Creating Culturally Competent Groups

Traditionally, many groups and systems operate without the formal input from the people that benefit. In a diverse environment there are alpha groups (dominant or mainstream) and beta, or minority groups. People who are in an alpha group are often unaware of the advantages they may have because the cultural rules benefit them. Cultural competence is the ability to understand, communicate, and interact effectively with people of different cultures. Cultural competency and humility skills can be applied to individuals, organizations and volunteers (e.g., advocates and group members). There are four components to cultural competence.

  1. Awareness of one’s own cultural worldview;
  2. Attitude towards cultural differences;
  3. Knowledge of different cultural practices and worldviews; and
  4. Cross-cultural skills.

A diverse group includes variance of culture, opinion, and perspective. This diversity will ensure a consistent influx of ideas; addressing communication and tensions between different groups within your group will improve the overall functioning of your group and result in better teamwork.