Systems Approach to Social Networks

While tidying up my cupboards I found a sheet of info from my Social Work training in the early 80s. I have OCRed it and it appears below. It is one of the best things I got from the Social Work training. SYSTEMS.

Systems Approach to Social Networks

The conceptualisation of the human body into systems e.g. digestive systems circulatory system, autonomic nervous system assists in the treatment of individual people. Social work is developing system concepts which can assist in the treatment of social problems.

The system concept used in the management of cases includes the following four systems:

The initiators of planned change. Usually .kis unit, but at times other agencies – e.g. Child and Family Guidance Centre.

The individual, family or group-that is the expected
beneficiary of the change.

The various people that effect the change – this
can of course include the client or the chance agent but also any other avalilable.resources.

The people or groups that need to be changed in order to achieve the goals.

It is important to note.that in one “case” there may be a variety of goals and that for EACH goal there will be a different content in each system.


A patient may wish to improve her relationship with her
husband – (goal 1). She may wish to have her children back
from a foster placement (goal 2). Each of these goals may
have quite different TARGET, ACTION, CLIENT systems.
Note: that each goal is contracted with the client and social worker
and must be acceptable to both

Social Work Practice
Model & Method
Pincus & Minahan., Peacock Pub. 1975.

Book: The New Science of Networks Linked: The New Science of Networks

From a review on Amazon:

He explains the basic history of network theory, and then shows how his own work has turned it into a closer model of reality, a model that most of us will recognize. Networks are all around us, and they are simply not random. Some of our friends, for instance, are loners, while others seem to know everyone in town. Some websites, like Google and Amazon, we just cannot avoid clicking on or being referred to, but many others are obscure and you could only find them if someone sent you their addresses. Barab├ísi calls these ‘nodes’ with such an extraordinary number of links ‘hubs,’ and he and his students have found laws of networks with hubs, showing such things as how they can continue to function if random nodes are eliminated but they fragment if the hubs are hit. Barab├ísi is currently doing research to show what intracellular proteins interact with other proteins, and true to form, some of them are hubs of reactions with lots of others. Finding the hubs of cancerous cells, for instance, and developing ways of taking them out, show enormous promise in the fight against cancer.

Looks good. Yes one of many on the same theme, but each adding a new slant. Hubs and nodes – reminds me a little of the classic article: The Strength of Weak Ties ?