Program Management

Force Field Analysis

A Force Field Analysis (FFA) provides a framework for looking at the factors (forces) that influence a situation.  It looks at forces that are either driving the movement toward a goal (helping forces) or blocking movement toward a goal (hindering forces). FFA is a concept that was developed by Kurt Lewin in 1943 as a method by which to analyze situations. [1]

Definition: A Force Field Analysis (FFA) is a tool used to look at competiting factors (forces) that influence situations to help with decision making.

Philosophy of Force Field Analysis (FFA)

The philosophy of using a Force Field Analysis is that it shows an equilibrium between forces that drive change and forces that resists change. For any type of change to occur, the driving forces must be strengthened or the resisting forces weakened. See the FFA Diagram below.

The developer of FFA, Kurt Lewin,  views culture as being in a state of equilibrium and used FFA to analyze it. He states, “To bring about any change, the balance between the forces which maintain the social self-regulation at a given level has to be upset”. The tool can be used from a social, personnel, or business perspective.

Purpose of Force Field Analysis (FFA)

Program Managers (PM) can use a Force Field Analysis to help determine the best approach to a situation. It can strengthen the forces supporting a decision and reduce the impact of opposition to it.

Force Field Analysis (FFA) 6 Steps

There are six steps to the FFA diagram:

  • Step 1: Describe your plan or proposal for change in the middle
  • Step 2: List all forces for change in one column, and all forces against change in another column
  • Step 3: Check to see if some forces have common themes
  • Step 4: Assign a score to each force, from 1 (weak) to 5 (strong).
  • Step 5: Add the scores up and mark them on the diagram
  • Step 6: Discuss how the change would have an influence. Does it strengthen or weakne the sititaion?

Worksheet: Force Field Analysis Worksheet

Force Field Analysis (FFA) Example

Below is an example of a FFA where the “force for change” were placed in the left column, and the “forces against change” were placed in the right column.  It provides a visual representation of which factors are working against a desired outcome. A “proposal for change” is placed in the middle of the forces.

Force Field Analys

Figure: Force Field Analysis Diagram

Advantages of Force Field Analysis (FFA)

Some of the advantages of using a FFA are:

  • It examines the whole situtaion
  • The analysis is clear to understand
  • It shows teh risk of any change
  • Everyone can be invloved in determing strengths and weaknesses
  • Helps with decision making

Disadvantages of Force Field Analysis (FFA)

Some of the disadvantages of using a FFA are:

  • Subjective to peoples scoring sysytem
  • It takes time to develop
  • No the best over overly complicated situtaions with lots of variables

AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 7/3/2021

Rank: G20

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