The field of international development, both historically and in contemporary times, is mainly understood through development economics, and (less commonly) political science. What can a complementary, and alternative perspective offer for our understanding of international development? This presentation, based in management studies, describes the shared affinities between dominant management and international development theories, over five historical periods. The question posed across these periods is how was development managed? The presentation is based on a chapter of a book project on civil society and management in international development.