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Article

Attlee, Clement  

Jonathan Dickens

Clement Attlee was prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1945 to 1951, leading his Labour government on a radical program of postwar reconstruction. Attlee himself came from a privileged background, and the decisive influences that brought him to left-wing politics came from his time working with children and families in the East End of London, in the years before World War I. His book The Social Worker, published in 1920, drew on these experiences.

Article

Organizational Sensemaking  

Ravi S. Kudesia

Since the 1980s, the management and organizations literature has grown substantially, turning over the years toward cognitive, discursive, and phenomenological perspectives. At the heart of this continued growth and its many turns is the matter of sensemaking. Construed narrowly, sensemaking describes the process whereby people notice and interpret equivocal events and coordinate a response to clarify what such events mean. More broadly, sensemaking offers a unique perspective on organizations. This perspective calls attention to how members of organizations reach understandings of their environment through verbal and embodied behaviors, how these understandings both enable and constrain their subsequent behavior, and how this subsequent behavior changes the environment in ways that necessitate new understandings. Whereas organizational psychology constructs typically fit most comfortably into a linear “boxes and arrows” paradigm, sensemaking highlights a recursive and ongoing process. Sense is never made in a lasting way: It is always subject to disruption and therefore must be continually re-accomplished. As a result, sensemaking is especially evident when equivocal events cause breakdowns in meaning. Such breakdowns render organizations incapable of answering two key questions: “What’s going on here?” and “What should we do about it?” Not coincidentally, such events—including crisis situations, strategic change episodes, firm formations and dissolutions, and new member socialization—are among the most pivotal events that occur in organizations. Sensemaking is therefore strongly implicated in organizational change, learning, and identity. Sensemaking can appear impenetrable to newcomers for precisely the same reason that it enables remarkably incisive analyses: the sensemaking perspective helps disrupt limiting rationality assumptions that are so often embedded in organizational theories. As such, sensemaking sensitizes scholars to counterintuitive aspects of organizational life. These aspects include how action in organizations often precedes understanding rather than following from it, how organizations are beset by a surplus of possible meanings rather than a scarcity of information, how retrospective thought processes often trump future-oriented ones, and how organizations help create the environments to which they must react. Nonetheless, despite these advances and insights, much remains to be learned about sensemaking as it relates to emotion and embodiment; as it occurs across individual, group, organizational, and institutional levels of analysis; and as it both shapes and is shaped by new technologies.

Article

Care As Belonging, Difference, and Inequality  

Tatjana Thelen

The topic of care has inspired a vast and complex body of research covering a wide range of practices. As an open-ended process, it is generally directed at fulfilling recognized needs and involves at least one giving and one receiving side. Although care has mostly positive connotations in everyday usage, giving or receiving it can also be a negative experience or express domination. Care evolves through complex arrangements of different actors, institutions, and technical devices and at the same time transforms them. As human needs are not a given, the process of care involves negotiations about who deserves to receive it and on what grounds, as well as who should provide it. Because care is so deeply implicated in articulating and mediating different moralities, it becomes central to constructions and classifications of difference. In this way, care extends far beyond intimate relations and is engrained in processes that establish belonging as well as various forms of inequality. Researching care in intimate settings as well as in public sectors enables bridging various communities of care and grasping how the distribution of care not only mirrors inequalities but contributes to their (re)production or even intensification.

Article

Privatization  

Andrew Dobelstein

Privatizing social services has taken a new turn as America enters the 21st century. Although it was once possible to separate private and public social services, the growing trend toward public–private partnerships has made such earlier distinctions meaningless since more and more private social services are supported with public money. There are advantages and disadvantages inherent in the mixing of public and private social services, but perhaps the greatest problem may be the support of a growing trend for all levels of government to dissociate themselves from their longstanding public social service responsibilities.

Article

Social Networks in Gangs  

Christian L. Bolden and Reneé Lamphere

Social networks in gangs refers to both a theoretical and methodological framework. Research within this perspective challenges the idea of gangs as organized hierarchies, suggesting instead that gangs are semi-structured or loosely knit networks and that actions are more accurately related to network subgroupings than to gangs as a whole. The situated location of individuals within a network creates social capital and the fluidity for members to move beyond the boundaries of the group, cooperating and positively interacting with members of rival gangs. Before the millennium, the use of social network analysis as a method to study gangs was rare, but it has since increased in popularity, becoming a regular part of the gang research canon. Gang networks can be studied at the group level and the individual level and can be used for intervention strategies. The concept of gangs as social networks is sometimes confused with social networking sites or social media, which encompasses its own rich and evolving array of gang research. Gang members use social networking sites for instrumental, expressive, and consumer purposes. While the use of network media allows for gang cultural dissemination, it simultaneously allows law enforcement to track gang activity.

Article

Sieder, Violet M.  

David G. Gil

Violet Sieder (1909–1988) was a social welfare educator and leader. She taught social planning, community organization, and rehabilitation at the Florence Heller Graduate School, Brandeis University. She organized the Massachusetts Human Services Coalition, serving as its first president (1975–1981).

Article

Social Work Practice: History and Evolution  

John G. McNutt

Social work is a profession that began its life as a call to help the poor, the destitute and the disenfranchised of a rapidly changing social order. It continues today still pursuing that quest, perhaps with some occasional deviations of direction from the original spirit. Social work practice is the primary means of achieving the profession's ends. It is impossible to overstate the centrality or the importance of social work practice to the profession of social work. Much of what is important about the history of the profession is the history of social work practice. We must consider both social work practice per se (the knowledge base, practice theories and techniques) and the context for social work practice. The context of practice includes the agency setting, the policy framework and the large social system in which practice takes place. Social work practice is created within a political, social, cultural and economic matrix that shapes the assumptions of practice, the problems that practice must deal with and the preferred outcomes of practice. Over time, the base forces that create practice and create the context for practice, change. Midgley (1981) correctly notes that practice created in one social order is often inappropriate for work in another social order. Since the social order changes over time, practice created at one point in time may no longer be appropriate in the future.

Article

Constructs and Measures in Stakeholder Management Research  

James Mattingly and Nicholas Bailey

Stakeholder strategies, or firms’ approaches to stakeholder management, may have a significant impact on firms’ long-term prosperity and, thereby, on their life chances, as established in the stakeholder view of the firm. A systematic literature review surveyed the contemporary body of quantitative empirical research that has examined firm-level activities relevant to stakeholder management, corporate social responsibility, and corporate social performance, because these three constructs are often conflated in literature. A search uncovered 99 articles published in 22 journals during the 10-year period from 2010 to 2019. Most studies employed databases reporting environmental, social, and governance (ESG) ratings, originally created for use in socially responsible investing and corporate risk assessment, but others employed content analysis of texts and primary surveys. Examination revealed a key difference in the scoring of data, in that some studies aggregated numerous indicators into a single composite index to indicate levels of stakeholder management, and other studies scored more articulated constructs. Articulated constructs provided richer observations, including governance and structural arrangements most likely to provide both stakeholder benefits and protections. Also observed were constraining influences of managerial and market myopia, sustaining influences from resilience and complexity frameworks, and recognition that contextual variables are contingencies having impact in recognizing the efficacy of stakeholder management strategies.

Article

Lee, Porter Raymond  

Larraine M. Edwards

Porter Raymond Lee (1879–1939), social work education pioneer, helped to formulate a generic social casework theory. He was general secretary of the Philadelphia Society for Organizing Charity and was instrumental in organizing the American Association of Schools of Social Work.

Article

Congregational Social Work  

Gaynor Yancey and Diana R. Garland

The social work profession has deep roots in religious practices and organizations. Congregations have served as viable contexts for social work practice from the very beginnings of the profession. In this entry, we examine congregational social work as a field of practice through discussion of definitions, historical development, characteristics of congregations, academic preparation of social workers for this field of practice, review of the literature and research, and ways of strengthening the future of social work in this field of practice.

Article

Social Norms in Organizations  

Jennifer E. Dannals and Dale T. Miller

Social norms are a powerful force in organizations. While different literatures across fields have developed differing definitions and categories, social norms are commonly defined as and divided into descriptive norms, i.e., the most commonly enacted behavior, and prescriptive norms, i.e., the behavior most commonly viewed as acceptable or appropriate. Different literatures have also led to differing focuses of investigation for social norms research. Economic theorists have tended to examine social norm emergence by studying how social norms evolve to reduce negative or create positive externalities in situations. Organizational theorists and sociologists have instead focused on the social pressures which maintain social norms in groups over time, and eventually can lead group members to internalize the social norm. In contrast, social psychologists have tended to focus on how to use social norms in interventions aimed at reducing negative behaviors. Integrating these divergent streams of research proves important for future research.

Article

Generative Emergence: Research and Praxis for Social Innovation  

Benyamin Lichtenstein

Generative emergence is one of many theories for how new entities are created; how a new order comes into being. Emergence itself is one perspective on change and transformation. However, whereas change is an alteration of existing structures, emergence refers to the creation of a new (social) entity. Explaining the phenomenon of creation, at all levels, is the goal of an emergence science. Generative emergence takes a step in that direction, which explains how emergence can be enacted in practice. Generative emergence derives from dissipative structures in thermodynamics, a theory of new order creation. In the experiment that produced the theory, heat energy is dissipated through a closed container (from a source to a sink), and the heat is continuously increased. At a threshold point, an entirely new level of order emerges across the molecular substrate, in the form of large whirlpools (visible to the naked eye). These macrostructures confer “orders of magnitude” more capacity to dissipate the incoming energy flux. This unique order-creation process has led to a strong multidisciplinary literature, carefully analogizing this order creation process to social systems. Specifically, in empirical research across multiple levels of analysis (from leadership to teams to ventures to strategies to new markets), the same four phases of activity have been identified. These four phases have been integrated into the theory of generative emergence, which reveals the sequential conditions through which a new system emerges. The phases are (a) disequilibrium organizing and stress, (b) experiments and amplifications to a critical threshold, (c) emergence of a new entity, and (d) stabilizing the new system into a dynamic state. Generative emergence also shows how each phase can be supported and enacted through the actions of leaders. Specifically, a close reading of empirical research on dissipative structures in social systems reveals a set of leadership interventions that have improved the likelihood that these phases would build in sequence, leading to the creation of an emergent—a new entity. As one example, consider phase 1: disequilibrium organizing and stress. Entrepreneurial leaders initiate this through opportunity recognition for the creation of new value. As they pursue this aspiration, the dramatic increase in organizing—with its concomitant upsurge in work hours and uncertainty—leads to growing stress and conflict. Here, generative leadership shows how to “manage” this stress, for example by providing space for internal innovations and “experiments” by employees, which might spark the new level of the organization. In like manner, each of the phases has leadership correlates, which together coalesce into the emergence of a new system—a new initiative, venture, organization, or macrolevel market. The power of the generative emergence theory is that the new order that results can dramatically increase the capacity of the system, and for all of its members. As such, the leadership actions which generate this outcome are worthy of careful exploration and enactment.

Article

Islamic Philanthropy in the United States  

Esra Tunc

Muslims in the United States—a religious community that is diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, and class—demonstrate various understandings, practices, and forms of Islamic philanthropy. For example, for members of the Nation of Islam in the 1960s and 1970s, giving was connected to resisting racial injustice through self-help. During the same period, members of the Muslim Students Association—mostly made up of immigrants to the United States—were establishing their own institutions to meet their needs as a religious minority. In addition to these various examples of philanthropy, Islamic philanthropy—in line with mainstream philanthropy and as related to socio-legal regulations of philanthropy such as tax regulations—has evolved in terms of institutionalization and professionalization since the late 20th century. US Muslim philanthropic institutions grew rapidly after the 1980s and diversified in the aftermath of 9/11. In particular, Muslim nonprofit organizations have emerged in a variety of fields, ranging from humanitarian organizations to social-justice advocacy organizations. In these settings, Muslim giving engages with a range of ethical commitments to social, economic, racial, and gender justice. Notably, some of these Muslim nonprofit organizations also claim themselves to be “zakat eligible.” Zakat is commonly translated as “obligatory Muslim giving,” and these nonprofit organizations have expanded its meaning to encompass various causes, including social-justice-related causes. New forms of philanthropy in nonprofit and for-profit settings since the 2010s, within and beyond Muslim contexts, are also increasingly connecting giving to techniques and strategies common in finance capitalism to increase their effect. For example, some nonprofit organizations have built endowments through investment-based companies. These meanings and forms of Islamic philanthropy demonstrate how traditions of Muslim giving and charity are in conversation with Islamic ethical and legal frameworks. Along with the incorporation of Islamic philanthropy into professionalization and financialization, there are also other forms of giving that have not been professionalized and financialized, such as mutual aid initiatives. Islamic philanthropy in the United States has not developed along a linear timeline toward formalization; rather, a more nuanced picture of Muslim giving—which is continually being interpreted, practiced, and experienced—can be seen by recognizing the multiplicity of meanings, practices, and forms of Muslim giving.

Article

Agencies and Organizations in Nonprofit Settings  

Jennifer E. Mosley, Jade Wong, and Jan Ivery

Nonprofit organizations play a dominant role in providing social services in the United States. This entry begins by exploring the roles and origins of the nonprofit sector, reporting on its current scope and scale, and reviewing federal regulations governing nonprofit organizations. Special attention is then given to understanding human service organizations and their financing, including the implications of changing government–nonprofit relationships. Also discussed are four additional issues facing the sector—accountability, marketization, political participation, and nonprofit growth around the world—as well as recommendations for meeting future challenges.

Article

Research: History of Research  

Joan Levy Zlotnik

An important attribute of a profession is the systematic study of its practices, to continually advance its service modalities. Throughout its history the social work profession has engaged in research and sought to strengthen connections between research and practice. National social work organizations and federal agencies, especially the National Institute of Mental Health, have all played key roles in stimulating and assessing the research enterprise. International and interdisciplinary research, advanced research methods and research/practitioner/community partnerships provide perspective for future efforts.

Article

Generalist and Advanced Generalist Practice in Macro Social Work Practice  

Jason T. Castillo and Grafton H. Hull Jr.

With a growing emphasis on improving human rights and alleviating social inequalities and human suffering in a world that is enduring massive environmental, demographic, technological, and geopolitical shifts, social work educators, scholars, and practitioners must determine how to prepare generalist and advanced generalist social work practitioners to engage in macro social work practice within their respective levels of competency. Steeped in ecological systems, person-in-environment, strengths, and empowerment perspectives, macro social work practice among general and advanced generalist practitioners have focused primarily on the communication, interaction, and transactional processes occurring between and among organizations, communities, and other systems. While beneficial, these perspectives do not account for differences in power, values, attitudes, beliefs, behavior, status, or roles between and among powerful and privileged entities in the system. By operating according to a humanistic perspective that accounts for differences in power, status, and roles of diverse entities in the system, generalist and advanced generalist practitioners engaged in macro social work practice may begin to alleviate social inequalities and human suffering occurring in the United States and abroad.

Article

The Origins and Spread of Pastoralism in Southern Africa  

John Kinahan

Pastoralist societies arose in the arid and semi-arid western regions of southern Africa over the last 2000 years. These were both Bantu-speaking and Khoekhoe-speaking groups who practiced diverse combinations of carnivorous and milch pastoralism but also maintained some dependence on hunting and gathering, with varying but generally minimal reliance on agriculture. Historical sources provide many insights into pastoral culture and husbandry practices, but archaeological and ethnographic evidence is critical to the understanding of precolonial pastoralism. Most research has concentrated on the Cape Khoen, but increasingly, a broader view has come to include archaeological and ethnographic evidence from other parts of the region, casting new light on the origins and growth of pastoralism in southern Africa.

Article

Cultural Institutions and the Arts  

Lorraine Gutiérrez and Mark Creekmore

The arts and cultural institutions can be powerful resources for promoting the development of individuals and communities. Social work agencies and cultural institutions share similar goals at the individual and community levels, such as personal improvement, the creation of social bonds, expression of communal meaning, and economic growth. Studies on the use of arts in social work practice suggest that they can be powerful tools for intervention. These collaborations were essential to practice in the social settlements and in economic policies of the New Deal. Social work practice into the future can build upon this historical engagement.

Article

Organizational Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility  

Steven K. May

Given the scope of various ethical scandals in a wide range of organizations over the last several decades, research on organizational ethics and corporate social responsibility (CSR) has grown significantly. Scholars have sought to better understand factors related to ethical awareness, judgment, and action through descriptive, normative, and analytical approaches. Organizations have established extensive policies and practices to enable employees to address the ethical dilemmas that they experience, drawing upon theories of duty, rights, utility, virtue, and care to facilitate compliance and, ultimately, produce aspirational ethics. In recent years, scholars have argued that organizational ethics is not only an individual-level phenomenon but also one influenced by organizational practices and societal expectations. As a result, debates regarding the role of businesses in society have also proliferated under the umbrella term of CSR, with attention paid to business initiatives such as philanthropy, volunteerism, cause-related marketing, and, most recently, strategic CSR. To better understand the opportunities and challenges of CSR, advocates and critics have turned to theories of shareholder value, stakeholder theory, corporate social performance, and corporate citizenship. In doing so, they have reintroduced an age-old question regarding the rights and responsibilities of business in society.

Article

Lurie, Harry Lawrence  

Larraine M. Edwards

Harry Lawrence Lurie (1892–1973) was a leader in the establishment and proliferation of Jewish charitable organizations, including the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds. He was also the first editor of the Encyclopedia of Social Work.