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Analyzing Change Factors

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Force Field Analysis

Summary of Lewin's Force Field Analysis. Abstract

Kurt Lewin

1890-1947

Force Field Diagram LewinKurt 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 equilibrium.


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 initiatives. 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 FFA 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 FFA? 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
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Combine with Force Field Analysis: Change Management Iceberg  |  RACI  |  Change Model Beckhard  |  Bases of Social Power  |  Crisis Management  |  Changing Organization Cultures  |  Core Groups  |  Planned Behavior  |  Business Process Reengineering  |  Kaizen  |  Dimensions of Change  |  Root Cause Analysis  |  Brainstorming  |  Six Thinking Hats  |  Scenario Planning  |  Game Theory  |  Real Options  |  Kepner-Tregoe Matrix  |  OODA Loop  | Levels of Culture

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