community Vignettes 154

Vignette 1: Canyon City 154

Encountering the Community 155

Narrowing the Focus 155

Mobilizing Resources 156

Vignette 2: Lakeside 156

Assessing Major Changes 156

Witnessing the Impact of Change 157

Implications of the Vignettes 157

CORE COMPETENCY: Diversity and Difference in Practice 158

Framework for Community Assessment 159

Task 1: Identify Focal Community 160

CORE COMPETENCY: Engagement 164

Task 2: Locate Data and Information on Community Needs, Issues, and Problems 167

CORE COMPETENCY: Research-Informed Practice (or Practice-Informed Research) 170

Task 3: Assess Community Social and Political Assets 171

CORE COMPETENCY: Policy Practice 173

Task 4: Assess Community Structure and Capacity 177

Examine Service Delivery Units 177

Identify Patterns of Influence, Control, and Service Delivery 180

Determine Linkages between Units 181

Summary 184


7. Understanding Organizations 188

Conceptualizing organizations 188

Using Theories as Frames and Filters 189

Structural Theories and Perspectives 192

Bureaucratic Theory 192

Scientific and Universalistic Management 194

CORE COMPETENCY: Research-Informed Practice (or Practice-Informed Research) 197

Organizational Goals and the Natural-Systems Perspective 197

Management by Objectives (MBO) 198

Organizations as Open Systems 200

Contingency Theory 201

CORE COMPETENCY: Engagement 204

Human Resource Theories and Perspectives 205

Human Relations Theory 205

Theory X and Theory Y 207

Quality-Oriented Management 208

Political Theories and Perspectives 211

Decision-making Theory 211

Resource Dependency and Political-Economy Theories 212

Critical and Feminist Theories 214

Symbolic Theories and Perspectives 216

Organizational Culture Theory 217

CORE COMPETENCY: Diversity and Difference in Practice 220

Organizational Learning Theory 222

CORE COMPETENCY: Ethical and Professional Behavior 223

Summary 224


8. Assessing Human Service Organizations 226

Engaging Human Service Organizations 226

Two Vignettes of Human Service Organizations 228

Vignette 1: Canyon County Department of

Child Welfare 228

Creating a Dynamic Organization 228

Dismantling a Dynamic Organization 229

Involvement of the County Board 229

CORE COMPETENCY: Ethical and Professional Behavior 229

Vignette 2: Lakeside Family Services 230

Historical Development 230

Major Changes Occur 230

The Search for Strategies 230

Implications of the Vignettes 231

Framework for Organizational Assessment 232

Task 1: Identify Focal Organization 232

CORE COMPETENCY: Assessment 235

CORE COMPETENCY: Human Rights and Justice 236

Task 2: Assess the Organization’s Environmental Relationships 238

Task 3: Assess Internal Organizational Capacity 246

Task 4: Assess the Cultural Competency of this Organization 259

CORE COMPETENCY: Diversity and Difference in Practice 261

Summary 263


9. Building Support for the Proposed Change 267

Designing the Intervention 267

Task 1: Develop the Intervention Hypothesis 268

CORE COMPETENCY: Research-informed Practice (or Practice-informed Research) 272

Building Support 272

Task 2: Define Participants 273

CORE COMPETENCY: Engagement 284

Examining System Capacity for Change 286

Task 3: Determine Openness and Commitment to Change 287

Task 4: Strengthen Collective Identity 288

CORE COMPETENCY: Assessment 290

Task 5: Identify Outside Opposition to Change 292

CORE COMPETENCY: Intervention 293

Summary 296


10. Selecting Appropriate Strategies and Tactics 299

Assessing The Political and Economic Context 299

Task 1: Assess Political and Economic Feasibility 301

CORE COMPETENCY: Human Rights and Justice 303

Selecting Approaches to Change 304

Task 2: Select a Change Approach 305

CORE COMPETENCY: Policy Practice 305

CORE COMPETENCY: Ethical and Professional Behavior 307

Selecting Strategies and Tactics 309

Task 3: Select Strategies and Tactics 309

CORE COMPETENCY: Intervention 318

Summary 326

11. Planning and Implementing the Intervention 329

Understanding the Logic Model 329

CORE COMPETENCY: Research-informed Practice (or Practice-informed Research) 330

Applying the Logic Model to a Case Example 331

A Framework for Planning the Details of the Intervention 333

Task 1: Revisit the Working Hypothesis of Intervention 335

CORE COMPETENCY: Assessment 336

Task 2: Set a Goal for the Intervention 336

Task 3: Write Outcome and Process Objectives 336

CORE COMPETENCY: Intervention 343

Task 4: List Activities for Process Objectives 343

Task 5: Initiate the Action Plan 346

CORE COMPETENCY: Intervention 347

Summary 350


12. Monitoring and Evaluating the Intervention 358

The Importance of Monitoring and Evaluation 358

Types of Evaluation 359

CORE COMPETENCY: Evaluation 359

How Changes Can Go Wrong 360

A Framework for Evaluating The Change Effort 361

Task 1: Conduct a Process Evaluation 362

Task 2: Conduct an Outcome Evaluation 368

CORE COMPETENCY: Evaluation 369

CORE COMPETENCY: Evaluation 375

CORE COMPETENCY: Evaluation 379


Summary 381

References 383

Glossary 398

Index 405




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