Definitions of Cultural Competence, Diversity, and Social Equity

Cultural Competence

“Culturally competent organizations are characterized as valuing diversity, engaging in self-assessment, understanding cross-cultural interactions, institutionalizing culture within organizational activities, and adapting service delivery (Cross et al. 1989)” (Wyatt-Nichol & Naylor, 2012, p.64)


The Diversity Dictionary (1996) defines diversity as differing cultures, languages, ethnicities, races, sexual orientations, religious sects, abilities, classes, ages, and national origins of individuals in an institution, workplace, or community” (Rice, 2010, p.86)

“Primary dimensions of diversity are factors that are unchangeable (e.g., race, ethnicity, gender, age) and secondary dimensions are described as “malleable factors,” which may include marital status, parental status, educational background, socio-economic status, geographic location, and work experience (See Loden & Rosener, 1991)” (Wyatt-Nichol & Antwi-Boasiako, 2012, p. 750)

Social Equity

“The fair, just and equitable management of all institutions serving the public directly or by contract; the fair, just and equitable distribution of public services and implementation of public policy; and the commitment to promote fairness, justice, and equity in the formation of public policy” (National Academy of Public Administration, n.d.)


National Academy of Public Administration, Standing Panel on Social Equity in Governance.

Rice, M.F. (2010). Diversity and public administration (2nd Ed). Armonk: M.E. Sharpe

Wyatt-Nichol, H. & Antwi-Boasiako, K. (2012). Diversity management: Development, practices, and perceptions among state and local government agencies.Public Personnel Management, 41(4), 749-771.

Wyatt-Nichol, H. & Naylor, L.A. (2012). Human resource management practices that facilitate cultural competence. In Norman-Major, K.A. & S.T. Gooden (Eds.) Cultural competency for public administrators (pp. 62-79). Armonk: M.E. Sharpe.

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