Looking Through Different Lenses

Discussion 1: Looking Through Different Lenses

As a social worker, you bring your own lens—that is, your own set of assumptions, biases, beliefs, and interpretations—into your interactions with clients and the human services professionals with whom you collaborate. Human services organizations have their own cultures that influence their organizational lenses. An organizational lens reflects key assumptions about the individuals to whom the organization provides services. These assumptions influence the organization’s policies and procedures which, in turn, impact service delivery. For example, an organization that focuses on understanding the perspectives of the clients it serves may allow clients to provide feedback about their client experience through membership on advisory boards or boards of directors. The clients may have the power to make recommendations and decisions about the organization’s policies and procedures.

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Understanding cultural lenses—your personal lens, as well as those of the organizations and other individuals with whom you work and interact—will enable you to better serve your clients.

Focus on the Paula Cortez case study for this Discussion. In this case study, four professionals present their perspectives on the Paula Cortez case. These workers could view Paula’s case through a variety of cultural lenses, including socioeconomic, gender, ethnicity, and mental health. For this Discussion, you take the role of the social worker on the case and interpret Paula’s case using two of these lenses.

For assignment please be very specific in responses.

  • Post how you, as a social worker, might interpret the needs of Paula Cortez, the client, through the two cultural lenses you selected.
  • Explain how, in general, you would incorporate multiple perspectives of a variety of stakeholders and/or human services professionals as you treat clients.

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Discussion 2: Administration and Culturally Competent Advocacy

Social work administrators can use their roles as leaders to increase cultural competency within their organizations and, thus, help to create positive social change. As social work administrators critically assess situations in which social injustice or inequality has taken place, they may discover an organizational need for increased cultural competency. However, changing the culture of an organization is not an easy task since administrators must address personal and organizational assumptions about diversity and cultural competency simultaneously.

For this Discussion, consider how social work administrators might apply their leadership roles to increase cultural competency within their organizations.

For assignment please be very specific in responses.

  • Post at least two strategies social workers may use to become advocates for social change through cultural competence.
  • Identify at least two challenges administrators may face in developing cultural competency within their organizations.

References

Chun-Chung Chow, J., & Austin, M. J. (2008). The culturally responsive social service agency: The application of an evolving definition to a case study. Administration in Social Work, 32(4), 39–64.

Laureate Education (Producer).(2014a). Cortez case study [Multimedia]. zRetrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Northouse, P.G. (2013). Leadership:Theory and practice (6th ed.).Los Angeles: Sage Publications.

Chapter 15, “Culture and Leadership”(pp. 383-421)

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