Decision Making in Social Work

  • Authors
  • Terence O’Sullivan

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Terence O’Sullivan
    Pages 1-22
  3. Terence O’Sullivan
    Pages 23-42
  4. Terence O’Sullivan
    Pages 43-62
  5. Terence O’Sullivan
    Pages 63-84
  6. Terence O’Sullivan
    Pages 85-102
  7. Terence O’Sullivan
    Pages 103-126
  8. Terence O’Sullivan
    Pages 127-152
  9. Terence O’Sullivan
    Pages 153-170
  10. Terence O’Sullivan
    Pages 171-176
  11. Back Matter
    Pages 177-198

About this book


Decision-making is a core skill in social work; it is crucial both to effective professional intervention and to successful practice outcomes. Yet it is a surprisingly neglected subject in the social work literature. This text offers a focused and systematic account of this complex and sometimes hazardous skill with the aim of providing practitioners with a clear and supportive framework for navigating their way successfully through difficult and demanding practice situations.

Written in an accessible style and making imaginative use of case illustrations, it develops a framework chapter by chapter that addresses the social, organisational and psychological context of professional decision-making; the interests of different stakeholders; issues of power and oppression; and the processes involved in arriving at a decision and evaluating the outcome. By identifying the components of sound decision-making and linking these with the realisation of long-term goals, the text highlights how to improve the quality of social work and promote the wellbeing of clients while recognising that in a world of scarce resources, contradictory demands and social inequalities, the best-informed and most considered decisions will not always lead to good outcomes.

This text is essential reading for all those involved in social work, whether as students, practitioners, managers or educators.


complex complexity decision making decision-making emotion management organization social work work

Bibliographic information