Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


SWTP220 Field Education in Social Work 1 OR SWTP333 Social Work Field Education 1

Teaching organisation

Teaching and learning strategies for this unit will include lectures, workshops, small group discussions and LEO online activities.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Fundamental to Social Work is the need to understand organisational contexts in which professional practice takes place. This unit will develop students' abiilty to analyse organisational contexts in which their professional practice takes place. The nature, processes and impact of organisational change on service delivery and management is critically analysed. Emphasis will also be given to the role of information technology in contemporary social work practice. Students will be encouraged to draw on their experiences of working in organisations, in particular the agencies in which they have undertaken their field placement. This unit aims to develop students' understanding of how organisations deliver services, and to explore how they will approach working collaboratively with colleagues from a range of professional backgrounds and disciplines.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Integrate relevant organisational theories in analysing a range of organisational contexts (GA4, GA5, GA8) 

LO2 - Critique the impact of organisational change on social work workforce and service delivery (GA1, GA4)

LO3 - Demonstrate skills of collaborative practice in working with consumers and professionals from a range of disciplines  (GA1, GA4, GA5, GA7)

LO4 - Analyse the organisational construction of social work practice, including the central role of information technologies in practice (GA5,GA10)

LO5 - Evaluate the impact of various organisational cultures and structures on the delivery of services to consumers and communities (GA4, GA5, GA8)

LO6 - Critically reflect on the interface between social work ethics and organisational ethics  (GA2, GA4)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

AASW Graduate Attributes

On successful completion of this unit, students should have developed an ability to:

GA1 - Demonstrated sense of identity as a professional social worker

GA2 - Sound understanding of and commitment to social work values and ethics to guide professional practice

GA3 - Ability to apply social work knowledge and interventions to respond effectively in meeting the needs of individuals, groups and communities in diverse settings, client groups and geographic locations

GA4 - Ability to apply knowledge of human behaviour and society, as well as the social, cultural, political, legal, economic and global contexts of practice to respond effectively within a human rights and social justice framework

GA5 - Ability to review, critically analyse and synthesise knowledge and values and apply reflective thinking skills to inform professional judgement and practice

GA6 - Ability to apply research knowledge and skills to understand, evaluate and use research to inform practice and to develop, execute and disseminate research informed by practice.

GA7 - Demonstration of effective communication and interpersonal skills

GA8 - Ability to work with diversity and demonstrate respect for cultural difference

AASW Practice Standards (2013)

This unit has been mapped to the ACU Graduate Attributes, AASW Graduate Attributes and the AASW PracticeStandards. The following table sets out the broad relationship between the Learning Outcomes, ACU Graduate Attributes, AASW Graduate Attributes and the AASW Practice Standards

Standard/Attributes/CriteriaLearning Outcomes

4.2 Understand and articulate social work and other relevant theories and concepts


4.2 Understand and articulate social work and other relevant theories and concepts

4.4 Understand and articulate how and when theories, knowledge bases and knowledge sources inform practice 


4.2 Understand and articulate social work and other relevant theories and concepts

4.4 Understand and articulate how and when theories, knowledge bases and knowledge sources inform practice

6.1 Effectively communicate with a diverse range of people.

6.3 Effectively work with others in a team environment

5.2 Work collaboratively with relevant people


6.4 Use information technology to communicate and provide services as appropriate

5.4 Apply critical and reflective thinking to practice


4.1 Understand higher level systemic influences on people with respect to an area of practice

4.4 Understand and articulate how and when theories, knowledge bases and knowledge sources inform practice


1.1   Practice in accordance with the Code of Ethics (2010)

1.2   Manage ethical dilemmas in practice

2.1 Represent the social work profession with integrity and professionalism

5.4 Apply critical and reflective thinking to practice



Topics will include:

Introduction to Organisational Practice

  • Understanding organisations
  • Organisational construction of social work practice 
  • Collaborative practice
  • Interdisciplinary practice

Organisational Cultures

  • Organisational structures
  • Defining organisational culture
  • Influence on social work practices
  • Leadership and management styles;
  • Teams and team building 

o   parallel teams 

o   consultative teams 

o   collaborative teams 

o   co-ordinated teams 

o   multi-disciplinary teams 

o   interdisciplinary teams

o   integrated teams 

Organisational Change

  • Change theories

o   Bureaucracy, managerial, technocratic theories

o   Systems and functionalist theories

o   Culture and communication theories

o   Human relations theory

o   Critical theories

o   Postmodern theories

  • Change processes
  • Change and resistance in organisations
  • Organisational change models
  • Social workers as “change managers‟ and facilitators of change
  • Responding to client/service user and community need
  • Information technology 

Planning and Strategic Development 

  • Strategic planning
  • Goal setting

Human Relations 

  • HR issues and workplace bullying

The Role of the Social Worker in Human Service Organisations

  • Challenges to workers
  • Organisational analysis against principles of 

o   efficiency

o   effectiveness

o   evaluation,

o   excellence

  • Maintaining professional identity
  • Working collaboratively in multidisciplinary teams
  • Working collaboratively with consumers in service development
  • Working collaboratively with a range of government and non-government services

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Teaching and learning strategies for this unit will include lectures, small group discussions, and/or LEO online activities. A number of complex, organisational case studies will be presented to students to give them the opportunity to explore a range of approaches to working effectively in organisations and engaging effectively with colleagues. In order to benefit from interactive learning activities and to achieve learning outcome 3, which requires the demonstration skills of collaborative practice, a minimum tutorial attendance of 80% is required in this unit. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

Three assessment approaches are utilised in this unit. The first, a group assignment requires students in small groups to undertake an interview with a social worker and one of their interdisciplinary colleagues in a social welfare agency. The aim is to explore the nature of collaborative and interdisciplinary practices. Students will report their findings to the class.

Responding to a case study, the second assessment requires students to write a report that identifies gaps in social work service delivery impacting on a social problem or population group. In preparing the report students need to apply an understanding of organizational processes, structures and practices in a specific social work context. The third assessment task is an essay that requires students to demonstrate an understanding of the key concepts covered over the course of the unit, and critically analyse the role of the social worker in organisations. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Group presentation: Presentation of interdisciplinary and collaborative social work practices in a social welfare organisation


LO1, LO3, LO6

GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Case study assignment: Advocacy report that identifies and addresses an organisational gap in social work delivery


 LO2, LO3, LO4, LO6

GA1, GA2, GA3 GA4, GA6, GA7, GA9

Conceptual Essay: The role of the social worker in human service organisations


LO1, LO2, LO4, LO5, LO6

GA1, GA2, GA4, GA5 

Representative texts and references

Gardner, F. (2006). Working with human service organisations : Creating connections for practice. South Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press.

Gray, I., Field, R., & Brown, K. (2010). Effective leadership, management and supervision in health and social care.Exeter, UK: Learning Matters.

Gursansky, D., Kennedy, R., & Camilleri, P. (2012). The practice of case management. Sydney, Australia: Allen& Unwin.

Hattford-Letchfield, T. (2010). Management and organisations in social work (2nd ed.). Exeter, UK: Learning Matters.

Hughes, M. & Wearing, M. (2013). Organisations and management in social work (2nd ed.). London: Sage

Lambley, S. (2010). Proactive management in social work practice. Exeter, UK: Learning Matters.

Lipsky, M. (2010). Street-level bureaucracy: Dilemmas of the individual in public services. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

McDonald,C., Craik,C.,Hawkins, L. & Williams, J. (2011). Professional practice in human service organisations, Sydney, Australia: Allen & Unwin.

Ozanne, E., & Rose, D. (2013). The organisational context of human service practice. Melbourne, Australia: Palgrave Macmillan.

Thompson, N. (2013). People management. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Weinberg, R., & Taylor, L. (2010). Social worker as manager (6th ed.). New York: Pearson Higher Education.

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