The Socially Oriented Centered Social Work

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At present social work practice is at a critical crossroads in time. There are ongoing debates among academicians and practitioners alike, over what should be the theoretical underpinnings, focus and overall purpose of the social work profession. The need for such debates is heightened in the face of changing external forces such as advent in economic globalization, social exclusion and progress in communication technologies. Hence there is palpable need to review and practice progressive theories of social work.

In this paper, I shall be comparing the ecologically oriented competence- centered social work theory discussed by Maluccio, Washitz & Libassi (1992) to the structural social work theory presented by Mullaly (2007 & 2010).

Ecologically oriented competence-centered social work theory is part of the conventional or systems perspectives of social work. It aims to view individuals and their environment as a unitary system with a certain historical context (Germain, 1979 as cited by Malucio, Washitz & Libassi, 1992). In other words, an individual’s well being is a reflection of the presence of particular competencies, motivations, qualities and skills which enable an individual to interact, cope and function effectively in the environment (Maluccio, Washitz & Libassi, 1992). The basic premise of the theory is to maintain social order and status quo via adapting, to achieve an individual- environment fit. In comparison, Mullaly’s (2007 & 2010) structural social work
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