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Bennett scale: Wikis

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The Bennett scale, also called the DMIS (for Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity), was developed by Dr. Milton Bennett. The framework describes the different ways in which people can react to cultural differences and the degree to which they have adapted to them.

DMIS uses six stages to scale the level of cultural adaptation, where it should be the goal to reach the highest stage. The first three stages are ethnocentric as one sees his own culture as central to reality. Moving up the scale the individual develops a more and more ethnorelative point of view, meaning that you experience your own culture as in the context to other cultures. At the next stage these ethnocentric views are replaced by ethnorelative views.

The ethnocentric stages of the Bennett scale are

  1. Denial
    • Denial one is simply not able to understand cultural differences. Indicators are benign stereotyping and superficial statements of tolerance. This stage is sometimes accompanied by attribution of deficiency in intelligence or personality to culturally deviant behavior.
  2. Defense
    • One notices cultural differences, but sees these differences as negative since the evaluation process is done by comparison with the own, perceived as the right, culture. The larger the difference the worse the other culture and the better one's own culture.
  3. Minimization
    • The stage where superficial cultural differences are recognized and accepted is called Minimization. Minimization because differences are minimized by focusing on similarities between ones own and the other culture due to an ethnocentric point of view.

The ethnorelative stages are

  1. Acceptance
    • Acceptance is achieved when cultural differences are not only recognized but also accepted as an alternative solution of how to organize human existence.
  2. Adaptation
    • The development of communication skills that enable intercultural communication in order to understand and be understood across cultural boundaries qualifies for the adaptation stage called Adaptation.
  3. Integration
    • Integration, is reached when one managed the internalization of bi- or multicultural frames of reference. The one integrated in another culture is seeing one's self as in process. This stage is not necessarily better than Adaptation.

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