Tool: Force Field Analysis

Usage: Identifying factors that can support or hinder a potential solution. Understanding these factors and using strategies to reduce barriers can increase the chances of the solution being successfully implemented. 

Force Field Analysis is a useful tool to identify the factors that can support or hinder a change or solution prior to its implementation. By working through the Force Field Analysis the team can identify the factors most likely to support a change (driving forces) and develop strategies to encourage these. In addition, the team can identify the barriers that are most likely to hinder a change (restraining forces), so that strategies can be developed to reduce these barriers.

A particularly valuable aspect of this tool involves understanding whether the driving forces are stronger or weaker than the restraining forces. An improvement effort is unlikely to be successful if the restraining forces are high. A clear understanding of these forces can enable the team to carefully consider whether sufficient strategies can be developed to minimise the restraining forces, leading to a successful improvement effort.

How to Use Force Field Analysis

  1. At the top of a large piece of paper or whiteboard, write down the intended change. This will ensure that the group focuses on the change while the exercise is being completed.
  2. Next, draw a large ‘T’ with the title ‘driving forces’ on one side and ‘restraining forces’ on the other, as shown below.
  3. Start to identify the factors that influence the change or work against it.


Recruiting a practice nurse to improve management of General Practice Management Plans (GPMPs) and Team Care Arrangements (TCAs)



4. Once the factors that would act to support and restrain the change have 4. been added to the chart, score each factor (use a simple score out of 10) to identify which ones will have the greatest impact on the change.


In this example, it is easy to see that the driving forces outweigh the restraining forces. This process also identifies the factors that have the biggest impact on the change. Consider developing strategies to support the driving forces and to minimise the restraining forces.

When implementing a change, it is particularly important that restraining forces are minimised as much as possible. In this case, overcoming the lack of space may be the key step needed prior to hiring a practice nurse.