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Force Field Diagram: How to understand it

The Quality ToolbookForce Field Diagram > How to understand it

When to use it | How to understand it | Example | How to do it | Practical variations


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How to understand it

When making decisions or planning actions, there are often points against the situation as well as for it. Verbal argument can result in the wrong decisions being made as the 'winner' is often the most senior person or the one who shouts the loudest. Better decisions are made by weighing up the pros and cons in a more organized fashion.

The Force-Field Diagram uses a simple diagram to visually organize and display the arguments for and against a situation or action (see the illustration). Each argument or reason is shown as an arrow, pointing into a line, with either side of the line representing either side of the argument and the length of each arrow representing the weight or strength of the argument.



Fig. 1. Showing forces for and against


The overall impression of the Force-Field Diagram is of two sets of forces pushing against one another, with the greatest overall force winning. The total force on one side is formed by the combination of both the number and weight of forces. The visual effect of the diagram can help the overall arguments for and against the situation to be weighed up and clear decisions and actions taken.

If the forces and their weight can be determined in a rigorous way, then the confidence in any subsequent decisions will be increased proportionately.



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