This dissertation was written by Daniel Guijarro as part of his MA in Participation, Power and Social Change at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex, UK, in 2011. It explores the relationship between individuals and structures in development organizations by reflecting on his experience in Action Aid UK as a case study. It discusses the different ways this relationship is grasped and informs the way development organizations and their purposes are conceptualized. It confronts two main paradigms of thought through my case study in order to discern the meanings of power, agency, learning and change underlying the practice of development organizations. It defends the argument that understanding social change as the core purpose of development organizations and recognizing the complexity involved in it implies a change in valuing the role of individuals in development organizations.

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