Organization Development Models – Force Field Analysis


Kurt Lewin developed the model for analyzing and managing organizational problems which he has termed Force Field Analysis (French & Bell, 1995; Fuqua & Kurpius, 1993; Lewin, 1951) in 1951. This model is relatively simple to understand and easy to visualize. A depiction of the model (see Figure 1) identifies both driving forces and restraining forces within an organization. These driving forces, such as environmental factors, push for change within the organization while the restraining forces, such as organizational factors (e.g., limited resources or poor morale), act as barriers to change. To understand the problem within the organization, the driving forces and restraining forces are first identified and, hence, defined. Goals and strategies for moving the equilibrium of the organization toward the desired direction can then be planned.

The model relies upon the change process, with the social implications built into the model (e.g., disequilibrium is expected to occur until equilibrium is reestablished). The general goal of this model is to intentionally move to a desirable state of equilibrium by adding driving forces, where important, and eliminating restraining forces, where appropriate. These changes are thought to occur simultaneously within the dynamic organization.

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