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What Is Your Level Of Cultural Competence?


The Cultural Competence Continuum, drawn from the work of Arthur Kleinman, suggests that there are definable levels in individual and organizational responses to cross-cultural interaction. What is your level?


Cultural Destructiveness is the most negative stage, characterized by intentional responses to eliminate individuals, groups, or cultural practices. These often underlie genocidal, racial-ethnic, and other minority exclusion efforts. Can you think of modern day examples?


Cultural Blindness is characterized by beliefs, attitudes, and behavior which convey that cultural differences are of no material importance. A person or organization with this attitude considers these differences irrelevant to “the way we do our business.” This perspective was once dominate in the United States.


Cultural Pre-Competence indicates intentional movement towards cultural proficiency, and Cultural Competence is characterized by acute awareness of cultural biases, deliberate efforts to communicate respect, growth in knowledge of cultures, and intentional effort to resolves conflict surrounding differences.


Whatever your current level of cultural competence, the process of moving upward can be one of the most enlightening and virtuous experiences of your life.


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