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Force-field Analysis


Creative tools > Force-field Analysis

When to use it | How to use it | Example | How it works | See also


When to use it

Use it to understand the forces for and against an idea.

Use it to explore how people may oppose or support an idea.



  X        Long



  X        Psychological



  X        Group


How to use it

Draw the outline diagram

Draw a line down the middle of the page and put the idea or situation to be considered above the top of the line. Write 'for' and 'against' either side of the line.

Plot opposing forces

Seek forces for and against the idea or situation, writing these on the appropriate side of the line. Show the significance of these forces with an arrow, where the length indicates the size of the force.

You can use logical or creative methods to identify these forces, as appropriate to the situation. If the situation is understood, then logic is appropriate. However, many uses of the force-field is in considering future possibilities, in which case a creative approach is most effective.

Draw conclusions

Study the diagram, considering the forces identified there and ask questions such as:

  • What is the overall force, for and against?
  • How can you tip the balance?
  • How can you neutralize forces against?
  • How can you increase the 'for' forces?


A team at a steel mil are seeking to save money. They come up with a consolidation idea, but know that it may be opposed, so they use Force-Field Analysis to explore reasons why the idea will or will not be supported.


How it works

Sometimes there are not clear and simple reasons why an idea is useful or otherwise - the pros and cons are more uncertain and possibly distant forces.

'Force' is a metaphor that everyone viscerally understands. Length of arrow is already used in mathematics for vectors that indicate the size of a force.

See also

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