Towards a robust democracy: the core competencies critical to community developers

John Gruidl, Ronald Hustedde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Community developers must possess specialized skills and knowledge to effectively promote democratic practice. The training literature indicates strong agreement on the values of the profession, including inclusion, broad participation, and empowerment. Only rarely in the literature are these values translated into a comprehensive set of core competencies. Following a research synthesis approach, we identify seven specific competencies: (1) listening, (2) emotional awareness, (3) cultural awareness and humility, (4) public deliberation, (5) facilitation, (6) appreciative inquiry, and (7) empowerment. We propose this initial framework to spur a robust discussion and debate among practitioners, scholars, and educators. We believe that the field of community development will be strengthened if there is a widely accepted set of competencies for those who seek to build just and democratic communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-293
Number of pages15
JournalCommunity Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 27 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Community Development Society.


  • adult higher education
  • citizen participation
  • democratic theory and participation
  • education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Towards a robust democracy: the core competencies critical to community developers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this