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When Parallel Schools of Thought Fail to Converge: The Case of Cost Overruns in Project Management

Chadee, AA, Chadee, XT, Ray, I, Mwasha, A and Martin, HH (2021) When Parallel Schools of Thought Fail to Converge: The Case of Cost Overruns in Project Management. Buildings, 11 (8). ISSN 2075-5309

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Open Access URL: https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11080321 (Published version)


This paper investigates the conflicting and contrasting views between two prominent schools of thought (SOT), the conventional project management empirical school and the incoming behavioural and psychological sciences, to explain the cost overrun phenomenon in transportation infrastructure projects. Although theories within these SOTs seem to coexist and are used interchangeably, there exists a widening knowledge gap that leads to conflicting and contrasting ideological views. In this paper, we contend that there is a lack of a cross-fertilisation mechanism to fuse and co-join contemporary theories on cost overruns. This has led to the encapsulation and fragmented adhocracy in theory building. Utilising a critical review approach, this study proposes the concepts of ideological distancing and encapsulation between “empiricism” and “behavioural” SOTs as the focus of analyses for understanding the root causes of cost overruns in project studies. The study showed that the extant debate on cost overruns is limited and divergent, effectively contributing to the problem of continued expansion and non-convergence of theories that maintain parallel identities. This creates a space for inquiry, reflecting, theorising, and debating for the convergence of SOTs on cost overrun research and theories on what can be deemed project knowledge. This paper contributes to extant project studies by identifying the need for convergence and co-joining theories with different epistemes through causal linkages. Consequently, this will improve the public sector’s infrastructure policymaking by exposing the theoretical limitations of the current ad hoc manner and application of project management concepts based on the project professionals’ bounded decision-making rationalities.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: behavioural; BOUNDARY; BUNKING FAKE NEWS; BUSINESS; CHALLENGE; Construction & Building Technology; cost overruns; DELUSIONS; empiricism; encapsulation; Engineering; Engineering, Civil; ideological distancing; infrastructure; INNOVATION; INTERSECTION; mega projects; POST-TRUTH ERA; project management; PROMISES; public sector; Science & Technology; STRATEGY; Technology; Science & Technology; Technology; Construction & Building Technology; Engineering, Civil; Engineering; cost overruns; ideological distancing; encapsulation; empiricism; behavioural; infrastructure; public sector; project management; mega projects; POST-TRUTH ERA; BUNKING FAKE NEWS; INTERSECTION; INNOVATION; CHALLENGE; DELUSIONS; BOUNDARY; BUSINESS; STRATEGY; PROMISES; 1201 Architecture; 1202 Building; 1203 Design Practice and Management
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: Education
Publisher: MDPI AG
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 19 Jan 2023 13:03
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2023 13:15
DOI or ID number: 10.3390/buildings11080321
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/18691
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