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Salient Complexities of Engaging External Consultants in Information Systems Projects

Chipulu, Maxwell; Ojiako, Udechukwu; Thomas, Ashish


Udechukwu Ojiako

Ashish Thomas


Project sponsors have sought to develop the necessary competence to address various challenges they face during project development, implementation and exploitation by employing different initiatives including the engagement and use of external consultants. However, doing so is associated with a number of consequences, including a significant risk of exacerbating project complexities. With this in mind, we set out in this study to examine the salient differences in the key project complexities between projects engaging consultants and those not engaging consultants. Data is obtained from 146 project management practitioners engaged in projects in Canada and the United States. Data analysis is undertaken using 3-way Multidimensional Scaling (MDS). Findings as relates to the key complexities associated with information systems projects, points to the manifestation of six broad dimensions of complexity namely (i) ‘Variety’ (ii) ‘Control’ (iii) ‘Criticality’ (iv) ‘Scope and repetition’ (v) ‘Information’ and (vi) ‘Dependence’. As relates to how consultant engagement changes the salience of these key project complexities, we find that consultant engagement leads to more varied and stronger structural complexity and higher salience of interpersonal and organisational complexity.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 4, 2022
Online Publication Date Nov 23, 2022
Publication Date 2024
Deposit Date Nov 19, 2022
Publicly Available Date Nov 23, 2022
Print ISSN 0018-9391
Electronic ISSN 1558-0040
Publisher Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 71
Pages 5212-5229
Keywords Complexities, consultants, information systems (ISs), projects, salience
Public URL


Salient Complexities Of Engaging External Consultants In Information Systems Projects (accepted version) (764 Kb)

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