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Theories of Social Work


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This presentation is prepared by S.Rengasamy as a self learning resource for students doing their MSW course in the Madurai Kamaraj University area

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Theories of Social Work

  1. 1. Theories of Social Work S.Rengasamy Madurai Institute of Social Work Social Workers Celebrating Community –Honouring Diversity
  2. 2. Social Work is a practical job. It is about protecting people and changing their lives, not about giving theoretical explanations of why they got into difficulties … Social work is about social change at the individual as well as at community level. Change is complex, diversified and risk prone. To understand it, social worker need knowledge. imagination, comprehension & creativity….in short, a radical shift in understanding “Knowledge as process” as opposed to “Knowledge as product” is needed. But our understanding of social work (especially with the faculty and students of social work colleges in non metropolitan cities of India and students with low level mastery of English language) is frozen with the simple definition of social work is the art and science of helping the people to help themselves. Compilation and interpretation of social work definition accessible to the students (PD Mishra 1994) conveys a meaning that social work is a “helping” “assisting” „enabling” activity, which in turn suggests social work is seen as a benign and uncontentious activity, willingly accepted. This understanding fails to reflect the major transformations social work discipline has undergone as well as its global outlook. There is nothing wrong in simplifying a concept, but if it ignores the complexities associated with the concept, that will end our further seeking. Whatever may be a definition of social work, it is normally based on certain perspectives and understanding of that perspective / theory will help us to appreciate that definition. It is this clarity that normally make one to commit in his/ her professional responsibilities.
  3. 3. To answer these questions one need to What is the need know why people are suffering. What is our of social work or responsibilities towards Why Social work? fellow human beings? How we gain knowledge about the human problems? What makes us perceive the human Definition of problems in a particular social work How social work way? Why we subscribe generally convey is carried out? to certain methods of solving problems? …. Social workers need to answer these questions To whom social before addressing others work is going to problems. Theories & serve? or perspectives of social characteristics of work may provide some answers to these its cliens questions
  4. 4. Why Social Work? Life means to face the demands of day to day life and realize the self. By life tasks we mean the responses people make as they face the demands made upon them in various life situations, such is growing up in a family, entering school or work, raising a family, earning their daily bread, working in the industry, problems relating to job or earning, facing illness, accidents and death. People are dependent on social systems to realize their aspirations and to cope with their life tasks. In order to realize their life tasks people have to interact with three kinds of resource systems in the social environment 1. Informal or natural resource system consists of family, friends, neighbors, co workers, etc 2. Formal resource system consists of membership in organizations, trade union organizations or other socio cultural organizations 3. Social resource system such as schools, hospitals, housing societies, police, banks etc Why people are unable to obtain the resources, services or opportunities in the resource systems, they need to cope with their life tasks and realize their aspirations? 1. A needed resource or service may be scarce or may not exist or may not provide appropriate help to people who need it. 2. People may not know the existence of a resource system or may be hesitant to turn it for help for several reasons like distance, corruption, delay or poor quality etc 3. The polices and procedures of the resource system may inhibit / prevent it access (eg. eligibility criteria, gender, etc) 4. Several resource system may be working at cross purposes The purpose of social work is to enable the people to use the social resources to meet their life tasks
  5. 5. What do we mean by helping people to help themselves? 1. Increased understanding of oneself or a situation. 2. Being able to make a decision 3. Being able to confirm a decision. 4. Being able to get a support for a decision. 5. Being able to change a situation 6. Adjusting to a situation that is not going to change 7. Being able to examine options and choosing one 8. Being able to discharge feelings Compare self help with empowerment Empowerment includes the following, or similar, capabilities:- The ability to make decisions about personal/collective circumstances The ability to access information and resources for decision-making Ability to consider a range of options from which to choose (not just yes/no, either/or.) Ability to exercise assertiveness in collective decision making Having positive-thinking about the ability to make change Ability to learn and access skills for improving personal/collective circumstance. Ability to inform others’ perceptions though exchange, education and engagement. Involving in the growth process and changes that is never ending and self-initiated Increasing one's positive self-image and overcoming stigma Increasing one's ability in discreet thinking to sort out right and wrong
  6. 6. Theory is an “attempt to retrospectively explain and to What is theory? It is important first to be clear what the term theory means in an academic sense. Cottrell provides a useful general definition: A theory is a set of ideas that helps to explain why something happens or happened in a particular way, and to predict likely prospectively predict” outcomes in the future. Theories are based on evidence and reasoning, but have not yet been conclusively proved. Thompson‟s definition includes similar ideas: An attempt to explain…a framework for understanding…a set of ideas linked together to help us make sense of a particular issue. Writing about social work theory, Beckett makes a connection with practice: …a set of ideas or principles used to guide practice which are sufficiently coherent that they could if necessary be made explicit in a form which was open to challenge.
  7. 7. It will be useful if we understand the different types of theories taught and the logic as why are these theories imparted to the students. It may be logical to group these theories in broader categories e.g. Theories of evolution, Theories of personality (development) & learning theories, Theories of social organization and social change, theories of social stratification, Theories of individual and group behavior, Theories of deviance, crime and correction, Theories of economic growth and development, theories of group dynamics and leadership, Theories of social work (clinical practice) etc.
  8. 8. Curriculum Development Centre in Social Work Education, University Grants Commission, India recognized three elements of social work curriculum 1. Values of the profession 2. Skills and methods that are developed for the professional task 3. Major theories and concepts Objectives of teaching theories 1. Refinement of practice 2. Provision of changing theoretical inputs to the social work knowledge base 3. Building up of new theories from the practice data The centre has recommended to include many different theories discretely and dispersaly but failed to do a wise selectivity of appropriate theories to be taught rationally and coherently and imparting knowledge of these theories compactly as an independent course that are taught in other disciplines eg. Sociological Theories, Modern Economic Theories, Contemporary Political Theories, Psychological Theories
  9. 9. Thompson explains that there are different levels of theories. These are:  Grand, macro-level or global theories (sometimes known as meta-narratives), such as Marxism or Psychoanalysis, which claim to be able to explain everything in society, or all human behavior;  Middle-range theories which focus on a limited range of issues – for instance, labeling theory, which from a social integrationist perspective aims to explain deviance;  Micro theories developed to explain very small-scale situations – for instance, relationships between staff and patients on a hospital ward.
  10. 10. The term theory is loosely used in social work profession. The use of social work theories in professional literature is rather ambiguous. Concepts, frames of reference, practice models and philosophical propositions have been termed as theories.
  11. 11. How theories help social workers? Social workers might use theory to understand and explain three main aspects of social work 1. The task and purpose of social work – the role of social work in society; 2. Practice theories: sometimes called social work approaches or methods – how to go about doing social work; 3. The world of service users, including the internal (psychological) world and the external (social) world
  12. 12. In social work, the term ‘theory’ covers three different possibilities: Provable explanations why something happens (Explanatory Theory) Organized description of activity in a structured form (Models) Ways of conceptualizing the world or a particular subject (Perspective)
  13. 13. Conceptual Frameworks Theories OF Social Work Theories FOR Social Work Orienting Theories Practice Frameworks Practice Perspectives Practice Theories Practice Models Theories of social work Focus on the profession and explain its purpose, domain, and character within the society. They describe what the profession is all about and why it functions as it does. Theories for social work Focus on clients and helping activities. They explain human behaviours, the social environment, how change occurs and how change can be facilitated by the social worker in order to benefit
  14. 14. Practice Frameworks Orienting Theories Practice Perspective Practice Theory Orienting theories describe and This is a particular way of It offers both an explanation of explain behaviour and how and viewing and thinking about certain behaviours or situations why certain problems develop. practice. It is a conceptual lens and guidance on how they can They provide important through which one views social be changed. A practice theory background knowledge and are functioning and it offers very serves as a road map for usually borrowed from other broad guidance on what may be bringing about a certain type of disciplines such as biology, important considerations in a change. Most practice theories psychology, sociology, practice situation. Like a camera are rooted in one or more economics, cultural lens, a perspective serves to orienting theories. An example anthropology, and the like. focus on or magnify a particular is psychosocial therapy, which is Examples feature. Two perspectives, the based primarily on include the various theories general systems perspective and psychodynamic theory and ego related to human development, the ecosystems perspective, are psychology. Another is personality, family systems, commonly used in assessing behaviour therapy, which is socialization, relationships between people derived from the psychology of organizational functioning, and and their environment. learning political power, as well as theories related to specific Practice Model types of problems Practice Model is a set of concepts and principles used to guide such as poverty, family intervention activities. The term model is also used when referring to violence, mental illness, teen a conceptual framework that is borrowed from one field and applied pregnancy, crime and racial in another, for example, the medical model (study, diagnose, treat) discrimination. and the legal model (an approach to social action and client advocacy, involving competition and conflict among adversaries).
  15. 15. Framework for Social Work Practice Social work draws from many frameworks for practice, but some of these frameworks have had more influence on the profession of social work than others. The three influential frameworks are The Ecosystem Perspective This perspective focuses on the interplay between the person and his or her environment. To understand the functioning of the individual, we must understand his or her environmental context: Individuals exist within families Families exist within communities and neighborhoods Individuals, families, and neighborhoods exist in a political, economic, and cultural environment The environment impacts the actions, beliefs, and choices of the individual The Strengths Perspective This perspective is built on the assumption that every individual, family, group and community has strengths and focusing on these strengths leads to growth and overcoming difficulties. Under this perspective, clients are generally the best experts about what types of helping strategies will be effective or ineffective. The Cultural Competence Perspective This perspective is the understanding and approval of cultural distinctions, taking into account the beliefs, values, activities, and customs of distinctive population groups. Many cultures have prescribed ways of talking about health and the human body and these factors impact a person's reaction and acceptance of health services. These perspectives are consistent with a Family-Centered or Client-Centered approach, which is central to the standards of best practice with persons with disabilities and consistent with social
  16. 16. How might theory be of use to social workers? Social work, like all professions, uses theory to guide practice. Observation: theory provides guidance on what a social worker might need to look out for when meeting people who use services or carers and their families. Description: theory provides a generally understood and shared language in which these observations can be organized and recorded. Explanation: theory can suggest how different observations might be linked in a framework that explains them. Prediction: theory can indicate what might happen in the future. Intervention: theory can provide ideas about what might bring about a change in the situation.
  17. 17. The importance of theory Theory is important, in social work and social work education for a number of reasons because it: Theory is the mark of a profession; Theory can ensure accountability; Theory can help avoid discrimination; Theory provides a way of making sense of complexity and uncertainty
  18. 18. Why should Social Workers be concerned about theory? Observation: it tells us what to see, what to look out for Description: it provides a conceptual vocabulary and framework within which observations can be arranged and organized. A clear theoretical perspective guides Explanation: it suggests how different observations and influences might be linked and connected; it offers possible causal social work relationships between one event and another practice in five key areas Prediction: it indicates what might happen next Intervention: it suggests things to do to bring about change
  19. 19. What do we mean by theory in social work? Payne (1991: 52) helps us by distinguishing four types of theory 1. Theories about social work explain the nature and role of social work in society 2. Theories of social work describe which activities constitute social work, set aims for social work activities and explain why those activities are relevant and effective in meeting the aims 3. Theories contributing to social work are the psychological, sociological and other theories which explain or describe personal and social behaviour and are used to make theories of social work systematic, related to general social science explanations and to give supporting evidence for the social work theory’s prescriptions 4. Theories of social work practice and method prescribe in detail how the other theories so far outlined may be applied in the interaction between workers and clients
  20. 20. Is social work a teachable practice? Or does it come from experience and creativity? Some argue that Social work is less technical, more creative and intuitive. Both client and social worker are important when dealing with issues as the client is the expert of his own personal life. The ideal theory for social work would therefore be one that encourages deep thinking and questioning, one that respects the inherent dignity of the client and complexity of social problems... not one that categorizes People believe that science can furnish means, but not ends. Methods but not goals. So, Social workers must achieve something other than technical proficiency, i.e. Understanding the human condition, not science. Social workers use contextual knowledge. Synthesis of knowledge from many sources, including personal experience. Common sense and wisdom on the job
  21. 21. Ecological System Theory 3 Crisis Theory 4 Urie Bronfenbrenner Empowerment Theory Kathleen Ell E. Cox & L. Gutierrez B. Gilliland & R. 8 J. Lee, E. Canada, James P. Chatterjee & S.P. Robbins L.G. & H. J. Parad Family Life Cycle Theory 5 Cognitive Psychodynamic Theory Humanistic (Existential/ Theories 6 Sigmund Freud, Eric Erickson Transpersonal) Alfred Adler 9 Abraham Maslow, 2 Jean Piaget Carl Rogers Family Systems Strategic Carl Jung 1 Therapy Behavioral 7 (Model) 10 Theories Object Relations Theory B.F. Skinner Margaret Mahlen, Otto Ivan Pavlov Social Work Theories Kernberg Social-Cultural Theory Lev Vygotsky: Solution Focused Therapy Structural Family Therapy Thomas Scheff: 11 (Model) Murray Bowen, Virginia Satir 12 13
  22. 22. Professional Research Knowledge from Values Methodology other Disciplines Recognition & Knowledge about Raising Awareness Analyze of Different about Life Long Learning Social Theories regard to (Professional /Personal Processes Different Development) Social Work Fields Knowledge & Skills to Work Understanding of Legal & with Clients administration Learning about Procedures & Social Care Different Theoretical Institutions Functioning Approaches
  23. 23. Social Work Practice Social Policy as theory Encounters pressing need Seeks cultural Change Needs personally left Requires social action Requires immediate action Calla for long term strategy Focuses on interpersonal practice Stress on strategic planning/analysis
  24. 24. Why do we need theories in social work? In order to see the beauty of one theory, The use of theories makes Social it’s important to learn about many Workers feel more safe & competent theories. This is how we can prevent in their practice, reduces feelings of making an ideology out of one theory helplessness & fear of unknown For social workers theory is important because it teaches social workers how to The more social workers use theories, perceive people through their resources, not less they use intuition, and it makes to classify them according to their social work practice more professional’s a shift from control to help. and efficient Theory, together with intuition is a way to develop personal style of professional practice...without theory, just with intuition, social workers would feel like a puppet on strings.
  25. 25. Major Theories – Used in Social Work Practice Systems Psychodynamic Social Learning Conflict Theory Theory Theory Theory Primary Perspectives  Strengths  Feminist  Eco-Systems Current Social Work Practice Models Problem Task- Solution Narrative Cognitive Crisis Solving Centered Focused Behavioral In brief, social work practice models are like recipes. They are step-by-step guides for client sessions. Perspectives represent what aspects of the session are emphasized or highlighted in a session (i.e. questions asked or time spent). Theories are overall explanations of the person-in-environment configuration. Theories help explain why the problem is occurring and where the most efficient intervention should take place.
  26. 26. Types of theory Formal written accounts Moral, political, cultural defining the nature and values drawn upon by Theories purposes of welfare (e.g. practitioners for defining explaining what upon by practitioners for ‘functions’ of social work social work is defining personal pathology, liberal reform, Marxist, feminist) Formal written theories of Theories inductively practice (e.g. casework, derived from particular Theories family therapy, group work); situations; can be tested to explaining how applied deductively; general see if they apply to to do social ideas may be applied to particular situations; also work particular situations unwritten practice theories constructed from experience Formal written social Practitioners’ use of science theories and experience and general Theories empirical data (e.g. on cultural meanings (e.g. the explaining the personality, (e.g. the family as an institution, client world marriage, the family, race, normal behavior, good class, gender) parenting)
  27. 27. Theory A general statement about the real world whose essential truth can be supported by evidence obtained through the scientific method. – Must explain in a provable way why something happens. Ex: Learning theory explains behavior on the basis of what organisms have learned from the environment. Model Is a blueprint for action. It describes what happens in practice in a general way. Ex: The behavioral model (based on learning theory) gives specific guidelines to for how to effect change. If a parent complains that his child is having difficulty staying in his own bed at night and the parent has been allowing the child to sleep in his/her bed( thereby reinforcing the child‟s difficulty) the practitioner would help the parent to extinguish the behavior by removing the reinforcement. Perspective A way of perceiving the world flows from a value position. Note: The perspective will influence choice of theory and model. Note: Payne (1997) argues that social work theory succeeds best when it contains all three elements of perspective, theory and model. Example: Men who batter their partners Theory: Social learning theory – men learn their violent behavior in their family of origin, and from a culture that rewards anger and violence in men; cognitive theory – what men say to themselves in situations of stress increases their anger and their propensity to be violent. Model: Cognitive-behavioral Perspective: Feminist
  28. 28. Levels & Definitions of Social Economic Development Practice in Social Work Levels of Major Purposes, Outcomes, or Processes Practice Associated with Levels of Social Work Practice Individual & Through "self help," "mutual aid," and "conscientization" strategies individuals and Group groups learn how to perceive and act upon the contradictions that exist in the social, Empowerment political, and economic structures intrinsic to all societies. Conflict Efforts directed at reducing: (1) grievances between persons or groups; or, (2) Resolution asymmetric power relationships between members of more powerful and less powerful groups. Institution- Refers both to the process of "humanizing" existing social institutions and that of Building establishing new institutions that respond more effectively to new or emerg-ing social needs. Community- Through increased participation and "social animation" of the populace, the process Building through which community's realize the fullness of their social, political, and economic potential; the process through which communities respond more equitably to the social and material needs of their populations. Nation- The process of working toward the integration of a nation's social, political, Building economic, and cultural institutions at all levels of political organization. Region- The process of working toward the integration of a geo-political region's social, Building political, economic, and cultural institutions at all levels of social organization. World-Building The process of working toward the establishment of a new system of interna-tional relationships guided by the quest for world peace, increased social jus-tice, the universal satisfaction of basic human needs, and for the protection of the planet's fragile eco-system.
  29. 29. While considering a theory or theories, social workers also understand its limitations too: Recognise that no single theory can explain everything: When a person engages in an action (or inaction) the reason for their behaviour can be rooted in a range of causes or Limitations of Theories motives. Related to the first point, recognise that some theoretical approaches just don't work with some people. Applying Brief Solution Focused Therapy can be really effective with some people. For other people, it leaves them cold. Always apply the value base to theory - much of the theory used in social care practice and social work is drawn from outside of the profession. Theory may have its roots in education, psychology or management. As such, it may not incorporate social work values and you should take responsibility for applying these Never be intimidated by theory. You use it every day.
  30. 30. Why do we need to apply social work theory to practice? 2 Whilst individual social work Using theory can help to Theories can help us to theories have different justify actions and make sense of a situation. purposes, using all kinds of explain practice to Using theory, we can theory in our work offers us, service users, carers generate ideas about as social workers, some and society in general. what is going on, why important things. The aim is that this will 1 things are as they are etc. lead to social work For example the becoming more widely In work with individuals, information obtained as accountable and making use of the theories part of an assessment can ultimately more which may relate to their seem like a jumble of respected. information - applying 3 specific situation will give us more direction in our work theory can help "make with them. 4 sense" of the information. It is clear then, that 6 theory is important in Using theory can give an explanation about why an action practice - both for work resulted in a particular consequence. This can help us with service users and review and possibly change our practice in an attempt to for social work to be make the consequences more effective. 5 more valued in society.
  31. 31. The vast majority of Social Workers function within one of four basic models of practice: the Personal Social Services Model (PSSM); the Social Welfare Model (SWM), the Social Development Model (SDM), and the New World Order Model (NWOM). MODELS OF SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE The Personal Social Services Model The Personal Social Services Model (PSSM) of social development practice seeks to extend to people everywhere a range of basic social services that are needed to either restore or enhance their capacity for social functioning. The model's primary goals are: 1) to provide remedial and preventive services to individuals, families, and groups whose optimal social functioning is either temporarily impaired or inter- rupted; and 2) to extend social protection to population groups that are threatened by exploitation or degradation. The PSSM also seeks to ensure increased sensitivity and responsiveness on the part of human service providers to the special service needs of culturally diverse population groups. The Social Welfare Model The Social Welfare Model (SWM) of social work (development) practice is rooted in comparative social policy and comparative social research. The goals associated with the SWM include: 1) self help; 2) mutual aid; 3) humanitarianism; and 4) the establishment of effective, preferably universal, systems of formal social provision. The SWM also views developmental social welfare practice as part of the worldwide movement that seek to promote social security and social justice for people everywhere The Social Development Model The Social Development Model (SDM) has its origins in community organization and community development practice and does, therefore, promote the fullest possible participation of people in determining both the means and goals of social development. In doing so, the model seeks to provide a framework for understanding the underlying causes of human degradation, powerlessness, and social inequality every- where in the world. The ultimate goal of the SDM, however, is to guide collective action toward the elimination of all forms of violence and social oppression. The New World Order Model The New World Order Model (NWOM) of social development practice is closely associated with the writings of "visionary" economists, political scientists, legal scholars, and environmentalists (Brandt Commission, 1981). Major components of the NWOM are reflected in the fundamental social, political, and economic reforms in the existing international "order" that are being sought by the United Nations (UN, 1990; UN/ESCAP, 1992b), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP, 1997), World Bank 1997) and other leading international development assistance organizations. Elements of the NWOM also have been described by social work theoreticians. The NWOM asserts that the most serious problems confronting humanity are rooted in the fundamental inequalities that exist in the present world "order," i.e., in the system of international social, political, and economic institutions that govern relationships between nations and, within nations, between groups of people. In promoting its social change objectives, the NWOM calls for the creation of a "new world order" based on: 1) recognition of and respect for the unity of life on earth; 2) the minimization of violence; 3) the satisfaction of basic human needs; 4) the primacy of human dignity; 5) the retention of diversity and pluralism; and 6) the need for universal participation in the process of attaining worldwide social transformation..
  32. 32. Theory of Focus of Theory Main Concepts Regarding Human Behavior Human Behavior SYSTEMS THEORY How persons *Persons are in continual transaction with their environment Includes: interact with their *Systems are interrelated parts or subsystems constituting an ordered whole Ecological Systems environment. *Each subsystem impacts all other parts and whole system [Systems Perspective] How the family *Systems can have closed or open boundaries Includes: system affects the *Systems tend toward equilibrium Family Systems individual and *Individual functioning shapes family functioning and family systems can [Systems Perspective] family functioning create pathology within the individual across the life- *Boundaries, roles, communication, family structure influence family span functioning BEHAVIORISM & How individuals *Imitation & reaction to stimulation shape behavioral learning SOCIAL LEARNING THEORY develop cognitive *Knowledge is constructed through children physically and Includes: functioning and learn mentally acting on objects Cognitive theory, through acting on *Intelligence is an evolutionary, biological adaptation to Behavioral theory, their environment environment Social Learning theory [Social *Cognitive structures enable adaptation & organization Behavioral perspective] PSYCHODYNAMIC How inner *Unconscious and conscious mental activity motivate human THEORY energies and behavior Includes: external forces *Ego functions mediate between individual and environment Classical psychodynamic theory, interact to impact *Ego defense mechanisms protect individuals from becoming Ego-psychology, Object-relations emotional overwhelmed by unacceptable impulses and threats theory, development *Internalized experiences shape personality development and Self-psychology functioning [Psychodynamic Perspective] *Healing occurs through attention to transferences and the treatment relationship
  33. 33. Theory of Focus of Theory Main Concepts Regarding Human Behavior Human Behavior PSYCHOSOCIAL How internal & external *Human development occurs in defined & qualitatively different stages that DEVELOPMENTAL forces shape life are sequential & may be universal THEORY development, generally *Individual stages of development include specific tasks to be completed & [Developmental by life stages crises to be managed Perspective] *Time & social context shape & individualize the meaning of life stages TRANSPERSONAL How the spiritual and *Focuses on meaning, connection, and purpose THEORY religious aspects of human *Some people achieve developmental level beyond the personal (ego- [Developmental existence can be based) level into transpersonal (beyond self or ego) levels of Perspective; built upon understood consciousness and functioning. Humanistic Perspective] How spiritual *There is an inherent tendency to express innate potentials for love, development builds upon creativity, and spirituality and goes beyond bio- *There is a difference between psychopathological phenomena and psychosocial development spiritual growth experiences SOCIAL EXCHANGE How persons *Antecedents, consequences, personal expectations, and interpretation shape and THEORY minimize costs maintain behavior in the present [Rational Choice and maximize *Self-interest determines social exchange Perspective] rewards through *Unequal resources determine power inequities and reciprocity is essential social exchange *Six propositions: --Success proposition --Stimulus proposition --Value proposition --Deprivation- satiation -- proposition --Aggression-approval proposition --Rationality proposition SOCIAL How socio cultural *All experience is subjective and human beings recreate themselves through an CONSTRUCTIONISM and historical on-going, never static process [Social Constructionist contexts shape *Knowledge is created through an interplay of multiple social and historical Perspective] individuals and the forces creation of *Social interaction is grounded in language, customs, cultural and historical knowledge contexts How individuals *All phenomenon, including the sciences, must be approached with doubt in create themselves order to understand how people construct reality *Humans are self-interpreting beings
  34. 34. Theory of Focus of Theory Main Concepts Regarding Human Behavior Human Behavior SYMBOLIC How the “self” is *Human action is caused by complex interaction between and within INTERACTIONISM influenced and shaped individuals [Social Constructionist by social processes *Dynamic social activities take place among persons and we act according to Perspective] and the capacity to how we define our situation symbolize *We act in the present, not the past *Individuals are actors on the stage and take on roles, interacting with the environment CONFLICT How power *All societies perpetuate some forms of oppression & injustice and structural inequity THEORY structures & power *Power is unequally divided & some groups dominate others [Conflict disparities impact *Social order is based on manipulation and control by dominant groups Perspective] people‟s lives *Social change is driven by conflict, with periods of change interrupting periods of stability *Life is characterized by conflict not consensus CONTINGENCY How individuals & *Groups are open, dynamic systems with both change and conflict present THEORY groups gain power, *Groups are stratified, with different and unequal levels of power and control [Systems access to resources, *High discrimination and low privilege equals low opportunity Perspective] & control over their *Oppression occurs when upward mobility is systematically denied lives, often through *The social context must be critiqued and deconstructed collective action *Assumptions for analyzing organizations: --there is no best way to manage organizations --there must be a match between the environment and internal resources --the design of the organization must fit with the environment