Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS)


What is the DMIS?


The DMIS provides a structure for understanding how people experience difference. Five stages of development describe how a person sees, thinks about, and interprets events happening around them from an intercultural perspective. Since the DMIS indicates what a person sees and thinks, it also suggests what they do not see or think—the differences in their workplace that they typically miss. The DMIS, therefore, highlights how a person’s stage of development both guides and limits their experience of difference. This is a powerful tool because it allows us to pinpoint where a person is in their development—no guessing involved. We can then identify “intervention strategies” needed to move them from one developmental stage to another.


The creator of the DMIS, Dr. Milton Bennett, employed concepts from various disciplines including cognitive psychology and constructivism to apply to his own grounded theory.