In this article, we will discuss important concepts of the participatory  management, its emergence as a new paradigm of management; its philosophy and approaches to development; participation mechanisms and impact of political system and major constraints in people’s participation. In the context of the human relationship with the nature, the focus is on the role of individuals and communities to promote and integrate their contribution in the conservation efforts and development. The main content covered in this article include, Participatory Management and Development: Basic Concepts, Philosophy of participatory approach to development, Socio-Political context and community mobilisation for the development process; major constraints in participation; and Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA): as a tool for Participatory Development.

In any organisation or development activity not only the designated managers but also the other support staff exercise their influence over the decisions that affect the organisation, project or any development activity. In this process, participation of all the stakeholders is assured, throughout the project cycle, starting from the visualisation and planning to the implementation and final evaluation and assessment.

Participatory management can improve the effectiveness and capacity of an organisation involved in the development management thus contributing to good leadership by the management.  Development involves a broader perspective. It is regarded as a form of social change. While social change can be considered as a concept that charts the transformation of societies, states and communities, development is often seen as a planned and directed social change

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Participatory Development enables people to address the local issues by forming into associations. Through this they will be able to plan and act on their own behalf, encourage trust and self awareness and enable independence and self sufficiency.

Participation is an act of being involved and of involving individuals or groups in making choices and decisions, in planning, in taking actions, in controlling and sharing the benefits.


The effectiveness of the participatory approach to management and development, depends on the tool we use. Communities cannot be lectured about participation. They know when they are excluded. So for development workers, for a more meaningful and sustainable relationship with the poor, listening to what the poor have to say, allowing to make them sense the reality, enabling them to put it in a shape, what is workable and supporting the actions they decide to take, is part of the development worker’s job today. Since it is different from the development work of the past, it requires other skills and tools.


Participation is a process of consultant and willingness to share something and to do something collectively. Participation is a process, in which, everything, from the concept through planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and maintenance, should be in the ownership of the people.


The bases for participatory management and development should be “communities first” approach and planning/ action which leads to the formation of Sustainable Community Organisations(Cos).

The premise of participatory development is that when community members plan and act as a group, in local associations, the result is more lasting and sustainable (as compared to the results using top downs methods of development, defined and dictated by outsiders).

There are many tools for participatory development. The following are especially good for creating rapport, generating a participatory process and collecting information for use on planning and action. Some tools are based simply upon common sense are improved by experienced. By using combined techniques and strategies of PLA and rapid appraisal, the field workers facilitator is armed with a powerful, flexible and creative tool kit for the field.


The participatory development workers and management experts have normally experienced the following constraints and barriers in the process of participatory management and development work:

  • Constraints related to the goal and objectives of the organisation or project;
  • Process versus product;
  • Community related constraints or citizen involvement;
  • Language, semantics, titles all represent constraints;
  • Holistic versus traditional approach;
  • Allocation of resources;
  • Profit motives;


Recent developments in the development economics have focused on the enhanced role of good governance and in the respect participatory management has acquired  a central position in the development of the rural sector in the developing countries. The participation of the local population in the management of the local problems of the developments, particularly their participation in decision making process, has become an effective instrument in the community development leading to complete social transformation. Their participation in solving the local problems of developments, particularly their participation in decision making process, has become an effective instrument in the community development leading to complete social transformation.

Their participation in solving the local problems through various initiatives is a concerted effort to reduce poverty and improve their standards of living. Participation in the decision making process is an important constituent of the participatory management. This involves the participation of all the stakeholders throughout the project cycle starting from visualisation and planning to the implementation, final evaluation and assessment.

However there are constraints of the community participation and the mobilisation process. The participatory tools to empower communities not only help them to develop sustainable association but also help the field workers to understand and better appreciate   local communities, local people and local institutions. Of the various approaches to participatory management Participatory rural Appraisal is quite important, these can be used both in the rural and urban area not only for appraisal but also for identification implementation and evaluation of the projects. Participatory Rural Appraisal is one of the important tools and methods used by the field worker for appraisal and participatory assessment.

The PRA also includes research methods and techniques such as Participatory Research, Approach, Participatory Rapid Appraisal and participatory Reflection Action. Other research methods where participatory approach can be used, are for conducting social and development research such as Participatory Learning Approach, Participatory Learning and Action and Rapid Rural Assessment.


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