Development Management

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Jean-Paul Faguet CON. H806, Dr Mayling Birney CON. H810, Dr Edwin Brett CON. H812 and Dr Mahvish Shami CON.H817


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Anthropology and Development (Management) and MSc in Development Management. This course is available on the MSc in Political Science and Political Economy. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

Why are some countries rich and others poor? Why are some governed well and others badly? This course employs a political economy approach to examine the causes of development and non-development. It focuses on the different kinds of authority, incentives and accountability mechanisms that govern the relationships between managers and recipients in the institutions and organisations that people use to meet their political, economic and social needs. It reviews ongoing debates about the best ways of designing state agencies, private firms and NGOs in order to enable students to make practical judgements about institutional reform programmes by showing how centralised bureaucracies, markets, participatory and solidaristic agencies operate to provide essential services. It explores deep theories about the emergence of the state, and the different social, political and economic actors that work within it and vie to control it. And it examines how these forces interact to drive processes of change in different kinds of society, and especially in 'Late Developing Societies' that are attempting to make transitions to modernity by reviewing the literature that explain problems of state, economic and social failure and reconstruction in poor countries. The course is divided into four parts: (1) Analytical assumptions, (2) Government and governance, (3) Private Sector, and (4) Civil Society. On completing the course students should be able to: (i) use theory to solve practical development problems; (ii) identify and assess relevant case study material to inform the practice of development management; and (iii) critically appraise their own practical experience as workers in development organisations or consumers of their services. The course reviews literature dealing with the principles governing the institutions and organisations through which policies, programmes and projects are implemented. It examines the variety of functions they must perform; the structures they can assume; the incentive systems which motivate them and how they relate to differing political, economic and social conditions. It considers recent literature which re-evaluates the way these problems are understood, looking in particular at recent developments in economics, public sector management, social policy and organisational ethnography. It focuses on the role of hierarchy, competition and participation in providing different kinds of services in different situations and contexts. It provides an analytical basis for making judgements about institutional reform programmes by showing how different kinds of institutions and organisations, centralised bureaucracies, markets, participatory and solidaristic agencies operate to provide services in practice.


20 hours of lectures, 15 hours of seminars and 4 hours of workshops in the MT. 20 hours of lectures and 12 hours of seminars in the LT. 2 hours and 30 minutes of lectures in the ST.

There will be an introductory 4 hour workshop on Wednesday afternoon of week 1, 18 two-hour lectures and 18 one-and-a-half hour seminars over the Michaelmas & Lent Terms. There are also special evening sessions specifically on practical and professional aspects of the consultancy projects, and a development policy debate. Students are expected to attend all these sessions. Lectures will focus on the theoretical debates driving current policy practice in the development community, while seminars will relate these to practical problems of implementation, drawing on case studies, class exercises, and the personal experience of participants. Seminars will discuss topics covered in the lecture, and will be conducted on the basis either of a student presentation or a class exercise. Students will also take part in and be assessed on the Development Management Project, a live consultancy exercise for real development agencies in consultation with International Development staff. Workshops will be organised to assist student groups to formulate their proposals and negotiate their projects with their commissioning agencies.

Formative coursework

In the Michaelmas Term students are expected to produce one 2,000 word essay on a topic agreed with an individual tutor.

Indicative reading

A detailed weekly reading list is provided at the first course meeting. Background readings include: Brett, E.A. (2009) Reconstructing Development Theory; Faguet, JP. 2012. Decentralization and Popular Democracy: Governance from Below in Bolivia. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press; Chang, H. 2003, Rethinking development economics, Anthem Press; London, Intermediate Technology; Kohli, A. 2004 State-directed development: political power and industrialization in the global periphery, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press; Linz, J. & A. Stepan, Problems of democratic transition and consolidation, Johns Hopkins; Olson, M. 1982 The rise and decline of nations, Yale University Press; North, D. 1990. Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance. Cambridge University Press. Putnam, R. D. 1993. Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy. Princeton: Princeton University Press; Rodrik, D. (Ed.). 2003. In Search of Prosperity: Analytical Narratives on Economic Growth: Princeton University Press; Sen. A., 1999 Development as Freedom. Oxford University Press; Stiglitz, J. 2002 Globalization and its discontents, Allen Lane, 2002; World Bank, World Development Report, 2004, Making services work for poor people, Washington, World Bank.


Exam (60%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.
Project (40%) in the ST.

Student performance results

(2009/10 - 2011/12 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 17.2
Merit 75.5
Pass 6.5
Fail 0.8

Key facts

Department: International Development

Total students 2012/13: 81

Average class size 2012/13: 13

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills

Course survey results

(2010/11 - 2012/13 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 82.7%



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