Community ~ Assessment
How to Support People, Groups, and Organizations in Becoming More Inclusive
An individual’s level of experience with people from cultural backgrounds other than their own affects how much understanding and skill an individual has in working with others who are culturally different.
The more experience a person has with cultural diversity, the more likely a person is to understand and adapt to the other’s differences. The less experience a person has with cultural diversity, the less likely a person is to see, understand, accept, and adapt to these differences.
There are six stages on the road to working effectively with cultural differences, according to Milton Bennett’s Intercultural Sensitivity Model. These stages begin with little to no experience with cultural differences and progress to where a person has a great deal of experience with cultural differences.
Stage 1: Cultural differences are not recognized.
Stage 2: Cultural differences are seen but they are regarded as threatening. One’s own culture is regarded as superior.
Stage 3: Cultural differences are seen, but all people are regarded as essentially the same and it is thought that we all hold the same values – the ones held by the person in this stage.
Stage 4: Cultural differences are seen and accepted.
Stage 5: Cultural empathy exists along with the ability to take multiple perspectives.
Stage 6: One has the ability to shift behavior within different cultural contexts.
Increasing Experience of Difference
|Difference not recognized
|My culture is superior to your culture
Cultural differences are seen but they are regarded as threatening.
|All people are the same
|Difference is accepted
|Able to take multiple perspectives
|Able to shift behavior appropriately
How To Bring About Change
If one’s goal is to create an environment where people are able to work effectively across cultural differences, these six stages represent a road to effectiveness around working with our human differences.
According to the model, the way to move someone down the road to working effectively with differences is as follows:
- Assess what stage the person is in.
- Validate and support the person for the stage he/she is in.
- Gently show the person examples in the next stage – help him/her see what is not now seen.
- Never go beyond the next stage (that is, don’t skip a stage).
- Continue to support the person’s movement into the next stage.
Thank goodness there are only six stages! This is a long slow process, but if you gradually bring the person along one stage at a time, he/she most likely will not slip back to previous stages.
How to Measure the Stage a Person, Group, and/or Organization is In
The Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) is a statistically validated instrument, which will measure an individual’s stage of development in working effectively with cultural differences.
The Intercultural Development Inventory (www.idiinventory.com) is a 50-item questionnaire (available electronically and in hard copy). The inventory can be used to assess the stage of development for an individual, group, team, organization, and/or business.
The Inventory results can be used to create an individual, group, team, and organizational plan to bring about a more inclusive environment.
Ann Schauber is certified to administer the IDI and is skilled at facilitating groups to develop an action plan toward a more inclusive multicultural setting based on the inventory results.
The model is based on the Model of Intercultural Sensitivity developed by Dr. Milton Bennett. Dr. Bennett and Dr. Mitch Hammer developed the first few versions of the IDI. Dr. Hammer has continued to improve the inventory. We are currently work with Version 3.