Introducing international development management
Introducing international development management

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Introducing international development management

1 Overview of international development

1.1 Development, development management – and you

We'll start with you!

You may live in the ‘North’ or the ‘South’, the ‘developed world’ or the ‘developing world’. But wherever you live, given that you've decided to take a look at this unit, it seems likely that you have an interest in development, urban or rural, local or national or international. Like the majority of students undertaking the Global Programme in Development Management, for which this unit is a taster, you might be any one of the following:

  • a member of staff or activist in a non-governmental organisation (NGO) concerned with development issues;

  • a professional in an international agency;

  • an official in a government ministry or local authority involved in development planning and policy analysis;

  • a professional, or one aspiring to become a professional, from a wide range of backgrounds (like health, education, engineering, environment, systems, economics);

  • a person running programmes involving health, education, community development and other service provision;

  • a professional or manager in the private sector who sees their work as contributing to development;

  • a person who wants to move into development work.

Or your interest in development may be more personal than that. Your politics, your faith, your values more generally, may mean that you want to help make the world a better place. Your questioning mind may make you wonder why, when so much development action is taking place, life seems to stay so bad for so many people. You may be asking: How have we managed to get development so wrong? How might we manage to do development better?

Those two questions may be what link all the people looking at this unit, whether on the list above or not. They also form one important starting point for the Development Management Programme.


What are your answers to these questions? And what is your idea of ‘development’?


There are so many different possible answers to these questions. And this is what interests us. Because development management starts from the fact that, in any real world process of development, there will be a range of ideas as to why the development is needed and what the development should be. Those different ideas will be grounded in different values, driven by different interests, and expressed through different agendas. They will be held by people and organisations with – crucially – different levels and kinds of power.

Development management itself is a matter of managing these differences.

This is what makes development management so exciting, both in theory and in practice. In this unit we cannot say all there is to say about managing differences to bring about development. We can, though, highlight key aspects of the process and – we hope – convey something of the excitement.

We have chosen to do so in four ways, each of them picking up themes from one of the four courses that form the heart of the Development Management Programme, each of them posing questions that emerge from those courses.


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