Cultural competence can be conceptualized both at the individual and organizational levels. It is also important to view cultural competence in terms of the interplay between individuals and the organizations within which they work. The term organizational dynamics describes both the components of an organization—such as its structure, culture, strategies, change, and other processes, policies, and practices—and the organization’s pattern of activity, change, and growth as it responds to both internal and external forces. Individuals, and the groups with which they work, shape and influence the organizational dynamics. Organizational dynamics also shape and influence individual and group behavior and attitudes.
Organizational dynamics can impede or foster culturally competent behavior and attitudes.
Every academic library has an established culture for achieving organizational goals, performance expectations, and methods of communication. Within that culture reside formal and informal rules of interaction, frequently referred to as “values and norms,” that are established by the organization and its work groups. An organization’s culture influences the behavior of its employees and guides how they view and accept difference in style and opinion (Smith 2008, 143).
Libraries, library organizations, and their employees must make a deliberate choice to create and maintain organizational dynamics that foster culturally competent behavior and attitudes. This means making a commitment to continually practice cultural competence in day-to-day operations at all levels of the organization.
The culturally competent organization shall: