Development in Practice

School: School of Government
International Development Department

Modular value: 20 credits

Module Convenors: Philip Amis

Aim of the Module

What is development management? Who does, or should, manage development? Management in a development context faces particular challenges such as acute and chronic needs, and weak citizen demand and accountability.

The module aims to:

  1. To build understanding of development policy and management.
  2. To increase development managers’ understanding of actors and institutions that affect development activities.
  3. To build the ability to operationalise concepts and knowledge of institutions through analytical and practical skill development.
  4. To build an appreciation that development managers operate in a field where an aggregation of organisations is responsible for a definable area of institutional life; no single organisation having a monopoly on setting agendas or determining outcomes.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module you will be able:

  • Demonstrate understanding of the evolution of the conception of development management and how this can be applied to practical experience
  • Critically appraise the institutional and capacity implications of management approaches and demonstrate their application
  • Demonstrate critical understanding of the role of different actors in managing development
  • Critically analyse and differentiate the management challenges of working in relationships of multiple actors
  • Apply and appraise the concepts and theories covered in the module to assess the management of development within a country context

Teaching and learning approach

The module will be delivered using a range of teaching and learning methods in a highly participatory environment, including interactive lectures, group discussions, student presentations, case studies and invited speakers.

Topics covered include:

  • Introduction - what is development management and who are development managers?
  • States, markets and civil society: how development managers operate within and between them.
  • Institutions: understanding the rules of the game under which development managers operate
  • Organisational cultures in different contexts including social and personal networks
  • Power and participation: who does what to who?
  • Aid: international and national development management
  • eGovernance and development management
  • Development management in a corrupt environment
  • Negotiation and brokering
  • Doing development management differently: adaptation and learning from failure


The assessment for the module will consist of: 

  1. One 2000 word assignment (40% of the overall mark for the module). This is a formative assignment with feedback which is then resubmitted as a summative assignment.
  2. One 2500 word assignment (60% of the overall mark for the module)

Related courses:

The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.