Need for alternative research approaches in construction management: Case of delay studies

Abdullah Alsehaimi, Lauri Koskela, Patricia Tzortzopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Citations (Scopus)


Over the years, there have been many studies of delay in construction, and this type of study continues to be popular in construction management research. A synthesis and critical evaluation of delay studies in developing countries reveals that poor project management is cited as one of the main causes of delay. However, despite significant consensus, most published studies fall short of providing clear recommendations for the improvement of project management practice. Moreover, the majority of recommendations are general and not devoted to solving the difficulties associated with particular causes of delay. This paper aims to demonstrate that the root cause of this state of affairs is that typical research into delay tends to be descriptive and explanatory, making it inadequate for solving persistent managerial problems in construction. It is contended that many problems in construction could be mitigated through alternative research approaches, i.e., action and constructive research. Such prescriptive research methods can assist in the development and implementation of innovative tools tackling managerial problems of construction, including that of delay. In so doing, those methods will better connect research and practice, and thus strengthen the relevance of academic construction management.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-413
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Management in Engineering
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


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