Addressing Behavior Problems Using Lewin’s Force Field Analysis

Mark Bridges
3 min readMar 26, 2023


There is a common pattern to most problems. The bulk of Problems consist of three fundamental components:

• The Problem State

• The Solution State

• The Solution Pathway

The Problem State is “what is,” the Solution State is “what should be,” and the Solution Pathway represents the modifications necessary to close the gap between the two states. The Solution Pathway is a way for shifting from the Problem State to the Solution State via particular actions when faced with a problem.

Change Management has several inherent challenges. Leadership should determine the behaviors that must be eliminated as well as those that must be embraced in order to fix a problem, and then look for realistic solutions. The solutions demand a sequence of improvements with a particular method for influencing people’s habits.

In order to handle a problem, it is required to evaluate it from two perspectives:

Content: The content viewpoint of Problem resolution examines the nature, extent, and characteristics of the issue. Depending on the nature of the problem, it may be behavioral, business-related, performance-related, or manufacturing-related.

Process: The process viewpoint examines how a problem is posed and resolved.

In domains such as Artificial Intelligence, Organizational Design, Digital Transformation, and Performance Management, the technique of attacking an issue from both the content and process viewpoints is generally acknowledged.

Change-related or Behavioral Problems make up the great majority of the challenges faced by the majority of enterprises.

Lewin’s Force Field Analysis may be used as a diagnostic tool for these Issues. According to Lewin’s Force Field Analysis, the Problem State (present state) is the consequence of two opposing but equal forces interacting. One of these forces is a Driving Force, which pushes toward a new or desired state and away from the existing one. The opposing and confining force is the Resisting Force. These forces maintain balance by counteracting one another.

The Force Field Analysis assists in understanding why some individuals are receptive to change while others are resistant. If the Driving Factors are larger, people find the change more desirable. Nevertheless, if the Resisting Forces are stronger, they can maintain the status quo.

Behavior Problems generally fall into two categories:

Problems of Omission — These issues arise when people fail to accomplish or explain what is anticipated. By concealing vital information or breaking a promise, for instance.

Problems of Commission — These issues arise when a person does an unlawful conduct. This thoughtless action may affect both persons and the organization’s reputation. Such as engaging in deceit, fraud, or illegal or unethical behavior.

The Problems of Omission and Commission, both, have negative outcomes. Omission can lead to lost opportunities, damaged relationships, and a loss of credibility. Yet, Commission issues lead to legal confrontations, penalties, injury to others, and reputation loss. There is no single solution to these behavioral issues. Based on the nature of the Behavior Problem, Change Managers should utilize the most effective tactics for a specific case.

Increasing the factors that motivate individuals to perform specific actions, decreasing the factors that cause them to resist the directive, reducing the factors that support existing behaviors, and increasing the forces that could potentially constrain them are some strategies that managers employ to address these issues.

Interested in learning more about the drivers and consequences of Behaviors and how to change them? You can download an editable PowerPoint presentation on Problem of Change & Behavioral Change here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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Mark Bridges

I blog about various management frameworks, from Strategic Planning to Digital Transformation to Change Management.