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Force-field analysis is a technique developed by Kurt Lewin (1890-1947), a pioneer in the field of social sciences, and characterises the conflicting forces in a situation. The recommended approach to this method is to outline the points involved in a problematic situations at the problem exploration stage, followed by recognising factors likely to help or hinder at the action planning and implementation stages.
- Members of the group identify and list the driving and restraining forces (perhaps using a suitable brainstorming or brainwriting technique) openly discussing their understanding of them.
- The group leader is representative of the current position as a horizontal line across the middle of the page. The leader will draw all the driving forces as arrows that either pull or push the line upwards, and all the restraining forces as arrows that pull or push the line downwards (see below). Where driving and restraining are paired use arrow thickness to signify strength of impact of a force and arrow length to show how complicated it would be to adapt. It is normally best for the team to reach agreement on these details.
- The diagram should then be used to find as many possible combinations of moving the centre line in the desired direction. Try to:
- Find ways to strengthen or add positive forces
- Find ways to weaken or remove negative forces
- Recognise that the negative forces are too strong and abandon the idea