The Drivers of Cultural Competence

  • Crystal Jongen
  • Janya McCalman
  • Roxanne Bainbridge
  • Anton Clifford
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Public Health book series (BRIEFSPUBLIC)


Cultural competence is a multifaceted and complex concept and practice approach. There are varied causal factors which are put forward to rationalise the need for cultural competence in healthcare. These causal factors can be considered the ‘drivers’ of cultural competence. In this chapter, we outline a framework for understanding key concepts and issues surrounding cultural competence by examining the drivers of cultural competence. We identified two primary drivers of cultural competence in the literature: sociocultural differences and healthcare disparities. These drivers simultaneously justify cultural competence and demonstrate what it aims to achieve and therefore frame how cultural competence is conceptualised and enacted. However, in much of the cultural competence literature, there is a lack of differentiation between drivers to justify the need for cultural competence. We argue that cultural competence interventions need to clearly address the identified drivers and by doing so better contribute towards building the evidence on whether cultural competence strategies achieve what they set out to accomplish.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Crystal Jongen
    • 1
  • Janya McCalman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Roxanne Bainbridge
    • 1
    • 2
  • Anton Clifford
    • 3
  1. 1.Centre for Indigenous Health Equity Research, School of Health, Medical and Applied SciencesCentral Queensland UniversityCairnsAustralia
  2. 2.The Cairns InstituteJames Cook UniversitySmithfieldAustralia
  3. 3.School of Public HealthThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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