the underlying issue

Topics: Causality, Harry Potter, Ethics Pages: 2 (300 words) Published: February 2, 2014

Case Analysis—Identifying the underlying issue or cause of the problem (not just the symptom of the problem) and avoid repeating case details.

1) What is the book “Harry Potter” about?

NO: Harry Potter was walking along the street one day and walked into the train station…. (Don’t describe the story point by point. Don’t repeat the case details in the case analysis.)

YES: “Harry Potter” is a magical story that pits good against evil… (sum up the issue)

2) I have an aching foot

NO: There is a very painful burning sensation in the bottom of my foot and it feels like there’s a rock inside my shoe (symptom of problem—doesn’t say what’s causing the pain). YES: I have a foot neuroma—a pinched nerve between my toes (cause of the problem)

3) Amazon is receiving bad press.

NO: Amazon employees are passing out from heat stroke (symptom of the problem).

What is the cause of the employee problem? See below after class discussion.

YES: Amazon is facing a communications crisis caused by a failure to keep its workplace safe and to treat its employees ethically. Everyone deserves a safe work place.

4) A bullet train in Japan crashed and killed 10 people.

What was the cause of the crash?

Bullet Train crash cause (underlying issue that caused it to crash)?

1) Driver error—going too fast
2) Corruption—company invested in faulty parts, which caused it to break apart 3) Act of God—a lightening strike
4) What else?

In business, an underlying issue could be…
an operational problem,
a safety issue,
an ethical dilemma,
poor communications
or something else that is causing things to break down. 
Again, learn how to identify the core problem--not just the symptoms (unhappy employees, broken equipment, injuries on the job, etc.).
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