Development Projects from the Inside Out: Project Logic, Organizational Practices and Human Autonomy

Mirtha R. Muñiz Castillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This article connects human development thinking to the operational realities of project design and management. It explores how externally supported projects influence the local participants' autonomy, considering that enhanced autonomy promotes long-run development effectiveness. Evidence from four projects in Central America indicates that managers need to understand project logic well beyond a "logframe." Project practices reveal the implicit real assumptions and affect the participants' autonomy and the projects' effectiveness and sustainability. The article examines the projects' "full autonomy logic" and explores the stakeholders' assumptions and values. It looks not only at the expected changes but also at the actual felt changes in participants' lives, based on organizational practices. When practices constrain the opportunities and felt competence of individuals to help themselves, the "development" that is promoted is not sustainable. In contrast, project planners and managers should consciously select autonomy-supportive practices to further sustainable human development. © 2014 © 2014 Human Development and Capability Association.
Original languageSpanish
Pages (from-to)79-98
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Human Development and Capabilities
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014

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