IDI General Information: The IDI Compared to Other Cross-Cultural Tools

Many assessment tools claim to measure intercultural competence, global effectiveness, and even cultural intelligence. These instruments are not grounded in a comprehensive, cross-culturally validated theory of intercultural competence. Rather, these assessment tools measure individual, discrete concepts (e.g., emotional intelligence, open-mindedness) that are found in research to be weakly related—if at all—to critical outcomes of intercultural contact, such as goal accomplishment in cultural diverse settings. Further, there is no research-based consensus on what specific “personal characteristics” are actually most critical for effectively navigating cultural differences.

In 1957, Tewksbury proposed 21 core global competencies1. 52 years later, in 2009, Sptizberg & Changnon2, in their review of a half-a-century of research on intercultural competence:

  • Identified 286 Cognitive/Personality, Affective/Attitudinal & behavioral/skill dimensions of intercultural competence (along with 18 context/environmental factors and 39 outcome variables).
  • Concluded that few efforts have been made to actually test the validity and cross-cultural generalizability of these models.

Further, over the past 50 years, research has not clarified how these various dimensions are related to or influences a host of important cross-cultural outcomes (e.g., diversity hiring). Finally, the various “personal characteristic” instruments that measure these dimensions provide little guidance on how individuals, teams and organizations can actually increase intercultural competence in ways that demonstrate bottom-line results in achieving educational and organizational goals.

Why Using the IDI is Your Best Option

The Intercultural Development Inventory® (IDI®) is the premier cross-cultural assessment of intercultural competence used by thousands of individuals and organizations to build intercultural competence to achieve international and domestic diversity and inclusion goals and outcomes.

IDI research and practice confirms two central findings when using the IDI:

  • Interculturally competent behavior occurs at a level supported by the individual’s or group’s underlying orientation as assessed by the IDI
  • Training and leadership development efforts at building intercultural competence are more successful when they are based on the individual’s or group’s underlying developmental orientation as assessed by the IDI

In comparison to personal characteristic instruments, the IDI is a cross-culturally valid, reliable and generalizable measure of intercultural competence along the validated intercultural development continuum (adapted, based on IDI research, from the Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity originally proposed by Milton Bennett). Further, the IDI has been demonstrated, through research, to have high predictive validity to both bottom-line cross-cultural outcomes in organizations and intercultural goal accomplishments in education.3

  • 1 Wilson, A., 1994, The attributes and tasks of global competence. In R. Lambert (Ed.), Educational exchange and global competence (pp. 37-50). New York, NY: Council on International Educational Exchange).
  • 2 Sptizberg, B.H. & Changnon, G., 2009, Conceptualizing intercultural competence, in D. Deardorf (Ed), The Sage Handbook of Intercultural Competence (1-52), Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • 3 Hammer, M.R. (2011). Additional cross-cultural validity testing of the Intercultural Development Inventory. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 35, 474-487; Hammer, M.R., 2012, The Intercultural