People and major projects are vitally important to the future of Qatar. The development of methodologies is important to the research community. This study brings together people, megaproject and research methodology by investigating in detail the interactions of people and project management systems at the conceptual cost estimate stage in order to identify implications and improvements. The research problem has a number of distinct dimensions; technical and human aspects operate and interact at the different levels of the individual, project team, organization and society. In addition, external factors, the nature of the project and the approach to project management also impact on the events and interactions involved. The problem situation generates the following objectives; to identify the technical and people factors and issues influencing the preparation and application of conceptual cost estimates, to understand how these factors interact, to ascertain the relative importance of different factors at different levels and to assess the implications for theory and practice of project management. The study will investigate: how conceptual cost estimates are currently produced and used in practice, including estimating techniques and software used; what factors influence their use, in particular factors related to people; how these factors interact and which exert more influence on the process; and finally, the theoretical and practical implications of this study for communities of practice, project management practitioners and academics. A wide-ranging literature review uncovered the complexity of the field. It also highlighted the need for an innovative approach to methodology, involving activity theory at the data collection stage and grounded theory and human factors error analysis as well as activity theory at the data analysis stage in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses of these different analyses in terms of the information they yield. It is argued that in management research, new insights require creative yet academically robust approaches that address multiple dimensions and perspectives of the complex and often ambiguous socio-cultural contexts situations they seek to analyse. The data analysis in this study will view the findings through a variety of theoretical lenses in a novel approach to capturing complexity.


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