Coronavirus information for applicants and offer-holders

We understand that prospective students and offer holders may have concerns about the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The University is following the advice from Universities UK, Public Health England and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Read our latest coronavirus information

MSc Human Resource Management (International Development) / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Characteristics and Skills of Development Practice

Unit code MGDI71992
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Global Development Institute
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The course relates hands-on maps and clear models to a variety of challenges which face a person trying to mobilise development (an ‘international development practitioner’). With stresses and strains in global development practice, it is important for development practitioners to sustain personal presence and resilience. Familiarity with established maps and models helps strengthen confidence when one is confronted with adversity or unexpected circumstances.

What does it take, for example, to adapt one’s work style fluently in the face of new contingencies? What are consequences of choosing certain interventions over others when trying to influence diverse stakeholders? How does one initiate and retain trusting client relationships within changing and often conflictful environments?



The workshop invites the student of international development to examine critically key issues in human resourcefulness. The complexity of these core issues is heightened through cross-cultural intervention taking place within disparate social and economic circumstances. The focus throughout the module remains on ‘actual practice on the ground’. The goal of study is maximising one’s influence through greater self-awareness and increased confidence in the use of a wider range of both facilitative and authoritative skills.


Teaching and learning methods

Four consecutive-days in an intensive Workshop (scheduled in two different groups on either side of the Easter Weekend)
Days 1-3: 09.00 - 17.00 hrs
Day 4: 10.00 - 13.00 hrs

A variety of learning activities is offered: pre-reading before the unit begins, self report diagnostic questionnaires, work in small groups, large group discussion, modelling and review of practitioner behaviour, film clips for identifying characteristics and skills, inputs, models, handouts, worksheets. Two pre-Workshop briefings.

Knowledge and understanding

- naming models and maps associated with human performance and linking them to one’s own competence in influencing others within developmental settings.

Intellectual skills

- challenging and questioning (verbally and in writing) one’s own and others’ assumptions in a manner which exhibits openness to ideas, intellectual coherence and pragmatic scepticism;

- appreciating advantages and limitations of various Western models (what can be called their ‘cultural fitness of purpose’) as data-gathering / sense-making tools for guiding situated and contingent practice


Transferable skills and personal qualities

- articulating key problematic choicepoints in practice and inter-relating their strategic implications to their own continued professional development

- critically considering the possibility of how they may continue their personal and vocational growth, including future skill acquisition, as they re-engage with future or first career opportunities, client expectations and organisational demands

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 100%

Feedback methods

Within the workshop there is ample, deliberate opportunity for each postgraduate to pose questions, re-consider their thinking, and publically express their view. Learners are encouraged to engage with others, and this is valued by all – especially in Semester 2 when students now know they must participate more in their own learning at Masters’ level. Assessment and learning are integrated so that students feel prepared to be examined.

Recommended reading

Baddeley, Simon and Kim James (1987), 'Owl, Fox, Donkey or Sheep: Political Skills for Managers,' Management Education and Development, 18, 1, 3-19.

Cooperrider, David and Diana Whitney (2005), Appreciative Inquiry: A Positive Revolution in Change (San Francisco, California, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc).

Destructive Emotions, And How We Can Overcome Them: A Dialogue with The Dalai Lama, narrated by Daniel Goleman (The Mind Life Institute, undated).

Goleman, Daniel (1996), Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than IQ (London, Bloomsbury).

Harr, Jonathan (2009) 'Lives of the Saints: International Hardship Duty in Chad,' The New Yorker, 5th January 5,

Mann, Pete (1999), 'Can we Make Development Training Developmental?' Public Administration and Development, 19, 105-116.

Mann, Pete, Sue Pritchard and Kirstein Rummery (2004), 'Supporting Interorganisational Partnerships in the Public Sector: the Role of Joined Up Action Learning and Research,' Public Management Review, 6, 3, 417-439.

Senge, Peter, C Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski, Betty Sue Flowers (2005), Presence: An Exploration of Profound Change in People, Organizations, and Society (New York, Currency, Doubleday Century Books).

The Economist (US), Dec 23, 2006 v381 i8509 pp 4-13 (supplement on survey of neuroscience).

Torday, Paul (2007), Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (Weidenfeld & Nicolson).

Wright, Ronald (2004), A Short History of Progress (Toronto, Anansi).

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 29
Independent study hours
Independent study 121

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Pete Mann Unit coordinator

Additional notes

IDPM Programmes on which course unit is offered:
MIDP(co); HRM(co); OCD(co); HRD, ICT4D & any other  programmes by agreement


Two pre-workshop briefings are offered voluntarily so that students can make an informed decision to join the course.

The course is scheduled twice, one small group meeting the week before Easter Weekend, another small group meeting the week after Easter Weekend.  (This helps take account also of students being on fieldwork in other courses.)

Each workshop is an intensive, three consecutive days, from 09.00 hrs to 17.00 hrs. The examination lasts no longer than three hours.

A variety of learning activities is offered: pre-reading before the unit begins, self-report diagnostic questionnaires, work in small groups, large group discussions, modelling and review of practitioner behaviour, film clips for identifying characteristics and skills, lecturer inputs, models on handouts, worksheets, etc

Return to course details