Limitations of Root Cause Analysis

Root Cause Analysis
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Gary Wong
Consultant, Canada

Limitations of Root Cause Analysis

The RCA model assumes:
1. Linearity
2. The existence of cause and effect relationship
3. That a system can be broken down into components and each fragment analyzed (reductionism).
In the past, this has been the prevailing thinking since the 1930s.
But in today's reality, many problems have become non-linear with many unknown and unknowable connections amongst human and technical components. For such other problems, other tools are to be preferred.


A. Achour
Analyst, Germany

Limitations of Root Cause Analysis

One point to add on RCA models if I may. RCA as known generally focuses on problems then moves on to cause and effect to get to the root cause.
I find this approach unpractical while 4. problems take different forms from various perspectives. A problem for one party isn't necessarily seen as a problem from another party and this could lead to conflict but if the influential party wins the debate (which is always so), the solution is going to be based on the problem as seen from the stronger party. We see many solutions today resolve the problem core, but give birth to new problems.
Another approach which I find a lot more practical is to focus on the effected company goals and from here ellaborate on the cause and effect relationship.
In this way, no matter how parties disagree on how they understand the problem, their perspectives on affected goals are all the same.

Samir Desai, India

Limitation of Root Cause Analysis in Management

If one hopes that RCA in management problem will also throw up the results as sharp as the RCA in te... Sign up

A. Achour
Analyst, Germany

Requirements of Root Cause Analysis

@Samir Desai: the success of an RCA initiative in problem management depends first and foremost on t... Sign up

Bill Wilson
Analyst, Canada

Linearity is Still a Reasonable Assumption Most of the Time

@Gary Wong, you mentioned the 1930s as a date of origin for root cause... Are you referring to Heinr... Sign up

Gary Wong
Consultant, Canada

Apply Complexity Science

@Bill Wilson: Thanks for catching my typo; it should be the 1950s when Charles Kepner and Ben Tregoe... Sign up

Marilyn Huser
Analyst, United States

Linear is Still Reasonable

@Bill Wilson: Thank you for covering the analysis that is related to non-abstract problems. Manytime... Sign up


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