Force Field Analysis

What is a Force Field Analysis?

Force Field Analysis is a tool that helps a change practitioner to visually map and analyze the driving and resisting forces behind a project, a decision or initiative. A Force Field Analysis does this identifying two forces that are arranged as opposing forces or as a “force field.” These two forces are driving forces (those that are working in the direction of the change) and resisting and/or restraining forces (those that tend to support the status quo).

Force Field Analysis is a powerful decision-making tool that was originally developed by Kurt Lewin in 1951. Today, the Force Field Analysis model is still used by many organizations for supporting change processes. 

The idea behind Force Field Analysis is that situations are maintained by an equilibrium between forces that drive change and others that resist change. So, for change to happen, the driving forces must be strengthened or the resisting forces weakened.

A Force Field Analysis template in GroupMap helps you to visually map and brainstorm, in real time, the driving and resisting forces around decisions to be made. 

Why do a Force Field Analysis?

When you are making difficult or challenging decisions, using an effective and structured decision-making technique such as the Force Field Analysis can help to improve the quality of your decisions and increase your chances of success.

Conducting a Force Field Analysis will help you to see the bigger picture, to identify and overcome obstacles and to develop a plan which will significantly increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.

Who can use a Force Field Analysis?

Anyone involved in the change implementation process or need to diagnose problems can use the Force Field Analysis. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Human Resources
  • C level suites / executives
  • Teams, departments, sections that are focused on change management
  • Change management consultants 

Use the Force Field Analysis model to help with:

  • Analyzing the balance of power
  • Identifying the key roles involved in decision-making 
  • Identifying who supports and opposes change within the organization
  • Exploring ways to influence those who are against change  
  • Deciding whether to go ahead with a proposed change or not
Related templates
Facilitation tips
References
  • Lewin, Kurt. 1946. “Force Field Analysis.” The 1973 Annual Handbook for Group Facilitators. 111-13.
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Force-field_analysis

Force Field Analysis template

A Force Field Analysis Template  provides a visual representation of the driving forces and restraining forces for and against an initiative, a project or change proposal. 

Common dimensions used for a Force Field Analysis map include:

Driving Forces

What are the creators of change or factors that are driving change to happen or be considered

Examples can include:

Competitive advantage, need for increased productivity, overwhelming customer request, new technologies, internal team requests, new trade or commercial restrictions and requirements, to achieve funding grants & initiatives, etc.

Questions to ask:

  • Why do we need to make these changes?
  • Who is requesting for this change and why?

Restraining Forces

What are the obstacles for change or opposition that is expected to prevent change from happening.

Examples include:

Associated costs for change, opposition from some team members, potential unhappy customers and lost loyalty and revenue, available resources to manage change, time available to make the change/s on time, etc.

Questions to ask:

  • What factors will affect us moving forward?
  • Who will oppose us moving forward or making changes?

The resulting brainstorm allows for scoring to understand how important the forces are and how to address them in a further action plan or SWOT analysis.

How to do a Force Field Analysis

Assemble a small group – between 5 – 9 people – who are directly involved in the change implementation process. 

There are six general steps to completing a Force Field Analysis and the time taken will depend on the organization, the complexity of the forces, the number of people involved, amongst other things.

Tip At the end of the analysis, it is expected that an action plan will be available or is on the list to be developed to progress change for a project or initiative in a successful manner.

Scope

Assess the current situation of the organization in terms of the issue at hand.

Define

Identify what objectives the team would like to gain from conducting this analysis.

Brainstorm

Together with your group, discuss and list all of the driving and restraining forces.

Score

Evaluate the influence of each force by assigning them scores on a matrix that determines their importance.

Report

Report on the outcomes and share the results of the analysis with the rest of the team or company for good communications.

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Save effort, time and money with GroupMap

Whether you have your best minds together in the same room, or distributed around the world, GroupMap’s unique technology allows groups of up to 2000 to submit ideas independently at separate times, from different places, in different timezones. Prevent dominant personalities swaying the group, drowning out the opinions of others – GroupMap allows everyone to brainstorm independently then effortlessly combines that information to reveal the full spectrum of ideas. GroupMap templates keep the objective front and center throughout the session, keeping everyone on task. This ensures the activity identifies actionable issues rather than becoming just a discussion on ideas. GroupMap gives you all the group decision making tools you need to prioritize, decide and take action.

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