hello You went into business to be your own boss ....These are free training modules and the latest info on Small Business

What are the root causes of sweatshops in this world?

Consult http://business.nmsu.edu/~dboje/usas 



A root cause analysis is a method that identifies causal factors, including interpersonal bottlenecks and dysfunctionalities that keep a business from achieving financial success. A "root cause" is defined as a causal factor that, if corrected, would prevent recurrence.  

This year (2000), we will adopt a French Consulting approach to Root Cause. It is called SEAM - Socio Economic Analysis of Management

press here to see Four Leave Clover Interactive Model


The problem is one problem is always to be found in a network of related problems.  In the SEAM Four Leaf Clover, there are four areas to look for problems.

Therefore, solving the one problem will not do the job. Every small business wants, for example, more sales. But, solving this SURFACE PROBLEM will not lead to success. The reason is that the SURFACE PROBLEM has causal roots. The roots are deep and part of the design of the business.

Every business is perfectly designed to get the results it now achieves. And to get different results the entire business system needs to change its SCRIPT. The script is the pattern of interrelationships among many problems. And small businesses live in a problem-saturated world. A way out is called "restorying." Here are some not so simple steps to follow:

  1. Define the Problem
  2. Brainstorm a list of problems
  1. Problem Finding Checklist (help in finding problems)
ONE Causal Factor Charting (help in showing networking of problems) TWO Develop an Implementation Chart

Step 1: This is what a Root Cause Chart Looks like Without the Cause/Effect Arrows

STEP TWO - is to Draw in the Cause and Effect Arrows (see example Figure 2).

FIGURE 2: Root Cause Chart with the Cause and Effect Arrows (Be sure to use the codes from your CODE BOOK in each Variable). 


This is the result of sorting problem cards into the categories (finance, operations, administrative, marketing, personnel, and MIS).  Then the Consultant, based on interviews and observations drew in lines of interconnection (how one problem card was the result of or the cause of another card).  Just the most important lines are shown. 

NOTE: For this semester, I would like you to work with the SEAM categories (press here for Clover Leaf Model). In particular, please use the following set of MAIN CATEGORIES (plus others of your own choosing) ---> [Working Conditions, Work Organizations Communication-Coordination-Cooperation, Time-Sharing/Time Management, In-House Training, Strategic Implementation. 

ROOT CAUSE NARRATIVE - With your chart you will need to write up a Root Cause Narrative (explain what your chart is all about and what it connects). PRESS HERE  for example.   


STEP THREE - Create your Story Chart (Note this is different example from Fig 1 & 2).

Figure 3 Story Chart

PRESS HERE to see another STORY CHART example.

The story chart is derived from the ROOT CAUSE CHART.  It picks out the problem Variable with the most lines coming in and the most coming out (the most cause and effect lines).  This is the ROOT PROBLEM (the one messing with most of the others). To draw a Story Chart, pick out the ROOT PROBLEM then simply draw in the lines coming into and out of it.  It is a more focused chart than the Root Cause Chart.  

There are problem patterns (networks) that just keep recurring. Based upon the Causal Factor Charting, trace a recurring pattern. Pick one among all the many possible patterns. For example, how lack of advertising is related to lack of training that relates to lack of budge, and to some person who is a bottleneck (gatekeeper). The idea is to pick out a few relations that form the never-ending story. It is the script that needs to be restoried.

As you do your interviews, ask questions about cost and revenue effects of each variable in your Root Cause and Story Charts. This way you can calculate your Hidden Costs

Figure 4 Hidden Cost Chart



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