The Meandering Social Worker

wandering : wondering : learning

Organisational Behaviour for Social Work

BOOK REVIEW: Organisational Behaviour for Social Work 

Distilling the theories of organisational behaviours as they affect the practicing social worker in the workplace in to one highly readable text, Bissell has achieved one of those rare books that truly fills a gap in the market. Throughout Bissell does not shy away from acknowledging the challenges faced by a female dominated workforce, working in organisations developed from theories and research largely rooted in historical white American male culture and industry.

With its accessible language, good quality index, contents and bibliography, key learning points and occasional exercises and reflections, this book is destined to find a place on university reading lists.  But its appeal does not stop there.  Students and practitioners alike will recognise key social work theories under headings such as motivation, power and communication.

The student will find in this book an understanding of the impact of organisational theory on the development of social work, particularly since the Local Authority Social Services Act 1970, to what it is today, and a sense of what to expect in the workplace.  For the front line practitioner this book gives an opportunity to step back and look at how the organisation impacts on their practice, professional decision making, and the stress of the conflict between the ethics and values of their profession and employing organisation.

Although not an aim of the book, a chapter on the impact of politics, legislation and the influence of society would be a useful addition, setting the social work organisation itself into a wider context.

Organisational Behaviour for Social Work; Gavin Bissell.  Policy Press.  ISBN 978-1-84742-279-8. Paperback: £21.99 (


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