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Human Behavior and the Social Environment: Social Systems Theory, 7th Edition

By Orren Dale, Rebecca Smith

Published by Pearson

Published Date: Jul 2, 2012

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Presents major theories for systems addressed in generalist practice


This text is part of the Connecting Core Competencies Series.


Human Behavior and the Social Environment: Social Systems Theory provides an expanded treatment of systems theory, and applies the theory to common social work concerns. The text links systems to social roles, and provides a framework for critical assessment of the theories from the systems/roles perspective. It assesses the strengths and weaknesses of each theory with regard to the value of each theory for social work practice.


Social systems theory remains the focus of this text.  In addition theories are identified as grand theories, middle range theories, or focal theories, to assist the student in understanding the scope and application of theories across system sizes.  This text breaks new ground in using role theory as a middle range theory to address common features of human systems at a level that is more intuitive for students, and yet detailed enough to stimulate independent thinking. The text addresses the standard repertoire of theories, and in addition presents application of the theories to social issues such as violence and addiction.


A better teaching and learning experience

This program will provide a better teaching and learning experience—for you and your students. Here’s how:

  • Personalize Learning — MySearchLab with eText delivers proven results in helping students succeed, provides engaging experiences that personalize learning, and comes from a trusted partner with educational expertise and a deep commitment to helping students and instructors achieve their goals.
  • Improve Critical Thinking — Links systems processes and concepts to role theory as a middle range perspective.
  • Engage Students — Relates social systems concepts to the contexts of generalist social work practice
  • Explore Current Issues — Provides an integrative perspective for the diverse theories used by social workers
  • Apply CSWE Core Competencies — The text integrates the 2008 CSWE EPAS, with critical thinking questions and practice tests to assess student understanding and development of competency.
  • Support Instructors — An Instructor’s Manual and Test Bank, Computerized Test Bank (MyTest), BlackBoard Test Item File, MySearchLab with eText, and PowerPoint presentations are included in the outstanding supplements package.

Note: MySearchLab with eText does not come automatically packaged with this text. To purchase MySearchLab with eText, please visit: or you can purchase a valuepack of the text + MySearchLab (at no additional cost): ValuePack ISBN-10: 0205223478 / ValuePack ISBN-13: 9780205223473

Table of Contents

In this Section:

1) Brief Table of Contents

2) Full Table of Contents



1) Brief Table of Contents  


Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Foundations for Social Systems Theory

Chapter 3: Social Systems and Social Work

Chapter 4: Social Systems and Social Roles

Chapter 5: Psychodynamic Theories

Chapter 6: Psychosocial Theory

Chapter 7: Behavioral Learning Theories

Chapter 8: Cognitive and Humanistic Theories

Chapter 9: Family Theories

Chapter 10: Group Theories

Chapter 11: Organizational Theories

Chapter 12: Community Theories

Chapter 13: Theories Applied to Addiction

Chapter 14: Theories Applied to Violence

Chapter 15: Theories Applied to Populations at Risk


2) Full Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Introduction

Human Behavior Theory and Social Work Practice

CSWE Core Competencies

Generalist Practice

Theory and Practice in Social Work: Connecting the Dots

Theoretical Range

Theories as Maps: Grand, Middle Range, and Focal Theories


Practice Test

MySearchLab Connections


Chapter 2: The Foundations for Social Systems Theory

The Nature of Theory

Social Systems Perspective

General Systems Theory

Ecological Theory

Generalist Social Work Practice and P.I.E.

Functional Theory

Symbolic Interactionism and Role Theory


Practice Test

MySearchLab Connections

Chapter 3: Social Systems and Social Work

Social Systems in Generalist Practice

Development of Social Systems

Social Systems Cycle

Social Systems Features

Definitions of Social System Elements


Practice Test

MySearchLab Connections


Chapter 4: Social Systems and Social Roles

Systems Thinking, Role Theory and Generalist Practice

Major Role Concepts

Roles as Social Structures

Role Dynamics

Common Role Problems

Role Problem Resolution Strategies


Practice Test

MySearchLab Connections


Chapter 5:  Psychodynamic Theories

Individual Theory: The First Wave

Psychoanalytic / Psychodynamic Theory

Theoretical Base of Analytical Psychology

Theoretical Base of Individual Psychology

Childhood Attachment Theory

Object Relations Theory

Neurosis and Striving

The Sane Society


Practice Test

MySearchLab Connections


Chapter 6:  Psychosocial Theory: A Social Systems Perspective





The Biological Connection


Post Infancy




Early Adulthood

Middle Adulthood

Late Adulthood


Practice Test

MySearchLab Connections


Chapter 7:  Behavioral Learning Theories

Behavioral Learning Theory




Social Learning Theory

Cognitive Behavioral Theory


Practice Test

MySearchLab Connections


Chapter 8:  Cognitive and Humanistic Theories

Third Wave: Cognitive and Humanistic Theories

Cognitive Development Theory

Moral Development Theory

Humanistic Theory


Practice Test

MySearchLab Connections


Chapter 9:  Family Theories

Families as Emergent Structures

Structural Family Theory

Family Systems Theory

Societal Emotional Process

Communications / Interactive Theory

Family Homeostasis


Practice Test

MySearchLab Connections


Chapter 10:  Group Theories

Social Groups

Collections, Categories, and the Social Group

Collections of People

Primary and Secondary Groups

Natural and Rational Will

Formed vs Natural Groups

Task vs Treatment Groups

Field Theory

Exchange Theory

Psychoanalytic Tavistock Groups

Behavioral Group Theory

Role Theroy in Groups

Dimensions of Group Process

In-Groups And Out-Groups: Boundaries and Identity Stages of Group Development

Group Therapeutic Factors

Group Leadership


Practice Test

MySearchLab Connections


Chapter 11:  Organizational Theories

Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft

Organizational Theory and Practice


The Weberian Bureaucracy—The Rationalist Position

Rationalist Position and Social Systems Theory

The Human Relations Position

Human Relations Position and Social Systems Theory

The Dialectic

Social Systems Theory: Emergence

Social Systems Theory: Definitions for Organizations

Social Systems Theory: Stages of Formal Organizations

Social Systems Theory: Total Quality Management

Theories X, Y, And Z


Practice Test

MySearchLab Connections


Chapter 12:  Community Theories

The Community: Traditonal Definitons

The Evolving Community

Traditional Geographic Community Theory

The Ecological Position: Human Ecology

Community Theorists

The Community Power Position

The Conflict Position

The Community System Cycle

Communities of Interest

Stagnation and Emergence in Communities: Two Illustrations

Rural Communities as Stagnant Systems

Aids: A Community Of Interest      


Practice Test

MySearchLab Connections


Chapter 13:  Theories Applied to Addiction

Defining Addiction

Measuring Addiction

Toward a Theory of Addiction

The Natural Mind

The Psychiatric Model

Existing Theories: A Sampler

Assessing Addiction Theory and Treatment

Effects of Interventions


Practice Test

MySearchLab Connections


Chapter 14:  Theories Applied to Violence

Violence in Social Systems Perspective

Ethology and Violence

Flight, Fight, or Freeze

The Death Drive

Violence as Social Deviance

Violence as Crime

Operant Learning

Exchange Theory

Social Learning

Domestic Violence



Practice Test

MySearchLab Connections


Chapter 15  Theories on Social Systems, Social Capital, and Diversity


Cultural Diversity

Social Systems Theory

Social Capital

Conflict And Consensus

Conflict, Religion, and Diversity

Ethics and Cultural Diversity


Practice Test

MySearchLab Connections




Purchase Info

ISBN-10: 0-205-03648-1

ISBN-13: 978-0-205-03648-6

Format: Alternate Binding

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