Working in Human Service Organisations

Subject SCWK50010 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 5 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

August, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Aug-2016 to 28-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 25-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 09-Sep-2016
Census Date 16-Sep-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 28-Oct-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 contact hours (8 x 1 hour lecture, 8 x 2 hour seminar)
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Prof Marie Connolly


Subject Overview:

This subject aims to give students an appreciation of the nature of human service organizations as a context, vehicle and target of social work interventions. Several theoretical perspectives on human service organizations will be explored and students will be introduced to a number of specific dimensions useful in understanding organizations, like goals, mission, technology and culture. They will also examine the different ways in which such organizations are structured for line and task accountability and what difference the overall size of the organization makes for both workers and clients. The environment in which an organization operates and its interorganizational field are of increasing importance in human service practice and different ways of understanding and conceptualizing the environment will be presented. The clients/consumers/target groups of human service organization have a major influence on program design and choice of technology. Similarly the way in which work is structured in the organization will have a particular impact on staff in terms of the manner in which they interact with colleagues and manage their time and stresses of the job. Utilization of supervision and the nature of interdisciplinary teamwork will be particularly explored. Finally the course will explore how change within the organization can be initiated, implemented and evaluated.

Learning Outcomes:

At the completion of this subject students should be able to:

  • Describe and analyse a human service organization from a number of different theoretical perspectives;
  • Develop a good conceptual and empirical understanding of some of the key dimensions of organizational analysis e.g. size, structure, goals, technology, culture
  • Be familiar with common tensions confronting both service users and professionals in human service organizations
  • Be able to understand change and resistance to change in human service organizations
  1. Two written essays of 2,500 words and 50% each (one due mid and one end of semester)
Prescribed Texts:

2013, English, Book, Illustrated edition: The organisational context of human service practice/Elizabeth Ozanne and David Rose. Ozanne, Elizabeth 1944- (author)

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject students should be able to:

  • critically analyse texts and practices;
  • understand recent developments in social work contexts of practice;
  • link theory to practice;
  • competently communicate in ways relevant to both academic and practice contexts;
  • undertake independent research.
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Master of Social Work

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