This Results are not subjected to tests of statistical

This chapter identifies the
limitations to the performed research and discusses why the research is bounded
by these constraints. A list of the limitations is presented below with the
following paragraphs summarizing each bulleted item:

factors of complexity are bounded by previous literature

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are limited by the interview participant’s past experience

and complexity comparisons are subjective

are limited by the studied projects

have limited applicability

are analysed and modelled as discrete when significant interaction is likely

are not subjected to tests of statistical significance


The first research limitation
is that the defined factors contributing to the complexity of transportation
projects are bounded by the previous literature. The conceptual literature
review and analysis sections serve to identify and define the specific factors
within each dimension that have the potential to contribute to management
complexity. Some factors found through the literature review are only mentioned
in one, or a few articles, and may be lacking in previous research. One method
used to alleviate this limitation is the use of the “list any other source of
dimensional complexity not discussed above”. The basis of the research was to
identify as many factors as possible and discuss them with the project
participants, but it is likely that some factors contributing to complexity may
not be included in the presented research.

Along with the exclusion of
potential complexity factors, the research interviews are limited by the past
experience of the interviewee. Interviewees were selected based on the
presumption that they are qualified to provide significant information, but the
past experience varies with each participant and therefore has the possibility
of affecting the results of the research.

The third limitation is also
based on the participant’s past experience. The comparisons and scoring
conducted during the questionnaire use a subjective methodology. Comparing the
studied project against previous projects is a subjective process and depends
on the past experience of the interviewee. The main results of the
questionnaire are the numerical scoring of each dimension; therefore the
subjectivity of the comparisons is not as crucial. The comparisons merely serve
as talking points for discussing each dimension’s complexity. However, the
numerical scoring of each dimension is also subjective and could vary depending
on who the participant is from the project. Since each dimension is discussed
independently it was advantageous of the research to summarize all of the
dimensions together and assure that the participant is comfortable with their
provided responses. The focus of the research is to analyse which dimensions
provide the most complexity and the use of the summary section allows the
participant to compare each dimension and alter their scoring accordingly.

The research process
conducted relies on case study projects that are deemed to be of a complex
nature. Each case study and interview takes a substantial amount of time and
coordination. Therefore, the results found are limited by the projects studied.
For this type of study it would be difficult to send out a general
questionnaire to many projects and expect an acceptable return rate with
adequate information. The only feasible research approach was found to be the
use of background case study research and in-depth interviews with the
participant, concentrating the results to the individual projects studied.

Adding to the previous
limitation, the results found are limited in their applicability. Each
transportation project is different and is comprised of various components. In
addition, the projects studied are all deemed to be complex and non-complex
projects are not analysed for this methodology. The analysis section discussed
some similarities between the studied projects and recommends that the findings
be used on projects with similar characteristics. However, users of the results
need to be careful when applying management methods used in the
studied projects. The main focus is to determine which dimensions require more
resources to manage and strategies used by the researched projects are not
necessarily appropriate for all complex transportation projects.

The last limitation presented
in this section is the statistical significance of the findings. Subjectivity
is discussed above and leads directly into this limitation. Considering the
limited amount of projects studied and the subjectivity of the participant, the
findings are not subject to validation through testing for statistical
significance. The results are merely reserved for upper level managers to
compare their projects with the cases researched, predict the complexity of
each dimension, and allocate resources accordingly.