Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

150 Hours of focussed learning

Unit rationale, description and aim

An understanding of human service organisations, their goals, structure and culture is essential to human service work to effect quality outcomes in service delivery.

Drawing upon a broad body of organisational theory this unit will explore organisational cultures as well as the structures of governance and the impact of organisational change on service delivery. This unit will provide students with knowledge and skills in group work and working collaboratively in work teams including group work theories and stages of group development. The experiential learning component of this unit will provide students with practice in planning and facilitating groups, as well as critical reflection on group processes and the use of self.

The aim of this unit is to develop students' understanding of the organisational contexts in which their professional practice will take place and provide skills for working with diverse groups in the human service organisations.

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 - Demonstrate knowledge of relevant organisational theory particularly in relation to the environment, purpose, structure and culture of human service organisations (GA5)

LO2 - Integrate knowledge of group work theory, processes and dynamics in a range of contexts and with diverse population groups (GA4, GA5)

LO3 - Apply processes, theories and professional ethics for work with different groups including work groups and service user groups ((GA1, GA2, GA5, GA7, GA8 & GA9) 

LO4 - Reflect on the role of human service organisations in society and understand the current challenges to frontline work in human service organisations including organisational change and changes to the sector (GA4, GA5) 

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 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

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

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include:

Working in human service organisations

  • exploration of organisational theory
  • current debates about organisational change and management practices
  • organisational construction of human service practice

Theories about working with groups

  • group norm theories
  • use of power
  • leadership and leadership style theories
  • cohesion and conflict theories
  • verbal and non-verbal communication theories
  • theories of the change process

Types of Groups

  • working with diverse service user groups
  • working in work groups and work teams

Group Processes

  • purpose and goals of groups
  • group dynamics
  • group rules
  • skills involved in group work
  • forming and leading a group
  • group composition and recruitment
  • open or closed groups
  • co-leadership in groups
  • group care
  • dealing with challenging behaviour in group work
  • ethical issues in group work

Stages of Group Development

Groups in the beginning phase

Groups in the middle phase

Groups in the ending phase

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit involves 150 hours of learning with 36 hours of face-to-face lectures, and interactive tutorials, and role-play workshops. Lectures will provide detailed content about organisational theories, different perspectives on organizational structures and culture, theories of group work and stages of group development. Tutorials will incorporate group work activities, first modelled by the lecturer and then facilitated by students in the second half of the unit. This will ensure students have an opportunity to participate in group work and understand the experience of being a participant in groups, as well as practice their skills in facilitation. Students will receive both teacher and peer feedback on their facilitation skills. This approach ensures theory and skills for group work are practiced, integrated and applied, preparing students for successful professional practice.

This unit may also be offered on or off campus in intensive mode or multi-mode for sponsored / special cohorts, with the learning and teaching strategies being equitable with on campus mode offerings as endorsed by the School Curriculum Implementation Committee. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

This unit takes an authentic assessment approach allowing students to demonstrate their learning and competency in scenarios relevant to human service practice with groups. The first assessment is a written assignment using an organizational case study about a work team facing an ethical issue and asks students to consider how they as a group member would work effectively to address this issue. This enables students to apply organizational and group work theories to a practice context. Assessment 2 will assess students’ skills in facilitating a group to determine their ability to effectively deliver a group session and demonstrate emerging professional competence. In assessment three students are required to integrate the knowledge and practice of group work by reflecting on group progression, the role of facilitation in group work, ethics in group work, and the use of self, in line with their role-play experiences. Together these assessments require students to demonstrate competency in the knowledge and skills of effective group work and the integration of theory and practice, to show entry level competency in planning, implementing, and evaluating group work interventions.

Intensive and multi-mode assessment of this unit will be transparently equitable with on campus mode offerings as endorsed by the relevant Course Implementation Committee.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Written assignment with organizational case study re working effectively in a team facing an ethical issue: Enables students to apply organizational and group work theories and ethical guidelines to a practice context 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA2, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9

Group Facilitation Assignment: Enables students to facilitate a role-play group session and involves peer and lecturer assessment of skills


LO2, LO3

GA1, GA2,GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9

Reflective assignment: Enables students to apply group work theory to practice to reflect on group progression, facilitation and the impact of self


LO2, LO4


Representative texts and references

Conyne, R. (2013). Group work leadership: An introduction for helpers. London: Sage.

Corey, M., Corey, G., & Corey, C. (2010). Groups: process and practice (8th ed.). USA: Thomas Brooks/Cole.

Doel, M., & Kelly, T. (2013). A-Z of groups and group work. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Dudgeon, P., Purdie, N.., Walker, R. (Eds.) (2014). Working together: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and wellbeing: Principles and practice (2nd ed). Canberra, A.C.T.: Australian Government Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Hafford-Letchfield, T., (2009). Management and organisations in social work (2nd.ed.). Exeter: Learning Matters.

Hartley, P., Dawson, M., & Dawson, M.(2010). Success in group work. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

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

Lindsay, T. & Orton, S. (2014). Groupwork practice in social work (3rd ed.). Exeter: Learning Matters.

Ochre, G. (2013). Getting our act together: how to harness the power of groups. Melbourne: Groupwork Press.

Zastrow, C. (2015). Social work with groups: a comprehensive worktext (9th ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning

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