1.3 Managing development: professional and personal challenges
1.3.1 Acting in public arenas
We've suggested that development management can be seen as a matter of ‘managing differences’. Alan Thomas, one of the creators of the Development Management Programme, put this in a somewhat more complicated way, defining development management as
The management of intervention aimed at external social goals in a context of value-based conflict.
In this formula ‘differences’ make an appearance in the form of ‘conflict’, and that points to a fundamental aspect of reality for development managers, that they are likely to be caught up in conflict. Here, though, we want to highlight another part of this definition, the part that talks of ‘external social goals’. Development managers' work lies outside their organisations, in a public arena where people from all sorts of organisations – governments, aid agencies, NGOs, community groups, collectives and political movements, faith groups – look to shape development.
This implies thinking beyond organisational boundaries, understanding the wider arena in which efforts to promote development and change are being made, recognising the importance of building relationships, and looking to steer interventions that are not the business of any one organisation but shared enterprises.