A Phase-transition Model of Withdrawal in Construction Dispute Negotiation

Project: Research

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Resolving construction disputes through negotiation remains the most efficient method, as formal proceedings such as arbitration and litigation consume exorbitant resources. Even alternative dispute resolution techniques are largely negotiation assisted by a neural person. However, negotiation has little prospect of success if the disputants do not have the desire to continue—a situation described as “withdrawal” in this study. Previous research suggests that attitude-based decisions, such as withdrawal, often display a sudden phase transition commonly known as a catastrophic jump. Underpinned by the well-established catastrophe theory, this project aims to study withdrawal, first by qualitatively analyzing negotiation cases for the identification of behaviours that characterize withdrawal and its triggering factors. Using these, experiments will be designed to collect data for an impact analysis to confirm the significance of withdrawal. This will be done by examining for the presence of sudden phase transitions through the graphical method of Gilmore. These variables will then be used to develop three-variable catastrophe models for further computational testing. Critical factors triggering withdrawal will also be identified from the confirmed catastrophe models. Implications for dispute management, in particular on the avoidance of withdrawal, will be harvested from the findings.


Project number9041223
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/01/0831/08/11