Culture, Diversity, Sensitivity, and Congruency in the Workplace

What are some of the phrases that come to mind when we think of cultural diversity, sensitivity, and congruency within the workplace? Things such as respect for others and one’s own cultural beliefs, morals, values, and language. All these things are correct and would accompany the general definition of culture and diversity. However, let us look more closely at the definition of culture and how understanding diversity within cultures can affect the work environment. Dr. Madeline Leininger describes culture as a group’s value’s, beliefs, life’s norms and practices that have been learned, shared and/or handed down (DeNisco, 2016). People’s cultures are the framework they use to solve problems be it at work, at home, or with their health. Comprehension of other’s cultures opens up communication, understanding, and makes it simpler to care for one another. When this doesn’t occur, it can be due to a cultural mismatch which is when people violate the cultural expectations of another individual (DeNisco, 2016). There needs to be an awareness into your own personal style of interaction in order to prevent from offending someone who is not of your own culture, resulting in a cultural mismatch. Being present and aware of yourself and that of others can assist in decreasing the likelihood of a mismatch occurring. We must be sensitive to each other’s background, belief systems, norms, and practices so that we can care for each other in an appropriate and culturally sensitive manner. In doing so, we create a welcoming environment for all cultures. According to Wehbe-Almah, & Fry (2014), we can better honor this process by being person centered, having cultural assessments and evaluations, and providing education and training to staff. By maximizing learning more about culture, diversity and sensitivity we facilitate an environment that empowers us to explore issues with diversity and be leaders in providing culturally competent care to one another and those we serve. Learning to be sensitive to cultures that differ from our own teaches us to respect one another, our differing beliefs, traditions, morals, and values and help break down barriers that prevent team work, congruency, and healthy relationships in the workplace. It also enhances cultural competence, promotes cultural diversity, and teaches cultural sensitivity and being sensitive to different cultural groups (Kratzke & Bertolo, 2013). This is crucial to the work we do for our patients, but equally as important to better serve the needs of each other.


DeNisco, S. M., & Barker, A. M. (Eds.). (2016). Advanced practice nursing: Essential

knowledge for the profession (3rd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

ISBN: 9781284072570.



Diversity, 20(3), 107-111.

Wehbe-Alamah, H., & Fry, D. (2014). Creating a Culturally Sensitive and Welcoming

Academic Environment for Diverse Health Care Students: A Model Exemplified

with Muslim Physical Therapist Students. Journal of Physical Therapy Education,

28(1), 5-15.

Published by ShesThatRN

I am an RN working on my DNP, preparing to launch several aspects of my new business and writing and getting ready to publish my first book. I love to write so blogging seemed like a great way to naturally express myself and publish my journey as a nurse.

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