Force Field Analysis Problem Solving

In response to an urgent request from the manager at Harwood Manufacturing Company in rural Virginia for help in raising production levels, John R. French (an external consultant from the University of Michigan and dyed-in-the-wool Lewianian) went to see what could be done.

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A Final Tip: If doing this as a group exercise, find a room with a large blank wall to hang the flip-chart paper, and involve a neutral facilitator to write out the group’s comments and opinions.

This will allow all team members to engage, focus and analyse the group’s conversation.

One of the key things to keep in mind when using force field analysis is that the analysis developed is entirely dependent upon the skill level and knowledge of the group working on the analysis.

In most cases, force field analysis is based on assumptions, not facts; even if the assumptions are based on accumulated data, the interpretation of the data shouldn't be construed as being objective within the overall process of evaluating the driving and restraining forces.

Force field analysis requires the full participation of everyone involved to provide the accurate information required for an effective analysis.

This can be a disadvantage when full participation isn't possible, resulting in an analysis that doesn't provide a realistic picture of the supporting and opposing forces.It’s also an excellent resource to use to develop a message house, and of course, a terrific way to start a brainstorm. For the next set of instructions, I’ve created a Force Field Analysis on Aries Pty Ltd, an imaginery company.Some of the points below will reference this chart specifically.The thinking technique builds upon Lewin's analytical tool.Get a Promotion Negotiation Professional Ethics Professionalism Dealing with Coworkers Dealing with Bosses Communication Skills Managing the Office Disabilities Harassment and Discrimination Unemployment Force field analysis is a technique that allows you to examine all the various forces in play for and against a decision that needs to be made.Another disadvantage is the possibility that the analysis won't result in a consensus among the group.In fact, a force field analysis may actually cause a division in the group between those who support the decision and those who oppose it.Somewhat different from the process of listing pros and cons, force field analysis allows you to develop decision-making strategies in terms of strengthening the forces in support of a decision and reducing the impact of any opposition.Force field analysis was developed by psychologist Kurt Lewin, a pioneer in the field of social psychology.As he was so fond of saying, ‘There is nothing so practical as a good theory.’ This is because a theory (from the Greek theorein, to see) allows one to see what is happening in new ways.Many of his new ways of seeing things were put to work in a single, well-documented change project that began in 1939.


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