EXAMINE PRESENTING PROBLEMS TO LOOK FOR CONTIRIBUTING FACTORS AND ROOT CAUSES

Look at when these incidents take place (time of day, time of week, time of month, time of year, which years). Consider what else has been going on within the organization, the community, and the economy at those times.

Presenting problems

The “presenting problems” are the immediate situations that attract attention and generate concern: for instance, high rates of absenteeism, bickering among employees, harassment complaints. Responses that focus at this level will be band-aid solutions.

Contributing factors

These are elements that aggravate the situation: for instance, deadline pressures, high-stress decision making, competition to maintain market share, fear of job cuts. This level of problem solving begins to address the factors that motivate behaviour.

Root causes

These are larger issues that exist at a deeper level: for instance, unreliable supply sources that create production bottlenecks, a workplace culture that encourages and rewards bullying behaviour, concerns about organizational sustainability. Problem solving at this level requires systemic review and change.

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