Social Work Macro Practice, 6th Edition

F. Ellen Netting all

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Social Work Macro Practice, 6th Edition

By F. Ellen Netting, Peter M. Kettner, Steve L. McMurtry , M. Lori Thomas
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For courses in Social Work Practice with Communities and Organisations.


A  look at the field of social work using a unique macro practice model focused on making changes within diverse communities and organisations.

This book approaches the field of social work recognising that all social workers must be able to engage, assess, and intervene with individuals, families, groups, organisations, 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.  



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.

  • Get background information and sound help for understanding the process and practicalities of macro practice in social work:
    • Students gain a sound perspective on the history of social work in organisations and communities and the uniqueness of social work as both micro and macro through the book’s historical context and emphasis on the importance of developing one’s professional identity as a social work practitioner (Chs. 1 and 2).
    • NEW! Alternative theories are included, introducing students to contemporary ways of thinking that push the envelope beyond more traditional approaches. Included is new theoretical content on:
      • Critical Race Theory and Identity Theory (Chs. 3 and 9).
      • Framing Theory (Ch. 4).
      • Assets Mapping, field Interactional Theory, and Power Dependency Theory (Ch. 5).
      • Organisational Culture, Feminist, and Critical Theories (Chs. 7 and 8).
    • User-friendly assessment frameworks for analysing populations, problems, communities, and organisations serve as tools for helping students engage in understanding large systems. Questions guide students in thinking about the multidimensional nature of the organisations and communities with which they work.
    • NEW! Practical frameworks are updated and new tasks within the frameworks have been renamed to be more congruent with EPAS competencies and graphical representations of each framework are now included. In-depth content on the logic model strengthens students’ understanding of the relationship between this model and the macro practice procedures proposed.
    • The unique macro practice model shows students how to engage with others to plan and implement change within diverse communities and organisations, including where to start in addressing a change effort and how to proceed through the planning and implementation process (Chs. 9-12).
    • A strong emphasis on the iterative nature of planned change and the necessity of understanding the power dynamics in any change effort helps students recognise the importance of power and politics (Chs. 9 and 10).
      • How to address a target system that is not open to change is addressed and specific strategies and tactics are explained.
    • Students move from a conceptual understanding to the practicalities of planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluating change efforts through the logic model introduced in Chapter 11 and carried through into Chapter 12.
    • An emphasis on the importance of recognising diversity among population groups engaged in change efforts offers students opportunities to explore different ways of looking at the world. Included are:
      • Historical content on diverse groups and the struggles they have encountered (Ch. 2).
      • A look at multiple target populations and their differences (Ch. 3).
      • A look at key stakeholders critical to any change opportunity (Ch. 9).
    • NEW! New content on diverse populations takes students beyond the concept of cultural competency by introducing them to cultural humility, whiteness studies, and critical race theory (Chs. 3 and 4).
      • The chapter on populations now comes before the chapter on problems.
      • Chapter 3 leads with a new section on Advancing Human Rights and Social and Economic Justice, including new content on cultural humility, cultural competency, whiteness studies, and critical race theory.
      • Another new section, Developing Strategies on Authentic Engagement, includes new material on working with groups, community organising, and community engagement.
    • NEW! Macro practice is framed within an international context to help students see social work in a broader context and know where to locate additional resources on international social work. Included is the following new information (Chs. 1 and 2):
      • References from international journals.
      • Information on international codes of ethics.
      • References to differences in social work education across multiple countries.
      • A new case example on international social work.
      • A new section on Accelerating Perspectives on Global Social Work.
    • New and updated content on technology engages students who are already exploring ways to use their electronic devices in the field and makes the book more relevant to the next generation of social workers and includes:
      • Updated information on the wise use of technology (Chs. 1 and 2).
      • A new section on Strengthen Collective Identity focused on how use of the internet, social networking sites, and mobile technology can be used to facilitate communication among action system members (Ch. 9). This is reinforced by a section on the use of technology in advocating for change (Ch. 10).
    • The process of macro practice in social work is broken down into manageable units to give students confidence in their abilities to make constructive changes in organisations and communities (Chs. 9-12).
    • Thorough coverage of community and organisations, both traditional and contemporary, gives students a solid grounding in understanding communities and organisations (Chs. 5 and 7).
    • Step-by-step instructions for understanding and assessing communities and organisations helps students evaluate communities and organisations and the problems they may be experiencing.
    • NEW! A new chapter on Evaluation has been added by dividing the original Chapter 11 into a new Chapter 11 and 12. Each chapter has been expanded to include more material on the planning, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating aspects of planned change.
      • The updated content is aligned with evidence-based practice (EBP) approaches in the field.


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