Kurt Lewin was an American social
psychologist and having contributed to science group dynamics and
action research, he is regarded one of the founders of modern
psychology. But Lewin is
perhaps best-known for developing Force Field Analysis, using
Force Field Diagrams.
According to Kurt Lewin "An
issue is held in balance by the interaction of two opposing sets of
forces - those seeking to promote change (driving forces) and
those attempting to maintain the status quo (restraining forces)".
Lewin viewed organizations as systems in which the present
situation was not a static pattern, but a dynamic balance
("equilibrium") of forces
working in opposite directions. In order for any change to occur, the
driving forces must exceed the restraining forces, thus shifting the
The Force Field Diagram is a model built on this idea that forces -
persons, habits, customs, attitudes - both drive and restrain change.
It can be used at any level (personal, project, organizational, network)
to visualize the forces that may work in favor and against change
The diagram helps its user picture the "tug-of-war" between forces around a given issue.
Usually, there is a planned change issue described at the top, and two columns
below. Driving forces are listed in the left column, and restraining
forces in the right column. Arrows are drawn towards the middle. Longer
arrows indicate stronger forces. The idea is to understand and make
explicit all the forces acting on a given issue.
The Force Field Analysis is a method to:
- investigate the balance of power involved in an issue
- identify the most important players (stakeholders) and target groups
for a campaign on the issue
- identify opponents and allies
- identify how to influence each target group
How to conduct a Force Field
Analysis? Typically the following steps are taken:
1. Describe the current situation - 2. Describe the desired situation - 3.
Identify where the current situation will go if no action is taken - 4.
List all the forces driving change toward the desired situation - 5. List
all the forces resisting change toward the desired situation - 6.
Discuss and interrogate all of the forces: are they valid? can they be changed?
which are the critical ones? - 7. Allocate a score to each of the
forces using a numerical scale e.g. 1=extremely weak and 10=extremely
strong - 8. Chart the forces by listing (to strength scale) the driving
forces on the left and restraining forces on the right. 9. Determine
whether change is viable and progress can occur - 10. Discuss how the
change can be affected by decreasing the strength of the restraining
forces or by increasing the strength of driving forces. 11. Keep in mind that increasing the driving forces or decreasing the restraining forces
may increase or decrease other forces or even create new ones.
Combine with Force Field Analysis: Change
Management Iceberg | RACI |
Change Model Beckhard |
Bases of Social Power |
Changing Organization Cultures
Core Groups |
| Business Process Reengineering
| Kaizen |
of Change |
Root Cause Analysis |
Six Thinking Hats |
Scenario Planning |
Game Theory |
Real Options |
| OODA Loop |
Levels of Culture
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