The paper will investigate the positive impacts of cultural competence in work environment. It has been established that cultural competence is the ability of individuals to interact effectively and efficiently across different cultures and beliefs (Lum, 2011). In order for people and individual members of society to realize cultural competence then they must be aware of their own cultural worldview, individuals must exhibit positive attitudes towards other cultures and their differences, they must possess the requisite knowledge of different cultural practices and worldviews through cross-cultural communication skills thrive (Lum, 2011). This topic is important as it is a key factor and enabler in ensuring healthy interactions between workmates in a work place environment. Scholars have opined that cultural competence is having an awareness of one’s own cultural identity and views about difference, and the ability to learn and build on the varying cultural and community norms of workers and their families (Lum, 2011).
As pointed out by researchers, it is important to develop cultural competence in work place as it will necessitate the ability to understand other people, communicate successfully and effectively interact with others from different cultures (Lum, 2011). First, it has been asserted that cultural competence necessitates communication between workmates since it ensures that individuals provide accurate information promptly, this is critical for effective work and team performance in work environment (Lum, 2011). For instance, work activities involving projects need accurate and precise information especially if the project is troubled and may need prompt corrective measures. Research studies have found out that an individual who is culturally competent can communicate sensitively and effectively with people who have different languages, cultures, religions, genders, ethnicities, disabilities, ages and sexualities (Lum, 2011). In addition, it has been established that cultural competence will prevent the reluctance of people to exaggerate or hide important information to their supervisors and thus promoting work performance (Lum, 2011).
Second, cultural competence promotes and aids team building especially in cultures like United States where people are individualistic. When an individual is so confined to the extent of wanting to do things on their own, work productivity is affected and so there is need for cooperation within individual in groups. Scientists have discovered that team building issues can become more problematic as teams are comprised of people from a mix of these cultural types (Lum, 2011). Cultural competence comes in hand to encourage relationships among member groups in work places through promoting effective cross-cultural team-building that is essential to benefiting from the potential advantages of cultural diversity in the workplace and thus increasing productivity and cohesion among work mates. In addition, it has been established that culturally competent staff would be on the fore front in providing services that are consistent with the needs of their clients and values through acknowledging them and responding to them amicably (Lum, 2011).
Third, cultural competence bridges the time gap between cultures that may impact negatively on employee productivity and efficiency. It is affirmed that cultures differ in view time especially on the balance been work and family life and work place mix in respect to work and social behavior (Lum, 2011). Culture specialists have opined that the time gap in different cultures may bring about different perceptions that may create great misunderstanding in the workplace, especially with scheduling and deadlines (Lum, 2011). This is because such perception may undermine the vitality of cultural diversity in workplaces and how they might impact on everyday work activities. This means that a well-developed and promoted cultural competence may be useful in ensuring uniformity and cohesion between individual workers and their everyday tasks in work environments.
Lastly, it is worth noting that cultural competence is important in harmonizing work calendars due to the fact that business organizations operate on the western secular year that run from January to December of a calendar year. It has been discovered that many cultures around the world use other calendars to determine working days and holidays (Lum, 2011). For instance, Muslims set aside Friday as a day of worship, Jews on the other hand observe holidays ranging from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur (Lum, 2011). It is clear that without properly developed cultural competence, such variations may affect activities in workplaces as people require time off to observe their holidays and thus it promotes cohesion to avoid conflict of interests at work places.
Based on the above discussions, employees need to develop a broad range of skills, knowledge, attitudes, perspectives and practices which they can use to enhance their cultural competence and direct their relationships with clients and colleagues (Lum, 2011). This would be of great benefit to an organization since clients would feel that their needs and concerns are well met and less ignored thereby developing a long time trust and understanding. Cultural competence is also a requisite in developing trust and respect between work mates that in the process increases client satisfaction and aids achievement of business goals and objectives.
Lum, D. (2011). Culturally competent practice: A framework for understanding diverse groups
and justice issues. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.
In this book Lum explains at length how both clients and organization workers can develop and promote culturally competent and proficient business working environment. The author point out that cultural competence is more of a dialogue process and challenges individuals, students and professors to continue with the dialogue process in order to promote a healthy working environment.