What is Force Field Analysis?

Force field analysis is another great management model, originally developed by a man by the name of Kurt Lewin in order to come up with a solution for diagnosing new situations. Specifically, the goal was to find creative ways of dealing with the usual resistance to change that is experienced in most professional settings.

The theory assumes that there are two types of forces that influence change, driving and restraining. Driving forces are those that are directing change in a certain direction and usually keep the process of change in motion. Restraining forces usually resist the driving forces and can present themselves in a number of ways, including through lack of enthusiasm, anger, or simple equipment malfunctions.

It becomes necessary to find equilibrium, or balance, between the driving and restraining forces. For example, a person in a management situation may find that being rude, demanding overtime, and having strict rules regarding breaks is a driving force in keeping the department running. Employees, however, become unhappy and resist by calling out sick, returning late from lunch, and by not paying attention to details on their projects.

In order to find balance, you must figure out how to alter the driving forces in a way that will still maintain productivity while reducing the restraining forces as well. Once you’re able to find balance, your employees will be happier and your department will run smoothly again.

Take a close look at your work groups. Have you found the right balance?

Thanks again,


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training   

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Updated on: 19 November, 2008

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