Causes and Effects


The idea of 'causes and effects' is easier to understand in the form of a diagram. A simple analysis is represented below. The problems listed on the left can be thought of as being causes of the 'core problem' and that core problem can be considered as having the effects listed on the right of the diagram.


The major contributing factors to inefficient meetings (excluding  for the moment, the issue of "human behavior") are:

  • meetings are sometimes used when they are not appropriate

  • the planning for the meeting is inadequate

  • the level of communication is poor

  • no visual record is made of the discussion as it proceeds

  • there is biased or inadequate control over "who speaks next"

  • there are few mechanisms available to resolve differences of opinion

  • there is no mechanism for adjusting the "rules of play"

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 Causes Effects and Cures 

The previous  cause effect diagram shows a list of effects. These effects can themselves have "knock-on" effects. The diagram below shows some possible "second level" effects. They are; non-optimum decisions, dissatisfied staff, low operating efficiency, poor company performance. The reasoning is, if we wish to avoid the consequences just listed we should "trace back" the cause - effect chain and apply "curative measures" to the root causes. In the case used in this example the "cure" is to improve the efficiency of meetings. 

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The cause effect analysis we have just seen is an example of the use of one of the analytical processes.






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