Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Lisa R. Kiesel


Social Work


This research set out to examine the development of cultural competence as a concept, education tool, and practice model in social work. A narrative review was utilized to analyze data collected from articles and primary documents retrieved from scholarly and archival databases. Cultural competence (formerly known as diversity education or practice) was analyzed through a historical and theoretical lens to provide context for its current functioning in social work practice and education today. This research examined social, political, and academic influences on the development and conceptualization of cultural competence as it appears in the National Association of Social Workers and Council on Social Work Education Education policy statements and standards. The findings indicated that social work has been largely reactionary to external social and political influences in its development of policy and curriculum when it comes to cultural competence. Future research on cultural competence development in social work should focus on social worker’s perspectives in engaging with the cultural competence model and a critical examination of its implementation and outcomes.

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Social Work Commons