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Identifying and assessing complexity emergent behaviour during mega infrastructure construction in Sub-Saharan Africa




Objective: The objective of the article is to identify, assess, and classify complexity indicators based on the impact level of their emergence behaviour during mega infrastructure construction

Research Design & Methods: The study adopted a quantitative methodology using an online questionnaire survey to gather data, analysed using exploratory factor analysis. 

Findings: Task difficulty, dispersed remote teams, multiple project locations, and project scope were identified as structural complexity indicators that surged extreme difficulty. In comparison, project duration, project tempo, construction method, and uncertainty in methods were found to trigger uncertainty during mega infrastructure construction.

Implications & Recommendations: This study lays foundation for theoretical exploration of an important phenomenon in the global economy, i.e. development of mega-infrastructure projects. The contextualization of the study in Sub-Saharan Africa builds knowledge of complexity of such projects in an under-researched context. Practically, the results enable project managers to create tools and frameworks to assess overall project complexity level, evaluate their competence incongruent to the complexity inherent in a project, and select appropriate management strategies that contain complexity effects during infrastructure construction.

Contribution & Value Added: The study provides a foundation for extensive research into infrastructure project complexity in Sub-Saharan Africa. Additionally, it provides insights to businesses willing to explore Public-Private infrastructure initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa.


Project complexity management, project manager, mega infrastruc-ture construction, complexity, Sub Saharan Africa.

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Author Biography

Iliyasu Abdullahi

PhD Candidate in Geohazard and Digital Construction Research Group (University of Nottingham Ningbo, China); MSc Construction Management (2017, Coventry University, United Kingdom); BSc Building (2012, Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria). His research interests include digital technology application in construction, mega infrastructure, project managers, optimization, infrastructure procurement and finance in developing economies, and innovative construction methods.

Michal K. Lemanski

The research expertize of Dr. Lemanski is in international business and management in the context of emerging markets. For his research Dr. Lemanski has been awarded the prestigious awards: National Science Foundation of China, Erste Bank Prize, the City of Vienna Jubilee Funds grant, as well as other research grants and scholarships, and was a finalist for the "Most Promising Scholar" award of the Academy of International Business. His work was published in EBER and other reputable outlets: Cross Cultural and Strategic Management, International Journal of Human Resource Management, Journal of Global Mobility, Progress in International Business, and presented at leading international conferences of the Academy of Management, the Academy of International Business, and the European International Business Academy. Dr. Lemanski has experience teaching at the bachelor, master, and doctoral level, as well as in executive programs. Before joining the University of Nottingham he has taught International Marketing and Strategy at the WU Vienna University of Economics and Business (Austria), and VSE Prague School of Economics (Czech Republic). At the University of Nottingham he has taught courses in International Business, Strategy, Corporate Governance & Restructuring, Business Ethics, and Corporate Social Responsibility.  In years 2016 and 2018 he received professional training in teaching methods at the Harvard Business School, and in year 2020 became a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (Advance HE). At the Nottingham University Business School China he served as a Research Ethics Officer, the Director of the Master Program in International Business, and the Head of Department of the International Business and Management. Currently he is an Elected Member of the Sustainability Committee of his university and represents his institution at the forum of the Champions' Group for the United Nations Principles for Responsible Management Education.

Georgios Kapogiannis

His area of research is on improving collaboration culture in construction projects and AECO enterprises by utilizing or developing new digital integrated digital solutions. He is recognized, result driven world leading expert and researcher in Digital Innovation and Project Management in Architecture, Engineering and Construction sector.


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