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Kurt Lewin
Kurt Lewin

Developed by Kurt Lewin Force Field Analysis is a tool for analysing the opposing forces involved in change. It can be used at any level (personal, team, organisational) to identify the forces that may work against change initiatives.

Lewin viewed organisations as systems in which the present situation was not a static pattern but a dynamic balance of forces working in opposite directions. In any situation there are both driving forces that push for change and restraining forces that act against change. In order for any change to be successful the driving forces must exceed the restraining forces.

To carry out a Force Field Analysis:

State the current situation
Describe the ideal situation
Identify where the current situation will go if no action is taken
List all the forces driving change toward your ideal situation
List all the forces resisting change toward your ideal situation
Interrogate all of the forces: Are they valid? Can they be changed? Which are the critical forces?
Allocate a score to each of the forces using a numerical scale e.g. (1) extremely weak (10) extremely strong

Chart the forces by listing (to strength scale) the driving forces on the left and restraining forces on the right. The chart allows one to visualise the forces at work and determine whether change is viable and progress can occur

The viability of the change programme can be affected by decreasing the strength of the restraining forces or by increasing the strength of driving forces. Care needs to be exercised when increasing driving forces as this can create new, or increase the strength of existing restraining forces

Further reading

The Memory Jogger II: A Pocket Guide of Tools for Continuous Improvement

The Memory Jogger II: A Pocket Guide of Tools for Continuous Improvement
Michael Brassard

This handy Pocket Guide uses graphics and easy-to-understand text to describe what the tools are, why they’re used, and how to use them. Tools are explained using real-life examples from all types of organisations, making them easy for everyone to understand and apply. The 22 Tools covered are
Activity Network Diagram, Affinity Diagram, Brainstorming, Cause & Effect (Fishbone), Check Sheets, Control Charts, Data Points, Flowchart, Force Field Analysis, Histograms, Interrelationship Digraph (ID), Matrix Diagram, Multivoting, Pareto Chart, Prioritization Matrices, Problem Solving Model, Process Capability, Radar Chart, Run Chart, Scatter Diagram, Team Guidelines, Tree Diagram, Process Decision, Program Chart, Nominal Group Technique (NGT).

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Accel Team
An excellent overview of Force Field Analysis...

Australian Continuous Improvement Group
Brief worked example of a Force Field Analysis - includes a template...

The World Bank Group
Some interesting practical examples showing the wide application of Force Field Analysis including The Status of Primary Education in Bihar State India...







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