Human Services Organizations As Systems

Social workers use the person-in-environment approach to understand the relationship between individuals and their physical and social environments. This ecological perspective is a framework that is based on concepts associated with systems theory. Systems theory guides social workers when they assess how factors in the environment such as school, work, culture, and social policy impact the individual. Although social workers commonly use the systems approach to focus on the individual, they may apply this approach to human services organizations as well. Human services organizations exist within the context of the social, economic, and political environments, and any type of change in one aspect of the environment will influence the organization’s internal and external functioning.

For this Assignment, consider how administrators of human services organizations may apply systems theory in their work. Also, consider what you have discovered about the roles of leadership and management and how these contribute to an organization’s overall functioning.

Assignment (2–3 pages in APA format): Explain how systems theory can help administrators understand the relationships between human services organizations and their environments. Provide specific examples of ways administrators might apply systems theory to their work. Finally, explain how leadership and management roles within human services organizations contribute to their overall functioning.

Required Readings

Lauffer, A. (2011). Understanding your social agency (3rd ed.). Washington, DC: Sage.
Chapter 1, “Where Your Agency Came From and Where It’s Going” (pp. 2–31)
Prequel to Chapter 2, “Meet the Staff Members” (pp. 35–37)
Chapter 2, “Concepts, Theories, and Classifications” (pp. 38–65)
Chapter 7, “Organizational Culture” (pp. 210–240)
Chapter 8, “Leadership, Management, and Governance” (pp. 243–280)

Mulroy, E. A. (2004). Theoretical perspectives on the social environment to guide management and community perspectives: An organization-in-environment approach. Administration in Social Work, 28(1), 77–96.

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