Force Field Analysis

Force Field Analysis

A Force Field Analysis is a decision making technique that can be used to analyze the pros and cons of any decision. It looks at the forces that are either driving or blocking movement toward making a decision. Better decisions are made by weighing up the pros and cons then determining the force that will win. This technique is widely used in the fields of organizational change and development, business process management, and social and cultural sciences.

Force Field Analysis is often used by leaders and change agents to analyze the pros and cons of any organizational decision. It may also be used when decision making isn’t going well, or to explain the reasons behind the taking a decision. By analyzing both the helping and the hindering forces, decision makers can make more intelligent business decisions in a team-oriented manner.

An example in which this technique can be used is deciding whether to move ahead with a change proposal or not. Another example is deciding whether to employ an internal or an external consultant, or deciding whether to install a new machinery in a production line.

How to Construct a Force Field Diagram

Force Field Analysis
  • In your team, describe the decision that needs to be made.
  • Write the decision in a box at the top middle of a flipchart paper or whiteboard.
  • Draw a line from the box down the middle of the paper.
  • List all possible helping forces left to the line. Then list all possible hindering forces right to the line.
  • Allocate a numerical score to each force indicating its significance (e.g. from 1 to 5).
  • Add up the scores of both lists to find out which force wins. Actions should be taken where forces are greater.

Many questions can be used to help identify the forces involved. Some of the questions might be: What are the benefits and the costs? 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 must be done to make it work? How could it fail? What would happen if the decision was not made?

There are many tools that can help you to analyze the pros and cons of any decision. The simplest way is to use this force field analysis template.

Example

The following is an example of a force field diagram that was created to decide whether to implement a content management system in a company or not.

Further Information

  • Try to identify as many of the factors as possible.
  • The length or thickness of each arrow may indicate the weight of the force.
  • Care should be taken for factors related to environment, health and safety.

Other Formats

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