Perspectives on the Mission of the Social Work Profession: A Random Survey of NASW Members

  • Catherine N. Dulmus
  • Lessi L. Bass
  • Shelia G. Bunch
Keywords: Profession, mission, social justice, social work education, NASW


Individuals with MSW degrees and who were members of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) in the United States (N=862) were surveyed and asked what best represents the social work profession mission for them. They were provided with 7 pre-selected choices (i.e advocacy; lobbying; social justice; community organization; clinical work with individuals, families, and groups; advancement of the social work profession; or other) from which to choose one response. Over 66% of those responding chose clinical work with individuals, families, and groups as the mission of the social work profession. With the complex problems facing societies today will social work be at the forefront of the challenge of have we turned away from our historical mission of promoting social justice? This paper focuses on the finding from this research study and discusses its implications for social work education and the social work profession, as well as those individuals whom social workers serve.