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Write a three- to four-page paper (not including the title and reference pages) describing the concept of a Force Field Analysis (FFA) and then creating an FFA on an issue in your life that you would like to change. Describe how the restraining forces impede your progress and develop an intervention strategy to enhance the driving forces to make change possible.
You must use at least two scholarly sources, in addition to the text, and format your paper according to APA style guidelines as outlined in the Writing Center.
Week Three Lecture
We hear the word change so often it appears it has become a buzzword and a cliché in some instances. I can speak from experience that if change is strategic, planned, and rolled out properly, it can be a huge success. OD practitioners have witnessed organizations and entrepreneurs embrace the process, work a strategic well-thought-out plan, and achieve success. Conversely, they have also witnessed organizations and entrepreneurs who had the best of intentions; however, their impatience and ego prevailed! That is what Senge et al (1999) refer to as “Walk the Talk,” a phrase we have all heard. It is not enough to stand on a stage in front of your employees and talk up the need for change, the great outcomes, and commitment to the process if you cannot back it up with action.
One of the earliest change theories introduced was Lewin’s (1951) force field model. His model is comprised of two specific components: the three stage change model and the force field analysis. The first is the process of change where Lewin suggests there are three stages to change.
The first stage of unfreezing is where employees come to understand that the way they used to perform or do things will no longer be adequate. In this stage, an organization must communicate and educate. Employees need to understand how the changes will affect them and how the organization will benefit. By educating and communicating often, employees can then focus on the change at hand and move forward as a valuable part of the process. Connor (1995), Senge, et al (1999), Kahan (2010), and Yukl (2006) agree that communication and explaining the relevance of change are key components to unfreezing and changing. The actual change stage is where new ways of doing things, norms, and/or procedures employees are to follow are conveyed. Communication remains a key component to the success of the process. Finally, in the refreezing stage, the change is solidified and reconfirmed. This is now the way in which we operate. In order for this stage to take hold, everyone understands reverting to old ways is simply not an option.
Depending on the size of the organization or the magnitude of the change, it can take 18 months to 5 years for the change process to be completed and established. While it may become tedious in the midst of the change process, remember, change has a greater chance of failure if rushed. Attempting to expedite the change process will increase the risk of failure exponentially.
The second component is Lewin’s Force Field Analysis (1951) tool.
As you can see from the diagram, it provides a visual for all the driving and restraining forces. Ideally, you would brainstorm all of the driving forces for change and restraining forces hindering change. From the brainstorming data, you can then examine the restraining forces first to determine those factors that are a non-issue and those that are valid concerns. Likewise, the same process takes place for the driving forces. This simple process allows an organization to reduce the resistance and thereby increase the driving forces for change. The force field analysis is a powerful tool for issues or problems, professional or personal.
Connor, D. R. (1995). Managing at the Speed of Change: How resilient managers succeed and prosper where others fail. New York, NY: Villard Books.
Kahan, S. (2010). Getting change right: How leaders transform organizations from the inside out. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Lewin, K. (1951). Field theory in social science. New York, NY: Harper & Row.
Senge, P., Kleiner, A., Roberts, C., Ross, R., Roth, G., & Smith, B. (2006). The dance of change: The challenges of sustaining momentum in learning organizations. New York, NY: Doubleday.
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