Community work and conflict
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2001 09:07:51 -0700 (MST)
In my experience, one of the most common conflict areas is over work. There
is usually a lot of work that could be done in any cohousing group, and
often there is a range of involvement, with a few people having lots of time
and involvement, and others having little. This range, while normal, is the
root of resentments that cause unnecessary conflicts.

A good technique is to poll the group about their level of resentment around
work and see what you learn. Sometimes resentment is only held by one or two
individuals, and then it is their work to resolve that, often by scaling
back on their own contributions to make space for others. If resentment is
broad-based, you then can have a larger group discussion about expectations,
with a goal of understanding where expectations come from, what they are,
and how reasonable they are. This can lead to some great understandings of
personal style differences which come from the way we were raised. It can
also be helpful to clarify terms like "clean" when talking about the common
spaces. There is often a wide range of interpretations about that concept.
Also understanding the differences in self motivation and self confidence is
helpful, some folks can take on tasks without needing to be told, others
need guidance  and support. Each has a different approach to doing work.

As I have written several times before, if all the tasks get done, but
people are unhappy, resentful and grumbling it may be the wrong approach.
Instead of asking is this fair, maybe a better question is: what are the
things I do here that make me happy and how can I do more of those?

Rob Sandelin

-----Original Message-----
From: cohousing-l [at]
[mailto:cohousing-l [at]]On Behalf Of Racheli&John
Sent: Monday, January 29, 2001 12:51 PM
To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: Re: Sharing activities: Was size and management companies

** Reply to note from floriferous [at] Mon, 29 Jan 2001 12:50:42 -0600
>From Racheli

I agree that a group should prioritize what they
want to do with their time - as a group.

I would like, though, to suggest that doing things
for ourselves (as opposed to hiring someone to do
it for us) can be a source of satisfaction.
One of the major ways to determine what should be
done in-house, is to find out whether there is a
person, or persons, who are interested in doing
the particular job in question.  If a group has
someone who just loves doing accounting-type
work (don't ask me why :)) then there is no reason
to hire someone to do it.  If everybody hates to do
this sort of stuff, then it might make sense to pay
to get the job done.


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