|Cover to the 2000 book The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. |
In 2000, the "tipping point" theory was introduced prominently by Malcolm Gladwell in his best-selling book The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference, pictured adjacent, where as the cover indicates, by analogy, just as a one match, lit, in a forest at its critical point in the dry season, can strike off a state-wide fire, which is a type of combustion characterized by the reaction of wood, a hydrocarbon-type of substance such as methane, with oxygen:
so to can one specific human chemical reaction, act, or cultural influence spark a nationwide or worldwide transition or uncontrolled reaction, releasing a larger amount of energy from a tensed-up social structure.
The June 28, 1914 shooting of Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand by the Bosnian Serb student Gavrilo Princip, a member of the Serbain terrorist organization Black Hand, is said to have been the tipping point that, within thirty days, led to a global chain reaction that led to WWI, claiming ten million lives, and followup WWII, claiming another thirty million.  In this sense, the tipping point can be looked on as either the heat of the spark reaction working to catalyze the bigger reaction, thus acting to get the bigger reaction over the activation energy barrier, or as an aspect of collision theory.
Tipping point theory is utilized in the 2010 business theory book Employees First, Customers Second, by Vineet Nayar. 
1. Gladwell, Malcolm. (2000). The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference. Little, Brown and Co.
2. Buchanan, Mark. (2000). Ubiquity: Why Catastrophes Happen (pg. 3). Three Rivers Press.
3. Nayar, Vineet. (2010). Employees First, Customers Second (quote, pg. 165; energy, 11+ pgs.). Harvard Business Books.
● Tipping point (sociology) – Wikipedia.
● The Tipping Point – Wikipedia.