Ethical Duties and Social Action

Ethical Duties and Social Action.

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Getting Started

Engaging in social action with organizations and communities is an ethical responsibility. According to the National Association of Social Workers’ Code of Ethics, social workers have a responsibility to pursue social change. In macro social work, social workers pursue social change by organizing communities or organizations that have historically experienced exclusion and inequities. Social workers engage in advocacy around social justice issues that challenge existing power structures in society. However, challenging the status quo comes with risks. As a macro social worker, you will learn to identify and manage those risks, recognizing that challenging social injustices is an inherently risky enterprise. In this module, you will consider your ethical obligation to engage in macro social work practice and reflect on how your commitment to inclusion, equality, and justice could pose a personal risk to you.

Upon successful completion of this discussion, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate ethical decision-making by applying the NASW Code of Ethics and relevant laws and regulations to generalist macro social work practice. (PO 1)
  • Explore injustice and oppression within the social environment at local and global levels. (PO 3)


  • Article: Advocacy versus Social Work: What the Setting-Up of an Advocacy Rights Hub Reveals about Social Work’s Ability to Promote Social Inclusion

Background Information

As noted in the Hardwick article, social advocacy is defined as promoting inclusion, equity, and social justice, and it can take the form of issue-based advocacy, citizen advocacy, peer advocacy, group advocacy, and professional advocacy. Macro social workers are professional advocates who organize communities and organizations around issues of inclusion, equity, and social justice. They also rely a great deal on citizen and group advocates. In this activity, you will begin to explore your own fears about advocacy and consider how you will manage risks.


  1. Review the rubric to make sure you understand the criteria for earning your grade.
  2. Read the article “Advocacy versus Social Work: What the Setting-Up of an Advocacy Rights Hub Reveals about Social Work’s Ability to Promote Social Inclusion.”
    1. If you are not already logged into the IWU OCLS, you will be prompted to enter your login and password to access the article.
  3. Navigate to the threaded discussion and respond to the following prompts. Your initial post should be between 200 and 300 words.
    1. How could meeting your ethical obligation to promote social justice impact you personally?
    2. Provide an example of how promoting social inclusion, equality, and justice would challenge the status quo of your community or organization.
    3. How will you assess and manage those risks?

Ethical Duties and Social Action

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