Impact of Labour Controls on Tipping Point Dynamics in Large Complex Projects

Ying Li, Li Jiang, Timothy R.B. Taylor, David N. Ford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Large, complex development projects are subject to unique risks, including rework and scope increases that can push a project from progressing towards completion past a tipping point to falling farther and farther behind. Previous research demonstrated the potential of rework-induced tipping point dynamics to cause large, complex projects to fail. The impacts of project labour control policies on performance have also been investigated. However, the impacts of project labour controls on tipping point dynamics have not been fully investigated. The current work uses a simulation model to investigate the ability of project labour control actions to respond to tipping point dynamics. A contribution of the current work to the body of knowledge is to develop an improved understanding of the impacts of project labour controls on project tipping point robustness. The work demonstrates the counter-intuitive result that well-intended, reasonable project labour control actions can push a project over a tipping point to failure. Results of project robustness analysis with sensitivity analysis are used to design effective responses to tipping point dynamics. Implications for practice and future research opportunities are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)605-618
Number of pages14
JournalSystems Research and Behavioral Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


  • project labour control
  • rework
  • schedule performance
  • system dynamics
  • tipping point

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • Strategy and Management
  • Information Systems and Management


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