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Race, Place, Space: Meanings of Cultural Competence in Three Child Welfare Agencies

Lynn M. Nybell and Sylvia Sims Gray
Social Work
Vol. 49, No. 1 (January 2004), pp. 17-26
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23720776
Page Count: 10
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Race, Place, Space: Meanings of Cultural Competence in Three Child Welfare Agencies
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Abstract

Despite a consensus on the need to take culture into account in social services delivery, remarkably little data is available on the processes of culturally competent organizational development. This article addresses how workers, supervisors, and managers involved in culturally competent organizational change perceive the goals and dilemmas of these efforts during the initial stages. Data are drawn from three nonprofit child and family agencies in one metropolitan area. The data demonstrate that cultural competence means disparate and conflicting things to differently positioned members of each organization. The authors argue that conflicts may be inherent in the process of culturally competent organizational development, particularly to the extent that such efforts attempt to redistribute power in the workplace. Efforts to develop cultural competence must identify, surface, and renegotiate these conflicts.

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