Force Field Analysis is a decision making technique that can be used to analyze the pros and cons of a decision. It looks at forces that are driving or blocking movement toward a goal. Better decisions are made by weighing up the pros and cons, and the greatest overall force wins! Force Field Analysis is widely used in the fields of organizational development, social sciences, process management, and change management.
Force Field Analysis is often used when decision making is hindered by a number of significant points for and against a decision. It could be used to decide whether to go ahead with a change or not. It helps analyzing the opposing forces, and the main goals is to strengthen the forces supporting the change and managing those against it. Force Field Analysis could also be used to identify risks to a planned action and help communicate the reasoning behind the taken decision.
How to Construct a Force Field Diagram:
- Gather the team and describe the intention for decision making.
- Write the decision in a box in the top middle of a paper or white board.
- Draw a line down the middle of the page (either side of the line representing either side of the argument).
- List the helping forces in a column on the left side of the page.
- List the hindering forces in a column on the right side of the page.
- Allocate a score to each of the forces using a numerical scale (e.g. 1: extremely weak and 5: extremely strong).
- Add up the scores of both columns to find out which of them wins.
Questions to Help Identify the Forces Involved:
- What are the benefits?
- What are the costs?
- What must we do to make it work?
- How could it fail?
- What is the best or worst thing that could happen?
- How easy or difficult will it be to implement?
- How long it will take?
- What would happen if the decision was not made?
The following is an example of a Force Field Diagram that was created to decide whether to employ an internal or an external consultants?
- It’s important to identify as many of the factors that will influence the change as you can.
- Each argument or force could be shown on an arrow. The length of each arrow indicates the weight of that force. The total score on one side is then formed by the combination of both the number and weight of forces.
- Where appropriate, involve other people such as experts.
- Care should be taken for factors relating to health and safety before using this technique.