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Cause and effect diagram

Cause and effect diagram

Business organizations use tools to show clear and concise representation of the existing situation within the institution. Ishikawa diagram, Fishbone diagram or Cause and effect diagram is one of the most popular tools used by most of the managers to visually display the potential causes for a particular problem or effect.



Steps for Using the Cause and effect diagram:

  • Step 1:

Identify and analyze the problem through brainstorming and by considering the following: who are involved, what the problem is, when and where it occurs. In the Cause and Effect diagram, write the problem in the box, then draw a horizontal line. The arrangement should look like a head and the spine of a fish.

  • Step 2:

Identify the factors that may contribute to the problem it could be people, material, machinery or other external factors. Write these factors on the spine of the fish.

  • Step 3:

After identifying the contributors to the problem, look for the possible causes. Add these as the fish bones, and do not forget to put label.

  • Step 4:

You may also create sub-causes if you have a major cause to a problem.

  • Step 5:

You may start analyzing the diagram through brainstorming with the group. The analysis may go further and may lead to future investigations, interviews and surveys which may help resolve the existing conflict.


Uses of Cause and Effect Diagram:

  • There should be an existing problem to be resolved.
  • Think of all the possible causes and write it on the nodes of the fish bone.
  • Make sure to connect it to the problem.
  • You may consider splitting a node into two if needed.



Resolving problems or issues within a company can be easily done by presenting a visual representation of the situation. Cause and effect diagrams are proven to be very effective in delivering information gathered through brainstorming of members within the group.



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Management Square

Management Square is a service provider company specializing in Strategy Execution, Business Transformation, and Portfolio, Program and Project Management. Our mission is to create high quality trainings through professional excellence, and to provide a consultancy of choice through extensive learning experiences.


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