Chapter 05

Chapter Five Objectives: Communication Skills for Policy, Advocacy, Management and Community practice

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Knowledge (Declarative Knowledge)

By the end of this chapter you should possess declarative knowledge about:
  1. The concepts, skills, and formats of communication used in social work macro practice and how they differ from the communication skills used in social work clinical practice
  2. With whom communication in social work macro practice occurs; i.e. primarily with   target systems, change-agent systems and the beneficiary system.
  3. The communication formats used in policy, advocacy, management and community     practice: through words (oral and written), visual modes (art & media), and actions
  4. The four different types of communication used in social work policy, advocacy, management and community practice:  (1) fiduciary, (2) task, (3) persuasive, and     (4) public relations
  5. How fiduciary responsibilities are conveyed and what constitutes fiduciary malpractice in each area of macro practice.
  6. The characteristics of persuasion and the role of persuasive speech in changing attitudes and motivating social action.
  7. How values and ideology are communicated through the art of persuasion and public speaking
  8. The difference between propaganda and communication that is intend to inform.
  9. The various theories (and techniques) that inform communication in macro practice
  10. How communication can be used to exercise power.
  11. How cognitive strategies are used to further political agendas.
  12. How rational discourse differs from opinion and rational cognitive strategies
  13. The major theories of social justice that inform competing desired-end goals

Skills (Application of Knowledge-Procedural and Tacit Knowing)

By the end of this chapter you should demonstrate beginning competency in the use of communication skills needed for policy, advocacy, management and community practice by being able to:
  1. Use words, visual and artistic mediums, and actions as communication tools to further social goals
  2. Use the art of persuasion in public speaking
  3. Use communication to further public relations
  4. Write legislative alerts, letters to the editor, position papers etc
  5. Conduct a needs/resource assessment; document needs/resources
  6. Follow a fair and democratic process in community planning, community organizing,    and decision-making
  7. Further development of communication skills needed for policy, advocacy,      management, and community practice require an additional course of study and    placement in a setting with supervision specific to each area of practice


  1. Ethically, messaging should be truthful, factual, and informative
  2. Principled speech is to be valued over propaganda
  3. Minimize polarization; recognize the polarizing effect communication can have    when used for purposes of swaying public opinion
  4. Tolerance for diversity as a practice principle
  5. Commitment to a fair and democratic political process at the national and local levels when using the methods of planning and community organizing
  6. Commitment not to abuse or misuse the power of communication
  7. Adherence to rational discourse

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