Force Field Analysis (FFA) is a psychological tool developed by Kurt Lewin, a twentieth century German psychologist. According to Kumar (n.d.), the tool helps in the understanding of how the process of change works in institutions and in individuals. The FFA model is drawn as a two-sided graphics containing forces that push institutions and people towards change on one side and forces that hinder change on the other. To use the model successfully internal as well as external factors should be considered. Scores are assigned to each factor and the total calculated, with the sum total determining the decision made and actions that are to be taken.
The two sides need to balance for equilibrium to be achieved where the restraints and motivational factors even out, each pushing in opposite sides and with the same amount of strength (Kumar, n.d.). For change to occur the driving forces need to be greater than the restraints, otherwise the change is seen as having no positive effect on the organization or the person. However, the fact that the model relies almost entirely on the opinion of the subject as to the weights of various driving forces and restraints makes the model rather biased, allowing subjects to manipulate the results. Tweaking and changing the weights of various factors allows the subject to make a more objective decision.
Kurt Lewin proposes that change should be approached as a multistage process rather than a singular event. In the first stage, the subject of change- an organization or a person- should first recognize the need for change and make efforts towards achieving the change. The second process calls for the advancement from the present stage to a new, better stage of existence or of doing things. Finally, the third process cements the changes undertaken by refreezing and driving the changes into the fabric of the organization or the individual. The three steps play a crucial part in empowering change and making the change permanent and resistant to slide-back change that might take the organization or individual back to the old ways of doing things. According to Tripon and Dodu (2002), premature and overbearing influence on the process of change to increase the forces of change will have the same negative effects as a direct increase in restraining factors of creating hostility towards change.
Change is, in most cases, part and parcel of organizational and personal life. Progress can only occur when the individual or the organization constantly seeks to get better at their core and peripheral functions. An aspect of my life that I have long sought to change is better management of finances to save more and secure my future through financial freedom. I have previously noted that my spending of money is too high for a person of my wage group, with the result being that I live from check to check and have maxed out my credit worthiness. Failure to change will definitely lead me to financial ruin and ultimately reduce the quality of my life in a huge way.
I have thus arrived at the stage of unfreezing and am determined to start a culture of keeping my expenditures down and saving more. The table below is used to determine the forces for and against the idea of a tighter expenditure budget for financial empowerment.
Pro-Change Forces Restraints
Desire for financial security Reduced indulgence (fun)
More money to invest Peer pressure
Avoid credit I do okay...
You only live once
The challenge in my bid for change is that my restraints are sentimental in nature while the driving forces are logical. The restraining forces are likely to impede the achievement of my target to spend less by tempting me to spend more. With less spending is expected to come less indulgence in luxuries and fun activities such as drinking, entertaining, and other non-crucial expenditures. According to Kumar ( n.d.), psychological restraints are the most effective in impeding change because they influence the actions of the individuals that facilitate change. The pressure of friends with whom I have been carelessly spending my money will also affect the success of by bid to change. The desire to belong to their social group will cause me to reconsider the importance of starting a saving plan. All these arguments will be boosted by the nagging notion that a savings plan is too much of an inconvenience and that I should enjoy life to the maximum.
According to Yilmaz and Kilicoglu (2013), people are more likely to resist changes that directly affect their comfort in life. It is important that the subject has total commitment to the intended changes and that the benefit of success be bigger than the cost of failure. With my savings plan, the immediate quality of my life will take a serious beating when some of the money that has been supporting my lifestyle is directed towards a savings account. The determination to become financially stable will be greater than the pleasure I have been getting from my wasteful lifestyle, and my resolve will be strong to make sure that friends and party buddies do not lure me back into the old wasteful habits. To avoid too much alienation, I will start cutting down on my monthly expenditures gradually, steadily cutting out the inefficient expenditures.
Change represents a shift from old ways of doing things to better techniques that positively contribute to the wellbeing of an individual or an institution. The Force Field Analysis tool is a very useful tool in enabling the process of change. Using the FFA model of calculating pros and cons numerically allows policymakers to scientifically determine whether change is needed or beneficial in a situation, greatly reducing the risk of suffering negative outcomes.
Kumar, A. (n.d.). Organisational Change and Interventions: Models of Change and Approaches to Problem Diagnosis. Haryana: Guru Jambheshwar University of Science and Technology
Tripon, C., & Dodu, M. (2002). Change Management and Organization Development. New Jersey: Prentice Hall Inc.
Yilmaz, D. & Kilicoglu, G. (2013). Resistance to change and ways of reducing resistance in educational organizations. European Journal of Research on Education, 1(1), 14-21
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