Social psychologist Kurt Lewin developed the force-field analysis in the 1940s. The force-field analysis is a decision-making tool used to quantify factors that support or oppose a change initiative. Lewin argued that businesses contain dynamic and interactive forces that work together in opposite directions. To institute successful change, the forces driving the change must be stronger than the forces hindering the change.
|1. Identify the Driving Forces (DF)||Force-Field Analysis begins by identifying the driving forces that support the desired change or goal.||– List and describe factors, individuals, or elements that are pushing for or advocating the change. – Consider both internal and external drivers of change.||– Provides clarity on the positive forces that are propelling the change or goal forward. – Helps in understanding and harnessing supportive factors.||– Identifying factors that encourage employees to adopt new technology in a workplace. – Recognizing external market trends that favor a product launch.||Driving Forces Example: Employee enthusiasm and increased customer demand for a new product.|
|2. Identify the Restraining Forces (RF)||Identify the restraining forces that act as barriers or obstacles to the desired change or goal.||– List and describe factors, individuals, or elements that are resisting or hindering the change. – Identify potential sources of resistance and barriers to change.||– Highlights the negative or inhibiting forces that oppose the change or goal. – Identifies potential challenges and barriers to be addressed or mitigated.||– Recognizing employee resistance to a new organizational structure. – Identifying regulatory hurdles that may impede a project’s progress.||Restraining Forces Example: Employee fear of job insecurity and regulatory compliance challenges.|
|3. Assign Weights and Scores (WS)||Assign weights or scores to both driving and restraining forces based on their perceived significance.||– Rate each driving force and restraining force on a numerical scale (e.g., 1 to 5) to reflect their impact or importance. – Consider the relative strength of each force.||– Quantifies the relative influence of each force in the analysis. – Provides a basis for prioritizing forces and determining their net effect.||– Assigning weights to factors affecting the success of a strategic project. – Scoring the importance of various stakeholders’ opinions in a decision-making process.||Weight and Score Example: Giving a driving force a score of 4 and a restraining force a score of 3 based on their relative impact.|
|4. Calculate the Net Force (NF)||Calculate the net force by subtracting the total score of restraining forces from the total score of driving forces.||– Sum up the scores of all driving forces. – Sum up the scores of all restraining forces. – Subtract the total restraining force score from the total driving force score.||– Provides a quantitative measure of the overall strength of forces driving or restraining the change or goal. – Indicates whether the net force favors the desired change or opposes it.||– Calculating the net force for a project’s success based on the weights and scores of various influencing factors. – Assessing the net force for a company’s decision to enter a new market, considering both market opportunities and risks.||Net Force Calculation Example: Total driving forces score of 18 minus total restraining forces score of 10 results in a net force of 8 in favor of the change.|
|5. Analyze the Balance and Implications (BI)||Analyze the balance between driving and restraining forces and consider the implications for decision-making.||– Evaluate whether the net force is positive (favoring the change) or negative (opposing the change). – Examine the strength of the net force in relation to the significance of the change or goal.||– Helps in decision-making by indicating whether the forces are aligned or in conflict. – Guides strategies to strengthen driving forces or address restraining forces.||– Assessing whether the forces favor the adoption of a new organizational culture. – Determining whether market conditions support the launch of a new product.||Balance Analysis Example: Recognizing that the net force is strongly positive, indicating strong support for the change.|
|6. Develop Action Plans and Strategies (AP)||Based on the analysis, develop action plans and strategies to leverage driving forces and mitigate restraining forces.||– Formulate specific actions, initiatives, or interventions to strengthen driving forces. – Identify measures to address or mitigate the impact of restraining forces.||– Guides the development of strategies to maximize support and minimize resistance to change or the achievement of a goal. – Supports the implementation of targeted actions to achieve the desired outcome.||– Developing a change management plan to enhance employee buy-in and engagement. – Creating a marketing strategy to address customer concerns and barriers to product adoption.||Action Plan Example: Implementing a training program to enhance employee skills and reduce resistance to a new technology.|
Perform a Force-Field Analysis
Understanding the force-field analysis
Lewin argued that businesses contain dynamic and interactive forces that work together in opposite directions.
To institute successful change, the forces driving the change must be stronger than the forces hindering the change.
Importantly, change can be achieved by either strengthening a driving force or weakening a hindering force.
These factors are central to the force-field analysis because driving and hindering forces in equilibrium cause a business to remain stationary or stagnant.
Indeed, Lewin noted in 1948 that “to bring about any change, the balance between the forces which maintain the social self-regulation at a given level has to be upset.”
Moving through the force-field analysis process
Businesses wanting to conduct a force-field analysis should move through these steps:
Define problem and key stakeholders
Start by defining the problem and the desired future state by inviting key stakeholders to come together.
Then, generate a list of driving and hindering forces
To stimulate idea generation, consider those who support or oppose the change, and give potential reasons for both arguments.
It’s also helpful to define a broader project’s risks, constraints, and benefits.
Most importantly, the business must have adequate resources to see the process through to completion.
Organize the driving forces on a sheet
With the list of forces, write the driving forces on the left-hand side of a sheet of paper.
Write the hindering forces on the right, with the proposed change occupying the center.
Rate each force on a scale to assess their validity
Most businesses use a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is a weak force, and 10 is a strong force.
Then, sum the ratings of both the left and right-hand sides to determine whether driving forces or hindering forces are in control.
Assess change viability and take action
When instituting change, it is usually more cost-effective to weaken hindering forces than it is to strengthen driving forces.
For example, suppose locations with cool summers and high transport costs hinder the expansion of an ice cream business.
In that case, forces could be weakened by expansion into warmer climates in closer proximity.
Simultaneously strengthening driving forces and weakening hindering forces is also an effective strategy.
Common examples of driving and hindering forces
In the force-field analysis, driving forces that encourage change by supporting a goal or objective include:
- Fluctuating market conditions.
- Technology and innovation.
- Increased competition.
- Incentives, rewards, or bonuses.
- External factors such as politics, trade agreements, and shareholders.
Conversely, hindering forces that inhibit progress toward a goal include:
- Fear of failure.
- Outdated or inflexible management style or culture.
- Unsuitably qualified or skilled employees.
- Environmental or economic regulation.
Force-Field Analysis Case Study
As an example of a force field analysis, imagine an internal analysis of the factors affecting a company’s adoption of a new marketing strategy to understand what forces can be leveraged to enhance the strategy.
Some of these driving forces might include factors such as the potential for increased revenue and market share, top management’s support, and the strategy’s alignment with the company’s overall goals.
The restraining forces might include increased costs, employees’ resistance to change, and potential adverse effects on the company’s reputation.
Based on the results of the force field analysis, the company might decide to focus on strengthening the driving forces and mitigating the restraining forces to successfully implement a more effective marketing strategy.
For instance, the company by providing additional training to employees to help them understand and support the new strategy and communicate the benefits of the new strategy to key stakeholders to gain their support.
And develop strategies to address those factors and successfully implement the change.
Additional Case Studies
Example 1: Implementing a Remote Work Policy
- Improved employee morale and job satisfaction.
- Access to a broader talent pool not restricted by geographical location.
- Cost savings on office utilities and rent.
- Flexible schedules leading to increased productivity.
- Lack of face-to-face communication may hamper team cohesion.
- Potential security risks with home networks.
- Difficulty in monitoring employee performance.
- Some roles may not be suitable for remote work.
Example 2: Launching a New Product Line
- Potential to tap into a new market segment.
- Increase in overall company revenues.
- Competitive advantage if the product is innovative.
- Enhanced brand visibility and reputation.
- High initial investment and R&D costs.
- Risk of product failure if not accepted by the target audience.
- Training staff to produce, market, and support the new product.
- Potential cannibalization of existing products.
Example 3: Adopting Green and Sustainable Business Practices
- Positive brand image and increased customer loyalty.
- Cost savings in the long run due to energy efficiency.
- Access to tax incentives and grants.
- Moral responsibility to protect the environment.
- High initial investment in sustainable infrastructure.
- Resistance from stakeholders used to traditional methods.
- Short term increase in operational costs.
- Potential need for retraining staff.
Example 4: Expanding Business Internationally
- Access to larger markets and increased customer base.
- Diversification of revenue streams.
- Learning from international best practices.
- Enhanced global reputation and brand recognition.
- Navigating different regulatory and cultural landscapes.
- High costs associated with international expansion.
- Potential language and communication barriers.
- Risk of business failure in unfamiliar markets.
Example 5: Upgrading to a New Technology System
- Increased efficiency and productivity.
- Competitive advantage with state-of-the-art technology.
- Better data analytics and insights.
- Enhanced customer experience.
- High costs of purchasing and implementing new technology.
- Downtime during the transition period.
- Resistance from employees used to the old system.
- Training costs and potential for errors during the learning phase.
- The basic premise of the force-field analysis is that counterbalancing forces enhance the status quo in business operations, thereby inhibiting change.
- The force-field analysis argues that driving forces encourage change while hindering forces discourage change. When the two forces are in equilibrium, a business must weaken hindering forces or strengthen driving forces – or a combination of both.
- In the force-field analysis, common driving forces include innovation and increased competition. Common hindering forces include a lack of resources, regulation, and an outdated management structure.
- Force-Field Analysis: A decision-making tool developed by Kurt Lewin to quantify factors that support or oppose a change initiative in a business.
- Dynamic and Interactive Forces: Lewin argues that businesses have opposing forces that work together, and for successful change, driving forces must be stronger than hindering forces.
- Change Implementation: Change can be achieved by either strengthening driving forces or weakening hindering forces to disrupt the equilibrium that maintains the status quo.
- Steps of the Analysis:
- Define the problem and involve key stakeholders.
- Generate a list of driving and hindering forces by considering supporters and opposers of the change and identifying risks, constraints, and benefits.
- Organize driving forces on the left and hindering forces on the right, with the proposed change in the center.
- Rate each force on a scale and sum the ratings to determine the dominant forces.
- Assess change viability and take action by weakening hindering forces or strengthening driving forces.
- Driving Forces: Encourage change and support the desired goal, such as recruitment, market conditions, technology, competition, incentives, and external factors like politics and trade agreements.
- Hindering Forces: Inhibit progress toward the goal, like fear of failure, inflexible management, costs, unqualified employees, and regulations.
- Force-Field Analysis Case Study: An example of a company’s internal analysis to adopt a new marketing strategy and identify driving and restraining forces to prioritize strategy execution.
- Importance: The force-field analysis helps businesses understand the factors influencing change, enabling them to develop strategies to address hindering forces and leverage driving forces for successful implementation.
How do you perform a Force-Field analysis?
To perform a force-field analysis, perform the following steps:
What is Force Field Analysis with example?
The Force-Field analysis is used to identify the forces driving or restraining a change or decision. That is based on the idea that change is driven by a balance of forces and that to implement a change successfully, the driving forces must be strengthened, and the restraining forces must be weakened. Take the example of a company that identifies forces behind increased revenue and market share, top management’s support, and the strategy’s alignment with the company’s overall goals, thus enhancing or restructuring its marketing strategy.
Connected Analysis Frameworks
Related Strategy Concepts: Go-To-Market Strategy, Marketing Strategy, Business Models, Tech Business Models, Jobs-To-Be Done, Design Thinking, Lean Startup Canvas, Value Chain, Value Proposition Canvas, Balanced Scorecard, Business Model Canvas, SWOT Analysis, Growth Hacking, Bundling, Unbundling, Bootstrapping, Venture Capital, Porter’s Five Forces, Porter’s Generic Strategies, Porter’s Five Forces, PESTEL Analysis, SWOT, Porter’s Diamond Model, Ansoff, Technology Adoption Curve, TOWS, SOAR, Balanced Scorecard, OKR, Agile Methodology, Value Proposition, VTDF Framework, BCG Matrix, GE McKinsey Matrix, Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model.