Becoming a more successful society, according to mainstream views about development, depends on strengthening organizations. For this reason, the intent of international development cooperation projects properly includes strengthening partner-organizations. However, development agencies face a decision-dilemma. To strengthen a partner-organization, the development agency needs to participate in its management process. On the other hand, such participation would foreseeably cause the partner-organization to become dependent on the development agency, weakening its capabilities. It is thus rational for a development agency to intervene, and it is rational not to intervene.
This paper develops a purposive theory of organization-strengthening international development projects that brings this decision-dilemma to the fore, while also reporting and analyzing a specific case of such projects, named in the paper's sub-title. The design-focused case study shows how this decision-dilemma can be eased through by the use of a well-designed mechanism for participating in the management-process of partner-organizations during project operation. The paper's purposive theorizing and design-focused case study are meant not only to advance professional knowledge about strengthening partner-organizations as part of international development cooperation projects, but also to illustrate an emerging method for advancing professional knowledge about public management, generally.
Keywords: Developing organisational capacity, Project leadership, development project realization, project monitoring, design-focused case stud