With the current trend of globalization, culture interaction and influence has become inevitable on a global scale. Multicultural competence has since become an issue of study and essential for maximum productivity. Multicultural competence refers to the ability to interact effectively with people from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds (Keršienė & Savanevičienė, 2005). This effectiveness is normally evaluated in situations such as the human resourcing, counseling and in Non-profit organization (Keršienė & Savanevičienė, 2005). This paper will discuss and identify concepts related to attitude, beliefs, knowledge, and skills in professionals. The aim is to evaluate how professionals can develop and be effective with diversity issues as well as acquire multicultural competence.
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In order to be effective in the current multicultural environment, one has to be fully aware of the four components of multicural competence. The professionals must be aware of their own cultural environment. Secondly, they should acknowledge their personal attitudes towards cultural differences. In addition to that, a professional must have some knowledge about other different cultures and worldviews in order to be effective in their service delivery. Skilled professionals who deal with service delivery have a lot to learn in terms of cultural practices.
Multicultural competence evaluates how an individual has personal abilities that enable him or her to balance between qualifications and specific social environment (Keršienė & Savanevičienė, 2005). The aspects of personality shape behavioral characteristics. These are skills, knowledge, abilities, and personal characteristics (Keršienė & Savanevičienė, 2005). Skills and knowledge are acquired through training in one’s life but abilities and personal characteristics are innate as shown in the diagram below.
Different cultures view different things from varied worldviews. For instance, some cultures consider it rude when a young person gives instruction to an elderly individual. In other cultures, this is regarded as being disrespectful. Health practitioners for instance deal with such people on a daily basis. Professionals should be well equipped in their training to prepare them for the extreme challenges they have to face in the field. The world has taken a whole new turn on diversity and the global village is bringing the worlds cultural practices in a closer niche. Trade among countries has also contributed to the spread of cultural interaction.
Diversity is a factor that humanity should embrace and be proud to have. However, it comes with a number of challenges and these challenges must be addressed in order to influence multicultural competence. The best way to train professional about multicultural competence is by using the three pillars. These are the three pillars of an effective multicultural training program and they include awareness, knowledge, and skill (Pedersen, 2007).
The three must be emphasized in a balanced manner to achieve the greatest results. Awareness of one’s self is very important but if a program emphasizes on this aspect alone it may not achieve the desired results. Awareness may make the professionals undergoing training focus more on their inadequacy hence losing the point of even attending the program (Pedersen, 2007).
If skills alone are over emphasized, participants will lose track on their progress and they may not be aware of whether they are making any progress. Knowledge without the aspect of self-awareness cannot help to improve multicultural competence. Information gathered through knowledge requires skills to utilize it and without awareness, participants cannot see the relevance of that information (Pedersen, 2007). Therefore, the three components must be considered when designing a training program for professionals in order to achieve multicultural competence effectively.
Learning different languages for instance can be a very big step in achieving multicultural competence. Professionals can improve their level of multicultural competence through a number of steps. As discussed above, assessing the level of awareness gives the professionals a better understanding of both the situation from his or her point of view as well as the client’s (Pedersen, 2007). This brings the two in a mutual understanding, which gives way for better service delivery (Pedersen, 2007). The awareness includes having a clue of the assumptions that the client’s culture makes on a particular matter hence being able to offer better services based on the knowledge one has.
According to Pedersen (2007), the next step is to identify specific objectives. Awareness objectives change the person’s attitude towards a situation (Pedersen, 2007). This allows the client to have a new attitude and a positive opinion towards a particular subject (Pedersen, 2007). It is obvious that lack of knowledge and awareness influences wrong attitudes and perspectives towards a subject. This has to be dealt with on the onset of an encounter with the client. Pedersen (2007) argues that it becomes easier to deal with a person whose perspectives and attitudes are well directed. This improves the competence of a professional with references to the multicultural competence.
This paper has defined and discussed the issues surrounding multicultural competence. In the easy, a number of practical steps to achieve the much-needed competence in the professional arena are provided. The paper has discussed the different components involved in equipping the workforce with skills, knowledge, and awareness to improve their abilities to interact and become relevant in the current globalised world.
Keršienė, K & Savanevičienė, A. (2005).Defining, and Understanding Organization Multicultural Competence. Engineering economics, 2 (42), 45-46. Web.
Pedersen, P., B. (2007). Ethics, Competence, and Professional Issues in Cross-Cultural Counseling. Basic issues in cross-cultural counseling, 1 (1), 6-8. Web.