Presentation on theme: "Theories, Values and Perspectives of Macro Social Work Generalist Macro Practice Generalist Macro Practice."— Presentation transcript:
Theories, Values and Perspectives of Macro Social Work Generalist Macro Practice Generalist Macro Practice
Social Systems Theory Basic Concepts A Social System is a set of inter-related and inter-dependent components People, Families, Groups, Organizations, Communities, Etc… are all OPEN SYSTEMS Closed Systems have no interaction with their environments
Social Systems Theory Basic Concepts SYSTEM BOUNDARIES separate one system from the next– and tension occurs at the boundary Natural Systems are HIERARCHICAL in nature (subsystems & suprasystems) Social systems are characterized by COMPLEXITY, meaning that the possibilities of their structures and capacities to change are immeasurable
Social Systems Theory Basic Concepts Information, matter and energy are FILTERED through the boundary as INPUTS and OUTPUTS The system observes itself and makes adjustments through information feedback loops (throughputs) The system accumulates and transforms information, matter and energy to sustain itself and avoid ENTROPY
Social Systems Theory Basic Concepts SYNERGY: The whole is greater than the sum of its parts (nonsummativity) A change in one part of the system will impact changes in other parts of the system The greater the variety of inputs, the greater the synergy Systems are goal oriented and the ultimate goal of the system is to survive Lack of goal specification means that the system will pursue multiple goals sporadically, which may conflict with each other and reduce synergy
The social work agency: A systems analysis What feedback loops are present in the agency? Are they formal or informal? Who controls them? Who makes decisions based on the information? What does the agency do to sustain itself? How does the agency respond when its survival is threatened?
The social work agency: A systems analysis Who controls the boundaries? What information is permitted to cross in? What information is permitted out? How do the individual components respond to change? After a changing event, does the system return to homeostasis or find a new “steady state”? How closely aligned are the goals of the organization versus the goals of the clients?
Values and Perspectives of Macro Practice The Big Picture Emphasis is placed on the “root causes” of social problems Social justice is the ultimate goal Responsibility for the Greater Good Consideration of how individual action will impact collective results Collective Empowerment (e.g., Staples, 1990)
Values and Perspectives of Macro Practice Sustainability Holistic view of human beings Includes relationships between humans and their physical environments Considers long-term viability of programs/plans Democratic Process Group participation Collective decision-making Consensus building
Values and Perspectives of Macro Practice Intervention is necessary, but prevention is ideal Evidence-based practice Make decisions based on observable evidence Evidence need not be numerical, but must be systematically documented
Values and Perspectives of Macro Practice Respect for multiple ways of knowing and sources of knowledge (diversity is a strength) Inclusion The controlling system must have more variety (complexity) than what is being controlled (throughputs and outputs) Strengths Focus on the strengths before deficits/needs Build on existing strengths, even if they are small Celebrate success