Working for Change: Making a Career in International Public Service

By Derick W. Brinkerhoff; Jennifer M. Brinkerhoff | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
What Is Development
Management?

The range of activities involved in international public service is vast. Engaging in public service can mean teaching and training, both children and adults; providing health services, from medical emergencies to primary care, to family planning; building houses, schools, clinics, or roads; handling money, for example, raising funds, issuing grants, preparing budgets, or monitoring spending; doing scientific research, for example, developing new vaccines or conducting field trials of new seeds for better agricultural production; or facilitating economic development, for example, helping communities organize to obtain resources or to start businesses, or lobbying legislators for new policies. We could go on—the list would be nearly endless—and what you end up doing will depend upon the unique combination of your interests, skills, and background, and the opportunities that present themselves. But one thing we can promise you is that whatever type of international public service you become engaged in, you won't be doing it alone.

This common feature of all public service, whether international or domestic, leads to the topic of this chapter. Public service takes place in some kind of organization, formal or informal, and it involves people. So achieving success in public service means being able to navigate effectively within an organizational setting and to achieve results through the collective effort of groups of people. A more succinct way of saying this is that engaging successfully in public service means being a good manager. We see management as the umbrella concept that informs public service, and in this chapter we provide a way of thinking about the subset of the broad public management field that is specific to international development—development management.

Along with the evolution of the concept of development, and what its goals are or should be, have been significant changes in thinking

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