Kurt Lewin was an American social psychologist. He has contributed to science
group dynamics and action research, and he is regarded one of the founders
of modern psychology. But Lewin is perhaps best-known for developing Force
Field Analysis and Force Field Diagrams.
view on organizations
According to Kurt Lewin, an issue is held in balance by the interaction
of two opposing sets of forces. Those seeking to promote change: the driving
forces. And those attempting to maintain the status quo: the 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.
Compare: Catastrophe Theory.
The Force Field Diagram
The Force Field Diagram is a model built on this idea that forces are both
driving and restraining change. These forces include: persons, habits, customs,
and attitudes. A Force Field Diagram 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 to picture the "war"
between forces around a given issue. Usually, a planned change issue is described
at the top. Below this, there are two columns. The driving forces are listed
in the left column, and the restraining forces in the right-hand column. Arrows
are drawn towards the middle. Longer arrows indicate stronger forces. The
idea is to understand, and to make explicit, all the forces acting on a given
Use of the Force Field Analysis method
- 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 you can influence each target group
Steps in a Force Field Analysis? Process
- Describe the current situation.
- Describe the desired situation.
- Identify where the current situation will go if no action is taken.
- List all the forces driving change toward the desired situation.
- List all the forces resisting change toward the desired situation.
- Discuss and interrogate all of the forces: are they valid? Can they
be changed? Which are the critical ones?
- Allocate a score to each of the forces using a numerical scale e.g.
1 is extremely weak and 10 is extremely strong.
- Chart the forces. List the driving forces on the left. And list the
restraining forces on the right.
- Determine whether change is viable and progress can occur.
- Discuss how the change can be affected by decreasing the strength of
the restraining forces or by increasing the strength of driving forces.
- Remember 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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Three Strategic Frameworks (Mulcaster)
Mulcaster (2008) developed 3 strategic frameworks that can be useful both in decision making and in strategy. All three frameworks will be briefly exp...
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Compare with Force Field Analysis:
Change Management Iceberg
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Change Model Beckhard
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