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Review: Professional Practice in Human Service Organisations—McDonald, Craik, Hawkins, Williams

Mike King
August 4, 2011

How often are people, whether they are unqualified, just qualified, or volunteers, thrown into the deep end at the start of a job and told to watch and learn? The result is usually another clone in the system lacking in important skills and understanding to undertake the role.

Professional Practice in Human Service Organisations identifies this in the introduction and continues throughout, laying the framework to provide people interested in, or starting out in the industry, the opportunity to fully understand the requirements to become a professional in human service work.

The authors pay particular relevance to the reader effectively understanding their role clearly and the processes and methodology of the organisation that they will work for. The book challenges the reader to participate and think about their role through thought provoking industry case studies and review questions, which are part of each chapter.

With the current global concerns, not to mention the ageing population in Australia, the leader, manager, or case worker in the human services field is now part of the second–fastest growing industry in Australia, and covering every aspect for the emerging employee is a daunting task.

The book makes the statement that it is a ‘how to’ guide to attain excellence in professional practice and clearly provides the information to help in this endeavour. Although it should be part of a curriculum, the development of the individual will depend strongly on support, training, and feedback in the field.

Many project managers and their organisations now undertake work in the community sector, outlining the importance to research and understand the culture before rushing in to deliver a project in accordance with the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBoK). This text provides the necessary background to scope the context, from the organisations that you will work with, to the legal framework that you will work in.

Indeed, the content of the book aligns with many of the elements of project management. As such this book is valuable in this area and should be required reading to accept and understand the culture in which the work is to be undertaken.

Professional Practice in Human Service Organisations
By Catherine McDonald, Christine Craik, Linette Hawkins, Judy Williams
RRP $44.99

Mike King
Mike King (MBA Grad Cert PM MAIPM CPPD) is a senior project manager with global consultant company GHD Pty Ltd. Based in Hobart, Tasmania, he has vast experience in project management both in Australia and South East Asia.
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