Complexity lies at the heart of social work practice and this book is designed to help students and newly-qualified social workers plan for and manage complex cases in an increasingly complex environment. Split into two parts, this book reflects the journey of qualifying social work students from preparation for practice in an educational context to learning ‘on the job’ through working with service users in practice settings, and eventually assuming a more senior role in management, administration and training. Key topics covered in the chapters include, managing volatility and uncertainty; making judgements and decisions; building and maintaining relationships; using reflection and supervision; working interprofessionally; managing risk; exploring cause and effect.

Making Decisions and Judgements
Making Decisions and Judgements
Chapter Summary

This chapter considers the challenges associated with making judgements and decisions in social work. The question of what constitutes a justifiable decision is discussed in terms of rationality, ethicality, and reasonableness. Analytic and intuitive approaches to decision-making are compared before exploring some of the cognitive biases that can unwittingly affect people’s judgement, including confirmation bias, hindsight error, and the rule of optimism. The discussion then moves onto judgements about harm, which involve a probabilistic analysis based on predictive risk factors and draw on a combination of clinical, consensus-based and actuarial approaches to risk assessment. Finally, there is a discussion of bounded rationality, which suggests that heuristic models continue to be useful in complex situations where there ...

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