Moving to Genuine: Credible Cultural Competence and Stakeholder Believability

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Stephanie D. H. Evergreen
Anne Cullen


Background: Cultural competency is becoming an increasingly important concept in evaluation. The developing discussions tend to revolve around how to become culturally competent, why it is important, and how to know when it is attained. More problematically, cultural competency seems bound by dimensions of race, even though culture represents a broader scope of characteristics. Purpose: We review the current usage of cultural competence to point out its limitations and we suggest alternative ideas that can better facilitate communication about this essential topic. We look beyond the evaluation field to learn how cultural competence is handled in other disciplines. Particularly seeking to support communication between evaluation clients and evaluators, we offer strategies to engage in a dialogue about cultural issues. Setting: Not applicable. Intervention: Not applicable. Research Design: Analytic essay. Data Collection and Analysis: Not applicable. Findings: Cultural competence, as a term, is inherently limiting in its connotations, implications, and ability to bring about change. Cultural humility may be a more appropriate term. Regardless of the semantics, the basic need to communicate about the topic remains. Asking for cultural competency, or humility, as we suggest, in Requests for Proposals may be one way to start the conversation. Positioning statements and focused interview questions also may serve to generate discussion between client and evaluator. Keywords: cultural competence, cultural humility, evaluator competence, diversity, client communication


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Evergreen, S. D. H., & Cullen, A. (2010). Moving to Genuine: Credible Cultural Competence and Stakeholder Believability. Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation, 6(13), 130–139. Retrieved from