The Quest for Multicultural Competence: Challenges and Lessons Learned from Clinical and Organizational Research



Multicultural competence refers to the ability to appreciate diversity and to work effectively in multicultural settings. In this increasingly diverse and globalized world, being culturally competent has become more important than ever. Integrating research in counseling and organizational studies, the authors examine the conceptualization of cultural competence across disciplinary boundaries. The authors review pertinent research to dissect the major challenges posted to the quest for cultural competence and conclude that training programs that overemphasize knowing the different ‘Others’ may promote a false sense of competence, and even fuel intergroup hostility and reactance. To enhance cultural competence, we recommend shifting the emphasis in competence trainings from knowing the different ‘Others’ to enhancing critical self-awareness.