Force Field Analysis
The force field analysis is an important decision-making tool used by organizations to determine the impact and influence of different factors on business processes before making changes. This method is used to assign values to the driving forces and restraint forces listed in a change proposal once the goals and objectives are determined.
After examining the values for the factors that are driving or restricting the change, force field analysis should produce a recommendation either to strengthen the Forces for Change or to weaken the Forces against Change. This recommendation can be used by businesses to decide whether a change is worth implementing.
Lewin’s Force Field Analysis: Development
Kurt Lewin is a German-American psychologist who developed the force field analysis. This concept was used by Lewin in his social psychology work, to determine the external and inner factors that influence a decision. In Resolving social Conflicts he says: “To achieve any change, it is necessary to upset the balance of forces that maintain the self-regulation in society at a certain level”.
This method is based on the idea that in order for a change to be implemented, driving force must be greater than restraint forces. This concept can be used by businesses to evaluate such factors prior to modifying processes in order improve operations.
It is a powerful tool for decision making because it allows you to see the various factors that surround the change. The analysis also considers the impact these factors have on the final decision. This concept has many other benefits.
- Encourages collaboration by having more than one person involved in determining benefits and challenges for a proposed change
- Analyzes all factors in relation to the proposed change and provides a high level overview.
- It is easier to evaluate by using a method of scoring that can be easily quantified.
How to Conduct an Analysis of the Force Field: A Step by Step Guide
Remember to keep everyone in sync by allowing each person to add the elements they feel are important, as well as other factors that might not be immediately apparent. Follow this guide to conduct your force field analysis:
Step 1: Describe the proposed change
Begin the analysis by stating your proposed change, listing the elements and the objectives. It would be easier to determine how best to address the problem. As this method is intended to improve an existing process, it would be wise to acknowledge the potential consequences of not making the change.
Step 2: Identify the driving forces
List all the reasons why you should implement the change. Keep everyone informed and have a brainstorming session with your team to share the driving factors. List as many reasons as you can to establish the need for a change. Place each factor on the left side of the diagram.
Step 3: Identify the restraining force
This is the next step after the second. Here you will list all the things that are against the change. Include as many factors possible to allow them to be evaluated objectively and proactively. Place the factors you have identified on the diagram’s right side.
Step 4: Incorporate scores
In this step, assign a score for each factor. Scores can be assigned to each factor depending on who is using them, but most often, scores are given between 1-5 or 1-10. 1 being the lowest score and 5 or 10, the highest. Remember to be cautious with the way the scores are correlated to the values of the factors, as the scoring can be subjective. You should also get the perspective of your teammates on how each factor is going to be scored.
Step 5: Calculate, analyze and apply
After you have given each factor a score, you can add them all up to find out which side is more important. This type of analysis is designed to make sure that the driving force will be greater than the restraint forces in order to implement a change.
You can implement the change if the forces of change total higher.
You can think of ways to either strengthen or weaken the forces that are resisting change . It may be better to delay or cancel the plan and find other ways to meet the identified need for a change.