Principles of Cultural Competency and the Implications for Western Evaluators Using the Program Evaluation Standards in Chinese Cultural Context

The importance of cultural competence permeates all phases of evaluation since culture shapes how evaluators conceptualize questions, collect, analyze, and interpret data, and report evaluation results. This paper aims at enriching the understanding of Chinese culture from the perspective of Confucianism for the Western evaluators so that they may work efficiently in the Chinese cultural context. To avoid a general discussion, the author focuses on three subsets of the Program Evaluation Standards (3rd Edition), i.e., U4 Explicit Values, P2 Formal Agreements, and P3 Human Rights and Respect, in order to make an in-depth analysis of the cultural competence that the Western evaluators are expected to have to work in the Chinese cultural context. To this end, this paper compares the differences in Chinese and Western values, legal tradition related to entering into and implementing evaluation agreements, and the way in which people show respect. Finally, this paper provides some suggestions for the Western evaluators on how they may enhance their cultural readiness and achieve success in finishing their evaluation projects in China.