Week 7:Ethics and Values

Week 7:Ethics and Values

Week 7:Ethics and Values. Social work is a values-based profession; as such, social workers are expected to adhere to professional ethical standards, which include a specific commitment to the “vulnerable and oppressed.”

Ethics represent an integral part of competent social work practice, and entering this profession means that you agree to uphold and abide by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics. The NASW Code of Ethics is founded upon six core values from which the ethical standards are framed. The code outlines the ethical responsibilities social workers apply to 1) clients, 2) colleagues, 3) in practice settings, 4) as professionals, 5) to the social work profession, and 6) to the broader society.

This week, you examine the NASW Code of Ethics and apply an ethical decision-making framework to a specific dilemma.

Learning Objectives

Week 7:Ethics and Values
Students will:
  • Evaluate ethical dilemmas in social work using an ethical decision-making framework
  • Analyze influence of professional social work standards on ethical decision making
  • Apply social work concepts to social work practice scenarios

Week 7:Ethics and Values

Learning Resources

Required Readings

Kirst-Ashman, K. K., & Hull, G. H., Jr. (2018). Understanding generalist practice (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

  • Chapter 11, “Values, Ethics, and the Resolution of Ethical Dilemmas” (pp. 419–465)

National Association of Social Workers. (2017). Code of ethics of the National Association of Social Workers. Retrieved from https://www.socialworkers.org/About/Ethics/Code-of-Ethics/Code-of-Ethics-English.aspx

Reamer, F. G. (2002). Eye on ethics: Making difficult decisions. Social Work Today. Retrieved from http://www.socialworktoday.com/news/eoe_101402.shtml

Reamer, F. G. (2014). Eye on ethics: The evolution of social work ethics. Social Work Today. Retrieved from http://www.socialworktoday.com/news/eoe_061614.shtml

Document: Social Media and Ethical Considerations (PDF)

Week 7:Ethics and Values

Discussion: Resolving Ethical Dilemmas

If there is a right and wrong answer, there is no ethical dilemma. An ethical dilemma occurs when one or more competing ethical principles must be considered and weighed against each other.

Social workers serve individuals, families, and communities who experience complex problems for which there are rarely simple solutions, or right or wrong answers. As such, social workers use the NASW Code of Ethics to identify the various ethical principles and standards that will guide ethical decision making.

In this Discussion, you apply social work ethics as you analyze an ethical dilemma.

To prepare: Consider the ethical decision-making framework outlined in this week’s resources by Reamer (2002). Select one of the following options and engage in the first few steps of the ethical decision-making process, including consultation with colleagues through your response posts.

Option 1

As technology advances, so do the ways that social workers can connect with clients. Is it acceptable to look at a client’s activities on social media or seek information through an Internet search? Should a social worker allow clients to contact them by text or e-mail? How does a social worker’s personal social media presence influence the worker/client relationship?

Option 2

Consider the presence of dual relationships in social work practice. What are examples of nonharmful and harmful dual relationships between clients and workers? How do social workers determine if dual relationships are harmful to a client?

Option 3

Your Instructor will post a social work ethical dilemma related to a current event.


Week 7:Ethics and Values

By Day 3


  • Describe a specific ethical dilemma based on one of the options above.
  • Describe the ethical issues in the option chosen.
    • Identify specific values or ethical standards that apply.
  • Identify who is likely to be affected by the ethical dilemma.
  • Describe potential courses of action.
  • Examine reasons in favor of or opposed to the course of action.

By Day 6

Respond by providing consultation to at least two colleagues on the ethical dilemma they described by doing one of the following:

  • Explain additional ethical standards and values that your colleague may need to consider in the case.


  • Explain any previously unconsidered course of action and reasons in favor of or opposed to that course of action.

Week 7:Ethics and Values

Submission and Grading Information

Grading Criteria

To access your rubric:

Week 7 Discussion Rubric

Post by Day 3 and Respond by Day 6

To participate in this Discussion:

Week 7 Discussion

Week 7:Ethics and Values

Assignment: Video Quiz

In this Assignment, you watch excerpts from social work case study videos. Then, within the video interface, you respond to questions that allow you to connect the true-to-life depictions of social worker–client interactions with what you have learned. This video quiz is graded.

Note: The link below will take you to a page that contains the three video quizzes in this course. To begin, click on the “Watch Media” button for this week’s quiz.

Submission and Grading Information

Week 7:Ethics and Values
Submit Your Quiz by Day 7

To submit your Quiz:

Week 7 Video Quiz

Week 7:Ethics and Values

Looking Ahead

If you have not done so already, you should review the guidelines for the Client System Role-Play Scenario that is due in Week 8. This assignment consists of the following components:

  • A role-play script you develop using the Client Systems Role-Play Script Template provided in Week 8 resources that describes the demographics of a client system you select, characteristics of each member of that system, and the presenting concerns. The script should also map your interaction with the client system in a social work session, based on these details and the social work techniques you select.
  • A video recording of the session that you capture between the client system and you as the social worker. The client system you select can be an individual, a family, a couple, a group of colleagues, or members of a community. The video also must show a demonstration of social work techniques you would use in working with this client system. Note that since you will need to be the social worker in the video, you may need to recruit a friend or colleague to record the session. Your video is due in Week 8, in order to allow everyone the opportunity to view the videos in preparation for the reflection and analysis component of the Week 10 Assignment. Note that you also must either include a transcript of your role-play video or use the closed-captioning function in Kaltura Media.
  • A reflection/analysis paper describing insights you gained and challenges you experienced while planning and executing your video. This is due in Week 10.

To go to the next week:

Week 8





Week 7:Ethics and Values

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