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Human Behavior in the Social Environment: Social Systems

Consider the dynamics that drive the way people and groups interact with each other.

In SOWK 6331 Human Behavior in the Social Environment: Social Systems, you will see how interactions between the people and groups you encounter can improve or inhibit your ability to help your clients access the service they need.

Course Description

As a social worker, you will work with individuals and families. You will also work with government agencies and community resources, with schools and churches, with businesses and with others in your own organization. In SOWK 6331, you will examine collaborative consumption, the concept that the whole world is our village and the political is personal. You will see how your micro activities, e.g., social media, can have a macro impact by reaching different people in different places.

Consider how ethics and diversity specifically relate to social work on differing levels of intervention, and gain insight into a social worker’s role as an advocate. Examining intervention and practice, you will evaluate theories of group dynamics, behavior and phases, as well as different types of groups needed for different tasks or interventions. View social service agencies from an organizational standpoint and focus on supervisory relationships and management in human service organizations. You will also consider the role of women in organizations and some of the problems frequently encountered by social service organizations.

Community isn’t limited to where we live. You will examine theories about all sorts of communities: geographical, virtual, regional, issue-focused, spiritual, intellectual, etc. You will evaluate the concept of neighborhoods as well—their function, the types that exist, the qualities of strong neighborhoods and the ways neighborhoods change over time.

Sample Learning Exercise

Work in a team to develop a fully functioning organization that addresses a social issue/need, explaining the various components of this social agency/organization and detailing how it would work to meet the social need.

Assignment Example

Prepare and present a persuasive video based on a macro-level social justice issue that affects Latinos in the U.S. Your video will emphasize your recommendations for change.

Course Topics

Throughout each week of the course, you will focus on a core topic or theme. Sample topics are listed below and are subject to change based on the instructor.

  • Macro Systems Perspective
  • Social Groups
  • Building Organizational Macro Interventions and Policy Change
  • Organizations
  • Community
  • Organization Planning and Effectiveness
  • Neighborhoods
  • Advocacy and Social Justice

Learning Outcomes

Through SOWK 6331, you will gain a better understanding of topics specific to professional social work identity, values and ethics, diversity, human rights, social and economic justice, and cultural competence with emphasis on Hispanic families and children.

  • Understand the difference between micro, mezzo and macro systems.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the basic principles of behavior in groups, organizations, and communities, especially with Hispanic/Latino populations.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of select organizational and community theories within a socio-cultural context and their impact on human behavior, especially with Hispanic/Latino families.
  • Identify significant ethical and social justice issues associated with practice at the macro level, with emphasis on Hispanic/Latino families.
  • Analyze the impact of the components of systems’ structures (e.g., power, hierarchical structures, roles and norms) on social work practice at the macro level.

Learn More About Helping Others

In SOWK 6331, you will focus on the interaction between individual, group, organizational and community behavior and dynamics. To learn more about this course or any other course in the online Master of Social Work from Our Lady of the Lake University, call 855-275-1082 to speak with an admissions advisor right away, or you can request more information.

The content presented on this page is representative information for example purposes and is subject to change as course and student needs change over time.

Programs that include this course