In my last 2 posts, I described the first diversity competency, Self-Awareness, which refers to a deep understanding of who you are as a human being including your strengths, weaknesses, values and biases. The second competency, Diversity Knowledge, refers to developing a greater understanding of those around you. Specifically, culturally competent individuals possess knowledge of diverse cultures and groups, including information regarding communication and learning styles. They understand how various issues of diversity affect the workplace, the work environment and interactions between culturally different persons. This is of particular importance because many of the cross-cultural communication problems we find in organizational life are due to a simple lack of cultural understanding. Individuals with a significant level of diversity knowledge:
1. Are able to describe the specific benefits and positive outcomes of creating culturally inclusive work settings.
2. Are able to define concepts such as diversity, diversity empowerment, and diversity management.
3. Understand concepts such as racism, sexism, ethnocentrism and sexual harassment, and the impact of these forces within an organization.
4. Understand how the various dimensions of diversity (e.g., race, ethnicity, age, gender, religion, nationality and socioeconomic status) affect individuals and their experiences.
5. Possess knowledge of diverse cultures and groups including information regarding communication styles and workstyle preferences.
6. Continuously attempt to increase their knowledge of “the ways we may be different” as well as the “ways we are similar”.
In my next post, I will provide you with specific tips for improving your diversity knowledge.
NEXT POST – February 3, 2009
Enhancing Your Diversity Knowledge