Contractual Complexity in Construction Projects: Conceptualization, Operationalization, and Validation

Wenqian Wang, Yongqiang Chen, Shuibo Zhang, Yu Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Building on the multifunctional perspective from current contract theory, we conceptualize contractual complexity as a three-dimensional construct to depict the explicitness and elaborateness of control, coordination, and adaptation provisions in a construction project contract. A 13-item scale with construction project features is developed for measuring the different aspects of contractual complexity following rigorous scale development procedures. Using the structural equation modeling technique, empirical testing results demonstrate that all of the three components contribute significantly to contractual complexity. Further analysis indicated that treating contractual complexity in the three-functional way outperforms the unidimensional one regarding power to explain satisfaction and strong-form opportunism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-61
Number of pages16
JournalProject Management Journal
Issue number3
Early online date21 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018

User-Defined Keywords

  • contractual complexity
  • contractual functions
  • scale development
  • transaction cost economics


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