Social Work Ethics and NASW Codes

National Association of Social Workers (NASW) as an organization operates towards ensuring the professionals grow and develops their expertise during the formation and maintenance of their professional standards. One element of NASW codes that is part of this assignment is the Code of Ethics that dictates the behavior of social workers. DiFranks (2008) explains that the NASW Code of Ethics contains principles, values, and standards that are essential for all social workers. Academic integrity is covered by the NASW Code of Ethics in varying sections: 4.08 Acknowledging Credit, 4.06 Misrepresentation, and 4.04 Dishonesty, Fraud, and Deception. 

Social work codes explore on scholastic performance and professional behaviors of academic performance. According to the NASW Code of Ethics, academic integrity is defined as the processes of teaching, research, and academic responsibilities like ethical, responsible and honest. All social work schools in the United States are required to have policies to be followed by students (NASW, 2008). This is provided during the letter of admission where a student is required to indicate their adherence to the Code of Ethics. 

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Example of lack of academic integrity according to NASW Code of Ethics includes misrepresenting, lying, cheating and plagiarism of research. One principle of the code is that social workers should take credit and responsibility exclusively on researches they have conducted or are part through authorship credit (NASW, 2017). The code also requires the authors to acknowledge the contributions and the work of other scholars. For each, time that a social worker professional writes an assignment or a paper, they are required to provide appropriate citations that reveal sections that are not their original ideas. 

Academic dishonesty is one part of academic integrity and academic dishonesty may include the use of unauthorized assistance in taking examinations, tests or quizzes. The second form of academic dishonesty is the reliance of unauthorized resources while conducting an assignment, writing a report, solving problems or writing researches. Besides, it is academic dishonesty for a student to possess without permission academic materials that belong to other students or staff. Plagiarism is one of the most debated forms of academic dishonesty where a student uses quotations or paraphrases of other works without proper crediting the author with bibliographical references, citations, or footnotes (Walden University, 2017).  Another form of academic dishonesty is a falsification of official documents including attendance records. 

The aspect of plagiarism is represented in section 4.08 of the NASW Code of Ethics which requires a social worker to take credit and responsibility as well as authorship credit of their work. The social work requires all students to abide by the NASW Code of Ethics where students understand the concept of plagiarism and avoid plagiarism by maintaining academic as well as individual honesty on their academic work (NASW, 2008).  For example, it is misapprehended and fraudulent to copy information and present as one’s work. 

DiFranks (2008) explains that the Code of Ethics provides social workers with approaches to self-analyze and be an example to their clients. The NASW (2008) provides that the “Social Workers should not participate in, condone, or be associated with dishonesty, fraud or deception” in section 4. This section is an illustration that social workers are committed towards themselves and credits other scholars’ works.  Any violations of academic integrity as included in the NASW Code of Ethics where the social work is against the ethical principles of trustworthy and competency.  Plagiarism is viewed as stealing the ideas and concepts of other scholars which illustrates the incompetence of the individual.

To avoid plagiarism, students are required to respect their written communication by crediting the authors (Walden University, 2017). Assembly (2008) explains that academic integrity requires students to maintain a balance between their original ideas and representing borrowed ideas and the integration of both representations. To maintain social work values, morals and ethics, a social work student should account and maintain responsibility for their work. The NASW Code of Ethics contains the responsibility of a social worker to the society, their responsibility to their profession, and responsibility as professionals. However, fail to credit another author’s work is violating all the values listed. 

The NASW Code of Ethics requires all social workers to embed their professional worth through the evaluation of professional behavioral development of all social workers. The code also requires the social work department to commit to producing fully equipped and trained social workers professions who practically applies their skills, values, and knowledge (NASW, 2017). These values are represented in the NASW Code of Ethics, and where violations of the codes question the professionalism of the student. 

In conclusion, the NASW Code of Ethics provides the values and the mission for social workers. It is a guideline that protects academic integrity in section 4. It is evident from this study that the NASW Code of Ethics enhances professionalism and produces quality students who adhere to the set values. Academic integrity remains a core element of the NASW Code of Ethics and produces knowledgeable students who adhere to plagiarism and cheating guidelines. This calls for the need for all social workers to understand the ethical standards, ethical principles, and mission of the profession. This is attained by acting in honesty and taking responsibility for their work.


Assembly, N. D. (2008). Code of ethics of the national association of social workers.

DiFranks, N. N. (2008). Social workers and the NASW Code of Ethics: Belief, behavior, disjuncture. Social Work53(2), 167-176.

NASW. (2017). Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers. National Association Of Social Workers.

National Association of Social Workers. (2008). Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers. National Association Of Social Workers.Walden University (2017). Academic Integrity Student Tutorial. Walden University.

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