My name is Dianne Hofner Saphiere and I am Founder and Principal at Cultural Detective®. We are a team of international professionals who collaborate to produce practical tools that use a theoretically grounded, proven process for enhancing intercultural competence.
At Evaluation 2011 I’ll be facilitating a session entitled “Interculturally Competent Evaluation,” so I appreciate this chance to get you started with some free resources.
One quick, easy way to assess the impact of culture on your evaluation methods and techniques is to vet your evaluation plan against the free online Overview of Key Cultural Differences.
Let’s say a project goal is improving a program’s effectiveness. One method could be to ask, “What aspect of the program could be working better?” If respondents value harmony over results (item 3 in the Overview map), their response would likely be that the program is working very well as-is. Likewise, if your respondents believe in hierarchical decision making (item 6 on the map), they’ll probably feel it’s not their place to speak up or even to think about tasks that are not their direct responsibility.
Either way, this is potentially an ineffective question. The Overview of Key Cultural Differences can help us locate such cross-cultural problems in our methodology and adjust our evaluation plans for added cultural neutrality.
The Overview map can help in a general sense, but what if we are conducting an evaluation that involves specific cultural groups? In such a case we obviously need more depth to our vetting process.
One highly productive technique is to use the core Values Lenses of the cultures with which you’ll be working, to help your team members better understand how African-Americans, Latinos, members of the LGBT community, Egyptians or Mexicans (for example) might perceive your methodology, and allow you to contextualize the project more effectively. There is a free online activity that guides you through this process.
If you conduct your projects in multicultural, multi-ethnic, interdisciplinary, cross-generation, or international teams, these same Values Lenses, plus the Cultural Detective Self Discovery and CD Global Teamwork, can help your project team members partner more effectively and enable them to better filter out the natural and inevitable cultural biases in their work. Also, these four tips should help.
This contribution is from the aea365 Tip-a-Day Alerts, by and for evaluators, from the American Evaluation Association. Please consider contributing – send a note of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to learn more from Dianne? She’ll be presenting as part of the Evaluation 2011 Conference Program, November 2-5 in Anaheim, California.