What you will study
Through this module you will extend your understanding of the crucial role played by institutions in development processes and builds up the skills you need to make institutional development happen. The module contributes to this by:
This module views institutions as:
rules and norms that govern society
values that shape action and meanings through which individuals and organisations make sense of the world
‘big players’, whether international or national bodies, or influential players at local levels, who are able to set or influence rules and norms, values and meanings.
The module recognises that, in any field of policy and practice, individuals and organisations work to different rules and norms, values and meanings, and that some organisations (as institutions) have more power and influence than others. Consequently institutional development is always a contested process: power relations and political processes are central to the analysis.
Examining policy and practice
The module applies these ideas to three fields of policy and practice that are of contemporary significance: poverty reduction and growth, humanitarian interventions (in complex emergencies) and governance. In each case there are sub-themes, for example: micro-finance (poverty reduction), forced migration (humanitarian intervention) and innovation in healthcare (governance). In examining these fields of policy and practice, you are required to critically evaluate current thinking, particularly about ‘partnership’ and ‘participatory engagement’.
Analysing inter-organisational relationships
Inter-organisational relationships are at the heart of institutional development. The module presents a conceptual framework for analysing these relationships, built around the ‘3Cs’ of competition, coordination and cooperation. This framework is used to consider the relationships between organisations across public and private sectors and civil society, what obstacles they may present and how they may be changed. The 3Cs framework has proved to be a powerful tool for thinking strategically about the relationships necessary for bringing about institutional development.
Demonstrating the use and usefulness of key skills
Conceptual skills need to be complemented by other key skills. Particular attention is paid to the development of:
mapping, as a way of organising thoughts and presenting views of a problem or process
modelling, as a way of showing how institutions might or could be developed, either with a view to direct implementation/replication or as a basis for negotiating between different approaches
negotiation and brokering skills, which enable individuals and organisations to establish terms on which they can work together to make institutional development happen.
These skills are developed progressively through the module, culminating in a three-week online Negotiation and Brokering Activity (Weeks 18–20), which involves working collaboratively with fellow students.
Overall, the module is valuable for managers and other professionals in public sector, private sector and civil society agencies, particularly but by no means exclusively those with an interest in local, national or international development.