Some Key Terms and Concepts Corporate Cultural Brokers (or those working with a Cultural Broker) Should Know

Acculturation: cultural modifications of an individual, group, or coplear by adapting to, or borrowing traits from, another culture; a merging of cultures as a result of prolonged contact. It should be noted that individuals from culturally diverse groups may desire varying degrees of acculturation into the dominant culture.

Asset Mapping:
A very important part of nonprofit and governmental approaches to problem solving, asset mapping or "community asset mapping" is a capacity-focused way of redeveloping devastated communities and can be applied to the sustainable development of underdeveloped communities. This positive approach is proposed as a substitute for the traditional deficits focus on a community’s needs and problems. Using problems to formulate human service interventions targets resources to service providers rather than residents, fragments efforts to provide solutions, places reliance on outside resources and outside experts, and leads to a maintenance and survival mentality rather than to community development.

Instead, they propose the development of policies and activities based on an understanding, or ‘map,’ of the community’s resources — individual capacities and abilities, and organizational resources with the potential for promoting personal and community development. This ‘mapping’ is designed to promote connections or relationships between individuals, between individuals and organizations, and between organizations and organizations.

The asset-based approach does not remove the need for outside resources, but makes their use more effective.

Assimilation: An integrated pattern of human behavior that includes thoughts, communications, languages, practices, beliefs, values, customs, courtesies, rituals, manners of interacting, roles, relationships, and expected behaviors of a racial, ethnic, religious or social group; the ability to transmit the above to succeeding generations; is dynamic in nature.

Cultural Awareness:
Being cognizant, observant, and conscious of similarities and differences among cultural groups and aware of the cultural differences that exist among seemingly homogenous cultural groups.

Cultural Brokering: This term has multiple definitions. Cultural brokering is defined as the act of bridging, linking, or mediating between groups or persons of different cultural backgrounds for the purpose of reducing conflict or producing change. A cultural broker acts as a go-between or liaison, one who advocates on behalf of another individual or group.

Cultural Competence:
refers to an ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures. Cultural competence comprises four components: (a) Awareness of one's own cultural worldview, (b) Attitude towards cultural differences, (c) Knowledge of different cultural practices and worldviews, and (d) cross-cultural Skills. Developing cultural competence results in an ability to understand, communicate with, and effectively interact with people across cultures.

Organizations with cultural competence:
• have a defined set of values and principles, and demonstrate behaviors,
attitudes, policies and structures that enable them to work effectively
• Have the capacity to (1) value diversity, (2) conduct self-assessment, (3)
manage the dynamics of difference, (4) institutionalization of cultural
knowledge, and (5) adapt to the diversity and the cultural contexts of the
communities they serve or do business with.
• Systematically engage relevant stakeholder perspectives and needs.
• Incorporate the requirements above in all aspects of policy development,
administration, operations, practices and product/service delivery.

Ethnicity: a group of human beings whose members identify with each other, usually on the basis of a presumed common genealogy or ancestry. Ethnic identity is also marked by the recognition from others of a group's distinctiveness and by common cultural, linguistic, religious, behavioral or biological traits. Usually a combination of these features identifies an ethnic group. Physical appearance alone does not consistently identify one as belonging to a particular ethnic group.

Intercultural Relations: a relatively new formal field of social science studies. It deals with the ability to get along with others, especially those from a different cultural background.

Some of the main topics of study are:

* reflection and development of cultural competence
* analyzing different cultural patterns in the world
* finding strategies for adapting
* solving problems in intercultural communication
* teaching social skills to reduce cultural misunderstandings
* studying the lifelong impact of youth and other exchanges

Linguistic Competence:
the capacity of an organization and its personnel to communicate effectively, and convey information in a manner that is easily understood by diverse audiences including persons of limited English proficiency, those who have low literacy skills or are not literate, and individuals with disabilities. The organization must have policy, structures, practices, procedures and dedicated resources to support this capacity. Modified from: Goode & Jones (modified 2004). National Center for Cultural Competence, Georgetown University.

Race: The term race or racial group usually refers to the concept of dividing humans into populations or groups on the basis of various sets of characteristics. The most widely used human racial categories are based on visible traits (especially skin color, cranial or facial features and hair texture), and self-identification.

Conceptions of race, as well as specific ways of grouping races, vary by culture and over time, and are often controversial for scientific as well as social and political reasons. The controversy ultimately revolves around whether or not races are natural types or socially constructed, and the degree to which observed differences in ability and achievement, categorized on the basis of race, are a product of inherited (i.e. genetic) traits or environmental, social and cultural factors.

Some argue that although race is a valid taxonomic concept in other species, it cannot be applied to humans. Many scientists have argued that race definitions are imprecise, arbitrary, derived from custom, have many exceptions, have many gradations, and that the numbers of races delineated vary according to the culture making the racial distinctions; thus they reject the notion that any definition of race pertaining to humans can have taxonomic rigour and validity. Today most scientists study human genotypic and phenotypic variation using concepts such as "population" and "clinal gradation". Many contend that while racial categorizations may be marked by phenotypic or genotypic traits, the idea of race itself, and actual divisions of persons into races, are social constructs.

Stakeholder (corporate): A corporate stakeholder is a party who affects, or can be affected by, the company's actions. The stakeholder concept was developed and championed by R. Edward Freeman in the 1980s. Since then it has gained wide acceptance in business practice and in theorizing relating to strategic management, corporate governance, business purpose and corporate social responsibility(CSR).

Stakeholder Engagement:
From an operational perspective, Stakeholder Engagement entails the creation of effective linkages between a) the management of stakeholders and b) implementing business objectives in order to achieve cumulative benefits.

Subaltern Perspective:
a term that commonly refers to the perspective of persons from regions and groups outside of the hegemonic power structure. This perspective must be kept in mind when brokering between a historically marginalized or oppressed cultural groups and those who are a part of a historically oppressive, imperialistic or colonizing culture.