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Complexity in Social Work

Complexity in Social Work

May 2018 | 240 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Complexity lies at the heart of social work practice and this book is designed to help students and newly-qualified social workers plan for and manage complex cases in an increasingly complex environment. Split into two parts, this book reflects the journey of qualifying social work students from preparation for practice in an educational context to learning ‘on the job’ through working with service users in practice settings, and eventually assuming a more senior role in management, administration and training. Key topics covered in the chapters include managing volatility and uncertainty, making judgements and decisions, building and maintaining relationships, using reflection and supervision, working interprofessionally, managing risk, exploring cause and effect.


Introduction: What is complexity?
Chapter 1: Understanding complex needs
Chapter 2: Managing uncertainty, volatility and drift
Chapter 3 : Making decisions and judgements
Chapter 4 : Building and maintaining relationships
Chapter 5: Reflecting on practice
Chapter 6 : Working interprofessionally
Chapter 7: Addressing complexity in research and evaluation
Chapter 8 : Organising services to manage complexity
Chapter 9: Developing policies for social problems
Conclusion: Final reflections

This book provides good coverage on aspects of complexity in social work. It encompasses several features that generate complexity and decision making in social work. This book’s approach makes various landscapes of complexity easy to understand. This makes the book accessible to students and practitioners.

Dr Tam Chipawe Cane
Programme Leader for Social Work Programmes, University of Greenwich

Dr Rick Hood is one of the new generation of social work's intellectual leaders. This book is insightful but accessible and is informed by his substantial practice and research experience. The book highlights the day-to-day experience for social workers of being immersed in, but not paralysed by, the complexity of human behaviour and relationships and of the important and crucial contribution social workers make with others in promoting the welfare and safety of children and helping families.

Ray Jones
Emeritus Professor, Kingston & St George's

Rick Hood has produced a remarkably clear and conceptually sophisticated account of complexity in social work making a strong case for more appropriate organisational systems for working with unpredictability.

Sue White
Professor of Social Work, University of Sheffield

An impressive scrutiny of key challenges in social work through the lens of complexity, producing fresh thinking about solutions. The use of case studies and exercises links the abstract ideas clearly to the reality of everyday social work.    

Eileen Munro
Professor of Social Policy, LSE

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