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Force Field Analysis

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180 - 3602 - 50 High

Evaluate the factors that will either support or hinder a change in an organisation or entity. 



To analyse the influential forces (or factors) for and against a change process within a team, department, organization, or community.  To identify the relative strength of each of those forces and to develop an action plan to enhance forces for the change and mitigate or manage forces against the change.





    Types of participants: People involved in change process planning & implementation

    Time needed: One half to one day (depending on the nature of the change)

    Pre-Work Required: Prepare the arrows



    1. We want to work on what is called a Force Field Analysis. It was originally developed by Kurt Lewin in the 1950's but only recently been used in planning by business.

    2. The purpose of a Force Field Analysis is to analyse where there is support and where there is opposition to a proposed change. This workshop can be followed by an action plan to increase support and decrease opposition to the change.

    3. Basically, this method looks at the forces that keep a situation stable. This includes forces driving toward change and those opposed to change. We then look at the level of force, the strength and the commitment of the force.



    1. I would like us to spend a few minutes talking about the future of the department. Please take a few minutes and write down 5 practical things that you would like to see in the next 4 years in the department.

    2. I would like you to listen for common themes as we read our lists. Let us go around the room and read one thing from you list. Continue doing this until every one has read their complete list.

    3. What are some themes you heard? Write these on the board or a flip chart.

    4. Read the list on the board. Thinking of the whole group's thinking, are there other things that would be included? Write them on the board.

    Current Situation

    5. I would like us to spend a few minutes looking at the current situation. List on a piece of paper the 5 characteristics of the current situation. I don't want complaints or compliments but as objective as possible descriptive phrases. I also don't want negatives.

    6. I would like to go around the room and list what you have on your list. If what you wanted to say is already said select a different one. On a flipchart list the characteristics of the current situation.

    7. Read the list back to the group. Is there any of this that someone would substantially disagree with?

    - If there is have the person state what they think the situation is. If both statements can be let up leave them.

    - If there are substantial differences clarify the context in which the different statements are being made. One might be true for example of marketing and the other for production.

    8. If no agreement is reached suggest that they both be left up.

    9. Is there any other aspect of the situation that should be included? Add additional information on list .

    The Force Fields
    10. I would like to quote from a book on planning tools. "To be listed appropriately, forces must be those that already exist in the environment, not things that would help or hinder if they were put in place. This is not a decision making tool where you list pros and cons. Once a decision on a goal is made, a force field analysis can help identify those forces that help or hinder implementation."

    11. Divide into teams of 3 to 5 people with a maximum of 5 teams. Individually take a sheet of paper and divide it into two columns. List the forces that are for the change in left-hand column and those against in the right hand column.

    12. As a Team select the 5 to 10 forces for, and 5 to 10 against the change.

    13. In the worksheet, place arrows for each force using a scale of 1 to 5. One is the weakest force and 5 is the strongest force. The direction of the arrow indicates if the force is for (pointing right) or against (pointing left) the change. The length of the arrow indicates how much the force is for or against the change. The P is the power of the force high, medium or low. The C is the level of commitment of the force, high medium or low. (See the attached example.)

    14. Put your work on a flip over sheet. Select a reporter.

    15. You have 45 min. to complete your work.

    16. We want to begin with reports from each of the teams. Who would like to be first?

    17. When all of the reports are complete, begin by identifying forces that are the same. Which of the forces are the same? Mark them with a symbol. You would like to have a maximum of 10 forces for or against the change. You can group them by asking questions like, "Are there two that can go together?".

    18. We want to work in teams again. Each team will take several of the forces and using the insights from the rest of the group determine the force, the power and the commitment of the force. We will then put up the forces on a big sheet of paper so we can see them.

    19. Take 20 minutes. Are there any questions?

    20. After 20 minutes gather the teams together. We would like to hear reports from each of the teams. At the end of each report I will ask for questions of clarity. When all of the reports are complete I will ask where we agree and where we disagree.

    21. At the end of each of the reports ask, "Are there any questions of clarity?"

    22. I will walk through each force and ask if we agree. Where there is disagreement I will mark those and we will discuss them. Walk through each of the forces and ask,

    - Do we agree that this is a force that is (for or against) the change?

    - Do we agree that it is a (one through five) level force?

    - Do we agree that the power of this force is (high, medium, or low)?

    - Do we agree that the commitment to (support or oppose) the change of this force is (high, medium or low)?

    Mark those where there is disagreement.

    23. Where there is disagreement about the force, ask what are the disagreements? Work though the disagreements until there is agreement.


    1. We want to spend just a few minutes reflecting on what has happened. Where were you surprised by what we did today?
    2. What did you like?
    3. What was difficult?
    4. What did you learn?
    5. What is the next steps?


    This is being done at a departmental level but could be done for a company.

    The vision part of this workshop can be done using a vision workshop or the victory circle part of the project planning workshop


    • Forces that help us vs. Forces that Hinder Us, 
    • Pros and Cons, 
    • Things we do well and Things we could do better, 
    • Hopes and Fears
    • Best case scenario and Worst case scenario, 
    • Assets and Liabilities, 
    • Positives and Weaknesses, 
    • Strengths and Weaknesses,
    • Opportunities and obstacles

    See Ingrid Bens reference.


    Follow-Up Required: A plan needs to be developed about how to deal with the forces

    Usual or Expected Outcomes: An analysis of the forces that support and oppose the change process. Each field is assigned figures indicating the power, force and commitment of the force field.

    How success is evaluated: A clear understanding of the forces for and against change is developed.

    Tips for use online

    > create an online board for collaboration 

    > create arrows of different lengths and thicknesses & follow or adapt directions above

    > if the group is larger than 6-8 people begin the brain storming in break out groups and add and build in plenary


    History of Development: The concept of Force Field Analysis was put forth by Kurt Lewin. This version was written by Jon Jenkins. 

    Comments (1) 

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    • For online: use something like a Mural board for group collaboration

      over 2 years ago