Discussion: using power in social work practice

 

Politics represents efforts by people in governmental and nongovernmental settings to secure their policy wishes by developing and using power resources.
—Bruce S. Jansson, Becoming an Effective Policy Advocate: From Policy Practice to Social Justice (6th ed.)

Social workers are in the business of empowering people. They are also often faced with power structures that are entrenched and difficult to navigate. Skillful policy practitioners recognize the many kinds of power resources that exist, thus expanding their options in specific situations. As a social worker, you will learn various strategies that can create and expand personal networks that might be useful in negotiating your policy practice within an agency. You want your power resources to be recognized as effective ways to get things done, not as coercion and force.

In this Discussion, you identify various kinds of power resources (including person-to-person, substantive, process, and procedural) that you can use to secure the adoption of a policy proposal.

To prepare: Review Chapter 10 in your text, focusing on Jansson’s categorization of types of power resources in the policy-enacting task.

Post by Day 3 a description of how social workers use power resources in their social work practice and advocacy. Select a type of power resource you would use in your practice and advocacy. Describe the ethical issues or concerns in using the type of power resource you selected.

Be sure to support your post with specific references to this week’s resources. If you are using additional articles, be sure to provide full APA-formatted citations for your references.

Respond by Day 5 to a colleague who identified and selected a power resource different from the one you selected. Offer a supportive perspective to his or her choice. Include in your perspective some thoughts on how a social worker can manage the use of his or her power resource.

Resources:

 Rocha, C., Poe, B., & Thomas, V. (2010). Political activities of social workers: Addressing perceived barriers to political participation. Social Work, 55(4), 317–325. 

 

Jansson, B. S. (2018). Becoming an effective policy advocate: From policy practice to social justice  (8th ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning Series.

  • Chapter 10, “Developing and Using Power in the Policy-Enacting Task” (pp. 372-419)
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