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Comparative Approaches to Program Planning

Comparative Approaches to Program Planning

F. Ellen Netting , Mary Katherine O'Connor , David P. Fauri

ISBN: 978-0-470-12641-7

Feb 2008

320 pages

In Stock



""As a practitioner in the field for over thirty years, I have been exposed to endless 'planning' sessions that are prescriptive to the point of being oppressive. Thistext 'gives permission' to the practitioner to allow for emergence, uncertainty, and ambiguity in the planning process. Comparative Approaches to Program Planning provides a guide for the manager, administrator, executive director, strategic planner, and CEO to embrace multiple planning strategies and the understanding of each. This is extremely worthwhile in a dynamic environment and an ever- changing landscape and worldview.""
Paul D. McWhinney, ACSW, Director of Social Services City of Richmond, Richmond, Virginia

""This is the book I've been waiting for. It provides not only a linear approach to program design, but gives language to the tacit knowledge many planners have of the circular nature of their work. Both linear and circular thinking are important to planning processes and now we have a resource for teaching.""
Jon E. Singletary, PhD, MSW, MDiv, Baylor University, School of Social Work

The first text on program planning to guide readers in selecting program planning approaches appropriate to setting, culture, and context

Valuable for students and practitioners in the social work, public administration, nonprofit management, and community psychology fields, Comparative Approaches to Program Planning provides practical and creative ways to effectively conduct program planning within human service organizations.

Written by leaders in the social work education community, this innovative book explores program planning as a multi-layered and complex process. It examines both a traditional linear problem-solving model as well as an alternative emergent approach to program planning, helping professionals to successfully develop and enact effective and culturally competent planning in organizations and communities.



Chapter 1 Differences Between Lines and Circles.

Lines and Circles as Planning Metaphors.

A Brief History of Lines and Circles.

Planning Theory: Both Lines and Circles.

Examples of Planning Approaches.

The ""Surety"" of the Line and the ""Tentativeness"" of the Circle.

A Conceptual Framework.


Discussion Questions.

Chapter 2 Programs: Containers for Idea Implementation.

Programs and Projects; Services and Interventions.

Programs and Projects.

Services and Interventions.

Programs in Organizational Context.

Program Planning.

Mandates and Initiatives.

Planning Different Types of Programs.


Discussion Questions.

Case Exercise: Chronic Pain.

Chapter 3 Rational Planning and Prescriptive Approaches.

Case: The Mayor and the Street Educators.


History of Rational Planning and Prescriptive Approaches.

Dimensions of Rational Planning and Prescriptive Approaches.

The Logic Model.

Assessing Needs.

Defining and Analyzing Problems.

Selecting Intervention Strategies.

Writing Goals and Objectives.

Program Design and Decision-Making.

Accountability in a Prescriptive Approach.

Accountability Challenges.

Information Systems.


Rational Planning.



Strengths and Challenges of Rational Planning.


Discussion Questions.

Chapter 4 Interpretive Planning and Emergent Approaches.

Case: The Invisible People and the Area Agency on Aging.


History of Interpretive Planning and Emergent Approaches.

Dimensions of Interpretive Planning and Emergent Approaches.

The Logic of Emergence.





Accountability in an Emergent Approach.

Accountability Challenges.

Accountability Options.

Interpretive Planning.



Strengths and Challenges of Interpretive Planning.


Discussion Questions.

Chapter 5 Knowing When to Use Which Planning Approach.

Case: AIDS Orphans and the Pig Intervention.

Similarities in Planning Approach Challenges.

Gaining Entry.

Becoming Oriented.

Engaging in Critical Thinking.

Making Ethical Decisions.

Comparing Program Planning Approaches.

Comparing Dimensions.

Examining Accountability.

Thinking about Mind-sets and Skills.

Decision Issues for Approach Selection.


Discussion Questions.

Appendix: Comparing Planning Approaches.

Chapter 6 Program Planning in Diverse Cultural Contexts.

Culture and Context.

Defining Culture.

Elements in Culture Development.

Cultural Competence.

Skills of the Culturally Competent.

Challenges to Culturally Competent Human Service Programming.

Understanding Empiricism.

Recognizing Realism and Interpretivism.

Responding to Accountability Demands.

Cultural Competence and Program Planning.

Planning with Sensitivity to Difference.

Planning with Sensitivity to Inclusion.

Planning with Sensitivity to Context.

Planning Across Multiple Organizational Settings.

Issues When Practicing Internationally.







""I found this book helpful in giving structure and organization to my thinking about program planning, prioritizing my goals in planning, and decreasing wasted planning time. Comparative Approaches to Program Planning recognizes the delicate balance of planning programs that are accessible and acceptable to the participant while maintaining a focus on accountability."" (Psychiatric Services, November 2008)