The Principle of Widely Shared Discontent in Community Organization


Community organization is the process by which a community identifies needs and takes action to address them. One of the key principles of community organization is that the discontent that initiates or sustains community organization must be widely shared in the community.

Why is Widespread Discontent Important?

There are a few reasons why widespread discontent is important in community organizations. First, it is important to have a common understanding of the problem in order to develop effective solutions. If only a small group of people are discontented, then it is likely that they will have different perspectives on the problem, which will make it difficult to reach consensus on a solution.

Second, widespread discontent creates a sense of urgency that can help motivate people to take action. When a large number of people are unhappy with the status quo, it is more likely that they will be willing to put in the time and effort to make change happen.

Third, widespread discontent can help build political power. When a large number of people are united in their discontent, they can exert pressure on decision-makers to address their concerns.

How to Ensure Widespread Discontent

There are a few things that can be done to help ensure that discontent is widely shared in a community. One is to conduct surveys or focus groups to gauge the level of discontent on various issues. Another is to build relationships with community leaders and organizations so that they can help spread the word about the problems that need to be addressed.

It is also important to be clear about the goals of community organizations. If the goals are too ambitious, then it will be difficult to build the necessary support. It is better to start with smaller, more achievable goals that can build momentum for change.

Examples of Widespread Discontent in Community Organizations

There are many examples of how the principle of widely shared discontent has been used in community organizations. One of the most famous examples is the civil rights movement in the United States. The civil rights movement was successful in part because it was able to generate widespread discontent with the system of segregation.

Another example is the environmental movement. The environmental movement was successful in part because it was able to generate widespread discontent with the pollution of air and water.


The principle of widely shared discontent is an important one in community organization. By ensuring that discontent is widely shared, community organizers can build the necessary power to address shared problems and make a difference in their communities.


  • Ross, M. G. (1967) Community organization: Theory, principles, and practice New York: Harper & Row.
  • Rothman, J. (1968). Three models of community organization practice, Social Work Practice, 1, 26–37.
  • Warren, R. L. (1967) The neighborhood organizer Chicago: Rand McNally.


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