:shock: hi... i was jz wondring who cud help me with my topic in my masteral’s about team building and also who is lewis force field?....tnx!!! hope to hear from u soon..... :wink:
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:D Hi claudettedionisio,

Here is something on Setting Group Goals and Force Field Analysis Technique .. hope this to be of some use. =

Dear Friend, I think you could ask 'What is Lewis Force Field' .. :D



Setting Group Goals

by Dave Sharpe, MSU Extension Community Development Specialist

(Montana State University Extension Service )

Why Set Group Goals?

One measure of group effectiveness is how well a group accomplishes its goals. Initially, all groups were established to satisfy some common need of the members or to pursue a common cause. But, as time passes, group members frequently lose sight of their goals.

Russell Robinson contends that groups start by increasing in effectiveness until their first goals are accomplished and then decline in effectiveness unless new goals are set. Failure to periodically set new goals leads to stagnation or termination (Figure 1).

(Please Refer to Fig. 1, see Attachment)

Figure 1. Typical response when effectiveness declines is to turn inward and devote energies to clinging to what is still left, often continuing in a state of stagnation.

Typical response when effectiveness declines is to turn inward and devote energies to clinging to what is still left, often continuing in a state of stagnation.

Setting group goals also helps a group determine which activities to conduct. Goals are the ends group members hope to accomplish, and activities are the means to those ends. Thus a good measure of the worth of any activity is the extent to which it helps a group reach its goals. If a group is not sure of its goals, it will have difficulty deciding which activities do the group the most good.


Setting group goals is basically a process of generating a number of alternative concerns the group might pursue and then selecting a few top priority concerns the group feels it can address. The brainstorming, nominal group and force field analysis techniques presented here have proven successful in helping groups generate alternatives and select a few as priority goals.


One of the best known techniques for producing new ideas, insights and potential group goals is the brainstorming method developed by Osborn back in the 1930s. It has the advantages of stimulating a large number of alternatives in a brief amount of time. Further, participants are encouraged to come up with far-out ideas so creative new approaches may be suggested.

The technique has several major drawbacks. It is difficult to involve more than 10 participants. Ideas are not tested against reality. Skillful leadership is required to create an atmosphere in which the quality of opinions is not judged and in which all members feel free to participate. Group discussion is more likely to get off on a tangent than with the nominal group technique.


1. A specific task is given to the group, i.e. "think of all possible goals for our group."

2. The facilitator helps warm the group up with a nonsense task, i.e., "Let's list all the ways we could improve on the design of an armadillo."

3. The facilitator encourages members to think of as many ideas as possible.

4. Criticism of any ideas and statements of judgment are not permitted.

5. Piggybacking on the ideas of others is encouraged.

6. The facilitator records the ideas on newsprint, emphasizing that once the ideas are recorded they become group property and the originator has no need to feel ownership or to lobby for a particular idea.

7. Once all ideas are recorded, or at a later meeting, the group examines the list and selects the most appropriate suggestions. This may be done by group consensus or by voting.

Nominal Group Technique

Delbecq's nominal group technique was developed to involve all members in determining group goals. The technique is termed "nominal" because much of the work is done independently by group members. Though conducted in a group setting, a good deal of the discussion that is part of normal group meetings is avoided. Since members work individually and are not influenced by group discussion, a broad range of ideas may be suggested.

By involving all members in a highly structured exercise, the technique tends to reduce the influence of dominant individuals. No one is permitted to lobby for a particular position. Criticism of other's ideas is prohibited. Thus a safe group climate is created in which all members feel free to express themselves.

Involvement of all members in the goal setting process acts to motivate the members to accomplish the selected goals. Because everyone had a hand in determining the goals, they are more likely to work toward accomplishing them. The technique is not a magic solution that will solve all the problems of a struggling group. High power individuals may object to a technique that reduces their influence. If significant interests are not represented at the session, the validity of the results will be questionable. The technique does not use in-depth discussion of recommendations nor careful analysis of background information. It does involve all members in generating a large number of alternatives and then reducing them to a manageable number of priorities in a minimum period of time.


1. Break group down into groups of 6-10 to facilitate discussion and recording.

2. Participants write on note cards all the ideas they can think of in response to the task question. The task question needs to be carefully worded to focus thinking on the proper issue. Members work individually and silently.

3. A recorder for each group writes down all the ideas on newsprint and numbers them. This is done in a round-robin fashion, taking one idea at a time from each member until all ideas are recorded. No lobbying or criticism!

4. The group examines its list to see if any ideas can be combined.

5. Individual members vote for the ideas they feel are most important by writing the numbers of the ideas on their cards. The number of ideas each selects should be based on the total number of ideas; choose three ideas from a total of up to 15, four from a total of 15-25, five for a total greater than 25.

6. Recorders tally the number of responses for each item.

7. Results from each small group are reported back to the whole group.

8. A second round of voting on the top priorities is done by the group as a whole.

9. The total number of ideas to be acted upon depends on the number of priorities the group feels it can pursue.

Force Field Analysis

Groups can employ brainstorming and nominal group techniques to generate a large number of alternative goals and then reduce these to a few top priorities. But the goal setting process should not stop here. A group is wise to analyze the recommended goals to determine the probability of accomplishing them.

The University of Michigan Research Center for Group Dynamics found that groups often set overly optimistic goals. Setting unrealistically high aspirations sets the group up for failure. Nevertheless, members may believe they will derive greater satisfaction from accomplishing a difficult goal than an easy one. They also may feel less embarrassment if they fail at a difficult goal. Comparisons of goals set by individuals to the goals they set for their group indicate they were willing to take larger risks for the group than for themselves. Finally, members who have little responsibility for accomplishing the goals tended to set higher goals than those who are responsible for accomplishing the goals.

Leaders need to be aware of the tendency to set overly optimistic goals and guard against them. They should encourage members to carefully examine the probability for reaching agreed upon goals.

Force field analysis can help determine which priorities should be acted upon and the probability of successful action. Conducting this analysis early in the planning process helps avoid pursuing goals unlikely to be reached.

The procedure calls for identification of the forces that act to drive or restrain movement toward the goal. If the group decides it can influence either driving forces or restraining forces to a sufficient extent to accomplish its goal, it proceeds toward the goal. If the group feels it cannot significantly influence the forces, the goal is dropped, at least for the present.


1. Diagnosing forces that help and hinder achievement of objectives: There are forces in every situation that cause things to remain as they are or to change. Forces that push toward change are called driving or helping forces. Forces that resist change are called restraining or hindering forces. If change is to occur, the strength of some forces must be altered so that movement can take place.

In order to plan appropriate strategies for change, the forces in the situation must be clearly understood and identified. A "force" can be people, resources, attitudes, traditions, values, needs, desires, etc.

Ask the group: What forces will help you achieve your objective(s) and what forces probably will hinder you from achieving your objectives(s)? List on newsprint all that come to mind without placing a value judgment on any.

1. Action planning (strategy design): Change occurs when there is imbalance between the forces. An imbalance may occur through a change in the magnitude or direction of a force or through addition of a new force.

Have the group select two or three important restraining forces and two or three important driving forces which it has some possibility of altering. State specifically what will be done to change them. Write the responses on newsprint and tape to wall.

Restraining Force A

What can be done to reduce the effect of this force?

Restraining Force B

What can be done to reduce the effect of this force?

Restraining Force C

What can be done to reduce the effect of this force?

Driving Force A

What can be done to increase the effect of this force?

Driving Force B

What can be done to increase the effect of this force?

Driving Force C

What can be done to increase the effect of this force?

3. Goal Decision: Decide whether the effect of these actions will produce the desired change. If so, the group can realistically pursue this goal. If not, the group might better direct its efforts on other goals.

Recommended Procedure

· Keep your group alive, active and effective by periodically, perhaps annually, resetting goals.

· Use brainstorming or nominal group techniques at one meeting, following up with force field analysis at the next.

· Record the decisions on newsprint and post them on the wall at each meeting to remind members of goals they have agreed upon.

· Don't attempt more goals than the group can realistically expect to achieve.

· When determining potential group activities, consider to what degree the activities will help the group reach its goals.


Delbecq A. and A. VandeVen. A Group Process Model for Problem Identification and Program Planning. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Sept., 1971.

Lewis, Kurt. Field Theory in Social Science. Harper, New York, 1951.

Osborn, A.F. Applied Imagination. 3rd rev. ed., Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1963.

Robinson, Russel D. An Introduction to Dynamics of Group Leadership. Omnibook Co., Milwaukee. 1979.

Zander, Alvin. Making Groups Effective. Jossey-Bass Publishers. San Francisco, 1982.

[ Reference: <link updated to site home> ]

From India, Pune

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hey Thesysthink dude... :lol:
scare_crow alias vishal

From India, Mumbai

:D Dear claudettedionisio,
I was wondering, are you seeking info on Kurt Lewis or Kurt Lewin, on OD .. if its related with Team Building and OD, I think he should be Prof. Kurt Lewin, one of the pioneers of OD as a scientific field of study ...
Please let me know ..

From India, Pune

:D Sorry Friends ..

I could not visit forum regularly for a few days because I was not on my desk .. Nice to return home, at last.

Hey Vishal .. dont mind .. Graduate studies in some universities require regorous research works on a chosen paper, It reminds of my old days ..

I am reproducing something on Lewin ..



[ Reproduced from the encyclopaedia of informal education ]

Here is something on Kurt Lewin,

" Kurt Lewin's (1890-1947) work had a profound impact on social psychology and, more particularly for our purposes here, on our appreciation of experiential learning, group dynamics and action research. On this page we provide a very brief outline of his life and an assessment of his continuing relevance to educators.

Kurt Lewin was born on September 9, 1890 in the village of Mogilno in Prussia (now part of Poland). He was one of four children in a middle class Jewish family (his father owned a small general store and a farm). They moved to Berlin when he was aged 15 and he was enrolled in the Gymnasium. In 1909 Kurt Lewin entered the University of Frieberg to study medicine. He then transferred to the University of Munich to study biology. Around this time he became in involved in the socialist movement. His particular concerns appear to have been the combating of anti-Semitism, the democratization of German institutions, and the need to improve the position of women. Along with other students he organized and taught an adult education program for working class women and men (Marrow 1969).

His doctorate was undertaken at the University of Berlin where he developed an interest in the philosophy of science and encountered Gestalt psychology. His PhD was awarded in 1916, but by then he was serving in the German army (he was injured in combat). In 1921 Kurt Lewin joined the Psychological Institute of the University of Berlin - where he was to lecture and offer seminars in both philosophy and psychology. He was starting to make a name for himself both in terms of publishing, and with regard to his teaching (he was an enthusiastic lecturer who attracted the interest of students). His work became known in America and he was invited to spend six months as a visiting professor at Stanford (1930). With the political position worsening considerably in Germany and in 1933 he and his wife and daughter settled in the USA (he became an American citizen in 1940). Kurt Lewin was first to work at the Cornell School of Home Economics, and then, in 1935, at the University of Iowa (this was also the year when his first collection of papers in English - A Dynamic Theory of Personality - was published).

The University of Iowa remained Kurt Lewin's base until 1944. There he continued to develop his interest in social processes, and to undertake research in that area. Significantly, he became involved in various applied research initiatives linked to the war effort (from 1940 onwards). These included exploring the morale of the fighting troops, psychological warfare, and reorienting food consumption away from foods in short supply. His social commitments were also still strong - and he was much in demand as a speaker on minority and inter-group relations. He wanted to establish a centre to research group dynamics - and in 1944 this dream was realized with the founding of the Research Center for Group Dynamics at MIT. At the same time Kurt Lewin was also engaged in a project for the American Jewish Congress in New York - the Commission of Community Interrelations. It made use of Lewin's model of action research (research directed toward the solving of social problems) in a number of significant studies into religious and racial prejudice. It was also out of some of this work in 1946 with community leaders and group facilitators that the notion of 'T' groups emerged. He and his associates were able to get funding from the Office of Naval Research to set up the National Training Laboratories in 1947 in Bethel, Maine. However, Lewin died of a heart attack in Newtonville, Mass. on February 11, 1947, before the Laboratories were established. "

Kurt Lewin's Contribution to OD

Field theory

Here we will not enter into the detail of Kurt Lewin’s field theory (it is beyond our remit). However, it is necessary to note its key elements. To begin it is important to recognize its roots in Gestalt theory. (A gestalt is a coherent whole. It has its own laws, and is a construct of the individual mind rather than ‘reality’). For Kurt Lewin behaviour was determined by totality of an individual’s situation. In his field theory, a ‘field’ is defined as ‘the totality of coexisting facts which are conceived of as mutually interdependent’ (Lewin 1951: 240). Individuals were seen to behave differently according to the way in which tensions between perceptions of the self and of the environment were worked through. The whole psychological field, or ‘lifespace’, within which people acted had to be viewed, in order to understand behaviour. Within this individuals and groups could be seen in topological terms (using map-like representations). Individuals participate in a series of life spaces (such as the family, work, school and church), and these were constructed under the influence of various force vectors (Lewin 1952).

Hall and Lindzey (1978: 386) summarize the central features of Kurt Lewin’s field theory as follows:
  • Behaviour is a function of the field that exists at the time the behaviour occurs,

    Analysis begins with the situation as a whole from which are differentiated the component parts, and

    The concrete person in a concrete situation can represented mathematically.

Kurt Lewin also looked to the power of underlying forces (needs) to determine behaviour and, hence, expressed ‘a preference for psychological as opposed to physical or physiological descriptions of the field’ (op. cit.).

In this we can see how Kurt Lewin drew together insights from topology (e.g. lifespace), psychology (need, aspiration etc.), and sociology (e.g. force fields – motives clearly being dependent on group pressures). As Allport in his foreword to Resolving Social Conflict (Lewin 1948: ix) put it, these three aspects of his thought were not separable. ‘All of his concepts, whatever root-metaphor they employ, comprise a single well-integrated system’. It was this, in significant part, which gave his work its peculiar power.

Group dynamics

It is not an exaggeration to say that Kurt Lewin had a profound impact on a generation of researchers and thinkers concerned with group dynamics. Brown (1988: 28-32) argues that two key ideas emerged out of field theory that are crucial to an appreciation of group process: interdependence of fate, and task interdependence.

Interdependence of fate. Here the basic line of argument is that groups come into being in a psychological sense ‘not because their members necessarily are similar to one another (although they may be); rather, a group exists when people in it realize their fate depends on the fate of the group as a whole’ (Brown 1988: 28). This is how Lewin (1946: 165-6) put it when discussing the position of Jews in 1939:

[I]t is not similarity or dissimilarity of individuals that constitutes a group, but rather interdependence of fate. Any normal group, and certainly any developed and organized one contains and should contain individuals of very different character…. It is easy enough to see that the common fate of all Jews makes them a group in reality. One who has grasped this simple idea will not feel that he has to break away from Judaism altogether whenever he changes his attitude toward a fundamental Jewish issue, and he will become more tolerant of differences of opinion among Jews. What is more, a person who has learned to see how much his own fate depends upon the fate of his entire group will ready and even eager to take over a fair share of responsibility for its welfare.

It could be argued that the position of Jews in 1939 constitutes a special case. That the particular dangers they faced in many countries makes arguing a general case difficult. However, Lewin’s insight does seem to be applicable to many different group settings. Subsequently, there has been some experimental support for the need for some elementary sense of interdependence (Brown 1989).

Task interdependence. Interdependence of fate can be a fairly weak form of interdependence in many groups, argued Lewin. A more significant factor is where there is interdependence in the goals of group members. In other words, if the group’s task is such that members of the group are dependent on each other for achievement, then a powerful dynamic is created.

These implications can be positive or negative. In the former case one person’s success either directly facilitates others’ success of, in the strongest case, is actually necessary for those others to succeed also… In negative interdependence – known more usually as competition – one person’s success is another’s failure. (Brown (1989: 30)

Kurt Lewin had looked to the nature of group task in an attempt to understand the uniformity of some groups’ behaviour. He remained unconvinced of the explanatory power of individual motivational concepts such as those provided by psychoanalytical theory or frustration-aggression theory (op. cit.). He was able to argue that people may come to a group with very different dispositions, but if they share a common objective, they are likely to act together to achieve it. This links back to what is usually described as Lewin’s field theory. An intrinsic state of tension within group members stimulates or motivates movement toward the achievement of desired common goals (Johnson and Johnson 1995: 175). Interdependence (of fate and task) also results in the group being a ‘dynamic whole’. This means that a change in one member or subgroups impacts upon others. These two elements combined together to provide the basis for Deutch’s (1949) deeply influential exploration of the relationship of task to process (and his finding that groups under conditions of positive interdependence were generally more co-operative. Members tended to participate and communicate more in discussion; were less aggressive; liked each other more; and tended to be productive as compared to those working under negative task interdependence) (Brown 1989: 32; Johnson and Johnson 1995).

Democracy and groups

Gordon W. Allport, in his introduction to Resolving Social Conflicts (Lewin 1948: xi) argues that there is striking kinship between the work of Kurt Lewin and that of John Dewey.

Both agree that democracy must be learned anew in each generation, and that it is a far more difficult form of social structure to attain and to maintain than is autocracy. Both see the intimate dependence of democracy upon social science. Without knowledge of, and obedience to, the laws of human nature in group settings, democracy cannot succeed. And without freedom for research and theory as provided only in a democratic environment, social science will surely fail. Dewey, we might say, is the outstanding philosophical exponent of democracy, Lewin is its outstanding psychological exponent. More clearly than anyone else has he shown us in concrete, operational terms what it means to be a democratic leader, and to create democratic group structure.

One of the most interesting pieces of work in which Lewin was involved concerned the exploration of different styles or types of leadership on group structure and member behaviour. This entailed a collaboration with Ronald Lippitt, among others (Lewin et. al 1939, also written up in Lewin 1948: 71-83). They looked to three classic group leadership models - democratic, autocratic and laissez-faire – and concluded that there was more originality, group-mindedness and friendliness in democratic groups. In contrast, there was more aggression, hostility, scapegoating and discontent in laissez-faire and autocratic groups (Reid 1981: 115). Lewin concludes that the difference in behaviour in autocratic, democratic and laissez-faire situations is not, on the whole, a result of individual differences. Reflecting on the group experiments conducted with children he had the following to say:

There have been few experiences for me as impressive as seeing the expression in children’s faces change during the first day of autocracy. The friendly, open, and co-operative group, full of life, became within a short half-hour a rather apathetic looking gathering without initiative. The change from autocracy to democracy seemed to take somewhat more time than from democracy to autocracy. Autocracy is imposed upon the individual. Democracy he has to learn. (Lewin 1948: 82)

This presentation of democratic of leadership in groups became deeply influential. Unfortunately, as Gastil (1994) notes, Lewin and his colleagues never developed their definition beyond this rough sketch. This has left them open to the charge that their vision of democratic leadership contains within it some worrying themes. In particular Kariel (1956, discussed by Gastil 1994) argued that the notion is rather manipulative and élistist. What is more there has also been some suggestion that Mao’s mass-line leadership in China, ‘used a model like Lewin’s to mask coercion under the guise of participative group processes’ (discussed by Gastil 1994). Such a possibility would have been disturbing to Lewin, whose commitments and intentions were democratic. He argued that democracy could not be imposed on people, that it had to be learnt by a process of voluntary and responsible participation (1948: 39). However, the problem becomes clearer when he discusses the nature of democratic leadership at moments of transition. Change needed to be facilitated and guided.

To instigate changes toward democracy a situation has to be created for a certain period where the leader is sufficiently in control to rule out influences he does not want and to manipulate the situation to a sufficient degree. The goal of the democratic leader in this transition period will have to be the same as any good teacher, namely to make himself superfluous, to be replaced by indigenous leaders from the group. (Lewin 1948: 39)

There are some elements here that ring a little of Rousseau’s view of the tutor’s role in Emile. Is it up to the leader to manipulate the situation in this way – or is there room for dialogue?

‘T’ groups, facilitation and experience

In the summer of 1946 Kurt Lewin along with colleagues and associates from the Research Center for Group Dynamics (Ronald Lippitt, Leland Bradford and Kenneth Benne became involved in leadership and group dynamics training for the Connecticut State Interracial Commission. They designed and implemented a two-week programme that looked to encourage group discussion and decision-making, and where participants (including staff) could treat each other as peers. Research was woven into the event (as might be expected given Lewin’s concern for the generation of data and theory). The trainers and researchers collected detailed observations and recordings of group activities (and worked on these during the event). Initially these meetings were just for the staff, but some of the other participants also wanted to be involved.

At the start of one of the early evening observers' sessions, three of the participants asked to be present. Much to the chagrin of the staff, Lewin agreed to this unorthodox request. As the observers reported to the group, one of the participants - a woman - disagreed with the observer on the interpretation of her behaviour that day. One other participant agreed with her assertion and a lively discussion ensued about behaviours and their interpretations. Word of the session spread, and by the next night, more than half of the sixty participants were attending the feedback sessions which, indeed became the focus of the conference. Near the conference's end, the vast majority of participants were attending these sessions, which lasted well into the night. (NTL Institute)

Lippitt (1949) has described how Lewin responded to this and joined with participants in ‘active dialogue about differences of interpretation and observation of the events by those who had participated in them’. A significant innovation in training practice was established. As Kolb (1984: 10) has commented:

Thus the discovery was made that learning is best facilitated in an environment where there is dialectic tension and conflict between immediate, concrete experience and analytic detachment. By bringing together the immediate experiences of the trainees and the conceptual models of the staff in an open atmosphere where inputs from each perspective could challenge and stimulate the other, a learning environment occurred with remarkable vitality and creativity.

It was this experience that led to the establishment of the first National Training Laboratory in Group Development (held at Gould Academy in Bethel, Maine in the summer of 1947). By this time Lewin was dead, but his thinking and practice was very much a part of what happened. This is how Reid (1981: 153) describes what happened:

A central feature of the laboratory was “basic skills training,” in which an observer reported on group processes at set intervals. The skills to be achieved were intended to help an individual function in the role of “change agent”. A change agent was thought to be instrumental in facilitating communication and useful feedback among participants. He was also to be a paragon who was aware of the need for change, could diagnose the problems involved, and could plan for change, implement the plans, and evaluate the results. To become an effective change agent, an understanding of the dynamics of groups was believed necessary.

What we see here is the basic shape of T-group theory and the so-called ‘laboratory method’. Initially the small discussion groups were known as ‘basic skill training groups’ but by 1949 they had been shortened to T-group. In 1950 a sponsoring organization, the National Training Laboratories (NTL) was set up, and the scene was set for a major expansion of the work (reaching its heyday in the 1960s) and the evolution of the encounter group (Yalom 1995: 488).

The approach was not without its critics – in part because of what was perceived as its Gestalt base. In part, because it was seen by some as lacking substance. Reid (1981: 154) reports that Grace Coyle, who had spent time at Bethel, felt that many of the training groups handled group situations badly; and that the leaders were starting to believe that they had ‘discovered everything there was to know about group relations and were unaware of the inquiry and work of others’. There may have been some element of this – but there was also innovation here. Four elements of the T-group are particularly noteworthy here according to Yalom (1995: 488-9) (and they owe a great deal to Lewin’s influence):

Feedback. Lewin had borrowed the term from electrical engineering and applied it to the behavioural sciences. Here it was broadly used to describe the adjustment of a process informed by information about its results or effects. An important element here is the difference between the desired and actual result. There was a concern that organizations, groups and relationships generally suffered from a lack of accurate information about what was happening around their performance. Feedback became a key ingredient of T-groups and was found to ‘be most effective when it stemmed from here-and-now observations, when it followed the generating event as closely as possible, and when the recipient checked with other group members to establish its validity and reduce perceptual distortion’ (Yalom 1995: 489).

Unfreezing. This was taken directly from Kurt Lewin’s change theory. It describes the process of disconfirming a person’s former belief system. ‘Motivation for change must be generated before change can occur. One must be helped to re-examine many cherished assumptions about oneself and one’s relations to others’ (op. cit.). Part of the process of the group, then, had to address this. Trainers sought to create an environment in which values and beliefs could be challenged.

Participant observation. ‘Members had to participate emotionally in the group as well as observe themselves and the group objectively’ (op. cit.). Connecting concrete (emotional) experience and analytical detachment is not an easy task, and is liable to be resisted by many participants, but it was seen as a essential if people were to learn and develop.

Cognitive aids. This particular aspect was drawn from developments in psychoeducational and cognitive-behavioural group therapy. It entailed the provision of models or organizing ideas through the medium brief lectures and handouts (and later things like film clips or video). Perhaps the best known of these was the Johari Window (named after, and developed by, Joe Luft and Harry Ingram). Yalom (1995: 490) comments, ‘The use of such cognitive aids, lectures, reading assignments, and theory sessions demonstrates that the basic allegiance of the T-group was to the classroom rather than the consulting room. The participants were considered students; the task of the T-group was to facilitate learning for its members’.

Action research

Kurt Lewin is also generally credited as the person who coined the term ‘action research’.

The research needed for social practice can best be characterized as research for social management or social engineering. It is a type of action-research, a comparative research on the conditions and effects of various forms of social action, and research leading to social action. Research that produces nothing but books will not suffice (Lewin 1946, reproduced in Lewin 1948: 202-3)

In case its' required: Further reading and references

Bogdan, R. C. and Biklen, S. K. (1992) Qualitative Research for Education, Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Bradford, L. P., Gibb, J. R., Benn, K. D. (1964). T Group theory and laboratory method, New York: John Wiley.

Brown, R. (1988) Group Processes. Dynamics within and between groups, Oxford: Blackwell.

Carr, W. and Kemmis, S. (1986) Becoming Critical. Education, knowledge and action research, Lewes: Falmer Press.

Correy, S. M. (1949) ‘Action research, fundamental research and educational practices’, Teachers College Record 50: 509-14.

Deutch, M. (1949) ‘A theory of cooperation and competition’, Human Relations 2: 129-52

Elliott, J. (1991) Action Research for Educational Change, Buckingham: Open University Press.

Gastil, J. (1994) ‘A definition and illustration of democratic leadership’ Human Relations 47/8: 953-75. Reprinted in K. Grint (ed.) (1997) Leadership, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gold, M. (ed.) (1999) The Complete Social Scientist. A Kurt Lewin Reader

Hall, C.S. and Lindzey, G., 1978. Theories of Personality 3e, New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Johnson, D. W. and Johnson, R. T. (1995) ‘Positive interdependence: key to effective cooperation’ in R. Hertz-Lazarowitz and N. Miller (eds.) Interaction in Cooperative Groups. The theoretical anatomy of group learning, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kariel, H. S. (1956) ‘Democracy unlimited. Kurt Lewin’s field theory’, American Journal of Sociology 62: 280-89.

Kemmis, S. and McTaggart, R. (1988) The Action Research Planner, Geelong, Victoria: Deakin University Press.

Kolb, D. A. (1984) Experiential Learning. Experience as the source of learning and development, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.: Prentice-Hall.

Lewin, K. (1935) A dynamic theory of personality. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Lewin, K. (1936) Principles of topological psychology. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Lewin, K. (1948) Resolving social conflicts; selected papers on group dynamics. Gertrude W. Lewin (ed.). New York: Harper & Row, 1948.

Lewin, K. (1951) Field theory in social science; selected theoretical papers. D. Cartwright (ed.). New York: Harper & Row.

Lewin, K. and Lippitt, R. (1938) ‘An experimental approach to the study of autocracy and democracy. A preliminary note’, Sociometry 1: 292-300.

Lewin, K., Lippitt, R. and White, R. (1939) ‘Patterns of aggressive behaviour in experimentally created “social climates”’, Journal of Social Psychology 10: 271-99.

Lewin, K. and Grabbe, P. (1945) ‘Conduct, knowledge and acceptance of new values’ Journal of Social Issues 2.

Lippitt, R. (1949) Training in Community Relations, New York: Harper and Row.

McTaggart, R. (1996) ‘Issues for participatory action researchers’ in O. Zuber-Skerritt (ed.) New Directions in Action Research, London: Falmer Press.

Marrow, A. J. (1969) The Practical Theorist. : The Life and Work of Kurt Lewin, New York: Basic Books

Reid, K. E. (1981) From Character Building to Social Treatment. The history of the use of groups in social work, Westpoint, Conn.: Greenwood Press.

Schein, E (1995) 'Kurt Lewin's Change Theory in the Field and in the Classroom: Notes Toward a Model of Managed Learning', Systems Practice, <link updated to site home>

Stringer, E. T. (1999) Action Research 2e, Thousand Oaks, CA.: Sage.

Ullman, D. (2000) 'Kurt Lewin: His Impact on American Psychology, or Bridging the Gorge between Theory and Reality', <link updated to site home>

Webb, G. (1996) ‘Becoming critical of action research for development’ in O. Zuber-Skerritt (ed.) New Directions in Action Research, London: Falmer Press.

Winter, R. (1987) Action-Research and the Nature of Social Inquiry. Professional innovation and educational work, Aldershot: Avebury.

Yalom, I. D. (1995) The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy 4e,New York: Basic Books.

I think this will suffice the purpose at a Graduate level ..

Let me know if this could be of use ..



From India, Pune

Check out his web page.

Who’s Kurt Lewin anyway?

Kurt Lewin was a German social psychologist born in 1890, best known for “Force Field Analysis” using force field diagrams, and for introducing scientific experimentation to test hypotheses. Lewin worked mostly in the USA, and his teachings shape our understanding today of group dynamics.

Force Field Analysis – the 35,000 foot view

There are always pros and cons to a decision – nothing is ever that simple! The secret of good decision-making is figuring out whether the pros outweigh the cons BEFORE you take action. With force field analysis, you list and score the factors for and against a decision, total the scores and see which comes up best.

If it's a close call and the decision for or against is not clear, you can add an extra step. Review the factors affecting the decision and create an action plan to increase the “fors” and decrease the “againsts”. Simply repeat the force field analysis with the new conditions and your decision will be clear.

Force Field Analysis – Step 1

On a sheet of paper or spreadsheet, list all the factors for (pros) and factors against (cons) a decision. Include intangible or emotional factors as ignoring these can undermine your decision.

Force Field Analysis -Step 2

Give each factor a score of between 1 and 5, where 1 is low or weak and 5 is high or strong. Draw opposing arrows for each factor, where the size represents the score.

Force Field Analysis - Step 3

Total the For and Against scores. Is the result as expected? Do your heart and head agree? If not, review briefly the factors you listed. Are there any missing? Are less important factors overshadowing the more important factors? Are the scores realistic, and spread across the full range? Resist the temptation to fabricate the results, consider changing the factors and scores and see what happens.

Force Field Analysis - Step 4 (Additional)

It may be possible to increase the For score and decrease the Against score by taking appropriate action. Could a communication plan address concerns about resistance to change? Could additional training or additional resources increase the likelihood of a successful change? Review the factors and decide what actions could be taken to address or enhance any challenges.

Assuming these actions take place, what would the new scores be? Go through each factor, assuming the action has been successful, and write down the new score (as step 2). Total the new For and Against scores (as step 3). Again, is the result as expected?

Crystal Clear Decisions

By now your decision is clear. Although you might not like the outcome, you can be confident that your decision is sound, transparent and explainable.

Instead of using “gut feel” or other haphazard means, try a more scientific decision making method. Kurt Lewin Force Field Analysis is simple yet effective method to improve your decision making ability today.

By Lyndsay Swinton

Owner, Management for the Rest of Us

From Australia, Ballarat

See attachment for a full text on Lewin' force field theory.
From Australia, Ballarat

Attached Files (Download Requires Membership)
File Type: pdf lewins-force-field-analysis_373.pdf (52.3 KB, 631 views)


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From India, Pune

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