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Strategic Planning to Increase Cultural Competence in Organizations

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Title: Strategic Planning to Increase Cultural Competence in Organizations

Strategic Planning to Increase Cultural
Competence in Organizations
  • Kevin Browne, PhD
  • Midwest Center for Cultural Competence, LLC
  • WI-SHRM Conference, October 12, 2006

Training Goals
  • Understand culture and how it affects
    organizations and all spheres of life.
  • Understand dimensions of diversity
  • Understand the cultural competence continuum
  • Understand the importance of cultural competence
    to organizational and global business success
  • Understand a Strategic Planning process for
    developing more culturally competent
  • Provide an opportunity to explore your cultural
    values and beliefs and how they affect your

Culture What is It?
  • Culture is the sum total of life patterns passed
    on from generation to generation within a group
    of people and includes institutions, language,
    religious ideals, habits of thinking, artistic
    expressions, and patterns of social and
    interpersonal relationships. (Hodge,
    Struckman, and Trost, 1975)
  • Culture is mans medium there is not one aspect
    of human life that is not touched and altered by
    culture. This means personality, how people
    express themselves, the way they think, how they
    move, how problems are solved, how their cities
    are planned and laid out, how transportation
    systems function and are organized, as well as
    how economic and government systems are put
    together and function. (Edward Hall, 1976)

  • Everyone has culture
  • Culture is learned and shared, and always subject
    to change.
  • Culture is localized, created through discrete
    interactions among specific people.
  • Culture is evaluative values are embedded in
    behaviors and choices
  • People often belong to many subcultures at once.
  • Underlying cultural values change slowly.

Iceberg Theory
  • More Visible Features
  • Clothing
  • Food
  • Language
  • Less Visible Features
  • Attitudes
  • Perceptions
  • Communication Styles

Lens Exercise
  • People often make assumptions about others in
    order to understand with whom they are dealing.
  • This defining of others is rooted in needs for
    control in our lives.
  • Relationship building is key to cultural
  • What is our lens regarding the culture of

Dimensions of Diversity
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Age
  • Sexual orientation
  • Physical abilities
  • Partnership status
  • Socio-economic status
  • Education level
  • Physical appearance
  • Geographic location
  • Rural/Urban
  • Work background
  • Parental status
  • Family structure
  • Cognitive ability
  • Citizenship status
  • Etc.

Cultural Competence
  • A behavior response to cultural difference and
  • Identifying where we are on the continuum helps
    us move toward greater supporting and promoting
    of cultural competence.
  • We are always, inevitably, responding to culture
    and difference.
  • Our basic life position on the continuum
    represents fundamental beliefs and values. In any
    given encounter we can move up or down on the

Cultural Competence Continuum
  • Cultural destruction
  • Incapacity
  • Denial
  • Pre-competence
  • Competence
  • Cultural proficiency

CC Continuum
  • Cultural Destructivenessmaking conscious efforts
    to destroy different cultures (were number
    one). Belief in cultural superiority oppresses
  • Cultural Incapacityinability to be helpful to
    other cultures (take care of our own).
    Paternalistic, ignorant of others, denies equal

CC Continuum
  • Cultural Denialbelief that dimensions of
    diversity arent important (everyones the
    same). Belief that dominant models apply to all,
    encourages suppression of difference.
  • Cultural Pre-competencerealizes inadequacy of
    response to difference, attempts to improve
    (nice policies, limited action). Dangers
    complacency and tokenism.

CC Continuum
  • Cultural competencevaluing and embracing
    difference, self-examination, developing cultural
    knowledge and skills, commitment to cultural
    encounters (mutual adaptation to difference).
  • Cultural proficiencymindfully engaging in
    behaviors and beliefs that value dimensions of
    diversity (hold culture in high esteem).
    Advocate for cultural competence throughout
    system and community

Benefits from becoming more culturally competent
  • Competitive advantage in the global marketplace
  • Higher workplace productivity
  • State/Federal compliance

Cultural Intelligence
  • Need to switch off cultural cruise control
  • Knowledge specific knowledge of cultural
  • Mindfulness paying attention to contextbe aware
    on own assumptions and feelings, notice what is
    apparent about others, see multiple perspectives,
    use empathy, etc
  • Behavioral Skills ability to adapt behavior and
    communication to a range of intercultural
  • Group discussionwhat does silence mean?

Cultural Ways of Knowing
  • Different cultural priorities achievement,
    social harmony (saying no, bad news), etc.
  • Knowing analytic, holistic, sensing, etc.linear
    thinking not shared worldwide
  • Relationships or Results
  • Is age valued or devalued?

Cultural Meanings in Business and Organizations
  • Meanings derive from the worldviews of the
    different partiesdiverge or converge?
  • Meanings contractual or relationship-based?
  • The context tells us why, which leads to what.
  • Contexts are both verbal and non-verbal
  • Understanding meanings requires good
    communication and relationships.

Culture and Business
  • Most of the world conducts business based on
    trust and relationships.
  • Cultural Intelligence requires knowledge,
    flexibility, mindful awareness, behavioral
  • Openness and learning from experiences of
    difference, generalizing the learning.

Intercultural Communication
  • High-Low context
  • High Context The successful exchange of
    information depends on applying a shared
    framework for understanding. Meaning tends to be
    implicit and less literal. Heavy reliance on
    voice tone, body posture, facial expressions, eye
    contact, use of silence, and other non-verbal
    cues. Context is critical!
  • Low Context Reliance is placed upon explicit
    meanings, often written. Words are taken
    literally, and non-verbal communication is often
    ignored. Documentation is prevalent.
  • Face-to-face vs. e-mail
  • Are organizations in the U.S. mostly high or low?

Strategic planning I
  • Identified Needs/Issues
  • Goals/Objectives/ Desired Outcomes
  • Strategies/Methods
  • Accountability
  • Target Dates
  • Status/Actual Outcomes

Strategic Planning II
  • Product Development/Service Delivery
  • Organization
  • Community relationships
  • Staff/Management development
  • Communication

Organizational Environment
  • Physical Environment is the design conducive to
    diverse styles and needs?
  • Staff and Management do they take a leadership
    role in modeling cultural competence
  • Communication and Language is it respectful of
    different cultures and styles of communication?
  • General Environment is the organizational tone
    one of appreciating differences?

Physical Environment
  • Mission/Vision Statement
  • Leadership
  • Organizational Structure
  • Accessibility Procedures

Staff Management
  • Education and Training
  • Personal, unit and agency assessments

Communication and Language
  • Respect Statement
  • Multilingual Capacity

Dialogue vs. Debate
  • Dialogue
  • Inquire
  • Unfold shared meaning
  • Integrate multiple perspectives
  • Uncover and examine assumptions
  • Discussion/Debate
  • Tell, sell, persuade
  • Gain agreement on one meaning
  • Evaluate/select the best
  • Justify/defend assumptions

Organizational Cultural Assessment
  • Cultural Audit
  • --Surveys of organizational culture
  • --Qualitative interviews

Coaching for Cultural Competence
  • Individuals and Teams
  • Some tools MBTI, FIRO-B, 360 assessment

  • Teams are increasingly multicultural
  • Have to manage process, give feedback, create CQ
  • Value of cross-cultural teams increase range of
    expertise and performance, reduce errors
  • Requires flexible leadership, overcoming group
  • Group stages forming, norming, storming,
    performing (Tuckman 1965)
  • Team-building exercises challenge exercises,
    appreciative inquiry with teams

Appreciative Inquiry Process
  • A.I. as a change process for building cultural
    competence in organizations
  • Understanding the organizations existing culture
    (inner dialogue)
  • Understanding how this org. culture/dialogue
    works to resist change
  • Change the stories (that anchor the culture) in
    order to change the inner dialogue.
  • Works with organizations and teams

Cultural Self-Assessment
  • A brief culture assessment (handout)

Poetics of Diversity
  • What sets worlds in motion is the interplay of
    differences, their attractions and repulsions.
    Life is plurality, death is uniformity. By
    suppressing differences and peculiarities, by
    eliminating civilizations and cultures, progress
    weakens life and favors death. The ideal of a
    single civilization for everyone, implicit in the
    cult of progress and technique, impoverishes and
    mutilates us. Every view of the world that
    becomes extinct, every culture that disappears,
    diminishes a possibility of life Octavio Paz,
    The Labryinth of Solitude

Selected Resources
  • Midwest Center for Cultural Competence, LLC 608.251.4726
  • Cultural Intelligence, by D.C. Thomas and K.
    Inkson, 2003
  • Intercultural Communication in the Global
    Workplace, by L. Beamer and I. Varner, 2001
  • Appreciative Inquiry Handbook, by D. Cooperrider,
    D. Whitney and J.M. Stavros, 2003.