The Force Field Analysis Model is one of the most famous in change management. It was originally developed by Kurt Lewin and can be found in Chapter 5 at the end of the chapter (printed page 151). Review this model and relate it to an issue in your organization or your associations outside of work. Define how understanding the “forces for” and the “forces against” inter-relate. What insights did you get from the analysis?
Class: In previous discussions, we have been exploring the pressures (forces) driving change, and also the barriers that hold change back. In this discussion, we will look at a model that combines both forces for change, and the barriers that hold back change (the “Force Field” model), originally developed by Lewin. Let’s being with practical application: Review the model and relate it to an issue in your organization or your associations outside of work. Define how understanding the “forces for” and the “forces against” inter-relate. What insights did you get from the analysis?
The Force Field analysis method does not just identify a list of driving forces and restraining forces. Sometimes the list can get rather lengthy, and can seem overwhelming. The Force Field model is useful in helping to sort all of this out, by identifying and ranking all of the driving and restraining forces, and helping managers to focus on the forces that are having the greatest impact on the business. The real power of this tool is in the focus that it can provide, instead of trying to change too many things at one time.
In terms of the illustration of driving and restraining force, it is crucial for an organization to evaluate each pros and cons in terms of the driving and restraining force. I state this because analyzing the pros and cons effective strategies can become efficient in terms of decreasing the affect of the opposing force and bolster the supporting force. Forces to remember in terms of organizational interaction, attitudes of individuals, organization structure and relationships.
The Force-Field Analysis Model identifies the driving forces (“forces for”) and restraining forces (“forces against”) of change to implement change (Palmer, Dunford, and Akin, 2009). This method helps the organization look at the big picture, evaluate the pros and cons of the change, and then identify opportunities to strength the driving forces while weakening the restraining forces (Iowa State University, 2014). Therefore, the driving forces and restraining forces interrelate because they are both factors that impact the overall implementation of change.
One change that was recently implemented at my organization was the relocation of our retail store in July 2013. The driving forces of our store’s relocation, rated on a 1 – 10 scale, with 10 having the most influence on the change, included: central location (10), increased brand awareness (10), more space for inventory and product (5), logistics (7), revenue generated from the sale of the previous store building (6). The restraining forces of our store’s relocation, rated on the same 1 – 10 scale included: inconvenience of moving (4), employee dissatisfaction (8), employee turnover (4), increased costs for rent, supplies, new equipment, etc. (8), regulation in regards to higher taxes, lease agreements, etc. (9).
This Force-Field Analysis concluded the driving forces outweighed our restraining forces, by a score of 38 to 33, respectively. This means the driving factors for the relocation of our retail store had more influence on the implementation of change, which supported our management’s decision to relocate the store in July 2013. Since this change, our store has generated a significant increase in sales and brand awareness from being more centrally located, which has offset our costs of paying higher rent and taxes. While we did experience some employee turnover as a result of the relocation, we have since created more Sales Associate positions, increased employee morale, and streamlined our logistics.
Palmer, I., Dunford, R., & Akin, G. (2009). Managing organizational change: A multiple perspectives approach. (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin.
Iowa State University (2014). Force Field Analysis. Retrieved from http://www.extension.iastate.edu/communities/force-field-analysis
My understanding of the force field analysis is that, in every organization there are forces that are for change and those that are against the changes. The Force Field Analysis Model suggests that modifying the forces which maintain the status quo may be easier than increasing the forces for change. Lewin’s change model has 3 steps:
1) Unfreezing which means that organization reduces strength of forces which maintain current equilibrium
2) Moving is developing new organizational values, attitudes and behaviors to help move the organization forward
3) The third stage is refreezing which is nothing but stabilizing after the changes have been made and there is a new equilibrium.
We can take example from the automobile industry. Gas prices have steadily been on the rise in the last decade or so. US Automobile companies were producing automobiles that were not so fuel efficient till Foreign-made, fuel-efficient cars gained a stronger foothold in the American market. At this stage, American car companies e.g. Ford, GM and Chrysler were frozen and unwilling to change the types of automobiles they were designing. In 2008, when oil prices were above $140 a barrel, automobile dealers claimed that overnight people stopped buying larger automobiles. Instead, consumers wanted the cheaper and more fuel efficient cars. Foreign auto makers’ fuel efficiency car had already matured in terms of product life cycles and had the most desirable cars meeting the customer’s expectations in the marketplace. American automakers realized that they had to change their automobile design or face bankruptcy. Kurt Lewin would mark this as the end of the unfreezing and the beginning of the change process. Now, American automakers are in the middle of the change process hoping to avoid bankruptcy and are introducing new lines of fuel efficient automobiles that will compete in this auto market. As per Kurt Lewin model, we can say that once production stabilizes, hopefully the US Automobile companies will be in a new state of equilibrium.
Palmer, I, Dunford, R. Akin, G. (2009). Managing Organizational Change: A multiple perspectives approach. 2nd Edition. The McGraw-Hill Companies.