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Force Field Analysis

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Force Field Analysis

  1. 1. Force Field Analysis Adapted from Lindsay Serwin,,’s articles.
  2. 2. Force Field Kurt Lewin quot;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)quot;. Puspal 2
  3. 3. Equilibrium Lewin viewed organizations as systems in which the present situation was not a static pattern. But a dynamic balance (quot;equilibriumquot;) of forces working in opposite directions. Puspal 3
  4. 4. Equilibrium Equilibrium is reached when the sum of the driving forces equals the sum of the restraining forces. In order for any change to occur, the driving forces must exceed the restraining forces, thus shifting the equilibrium. Puspal 4
  5. 5. Example The management team in a large government department decided to launch a quality and customer service initiative. They were focusing on what they needed to do to ensure that it was received positively by all in the organization. In a one hour session, they developed the following force field analysis. Puspal 5
  6. 6. Force Field Analysis of this Customer Service initiative Puspal 6
  7. 7. Original Decision: Launch and Train staff. After Force Field Analysis: More emphasis on middle management training and resources. - Example is taken from Lindsay Serwin’s Article Puspal 7
  8. 8. Analysis Procedure Step 1 - Agree and define the current situation and the desired situation Step 2 - Focus on the forces and brainstorm to identify them. Then try to assess their relative strength, marking each out of ten. Puspal 8
  9. 9. Driving Forces Driving Forces - Forces that are pushing in a particular direction; they tend to initiate a change and keep it going. In terms of improving productivity in a work group, pressure from a supervisor, incentive earnings, and competition may be examples of driving forces. Puspal 9
  10. 10. Restraining Forces Restraining Forces - Forces acting to restrain or decrease the driving forces. Apathy, hostility, and poor maintenance of equipment may be examples of restraining forces against increased production. Puspal 10
  11. 11. Tip In most cases it is more effective to focus on trying to reduce the opposing forces rather than trying to strengthen the supporting forces sufficiently to overcome the opposing ones. If you do the latter, then the opposing forces seem to strengthen to match. Puspal 11
  12. 12. Focus on the things that you feel that you can and should change and devise a strategy and plan of action (communications, involvement, training workshops, pressure, etc.) to achieve that. Keep in mind that increasing the driving forces or decreasing the restraining forces may increase or decrease other forces or even create new ones. Puspal 12
  13. 13. Example 2 Consider the dilemma of the new manager who takes over a work group in which productivity is high but whose predecessor drained the human resources. The former manager had upset the equilibrium by increasing the driving forces (that is, being autocratic and keeping continual pressure on subordinates) and thus achieving increases in output in the short run. Puspal 13
  14. 14. However, new restraining forces developed, such as increased hostility and antagonism. At the time of the former manager's departure the restraining forces were beginning to increase and the results manifested themselves in turnover, absenteeism, and other restraining forces. This lowered productivity shortly after the new manager arrived. Puspal 14
  15. 15. Watch out ! Any action can have an. We should equal and opposite always increase reaction in a force field. driving forces Restraining forces can increase equally too! Puspal 15
  16. 16. Now a new equilibrium at a significantly lower productivity is faced by the new manager. Now just assume that our new manager decides not to increase the driving forces but to reduce the restraining forces. The manager may do this by taking time away from the usual production operation and engaging in problem solving and training and development. Puspal 16
  17. 17. In the short run, output will tend to be lowered still further. However, if commitment to objectives and technical know-how of the group are increased, they may become new driving forces in the long run. And also eliminate hostility and apathy that were restraining forces, thus moving the balance to a higher level of output. – Example from Accel-team .com’s article Puspal 17
  18. 18. Puspal 18
  19. 19. Kurt Lewin 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. Puspal 19
  20. 20. END