Marcia Cohen co-edits book on empowering ‘low power actors’ to create organizational change

January 10, 2014

Marcia Cohen, M.S.W., Ph.D., professor in the Department of Social Work, is the co-editor of a new book, Empowering Workers and Clients for Organizational Change,published by Lyceum Books, Inc.

The text is designed to prepare students to successfully engage in organizational change practice and focuses on “low power actors,” such as student, line staff, volunteers, clients, and social workers, who can utilize their experience and knowledge from client and community interaction to initiate broad-scale change.

Cohen stated:  "Organizational change is a critical area of social work practice.  This text is a response to the need for all social work students to learn the knowledge and skills necessary to bring about change in their agencies in order to create environments more conducive to addressing the needs and concerns of clients, as well as being supportive of staff at all levels.   Unlike most books about organizational practice, our emphasis is on change “from below,” in other words, change brought about by ‘low power’ actors."

The book provides case examples of organizational change instituted by low-power actors that demonstrate the theories covered in the text.  It also discusses strategies to assess the structural characteristics of agencies, organizational culture, and empowerment.

The editors also cover present force field analysis as an assessment framework to help promote change within human service agencies at the client service level.

Features of the book include:
•    Key theories and concepts that contextualize organizational change practices
•    Specific strategies that evaluate agencies and tactics to implement change
•    In-depth case studies that illustrate line staff and students as change agents
•    Discussion questions that follow each chapter

Marcia Cohen

Cohen has been on the faculty of the UNE School of Social Work since its inception in 1988.  Her areas of expertise and research over the past decade have included: organizational change practice, integrated multi-level social work practice, social work education methodologies, social action and mutual aid group work; gender and group work; mental health consumer issues and practice with homeless and other very poor people.
Marcia's most recent publication (November, 2013) is a special issue of the Journal of Progressive Human Services: Radical Thought & Praxis, on the experiences of mental health consumers/survivors, which she edited. Marcia has been associated with this journal since its founding in 1976 as Catalyst: A Socialist Journal of the Social Services.

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