Cause and Effect Diagram | Fishbone Diagram (Kaoru Ishikawa)

Knowledge Center

12manage is looking for students. Info

Identifying and arranging the causes of an event or problem. Explanation of the Cause and Effect (Fishbone) Diagram of Kaoru Ishikawa. (1943)

Kaoru Ishikawa Fishbone DiagramWhat is a Cause and Effect Diagram? Description

The Cause and Effect Diagram (Fishbone Diagram) from Japanese quality control statistician Kaoru Ishikawa is a graphical technique that can be used in teams to identify and arrange the causes of an event or problem or outcome. It graphically illustrates the hierarchical relationship between the causes according to their level of importance or detail and a given outcome. Also called: Ishikawa Diagram.

Origin of the Fishbone Diagram. History

The Fishbone Diagram was invented by Professor Kaoru Ishikawa of Tokyo University, a highly regarded Japanese expert in quality management. He first used it in 1943 to help explain to a group of engineers at Kawasaki Steel Works how a complex set of factors could be related to help understand a problem.

Usage of the Cause and Effect Diagram | Fishbone Diagram. Applications

  • Concentrating on a complex problem in a team effort. Compare: 8D Problem Solving
  • Identify all causes and the the root causes for a specific effect, problem, or condition.
  • Analyze and relate some of the interactions among the factors affecting a particular process or effect.
  • Enable corrective action.

Steps in creating an Ishikawa Diagram. Process

  1. Explain the purpose of the meeting. Then identify, and clearly state, and agree on the problem or effect to be analyzed.
  2. Position a whiteboard or flipchart so that everyone can see it. Draw a box containing the problem or effect on the right side of the diagram with a horizontal spine.

  3. Conduct a Brainstorming session. As a first draft, for the main branches you can use the following Categories:
    • Services industry: the 8 Ps: People, Product/Service, Price, Promotion, Policies, Processes, Procedures, Place/Plant/Technology.
    • Manufacturing: the 6 Ms: Manpower, Methods, Measurements, Machinery, Materials, Mother Nature (environment).
    • Use the above categories by asking for example: What are the People issues affecting/causing the problem?
  4. Identify the main causes contributing to the effect being studied. This could be done applying a Pareto Analysis (80/20 rule) or a Root Cause Analysis.

  5. These main causes become the labels for the sub branches of your diagram.

  6. For each major sub branch, identify other specific factors which may be the causes of the effect. Ask: Why is this cause happening?
  7. Identify increasingly more detailed levels of causes and continue organizing them under related causes or categories.
  8. Analyze the diagram.
  9. Act on the diagram. Remove the causes of the problem. Generic systematic approaches for this are the Deming Cycle or RACI.

Strengths the Cause and Effect Diagram. Benefits

  • Helps to find and consider all possible causes of the problem, rather than just the ones that are most obvious.
  • Helps to determine the root causes of a problem or quality characteristic in a structured way.
  • Encourages group participation and utilizes group knowledge of the process.
  • Helps to focus on the causes of the issue without resorting to complaints and irrelevant discussion.
  • Uses an orderly, easy-to-read format to diagram cause-and-effect relationships.
  • Increases knowledge of the process by helping everyone to learn more about the factors at work and how they relate.
  • Identifies areas for further study where there is a lack of sufficient information.

Limitations of the Ishikawa Diagram. Disadvantages

  • Not particularly useful for extremely complex problems, where many causes and many problems are interrelated.

Assumptions of the Fishbone Diagram. Conditions

  • A problem is composed of a limited number of causes, which are in turn also composed of sub causes.
  • Distinguishing these causes and sub causes is a useful first step to deal with the problem.

Book: Kaoru Ishikawa - Guide to Quality Control -

Special Interest Group - Cause and Effect Analysis

Special Interest Group (68 members)

Forum - Cause and Effect Analysis  

Here you will find interesting and educational discussions.

  Solution and Effect Diagram (1 reactions)
There exists also an inverted Ishikawa Diagram, with the Sol...
  Ishikawa System Limitations (1 reactions)
The Ishikawa system is a practical, solid tool for solutions...
  Complex Effect and Cause Relations (9 reactions)
Note that Effects and Causes of organizational problems are ...
Hot When Should we Use a Cause Effect Diagram?
In addition to the usage and application areas already menti...
  How to Apply Cause and Effect Analysis in a Processing Plant? (3 reactions)
I work in a process plant. I'm always facing breakdowns of m...
  Ishikawa Process in Quality Control and Quality Management (1 reactions)
Problem Analysis for quality control/management issues using...
  Only the Probable, Approximate Main Cause is Found!
Cause-effect diagram is one of methods determining the appro...
  The 4Ms Model to Name Ishikawa Main Causes (2 reactions)
I checked the internet to find out who and when used the ori...

Best Practices - Cause and Effect Analysis

Here you will find the most valuable ideas.

  What is the Taguchi Principle? (15 reactions)
Has anyone heard of the Taguchi principle and can you please...
  Cause and Effect Diagram: Next Steps (2 reactions)
It is well known that C&E analysis is a good tool for troubl...
  Determining the Relevance of a Problem with an Ishikawa Diagram (4 reactions)
I use the fishbone to determine the relevance of a problem. ...
  Six Sigma and Fishbone Diagram (5 reactions)
Is there a relation between six-sigma and the fishbone diagr...
  Understanding Demand and Failure Demand (6 reactions)
I am an MSc student of Six Sigma for service. For my final p...

Expert Tips - Cause and Effect Analysis

Here you will find high-quality advice from experts.


How to ApplyThe 5 Whys Method

Definition, Process, Best Practices, Limitations...

Approaches to Conducting RCA Activities

Root Cause Analysis Methods...

3 Potential Categories of (Root) Causes

Root Cause Analysis, Ishikawa, 8D, TOC...

Team-oriented Cause and Effect Analysis

Team-based RCA...

Resources - Cause and Effect Analysis

Here you will find powerpoint presentations, micro-learning videos and further information sources.

Ishikawa Diagram

Analysing main causes and effects...

Example of Root Cause Analysis: The Jefferson Memorial

Root Cause Analysis, RCA, 5 Whys, Ishikawa Diagram, Cause and Effect Analysis...

Determining the Root Cause of a Problem

Root Cause Analysis, Problem Solving, Analysing...

Using the Whys Method

Six Sigma, Toyoda, Toyota, Lean Production, Root Cause Analysis...

Creating a Fish Bone Diagram in Excel

Fish Bone Diagram Excel, Excel, Ishikawa Diagram Excel...

First Introduction to 8D Problem Solving and Root Cause Analysis

Initial Understanding of Causes of Problems, Workshops, Trainings...

Cause and Effect Diagram

Cause and Effect Analysis...

News about Cause And Effect Analysis


News about Fishbone Diagram


Videos about Cause And Effect Analysis


Videos about Fishbone Diagram


Presentations about Cause And Effect Analysis


Presentations about Fishbone Diagram


Books about Cause And Effect Analysis


Books about Fishbone Diagram


More about Cause And Effect Analysis


More about Fishbone Diagram


Compare with the Cause and Effect Diagram: 8D Problem Solving  |  Root Cause Analysis  |  Theory of Constraints  |  Dialectical Inquiry  |  Mind Mapping  |  Pyramid Principle  |  Delphi Method  |  Analogical Strategic Reasoning  |  Action Learning  |  Brainstorming  |  Six Thinking Hats  |  Kepner-Tregoe Matrix  |  RACI  |  Gantt Chart

Return to Management Hub: Communication & Skills  |  Decision-making & Valuation  |  Supply Chain & Quality

More Management Methods, Models and Theory

Special Interest Group Leader

You here? Sign up for free


About 12manage | Advertising | Link to us / Cite us | Privacy | Suggestions | Terms of Service
© 2019 12manage - The Executive Fast Track. V15.1 - Last updated: 15-10-2019. All names ™ of their owners.