Project Management

Force Field Analysis

last edited by: erin decaprio on Oct 7, 2006 1:37 PM login/register to edit this page

1 Applications
2 Procedures
3 Instructions
4 Example
5 References

Provides a framework for problem solving and assists in the evaluation process when making decisions. Participants examine both positive influences (enablers supporting a goal or a proposed solution) and the impeding influences (barriers to achieving a desired state or implementing a solution). Force Field analysis has an advantage over T-charting in that each enabler and barrier can be examined for possible interrelationships, and each factor can be weighed to determine a total "force" towards the positive or negative.


  • To identify the enablers and barriers that promote change and impede change, respectively.
  • To assist in activity analysis and redesign.
  • To facilitate the adoption of change, and help identify factors to include in an enterprise's system of merit and recognition.


  1. Specify the desired state, goal, change, and/or solution.
  2. Construct a table with four columns labeled, "Enablers," "Weight," "Barriers," "Weight."
  3. List all forces enabling and impeding the attainment of the goal.
  4. Determine the relative magnitude (weight) of each force.
  5. Total the weight of the positive and negative factors (and alternatively plot).
  6. Analyze results.


This technique identifies the forces that will move the enterprise towards change and the restraining forces that may prevent the change from ever taking place. By identifying the positive and negative factors affecting change the organization can encourage enterprise behavior, promoting the changes that are needed.

Start this process by defining the desired state, goal, change, and/or solution. It is important to have the right people involved in the definition process. The team members should include participants from across the enterprise who are affected by the problems. Construct a table (see example) with four columns labeled "Enablers," "Barriers," and "Weight" for both. List all possible forces working against the attainment of the goal (impeding forces or barriers) and all possible forces working for the attainment of the goal (impelling forces or enablers). This is critical for successful implementation of change because it is often easier to eliminate or reduce the impeding forces than to increase the positive forces.

Encourage participation, using an appropriate information gathering technique such as Brainstorming. Alternatively, a "T-Chart" (see example) can be constructed, separating out enablers and barriers; weight could then be added, as required, during a brainstorming or force field analysis session. Determine the magnitude (weight) of each force on a scale of 1 to 10. It may be necessary to identify all factors which would reduce the impeding force and those factors which would increase an enabling force in order to determine an appropriate weight, or to develop a set of next step change actions. Total the weight of the positive and negative factors, and plot along a "0" force line, drawn horizontally from left to right or vertically from top to bottom (user discretion, see diagram). Analyze the results and develop a strategy to convert impeding factors into enablers, or develop a problem statement and take required steps to solve during or outside of the workshop.

A list of change actions should be generated, upon completion of using this technique. The actions should be prioritized, attacking the strongest inhibitors to change first. Establish a tracking plan for the actions, including a description, assignee, and due date. Through involvement of those affected by the change, commitment to change can be facilitated.

This same technique can be applied to identify ideas for activity redesign and for helping project managers address "project management issues" on any type of enterprise engineering initiative.


force field analysis


  1. Richard C. Whiteley. The Customer Driven Company: Moving From Talk To Action. Addison Wesley, 1991.
  2. John M. Nicholas. Successful Project Management: A Force-Field Analysis. Journal of System Management, January, 1989.

last edited by: erin decaprio on Oct 7, 2006 1:37 PM login/register to edit this page

Comments (1)

Login/join to subscribe

I did this thing on the Ottoman Empire. Like, what was this? A whole empire based on putting your feet up?

- Jerry Seinfeld