A critical characteristic of human service organizations is their capacity to learn from experience and to adapt continuously to changing external conditions such as downward pressure on resources, constant reconfiguration of the welfare state and rapidly changing patterns of social need. This invaluable, groundbreaking volume discusses in detail the concept of the learning organization, in particular its relevance to social work and social services. Contributors join together from across Europe, North America and Australia to explore the development of the learning organization within social work contexts and its use as a strategic tool for meeting problems of continuous learning, supervision and change. The volume addresses a range of important topics, from strategies for embedding learning and critical reflection in the social work learning organization, to the implications of the learning organization for the new community-based health and social care agenda.
Nick Gould is Professor of Social Work at the University of Bath, and a fellow of the National Institute for Mental Health in England and Social Care Institute for Excellence. A qualified social worker, he has researched and published widely in the fields of reflective learning, technology and social work, and research methodology. Mark Baldwin is Senior Lecturer in Social Work at the University of Bath. He practised as a social worker, and worked as a first line manager for a number of years before working for the University. His recent research and writing has been mainly concerned with critical reflection and the use of discretion by front line staff in health and social welfare organizations.
’This is one of the first social work books to explore the valuable concepts embedded in the idea of transforming social care organizations into learning organizations. From the perspective of the learning organization as an analytic tool, it does an excellent job of featuring the importance of reflective practice, making the transition from individual learning to collective learning (group and organizational), learning from service users, promoting continuous inquiry in the supervision of staff, and identifying management's role in creating an organizational culture of learning.’ Professor Michael J. Austin, University of California, Berkeley, CA ’This international contribution to the study of the relationship between individual and organizational learning, combining theoretical and policy analysis with case studies, will be a very valuable resource for managers, practitioners and students of social work.’ Professor Bill Jordan, University of Exeter, UK ’This is a superb edited collection and will be of great interest to educators, supervisors, training consultants and managers in social and human services.’ Social Work Review