Challenges of cost management in complex projects

Jaakko Kujala, Tim Brady, Jaakko Putila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Contingency approaches for understanding complexity in projects are intended to help academics and practitioners make distinctions between different types of projects to better understand the relationship between practices and outcomes when applying different project management processes. In this paper, we build on existing research on complex products and systems (CoPS) to address the challenges of managing costs in projects of varying complexity. Based on a qualitative case study, we identify several challenges in performing various cost management functions related to cost estimation, cost control and monitoring, revenue recognition, profitability analysis and margin calculation. The cost management functions are impacted by the large size, complexity, uncertainty and uniqueness of those projects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-58
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Business and Management
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 22 Oct 2014

Bibliographical note

© Copyright for this article is retained by the author(s), with first publication rights granted to the journal. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license (


  • complex projects
  • complex product systems
  • cost management
  • contingency theory


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