The Social Work: Ecological Perspective


Social work is the professional activity of helping individuals, groups or communities to enhance or to restore their capacity for social functioning and creating societal conditions favorable to this goal. The primary mission of social work is to enhance human well being and to help meet the basic needs of all people. It greatly emphasizes on the empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed and living in poverty.Of fundamental importance of social work in enhancement of social welfare is the consideration of the environmental forces that contribute to, create and address problems in living. Ecological perspective can be traced back to biological theories that explain how organisms adapt to their environment.The social work discipline has expanded this perspective to explain that an individual is constantly creating ,restructuring and adapting to the new environment as the environment is affecting them.”(Ungar 2002)

In the 1960s and 1970s the system theory was expanded based on ecological approach and the term environment was broken down into social determinants which had varied level of power and influence as deemed by individuals stress ,need and level of contentedness,(ecological perspective and social work ,n.d).In practicing the social work while applying the ecological approach , families ,cultures, communities ,and policies are considered to be able to identify the strengths and weakness in the process of interaction between these systems.(ecological perspective and social work,n.d)

In the light of the dynamic nature of the environment, in terms of population, economic, environmental and ideological shifts, the social work profession requires to be very effective. The system enables the social workers to pursue positive social change within the society. The system enables the participants to be able to meet the environmental challenges in a competent manner. The practitioners can be able to operate within a variety of cultural diversity. The parties are able to be responsive to the socialization patterns.

Provides a frame work for addressing discrimination, ethnicity and other differences

Another advantage of the ecological perspective is that it provides a framework to address content about a client’s culture and historical era, gender, ethnicity, and other factors related to relative political power, power differentials and worldview. Due to these varying perspective the ecological perspective allows the social worker to be effective across cultural and political boundaries so as to provide more services to sensitive issues that need to be addressed.this shows that for social work to be effective, there are various principles that are not only complimentary but also interwoven in the system (Ecological perspective and social work n.d).

Promotion of social justice

The system also helps to promote social justice and social change with and on behalf of the families’ individuals, groups, organizations and communities. This is because the system enables the recognition of ethnic diversities and it aims and ending discrimination oppression, poverty, and other forms of social injustice. This is made possible through the concrete research and the evaluation, development and implementation of policies that relate to political and social issues. Through this the system enhances the peoples capacity to respond to the various challenges that face them.Social injustice is also reduced by the fact that the system promotes the responsiveness of organizations, communities and other social institutions to individuals needs and the social problems such as unemployment and discrimination.Through this the system therefore helps to promote sensitivity and knowledge about oppression and cultural diversity. In most of the cases ,injustice is promoted through the concealing of vital information and services ,inequality of resources distribution and opportunity and also lack of involvement in the decision making process that can contribute to the progress of the society (Ecological perspective and social work n.d).

Dignity and worth of person

The ecological perspective of social work also contributes to the improvement of the dignity and worth of the various communities that coexist in the society. This is made possible by the fact that the parties involved in the social work are able to understand the diverse cultures and appreciating their values, behaviors and the recognition of the strengths that exist in all the cultures. This enables the people to utilize their diversity positively but not to promote ethnicity based on the differences that exist amongst the groups. The differences that the social system helps to eliminate could be with respect to race, ethnicity, and national origin, color, sex, political, and religion belief, mental or physical disability (Ecological perspective and social work n.d).

In conclusion the system plays a major role in the interweaving of the various ecological forces i.e. between the person and the environment.The social work system greatly contributes with other disciplines in the control and improvement of social problems that alter the social functioning of individuals, groups and communities.


Department of social work.2004. Web.

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Rosalie, A., Joseph, H., Guy, S., & Robert, A. (2008).Introduction to social work and social welfare: Ecological perspective. Thompson Brooks Cole.

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