Positioning cost overrun research in the philosophical debate: a case for critical realism.
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AMADI, A. and OMOTAYO, T. 2017. Positioning cost overrun research in the philosophical debate: a case for critical realism. In Proceedings of the 13th international postgraduate research conference, 14-15 September 2017, Salford, UK. Salford: University of Salford [online], ID 005, pages 308-316. Available from: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/43913
Construction management research, as a form of social research is confronted with the fundamental paradigmic dilemma of determining a core philosophical orientation, to be considered adequate and best suited to enquiry about construction phenomena. The underpinning argument being that, the differences in world views, will yield marked differences in the type of knowledge generated. An empirical profiling of cost overrun research reveals the predominance of mono-method studies based on questionnaire survey methods, correlative analysis and archival data modelling techniques, all of which are underlain by positivism. Such positivist philosophies, although methodologically valid, cannot adequately explain and provide in-depth understanding of the contextual drivers in construction organisations that trigger the more tangible technical constructs leading to the phenomena of cost growth in projects. Joining in the chorus call for methodological pluralism in construction industry research, this study makes a case for critical realism specifically in the context of cost overrun research.