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The Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity

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Intercultural DevelopmentContinuum
Intercultural CommunicationAnn Gross
Grounded theory (evidence based), used to explainpredictable stagespeople go through, based on their intercultural experiencesBased on The Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS), created by Dr. Milton Bennett, Co-Director of the Intercultural Communication Institute, Portland Oregon
Intercultural Development Continuum
Basic Concepts
Predicts intercultural communication competence– ability to communicate effectively and appropriately in a variety of contextsRequires culturally sensitiveknowledge, a motivatedmindsetandskillsetPerson focuses appropriately on cultural commonalities and cultural differencesDevelopment follows predictable stages
Cultural Generalization– statement of probability based on systematically collected data; tendency of a majority of cultural group membersStereotype– application of a cultural generalization to every member in a cultural group, or generalizing from only a few group members
In intercultural interactions, need to find some balance between the twoAt different stages on IDC, person tends to focus more on one or the otherAttitudes toward cultural differences also change through the stages
MonoculturalMindset–Use own cultural values and practices to make sense of other culture’s differences and similaritiesRely on broad stereotypesLess complex understanding of other cultures
IDC – Moving From aMonoculturalMindset to an Intercultural Mindset
Intercultural/Global Mindset –Make sense of differences and similarities using one’s own and other cultures’ values and practices.Use cultural generalizations to help understand complex differences and commonalities.
Other cultures viewed through lens of one’s own culture
When people have not interacted in depth with other cultures; may avoid interactionOverly simple views of other cultures; stereotypesSeem accepting, but have a tendency to dehumanize outsiders
Stage One -Denial of Difference
Focused on cultural differences, which are seen as negative or threateningDualistic thinking (good/bad; us vs. them)Two Forms:Defense– Uncritical of own culture, more critical of other; exclusion of others; backlash actionsReversal– Overly critical of own culture, uncritical of other cultures
Stage Two - Polarization
Highlight cultural commonalities and universal values and principles, but may overlook cultural differencesAccept superficial cultural differences, but think all humans are basically the same (“Like me”)Tendency to define commonality in ethnocentric terms (own culture seen as everyone’s reality)Can lead to acceptance of institutionalized privilege
Stage Three -Minimization of Difference
Able to view interactions from multiple cultural perspectives
Recognize thatall cultures are equally complex and validBeginning of ability to interpret behavior, values, perceptions etc. within a cultural contextAcceptance does not mean that one likes or approves of all aspects of each cultureCan lead to “liberal paralysis” – fear of being judgmental or taking actionAble to “Talk the talk,” but not yet“Walk the walk”
Stage Four -Acceptance of Difference
Development of aflexible mindsetand skillset needed for intercultural communication competenceAbility to see things from others’ points of view (empathy), andAbility to adapt behaviorsto act in culturally appropriate ways
Stage Five -Adaptation to Difference
Dr. Milton BennettandDr. Mitch Hammer’s
Intercultural Development Inventory(IDI)
Reliable and valid cross-cultural self-assessment instrument forindividual feedbackrelated to the Intercultural Development ContinuumUsed as atool to target most appropriate intercultural communication trainingfor personDeveloped and validated by Dr. Milton Bennett and Dr. Mitchell Hammer (Professor of Intercultural Communication, The American University, Washington, DC)
Intercultural Development Inventory
DenialPolarization (Defense/Reversal)MinimizationAcceptanceAdaptationCultural Disengagement (sense of not belonging to a culture)
What the IDI Measures –





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The Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity