Ethics in Multicultural Practice
There are a number of significant aspects regarding ethics in multicultural practice. In my opinion, multicultural competence is one of the most significant questions as it builds the foundation for the successful implementation of all subsequent stages of ethical multicultural practice. Multicultural competence may be defined as the ability to understand cultural information in order to develop the effective policies that may solve specific issues or improve the situation as a whole (Leung & Barnett, n. d., p. 1). Multicultural competence refers not only to objective data analysis but also to professional ethical evaluation of the existing situation and potential ways of its improvement as well.
As multicultural practice is always heterogeneous (different cultures demonstrate different modes of behavior), multicultural competence should significantly differ from other types of competence. First of all, different points of view should be respected as the understanding of social reality differs from one culture to another. At the same time, they have much in common as the basic patterns of human behavior are similar in all cultures. Therefore, it is important to determine the common foundation for all cultures and develop the most effective strategies.
At the stage of assessment of cultural positions, experts should be neutral and do not introduce their personal subjective value judgments into analysis. When the positions of all cultures are understood, they may be influenced in such a way that will allow optimizing inter-cultural cooperation. Almost all inter-cultural dilemmas may be effectively resolved in case appropriate measures are taken. It seems that experts should adopt the multi-cultural perspective and use their professional knowledge from these positions. Ethnic and cultural diversity contributes to mutually beneficial cultural exchange that may become the main source of economic and social development in the era of globalization. Therefore, diversity should be viewed from the positive perspectives as it is the only proper way of operating in the multicultural environment.
It should be stressed that permanent professional development and education programs are of utmost importance for all experts. The cultural environment is subject to permanent changes; therefore, educational development should also be implemented on a constant basis. Multicultural experts should analyze the existing trends and tendencies in order to create the most effective tools of improving multicultural cooperation. Professional codes of ethics from different cultures may be compared and evaluated (Corey, Corey, & Callanan, 2010). They may help understand the basic elements that are typical for different cultures and create the foundation for the mutually beneficial dialogue.
In all cultures, the welfare of consumers should be promoted and maximized. Thus, adequate conditions should be created. It means that equal opportunities for personal and professional development of people from different countries and cultures should be introduced. It will encourage free market competition and necessary innovations. High dynamics of the modern world should be maintained.
Clients’ privacy and confidentiality should be protected regardless of their culture and ethnicity. Privacy issues are basic human rights that should be respected in any democratic society. Some institutional reforms may be needed in order to guarantee individual liberties. Multicultural competence is closely related to the maintaining professional integrity of experts. In other words, experts should express those views that they consider to be correct and relevant. They should not contain any elements of discrimination or misunderstanding of views of different cultures.
Modern multicultural practice cannot be organized without addressing key ethical issues. The spirit of diversity and tolerance should be promoted. On the one hand, the representatives of different cultures may promote different positions. On the other hand, their views should not be antagonistic and incompatible with one another. Tolerance and mutual understanding may be beneficial for all parties. One of the main tasks of experts is to facilitate and encourage this process. This objective may be reaches with the help of a number of psychological and other techniques that address the basic human needs.
The process of making ethical decisions in the multicultural environment is complex and has a number of stages (Corey, Corey, & Callanan, 2010). First of all, the problem or dilemma should be identified. It is the source of actual or potential problems between the representatives of different cultures. The positions of all parties should be clarified. Additional issues involved should be also determined. They may relate to economic, social, and ethical aspects of inter-cultural cooperation. Furthermore, the relevant ethics codes should be reviewed. In this way, it is possible to determine the system or rationale that may be supported by all cultures. The applicable regulations and laws may be specified. They will create the practical mechanism for decision making. However, main multicultural misunderstandings cannot be resolved exclusively on the basis of laws and regulations. The real solution is based on ethical values and rational decisions. Multicultural competence is the necessary foundation for all subsequent reforms and changes in public opinion. In some cases, additional external consultation may be needed. It may outline the new ways and perspectives that may be helpful in the given situation. In addition, probable courses of actions should be determined. Advantages and disadvantages of all options should be evaluated. Specific qualitative and quantitative methods may be implemented in order to better understand the situation. Finally, the optimal options should be determined and taken.
Thus, there are a number of difficult issues associated with the operation in the multicultural environment. Ethical aspects should always play one of the most serious roles in this context, and multicultural competence may be the necessary foundation for positive changes.
If this article appealed to you, read my other articles entitled History: Machiavelli’s Ideas.
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