What is Cultural Humility
Cultural humility is a concept that helps people to embrace diversity in a lifelong process of exploration, curiosity, self-reflection and self-critique. It is a journey of recognizing the power imbalances and biases as well as respecting others’ values and beliefs and continuously reflecting on them. With cultural humility there is no expectation to learn and memorize everything about other groups. Hence, cultural humility could be rather considered as a mindset.
Why Showing Humility
Cultural identity is a complex concept, which involves many contributing factors. Hence, the attempt to categorize people in any way can be considered a shortcut, which does not provide any much value towards the issue. Hence, the principle of expertize, which is promoted by the concept of cultural competence, for example, cannot ensure that individual culture or individual diversity is embraced. Humility recognizes that every person is unique and refuses categorization in order to avoid ignorance, prejudice and cultural bias. Instead, cultural humility principle is based on embracing the way other people categorize themselves.
Cultural and racial biases have been in existence for long periods. The biases are witnessed in almost all sectors of our societies. They are witnessed in our schools, our justice system, and our healthcare system among other institutions. In spite of concerted efforts to eliminate these biases they still exist among us. It is difficult to deny the existence of racial and cultural biases for there are no places where an individual can go subconsciously without the imagination of encountering cultural and racial biases. There is evidence of cultural and ethical biases in America in that people are forced to leave the United States to escape the fury of the color problem. Others are forced into loneliness in the quest for identity while other cultures and races are denied entry into America. In order to change it, practices of cultural competence and cultural humility were developed.
Cultural competency is a large topic used to outline various interventions that target to develop the effectiveness and accessibility of healthcare services for individuals from ethnic minorities. This concept was developed mainly in response to the identification that linguistic and cultural barriers between patients and healthcare providers could influence the standard of healthcare delivery. The targeted populations were a large immigrant group from non-native speaking states with constrained exposure to Western culture (Schopper et al., 2017). Since its emergence in the 80s, the diversity of cultural competency models and frameworks has burgeoned. Many frameworks constitute the level of knowledge, for example, comprehending the importance and meaning of culture to healthcare services, attitudes, valuing diversity in cultural standards and skills, as well as revealing patients’ expository models of illness (Govere, Fioravanti, & Tuite, 2016).
Cultural Humility vs. Cultural Competence
Cultural competence emphasizes a knowledge of other populations and the set of finite skills. Cultural humility, on the other end, is about an ongoing process of the engager. Cultural humility is a process of self-reflection and self-critique, where an agent is taking a learner’s stance and is seeking to address and redress structural inequalities.
Cross-cultural associations are shaped and structured by experiences and worldviews of not only the clients-staff relationships, but also the organizational culture, which is incorporated and produced by organizational plans, policy frameworks, and physical settings of the organization. Initiatives to develop cultural competency require to consider the organizational and individual contexts and engagement between them.
Application in Personal Life and at the Workplace
The globalized nature of the state, business and even personal interaction over the last several decades has seen elemental levels of cultural diversity. This diversity at the workplace, for example, has created a learning and managerial opportunity for many companies and their staff. As people and organizations from different cultures interact, they share in their experiences, behaviors, beliefs, values and develop new frontiers. From such interactions, new and effective communication processes, sustainable and inclusive policies, and significant organizational culture shifts have enhanced how businesses operate locally and internationally. Learning at the personal level is now defined by the diverse and immense opportunities across the globe. The integrated pace of the global community has increasingly demanded enhanced interpersonal skills across the board. As different cultures interact, they exchange knowledge and even share beliefs. As such, people are required to internalize and appreciate their differences in a learning process that ensures positive collaboration and interactions.
Organizational culture refers to a system of shared values, beliefs, and actions that guide the behavior of the members of a company. The culture plays a role in significant functions of a company. They include the allocation of status, authority, and power, the establishment of a shared understanding of the persons who will get sanctions or rewards for their actions, as well as determining how to develop and communicate friendship guidelines. The shared values of an organization turn routine activities into valuable actions to the longevity of the company. They also link the company to the significant values of the larger society.
Why Diversity Matters
Diversity is one of the aspects that employees of different organizations have to deal with on a daily basis. Therefore, there are both positive and negative impacts that stem from diversity given that it entails the exchange of ideas (Al-Jenaibi 2017). It is important to note that without discrimination, employees are in a position to come up with friendships that will prevent stereotyping. On the other hand, diversity has brought about a communication gap owing to the resistance to change and the language barrier. For this reason, apart from diversity being the avenue through which societies differentiate people from one another, it plays an important role when it comes to organizational performance. Hence, diversity in the workplace is an indicator that there is heterogeneity when it comes to gender, ethnicity, and race among others.
Job Satisfaction and Diversity
Job satisfaction entails the level with which workers of an organization feel contented with the routine duties they perform. For this reason, job satisfaction creates a sense of belonging within an organization as it assists in instilling the key values of the company. Therefore, a homogeneous workforce tends to have a lower level of job satisfaction compared to one that is diverse. However, there are assumptions involved whenever there is gender diversity as women are considered to face more challenges when they hold senior positions compared to men. It is important to note that diversity in the workplace paves the way for better relationships among staff members as the employee morale is improved. Moreover, the exchange of skills and information that favor cohesion whereby the different genders and races in an organization contribute positively to the overall goals of the job and the organization.
Competitive Advantage and Diversity
Many organizations have taken advantage of the competitive advantage they possess by valuing diversity in their companies. It is important to note that workforce diversity serves as a valuable, non-sustainable, rare, and inimitable resource within an organization. In a move to identify competitive advantage, organizations need to adopt innovativeness in their problem-solving insights (Grivastava & Kleiner 2015). On the other hand, a diverse workforce is an indication that employees will bring together their experiences and skills that promote the performance of the company. Factors such as education, age, and culture assist in generating a positive influence that brings about a competitive advantage. Besides, the mixed gender groups have in the past years performed better than the same-gender groups. Hence, the decision-making procedures adopted by diversified workforces are better placed to make quality decisions.
Cultural humility is a concept that helps people to embrace diversity in a lifelong process of exploration, curiosity, self-reflection and self-critique.
Humility recognizes that every person is unique and refuses categorization in order to avoid ignorance, prejudice and cultural bias. Instead, cultural humility principle is based on embracing the way other people categorize themselves.
As different cultures interact, they exchange knowledge and even share beliefs. As such, people are required to internalize and appreciate their differences in a learning process that ensures positive collaboration and interactions.
The exchange of skills and information that favor cohesion whereby the different genders and races in an organization contribute positively to the overall goals of the job and the organization.
Al-Jenaibi, B. (2017). The scope and impact of workplace diversity in the United Arab Emirates–A preliminary study. Geografia-Malaysian Journal of Society and Space, 8(1).
Govere, L., Fioravanti, M. A., & Tuite, P. K. (2016). Increasing the cultural competence levels of undergraduate nursing students. Journal of Nursing Education, 55(3), 155-159.
Grivastava, S., & Kleiner, B. (2015). Managing Cultural Diversity In The Workplace. Journal of International Diversity, 2015(1).
Schopper, H. K., Mohamed, N. A., Seegel, M., Gorina, K., Silverman, J., & Rosenbaum, M. (2017). Lost in translation: Cultural divides in communication skills teaching identified in the ICCH 2016 student symposium. Patient Education and Counseling, 100(11), 2071-2073.