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A Comparison of Cross-Cultural Certifications

Updated: May 23, 2023

“This certification really brought it all together. The neutrality of the self-cultural analysis framework from Knowledgeworkx allows you to be more of yourself. The more you are aware of yourself the more you can handle when people are different from you.”

After getting 6 of the top cross-cultural certifications available on the market today, Henri Bezuidenhout, a university professor from South Africa, chose KnowledgeWorkx’ Inter-Cultural Intelligence (ICI) Certification as his 7th. Although we at KnowledgeWorkx don’t believe in competition and, instead, are focused on communicative and collaborative advantage, we sometimes wonder how our work stacks up against our peers in the cross-cultural space. We often hear comparisons between certifications from our practitioners who have done 1 or 2 other certifications. But when Henri joined our virtual ICI Certification, we had a unique opportunity. He was the first person to have completed 7 certifications, with the last one being ours. So, we asked him how his experience getting certified in ICI compared to the other certifications.

The Certification Journey

For Henri, the KnowledgeWorkx certification was the culmination of his learning journey. There, he discovered both a depth of understanding and practical application that he had not experienced before.

A professor of international trade and economics at North West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa, he was no stranger to the importance of culture in business before he began his certification journey. In fact, it was his work on studying Foreign Direct Investment in Africa that really started him on this journey. Through it, he realized, “one of the main reasons why companies fail or succeed [in FDI] is whether they can adapt to the cultural situation.”

His certification journey began by taking a course through The Culture Intelligence Center (CIC). This course was a great introduction to culture. It raised so many good questions and topics that Henri began to incorporate the material into the classes that he taught. When Henri’s teaching took him to Thailand, he used that opportunity to finish getting certified in the CIC’s material. On the way back from Thailand, he stopped off in Great Britain to get the Richard Lewis Certification focusing on intercultural communication.

At this point, he already had more cultural certifications than most people ever get. So, he began applying his skills at North West, even training the executive leadership team there. The university too saw value in what he was doing and agreed to send him to Helsinki for the Hofstede Insights certification. Then, as part of a consulting project, he ended up in Singapore, where he completed the Trompenaars Hampden-Turner Certification. More recently, he completed the TMC Berlitz’ Cultural Orientations Approach (COA).

Finally, to top off his certification journey, he became an Intercultural Intelligence (ICI) Practitioner through KnowledgeWorkx. He described it as:

“The certification that really brought it all together.” The neutrality of the self-cultural analysis framework from Knowledgeworkx as he put it, “gets you to be more of yourself. The more you are aware of yourself the more you can handle when people are different from you.”

An Intercultural Expert

Hearing Bezuidenhout discuss each of those certifications shows he is a true interculturalist. He sees the unique perspective and value that each course offers - from the cultural groupings of Hofstede and Trompenaars to the cultural relativity of Erin Meyer, to the practical self-cultural analysis of KnowledgeWorkx. However, for him, KnowledgeWorkx stands above the rest with its embedded coaching methodologies creating the space for individual growth. In Bezuidenhout’s opinion, KnowledgeWorkx offered a unique depth of cultural understanding, and he found that the tools were incredibly practical in the way they helped individuals and teams talk about how cultural dynamics affect results. Bezuidenhout and Knowledgeworkx have put together a neutral in-depth analysis of all 7 certifications. You can download the white paper by filling in this form.

One of the most essential skills for anyone engaging culture is the ability to step back from their own culture and values to see the cultural dynamics in a situation. Henri helped us step back and see our tools from another perspective, and the breadth of the tools he has invested in allows him to step back and see each one objectively to choose the best one for the situation. If you are interested in growing the depth and practicality of your understanding of culture, add Inter-cultural Intelligence to your toolkit by joining our next certification cohort, or if you are a certified coach join our Certificate in Intercultural Coaching.


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