Force Field Analysis Explained with Examples

A force field analysis (FFA) is a strategic procedure for examining a specific situation or issue.

Force field analysis is a technique that is popularly utilized by various social scientists, sociologists, and psychologists. They used this strategy to apprehend human tendencies and behaviors.

It is a systematic approach to understanding human behavior. To explain it easily, this technique will help you recognize what forces are there at play in a particular situation.

It can be a negative or positive force that also has a way of influencing your actions, emotions, and thoughts.

The goal of an FFA is to understand how these forces affect each other and their combined effect on a person’s behavior. This process is known as “field analysis.”

The FFA is based on a model that describes how people behave. It is similar to the way physicists describe the world around them using models such as Newtonian physics.

 Here’s a detailed guide explaining not just the Force Field Analysis with examples but also other aspects connected to it. 

force field analysis by Kurt Lewin Explained

He was a German psychologist and social scientist who played a crucial role in the development of social psychology as what we know today.

He made significant contributions in fields such as group dynamics, leadership theory, and organizational behavior.

Lewin’s work on group dynamics focused on the interaction between individual members within groups. His research helped him develop the concept of field, which he defined as all the factors that influence the behavior of individuals within a particular context.

Lewin also developed the concept of action-reaction pairs, which help explain why certain behaviors occur in specific situations. 

For example, if someone is angry when you criticize his/her performance, this could indicate that there is some kind of tension between the two of you.

In addition to developing the concepts of field and action-reaction pairs for use in social science research, Lewin also introduced the idea of ‘force field analysis.

How Does Force Field Analysis Work?

When we think about the world around us, we tend to focus on the things that happen to us – the events that take place. However, the world is not just about events; it has many different forces acting upon us.

For example, suppose there’s a friend of yours who throw bad remarks about your appearance. You may feel upset because of this criticism. But, you might also feel happy because your friend cares so much about you.

It simply tells you that there are various forces working here between you and your friend such as negative, positive, and neutral forces as well.

Image Source: Creately

These are the forces that can alter over time based on the situations.

When you ask yourself, “Why am I feeling sad today?” you might get answers like: “My boss fired me from my job.”

But if you ask yourself instead, “Why did my friend fire me from my job?” there will be a different answer such as, “I don’t know, but she seems really mad at me right now.”

If you had asked yourself, “Why do I feel sad?” there won’t be an answer for that. It is simply because you didn’t acknowledge any of the forces at play at that time. Instead, you only considered the event (the firing) that took place.

To get a deep understanding of how to force field analysis works, you need to think about the three forces acting on you:

  1. A Positive Force – This force represents a situation or circumstance where you are experiencing positive emotions. In this example, you might be feeling happy because your friend is concerned about you.

2. A Negative Force – This force represents an experience or situation where you are experiencing negative emotions. In this example, that friend criticizes you because he or she is a well-wisher and wants good for you.

3. A Neutral Force – This force represents experiences or situations where you are neither experiencing positive nor negative emotions. In our case, you might be feeling tired after working hard all day.

As you can see, each force has its own strength. When you are experiencing a strong positive force, then you will feel more positive than you normally would.

On the other hand, if you are experiencing a strong negative force, then you will likely feel worse than normal. And, if you are experiencing no force at all, then you won’t feel anything unusual.

What you need to address here is every person has some strengths and weaknesses. And all these will help you understand the emotion and behavior in different situations.

How Can We Use Force Fields To Understand Others Better?

When people interact with one another, they often use words to communicate. Words seem to be the most effective way to communicate. It allows us to express ourselves in ways that we couldn’t otherwise.

But words alone aren’t enough to fully explain someone else’s behavior. That’s why we need to look beyond words when trying to figure out why others act as they do.

For example, suppose that you meet a new acquaintance at a party. You notice that this person is rude and obnoxious towards everyone he meets. How could you possibly explain his behavior?

You might try saying things like, “He must not like anyone. He just acts like that whenever he gets drunk.” Or, “Maybe he was abused by his parents.” But, these explanations are unlikely to help you understand him.

Instead, you should focus on using force fields to analyze his behavior. For instance, you could say, “This guy is probably having a bad day. His boss fired him yesterday, so he feels angry and depressed today.”

In addition to helping you understand his behavior, force field analysis also helps you predict future behaviors. As such, you can avoid being taken advantage of by this person.

In fact, you may even learn something from this interaction!

What Is The Difference Between Forces & Fields?

There are two main differences between forces and fields:

  • Forces are always present. While many people believe that fields exist only when there is some kind of energy, this isn’t true.
  • Forces affect everything around them, while fields don’t.

Let’s go in-depth about both of these concepts.

A force can be defined as a form of energy that moves towards a specific direction or is applied within a said area.

You can take the example of a ball moving downward direction from a slanted area where it exerts a gravitational force on the ground below it. Similarly, a magnet attracts iron filings because of the magnetic force exerted on them.

And an electric current generates an electrical force on nearby objects.

So, you can think of a force as a type of energy that exists everywhere. However, it doesn’t have much effect unless something interacts with it.

But when you talk about the field, it is different. A field is a region where forces are concentrated. In other words, a field is a place where forces are more intense than elsewhere.

For example, if you were standing next to a strong magnet, you would see that its influence extends far beyond the actual size of the magnet itself. This is because the magnet creates a large amount of magnetic force throughout the entire space surrounding it.

As a result, the magnet has a significant impact on anything that happens near it.

Why Do People Use Forces Instead Of Fields To Explain Others Behavior?

People tend to use forces instead of fields because it is much more comprehensible. After all, forces are easy to visualize.

However, this approach often leads to inaccurate conclusions. For example, suppose you have met a new person in a bar. When you question him about what he does, he tells you that he is in the sales department.

But, you know that he actually works for a corporation that manufactures electronic devices. So, why did you lied?

It is simple. He did not want to admit to his mistakes.

By telling you that he works in “sales,” he hoped that you wouldn’t notice that he lied to you. Unfortunately, this approach backfired.

Because you noticed that he lied to you, you now realize that he was trying to hide something. And, since you know that he works for a company that manufactures electronics, you assume that he must be dishonest.

If you had used a force-field analysis instead of a force-based explanation, you might not have come to this conclusion.

Instead, you could have asked yourself whether your friend was lying to you or not.

If so, then you could have investigated further to find out what really happened. You might even have learned something interesting along the way.

In short, using forces to explain others’ behavior is a bad idea. It may lead to incorrect conclusions and assumptions.

What Does The Law Of Attraction Imply About Forces?

There are two types of forces: attractive and repulsive.

Attractive forces attract one another. For example, when magnets attract each other, they create an attractive force between them.

Repulsive forces push away from each other. For example, when you throw a stone in a pond, the stone pushes against the water molecules. As a result, these molecules move away from the rock.

Similarly, when you throw a magnet into a metal box, the magnet creates a repulsive force that pulls the metal box towards it.

How Can You Use These Principles In Your Life?

So, how do you actually utilize this principle and apply it to your practical life for the best results?

Well, first, you need to accept that everything around you is governed by laws. And, second, you need to figure out how to identify those laws.

Once you do that, you can begin to implement these principles into your life. For example, the law of attraction can be used to make better choices.

This means that you should focus more on positive thoughts than negative ones. After all, if you think positively, you will feel good. And, as a result, you are going to act positively.

On the other hand, if you think negatively, you will feel bad. And, as a consequence, you will act negatively.

Another example involves relationships.

For instance, if you want your relationship to work, you should focus on the things that you like about your partner.

As a result, you will feel attracted to your partner. And, because you feel attracted to her, she will feel attracted to you.

As a result, you will both feel happy. Now, you don’t need to wait until you get married to take advantage of these principles.

These can be used at any point in your life or anytime to improve.

However, if you are looking for love, it would probably help if you focused on the qualities that you admire most about someone else.

Why Is It So Hard To Learn How To Use Laws?

The reason why it is difficult to learn how to use laws is that people tend to ignore their existence.

They believe that nothing exists beyond matter.

However, as we discussed earlier in this video, everything around us is governed by laws. In fact, some scientists say that every single thing in our universe is governed by at least one law.

So, if you want to make necessary changes to your day-to-day life, you need to understand the laws governing it.

If you don’t know how to apply these laws, you will be limited to doing only what you already know.

But, if you learn how to apply these laws to your life, you will have the ability to succeed more in life than you ever thought.

Force Field Analysis Process

Brainstorm Potential Forces Within Organization

You have to brainstorm the potential forces within the company which might be either for or against it.

The first thing to do is to make sure that you have a good understanding of what you are doing and why you are doing it so that you can be confident in your decision-making process. This will help you prevent any grave mistakes to do.

The next thing you need to do is figure out what forces are with you and which are against you.

After that, you must figure out which forces are stronger and which forces are weaker.

Finally, you must decide whether or not you want to continue moving forward or whether you want to backtrack and try something different.

Assessment Of the strengths of Acting forces

Now, you examine the strength of all those forces that are working in your life, for or against.

You need to figure out what the strongest and weakest forces is? How does this impact you? And how does it make you feel?

The next step is to identify what is causing these forces and how they might be affecting you.

  • What are the causes of the strongest and weakest forces?
  • What is the effect of this on you? How do you react to it?
  • Now, you need to assess the relative strengths of all of the forces that are affecting you.
  • How do we identify the stronger and weaker forces?
  • Which ones are more significant? Which ones are less significant?

In addition, you need to consider how these forces are affecting you.

Are these helping you or hurting you? If you find yourself struggling to answer these questions, then you should ask yourself why you are struggling.

Once you understand the answers to these questions, you will be able to easily determine which force field analysis steps to take.

For example, if you are trying to lose weight, you may notice that there are many forces working against you.

It is also noticeable that some particular foods apparently trigger cravings.

It is important you try to find new ways to reduce the power of those food cravings. This will help you to lose weight without giving too much work to eating healthy.

When you get into the habit of thinking about the forces that are working against you

You need to put the forces in the force field diagram. The length of the arrow you decide for each one must be proportional to the forces it denotes.

Image Source: Creately

Describe how to Boost the forces for the change and Control The One Against It

If you are going to use a strong force, be sure that your opponent can’t get out of its way. If they do, then you have not used enough force.

Usually, if someone wants to win an argument, they need to convince people who disagree with them. There is no need for persuasion. The agreement is given.

How Do You Apply Force Fields To Your Life?

In order to apply force fields to your life, you need three basic things:

  •  A clear vision of where you want to go.
  •  Having the right tools will help you to get what is required.
  •  An understanding of how these laws govern the universe.

And with all these three, you can start using force fields to move closer to your goal.

Let’s look at an example.

Your boss doesn’t like you because he thinks that you’re lazy. Your family members think that you’re lazy too. Some friends think that you’re lazy. Some other friends think that you’re smart.

And, some strangers think that you’re smart too. Now, let’s suppose that you’ve identified all of these forces.

What do you do next? Well, you need to find out which forces are stronger than others.

For instance, if your boss thinks that you’re lazy, then he may try to stop you from taking action.

On the other hand, if your family members think that you are lazy, they may encourage you to take action.

You see, each person has his own set of beliefs about what is going on in the world.

These beliefs influence the way that people act. It’s important to remember that everyone has his own set of values. Values are just the rules and regulations that guide your behavior in the right ways.

People who believe in similar values tend to behave similarly. People who share dissimilar values tend to behave differently.

This means that you may need to consider both sets of beliefs before making decisions.

How to Conduct a Force Field Analysis? 

The analysis should be done in small groups of five to nine people during the change implementation process.

It’s essential that everyone else who feels the change knows about it.

It is important to keep things up to date and remain involved in crucial processes such as planning, strategizing, and decision-making from early on.

This will also help you get the support, commitment, and involvement that is required to fulfill the goals.

To get the most out of a meeting, be prepared with force field analysis worksheets before the meeting begins.

You can either use the worksheet as a paper-based one, or you can use the Creately template to get started right away.

All you have to do is mention the email address of all the involved individuals in the project, and that will give them access to edit or review the document. There is no need to create a new group for that.

There are plenty of pre-existing groups you can join. Just get yourself started with many existing communities available there. There are numerous resources available online. You can start there too.

They are great resources. You should definitely check them out.

You can use it to keep track of what you have done and what you are planning to do. It is best for keeping track of aligned tasks and projects.

Step 1: Assess the current situation

Identify the most appropriate response to meet these needs, including identifying the right people who can help with this.

You can begin the session with a discussion about company situations with the people involved and responsible.

This includes determining where you are at right now, the challenges you are currently facing because of the problem you are trying to solve (and the reactions of the people involved), and so on.

It’s important to clarify where you’re going or the desired state you’d like to achieve with the initiative before starting. At the same time as considering what will happen if you don’t take action to change the situation, think about what will happen if you fail to act.

A quick SWOT analysis always comes in handy to get an idea of what strengths you can use on your behalf to beat the odds or resolve the current problem.

Then, it also tells you which weakness you need to work on to achieve future growth in the right direction.

Step 2: Define the objective 

The next step is identifying the expected outcomes of the change initiative. When you’ve clearly defined your goals, write them inside the box at the top of the template provided above (see image).

Step 3: Identify the driving forces

These are basically the forces that are the causes behind an event or the factors that help achieve a goal

These are called positive factors. They include factors like technological advancements, changing industry trends and increasing competition, customer or shareholder opinions, incentives, etc.

Your task here is to brainstorm as many potential driving factors as possible with your team and list them in their corresponding fields in the Worksheet

You can always ask others outside the team for help if you need it. They’re experts in their field, so they may know something you don’t know.

Step 4: Identify the restraining forces

These are the things that will prevent you from achieving success. They tend to limit their impact by limiting the variables they can control.

The list of forces opposing change should be listed in one of the columns on the left side of the worksheet.

When making decisions regarding which factors to include in a force field analysis and which ones to leave out, you should always keep in mind not to be subjective.

Step 5: Evaluate the forces

You can evaluate the importance of each force by giving each one a score. For example, if you think that gravity is the most important force, you might give it a high score.

Assign each force a score from 10 to 1 for its impact on the proposed change initiative. For example, if you’re talking about a person who has a strong personality, you might say that they have

You can also assess the forces by focusing on their effect. To help you decide which forces to use, we’ve assigned each force a score. You can see these scores.

You can decide whether they’re viable by considering their effects on the system. 

You can discuss how to affect the forces that are working against change: you can strengthen the motivating forces by weakening the restraining forces.

Step 6: Create an action plan 

Depending on how you want to strengthen driving forces and weaken restraining forces, you can develop a short-term action plan.

This is going to help you to get things done by the respected person who is responsible for it with available resources and given deadlines.

Force Field Analysis Examples

Losing Weight

Image Source: 24point0

Some people may find starting an exercise program difficult because they don’t want their current lifestyle to change.

In such situations, a force field analysis diagram can help you. Listing the advantages and disadvantages of losing weight will help you decide whether or not to lose weight.

Upgrading Hospital Equipment

Image Source: Edraw

 Sometimes hospitals run into the problem of having to upgrade their medical equipment for patient needs. But the cost of changing equipment comes with a price tag.

The costs associated with purchasing, training employees for operating new machines, and the disruption during operation, etc., 

This Force Field Analysis Diagram shows all the forces that must be considered when designing a Libra-shaped object.

More To Explore:

Was this article helpful?