Force field analysis: the driving force for decision-making

By Published On: March 29th, 2020Categories: Blog Post
Force field analysis: the driving force for decision-making

Do you struggle when you have tough decisions to make? Do you continuously fail to change your behavior traits? This is a common problem for many. With force-field analysis, you can assess the tempo of change management on both professional and personal levels.

What are the driving forces which produce positive impacts on your behavior change? What are the restraining forces which hinder your progressive developments?

When you have to make tough decisions, it pays to use an effective, structured, decision-making technique that will improve the quality of your decisions and enhance your chances of success.

What is Force-Field Analysis?

Force field analysis is a technique for outlining and evaluating the forces for and against a situation. It helps you to study all of the forces that have an influence on the current situation which may lead to your future conditions. The force field analysis theory was developed by Kurt Lewin. This analysis focuses on people’s behavior in a social situation. It assesses the total impact of all forces that influence change. Today, force field analysis is a strong tool for measuring change and the occurrence of business growth.

Being a psychologist, Kurt Lewin used it for analyzing individual behavioral changes and the level of its occurrence. He divided forces into two groups; driving forces and restraining forces.

Driving forces are all forces that encourage or promote change. It is the motivational force that puts an individual or an organization into change. Restraining forces are forces against change, they make change more difficult. Increased efficiency, known strength, and skills are an example of driving forces whereas; fear, lack of rewards, and lack of training are an example of restraining forces. If the two groups of forces are the same, then there is no change.

The force field analysis is a useful tool for making decisions by analyzing the forces for and against a change, and for communicating the reasoning behind your decision.

How to use the Force Field Analysis tool?

You can use the force field analysis to assess the level of changes in your business.


Step 1: Define your plan or scheme for change

Describe your aim or vision for change, then use a whiteboard or a sheet of paper, and write it down in a box in the middle of the page.

Step 2: Categorize forces for change

Make a list of forces that are driving change. You have to engage with the extensive thought process to identify these forces. These can be internal or external.

Internal forces could include:

• Non-operational or old-fashioned machinery

• Desires for improving profitability

• Subsiding team morale

External forces could include:

• Uncertain operating environment

• Troublemaking technologies

• Varying population trends

Tip1: Identify all factors that will influence change. To do this, utilize your team members and other related people or experts in your organization.

Tip 2: The following questions may help you to find out forces that will influence change:

• What may be the benefits will the change bring?

• What costs and dangers are involved?

• Who supports the change? Who is counter to it? Why?

• Do you have such resources which will make the change work?

• What business processes will be affected?

Competitive Analysis tools may help you to produce relevant answers.

When you have identified the driving forces that produce desired change, add them to the left-hand side of your force field analysis.

Step 3: Identify restraining forces against change

Internal restrainers could include:

• Fear

• Organizational structure

• Attitudes, stereotypes, and lack of confidence

External forces might be:

• Government legislation pertaining to business laws and tax allocation

• Existing obligations with tie-up organizations

• Commitment toward your customers

You can add these factors to the right-hand side of your force field analysis.

After putting all factors on the right-hand and left-hand columns, score each force according to the degree of influence. For a visual representation of the influence, use bigger arrows for the forces that will have a greater influence on the change, and smaller arrows for forces that will have less influence. To think about which supportive forces you can strengthen and which opposing or resisting forces you can weaken, and how to make the change more positive. Some factors, where you need total certainty in order to make a good decision, don’t fit well with this approach.

force field analysis powerpoint and keynote template

Force field analysis is a psychological tool to analyze behavior change, so, it has several limits while we apply it to fields like business and organizational change. Because, Lewin believed that changes of individuals, “life space” relies upon individual’s internalization of external stimuli into the “life space”. He used theory, mathematics, and common sense to define a force field, and hence to determine the causes of human and group behavior. However, the parameters that have been used for business analysis are well-structured elements to evaluate change occurrence.

Force field analysis can be used to:

• Determine whether the proposed change is practical or not

• Identify hurdles and disadvantages to the desired result

• Help come up with solutions to reduce the influence of the hindrances

Key points

Force field analysis, since it is developed by a psychologist, is more focused on individuals rather than a business. However, it helps you to think about the pressures for and against a decision or a change. If you want to conduct force field analysis, define your plan or proposal on a piece of paper or whiteboard. Then outline all of the driving forces for change in the left-side column, all of the restrainers in the right-side column. Then you put your scores and analyze your current state with strong and weaker forces.

You can use a force field diagram for all kinds of situations, personal or professional. Business and personal life required to make decisions under time stress and extreme pressure. Each and every man is experiencing two major issues in their whole life; one is decision making and the other is problem-solving. Decision making needs extensive thinking and analyzing processes, exploring the root cause of the issue and collecting relevant data, and analyzing future consequences twice.