An Essay on the Importance of Cultural Diversity and Cultural Competence

An essay on the importance of cultural diversity and cultural competence Julie K Drouillard Devry institute SOC 350 July 2009 The United States is a country consisting of many cultures, races and religions. The United States is becoming increasingly diverse and global, with many minority cultures and races developing into majority cultures and races. Newer religions take their place alongside traditional faiths.

Both cultural and spiritual differences in people are potential causes for misunderstanding, confusion and conflict arising from intolerance and ignorance of these differences. It therefore becomes apparent why it is imperative for professionals of all types to have an awareness, knowledge and appreciation for others whose beliefs, practices and values are different. This essay discusses how this awareness relates to the concept of cultural competency and the implications it has on the professional and business world.

What is cultural competence? Originally the term cultural competence was largely restricted to the healthcare professions, and referred to the ability to function effectively with individual patients and their families while maintaining cultural awareness. In 1992 the American Academy of Nursing defined cultural competence as care that is sensitive to culture, race, gender and sexual orientation.

Since that time cultural competence has extended into businesses and organizations and is loosely defined as a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency, or among professionals that enable them to work effectively in cross-cultural situations. | | |Being different in race, gender, age, sexual affections or ethnicity may not always be seen as positive by some people in an | |organization. Some people may think that being different is a deficit, showing obvious discomfort and displaying prejudices. |Others might negate any differences among people, treating everyone the same, regardless of their abilities, values, beliefs and | |cultural backgrounds. Cultural competency addresses these attitudes and recognizes that each culture has developed its own | |patterned responses to conflict management, stress, work habits and communication. In business, cultural competency enables | |organizations and individuals to work effectively with employees and clients in cross-cultural situations to improve relationships| |and business performance.

Some earmarks of a culturally competent organization are that they: | |a) Have a defined set of values and principles, demonstrated behaviors, attitudes, policies and structures that enable them to | |work effectively in a cross-cultural manner; | |b) Demonstrate the capacity to 1) value diversity, 2) engage in self-reflection, 3) manage the dynamics of difference, 4) acquire | |and institutionalize cultural knowledge, and 5) adapt to the diversity and the cultural contexts of the communities they serve; | |c) Incorporate and advocate the above in all aspects of leadership, policymaking, administration, practice and service delivery | |while systematically involving staff, students, families, key stakeholders and communities. | | |Implications of cultural competency | | | |The development of multicultural or culturally competent attitudes is a major concern to businesses and organizations not only | |because it creates an appreciation for what each individual can contribute but also because of the impact it can have on the | |success of said organizations. Many millions of dollars are spent annually to increase competency and education in cultural | |competency is a worldwide or globalized concern.

In the future globalization will continue to increase the flow and interactions | |of people across cultures, which will bring to the surface even more international and cultural differences. Understanding the | |different dimensions of culture provides an important knowledge base to develop cultural intelligence or competence for effective | |international business relationships. | | | |In many ways, how an individual or organization addresses issues of multiculturalism or cultural competency creates an orientation| |that enables its people to live and work together in a global community. This global community includes reflects the United States| |and its changing ethnic and cultural profile. | | | | |References | | | | | |Cutts, Nichole (2008) Diversity and Cultural Competence Affect Your Bottom Line. Retrieved from | |http://www. selfgrowth. com/artman2/publish/business on May 2, 2009 | | | |Diller, Jerry V. (2007) Cultural Diversity: a Primer for the Human Services, Third Edition.

Thompson, Brooks & Cole, Belmont, | |California | | | |Kelly-Heidenthal, Kelly (2004); Essential of Nursing Leadership and Management. Delmar Learning, Clifton Park, New York. | | | |Levitt, Norman (2005) Academic strife: the American University in the slough of despond (essay) retrieved from | |www. spiked-online. com/index. php? /site/article on May 2, 2009 |

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