AbstractSocial work is a helping profession that is present in a variety of contexts. This raises the question whether one can speak of a common identity of the profession. The author has addressed this question in his Ph.D-thesis from the point of view that social work is to be seen as an action theory based profession.
Starting from this premise he made a reconstruction of the identity by means of both an international historical comparative theoretical research and four case studies with regard to contemporary social work in the Netherlands. Beside making a proposal for an action based identity formulation, the author investigates the possibilities for using this formulation for the solution of some contemporary problems of social workers in the Netherlands. In the second part of the article, he discusses the outcomes in relation to theories of action and improvement thereof. He states that improvement of social work activities can only be
realized through more knowledge of social work’s history, active discussion of problems and solutions with a diversity of involved actors and professional exchange in informal and formal Communities of Practice.