SWM5113 - Critical social work 3: Group work and social work leadership - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

Department of Social Work

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Deborah Western


Dr Jennifer McConachy

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2019 (Off-campus)
  • Second semester 2019 (On-campus)




Must be enrolled in M6012


SWM5111, SWM5106


Please note: The teaching dates for this unit vary from the standard teaching datesstandard teaching dates (http://www.monash.edu/enrolments/dates/census) for this teaching period.

Unit discontinuation and penalty dates for these units are different to other units taught in the same teaching period.

Please refer to the information available on the Faculty non standard teaching dates pageFaculty non standard teaching dates page (https://www.monash.edu/medicine/study/student-services/non-standard-dates) to avoid academic and financial penaltiesacademic and financial penalties (https://www.monash.edu/enrolments/change/add-or-discontinue-units).


Group work is a major social work intervention method. Social workers are required to practise effective group work interventions in diverse settings; with families, service users, stakeholders, community groups, inter-agency networks, colleagues and in policy environments.

The unit has a focus on the theory and practice of group work, including communication in groups, group dynamics, understanding the 'life' of a group, and group leadership and facilitation.

The unit requires students to work effectively in a student group to 1) compare and analyse community groups in which they have been a member and 2) to reflect on and analyse the dynamics of their student group.

Students will be introduced to leadership theories in relation to human service organisations, their programs and policies. Social work leadership that works toward social justice and social change through, for example, research, advocacy, policy development, service delivery, and community action will be examined. Theories of leadership will be placed against the experiences and views of current social work leaders.

Students will appraise the arguments for and against the existence of a specific social work leadership 'style/s', and critique leadership qualities in relation to community groups.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Describe and critically analyse the processes of group development and group dynamics, including the role of leadership, in effective and ineffective groups
  2. Apply the principles of group development and group dynamics, including the role of leadership, to the development, facilitation and evaluation of a group project
  3. Describe and critique leadership within a professional social work framework
  4. Critically analyse historical and current theories of leadership for and within the human services sector
  5. Formulate and critically assess a procedure for leading a change process as a social worker in a human services context
  6. Critically reflect on their ability to work in groups and engage in a leadership role


  • Leadership essay (2,500 words) (40%) (hurdle)
  • A critical examination of group work assignment (2,500 words) (40%) (hurdle)
  • Group presentation (10 minutes) (20%)

Workload requirements

This unit runs for 8 weeks beginning in Week 8 of semester.

On-campus students: Average number of 3 hours contact time per week (lectures and tutorials). Nine hours of self-directed study time per week - class preparation, assignment and examination preparation including work in a student group and associated weekly readings.

Off-campus students: Twelve hours of study per week - weekly readings, online activities, work within a student group, assignment and examination preparation and associated readings.

Two (2) days of on-campus attendance will be required for distance education students.

See also Unit timetable information

Off-campus attendance requirements

Two days of on-campus attendance in late August/early September during semester two is required for practical work and for group presentations.

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study