An assessment of organizational multicultural competences of Ethiopian public universities
Higher education institutions (HEIs) as multicultural organizations refer directly to the degree to which everyday institutional policies and practices support cultural plurality, which is the focus of the present study. In line with this, the multicultural competence levels of Ethiopian public universities were investigated. The convergent parallel mixedmethods design, including document analysis, semi-structured interviews and questionnaires, was used in the study. Multi-stage, simple random and purposive sampling techniques were employed to select 316 participants for the study. Inferential statistics including mean, standard division, t-tests and one-way ANOVA were used to analyse the quantitative data. The findings revealed that the universities lacked policy frameworks, units, practices and programmes that adequately focus on multiculturalism. Progress in addressing gender issues was still limited, including in terms of women's empowerment, and the rate at which opportunities are utilised by men and women is still skewed in favour of men, as with the low numbers of female lecturers. The staff associations were weak and poorly equipped to provide or promote opportunities for skills development in the management of diversity. There is a need for universities to establish internal rules and policies and to provide conducive environment for managing diversity amongst students and staff. There is also a need for the creation of open and trusted mechanisms for staff and administration to freely interact with each other. It is imperative that university leadership adopt multicultural competence as an essential competency within their profession, continue to seek out opportunities to further enhance personal multicultural competence, and infuse it into their daily practices.
Keywords: Multicultural competence; leadership; cultural competency; organizational policy and procedures; personnel practices; attitudes, knowledge and skills