5 Promoting the values of development at all levels
In an article that was the starting point for the focus on good development management in this course, Thomas (1999) says:
The clearest examples of good development management will be those which use the enabling and empowerment mode of management to achieve development goals for the relatively powerless. However, the majority of cases will be more ambiguous, with value-based conflicts, contestation over the definition of development itself, and power struggles. Development management will often remain an ideal rather than a description of what takes place.
However, his argument is more sweeping, as the abstract of the article makes clear:
In a previous paper published in 1996, the author gave two views of development management. One was management in the context of development as historical change. The other was the management of deliberate efforts at progress, of development tasks. This paper adds a third: a style of management with a development orientation, that is, an orientation towards progressive change. It is argued that this third view allows for a normative definition of development management. Thus a distinctive notion of what is good development management is that it should consistently promote the values of development at all levels, even if this is not the most straightforward way of getting particular development tasks done successfully.
This ‘distinctive notion of what is good development management is that it should consistently promote the values of development at all levels’ is wonderfully open. Making sense of it will require you to be clear about your vision of ‘development’ and the meaning that you put on the term. And putting it into practice will require you to work with an adequate conceptual framework of development management, such as CoDE.