Critical reflection 1 social location and macro leadership


Social location refers to identity constructs such as gender, gender identity, gender expression, race, class, religion, sexual orientation, geographic locations, and age (Hulko, 2009). Social location influences individual experiences and world views  It also coveys the power and privilege one experiences related to identity. According to Hulko, power is situational. So while we may feel powerful or powerless in one situation, we may enjoy a great deal of power or experience less power in another.  Social workers should understand their own power and privilege in relation to their clients, the communities served, and within the organizational and agency context. We must be able to navigate systems in order to best serve clients and communities, challenge injustices, and be able to survive in environments that are hostile to our own social location and/or to our clients’ social location. 


Hulko, W. (2009). The time-and context-contingent nature of intersectionality and interlocking oppressions. Affilia Journal of Women and Social Work, 1, 44. (Links to an external site.)

Reflection Assignment 

This week, you are asked to reflect on your social location and implications for practice. 

This assignment has several steps.

Step 1:  Review course materials

Step 2:  Using a search engine, such as Google, type in the name of the city in which you live and then type “nonprofits.” When the search results appear, explore the following for each of the first 3-5 nonprofits. Please note the following.

  • The name of each of the nonprofits
  • The target population being served (people experiencing homelessness, households under 50% of the area median income, individuals experiencing Intimate Partner violence, etc.)
  • The services provided by the agency
  • The number of clients served each year if noted on the website

Step 3: As you look around the website, click on the links for staff and the Board. If there are pictures for staff and Board members, note the following.

  • The age, race, ethnicity, gender, gender expression of agency staff.
  • The age, race, ethnicity, gender, gender expression of Board members.
  • The age, race, ethnicity, gender, gender expression of the Executive Director/CEO, the Financial Director/CFO
  • The age, race, ethnicity, gender, gender expression of the Board Chair
  • If work affiliations are listed for Board members, note how many Board members are representing businesses and for-profit entities.
  • If a bio is available for the Executive Director/CEO is available, what is his/her/their work and educational background (MSW, MBA, other)?

Step 4:  After obtaining this information, consider the following questions.

  • Does the composition of the Board of Directors and agency staff reflect who is being served and the community in which the agencies are locates?
  • Who appears to make the decisions in the agency? Do the people in charge reflect the ethnic, racial, and gender compositions of the target populations being served?
  • What potential issues may arise if those in charge do not represent the communities being served (stakeholder engagement, stakeholder buy-in, and commitment to service)?

Step 5: Reflection exercise

  • Write a 2-3 page word reflection on the following. This should be a candid reflection in which you present your thoughts in your own words.
  • Think about the agencies you researched as part of Step 2 and the questions you were asked to consider in Steps 3 and 4.
  • Consider your own social location. Now think about the clients and target populations you intend to serve as a social work practitioner.
    • Is your social location similar to the target population you intend to serve? What similarities, as well as differences, exist?
    • How do you feel about these differences and/or similarities? What are the implications of this for your future practice?
  • Consider your own social location. Now think about that of agency leadership and board members? You can either use an agency in which you are employed or are completing your pratcicu,m.
    • What similarities as well as differences exist?
    • Does agency leadership reflect the populations being served? 
    • How do you feel about these differences and/or similarities? What are the implications of this for your future practice?

Please pay attention to grammar, sentence structure, and spelling. 

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