Cultural Competence Scale

Becoming culturally competent is an ongoing process. It requires a “growth mindset”, and a constant curiosity about other people, and different cultures. If you are in a role that requires you to work with Pasifika peoples, engagement should be respectfulmeaningful and reciprocal.

For an organisation, cultural competence represents their policies and practices. For an individual, cultural competence represents their values and behaviors. Cultural competence enables that organisation or person to interact effectively in a culturally diverse environment. Cultural competence is reflected in the way an organization treats its employees, its clients, and its community.

The continuum starts at ‘cultural destructiveness’. 

The following table illustrates and explains the various steps on the continuum of cultural competence.

Use the following self-reflection table to check where you and/or your organisation is at on the cultural competence continuum.

One way to assess where you or your organisation sits on the cultural competence continuum, is to think of your own engagement with your target group. For example, if an organisation has a plan to create a Pasifika strategy and yet no Pasifika people are involved in the design or implementation of that strategy, that could be classified as cultural incapacity or even cultural destructiveness.

A good saying to keep in mind if working with Pasifika peoples (and other cultures) is:

Nothing for us, without us!

For many organisations, cultural competence is recognised as important, but whether or not their policies, procedures and practices are culturally competent or culturally proficient may be questionable.

Unfortunately, culture is often not seen as core business, too hard, or doesn’t provide a return on investment. These organisations have overlooked the fact that their outcomes and KPI’s are inextricably linked to their employees and clients – both of whom are vital to the success of the business, and both of whom have culture. Again, culture counts! Understanding peoples’ cultures will improve your effectiveness in your role, help you and your organisations achieve your KPI’s and targets, and it will improve profit and productivity.

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