Affinity Diagram and Root Cause Analysis Essay.

Posted: December 12th, 2022

Affinity Diagram and Root Cause Analysis Essay.


The purpose of this assignment is to use an affinity diagram to brainstorm and identify root causes of the organizational problem and potential solutions for addressing it.


Now that you have identified the basic problem you want to resolve within your organization, you will need to think about root causes for the problem. Read the Topic Materials and the “Brainstorming With an Affinity Diagram” handout to help you narrow and specify the cause(s) for the problem. Complete the affinity diagram action steps outlined on the “Brainstorming With an Affinity Diagram” handout, including the “Five Whys Root Causes Analysis.” This can be done using online mind mapping resources like those found in the Topic Materials, by using post-it notes, or through the use of Excel or Word documents and tables. Affinity Diagram and Root Cause Analysis Essay.When constructing the affinity diagram, be sure to complete all six steps described on the handout. You will reference these root causes APA style is not required, but solid academic writing is expected. This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.Affinity Diagram and Root Cause Analysis Essay.

Affinity diagram and root cause analysis

Capital markets are typically built on the value of trust, and the trust is built on verification. Persons reading the financial statements that have been published trust that the audits verify the accuracy of the statements thus giving them confidence as they invest (Ojo& Van Akkeren, 2017). However, there are occasions when audit quality shortfalls occur in which case there is a need for a root cause analysis to understand how and why there was a shortfall and how to ensure that similar shortfalls do not occur in the future. In fact, root cause analysis is a step-by-step guide that organizes thoughts on the specific issues that must be addressed in order to comprehensively solve the initial problem (Okes, 2019).Affinity Diagram and Root Cause Analysis Essay.

In the present case, the defined problem is audit quality shortfalls with the audit figures not matching the financial statements. The question then becomes: why are there audit quality shortfalls? Answering this question reveals that were auditors intentionally presented fraudulent audit figures. Analyzing the reason as to why the auditors presented fraudulent audit figures reveals that they sought to manipulate the company stock. Analyzing why they sought to manipulate the company stocks reveals that they sought to make profits from insider trading. A review of why the auditors were able to manipulate stock reveals that the company did not have an internal-external audit verification system (see Figure 1).Affinity Diagram and Root Cause Analysis Essay.

Figure 1. Four whys root cause analysis

Based on the root cause analysis conducted, solving the problem would entail engaging independent internal and external auditors to act as a verification system that identifies and flags significant differences in the presented audit figures. This ensures that all audit figures are verified before presentation so that there are no future shortfalls similar to what was reported.Affinity Diagram and Root Cause Analysis Essay.


Brainstorming With an Affinity Diagram

An affinity diagram is a visual tool that organizes ideas by themes and is often used in brainstorming sessions to determine both root causes and potential solutions for a problem. This tool is most effective for face-to-face meetings; however, with the advancement of technology and shared desktop spaces, this method could be adapted for virtual teams. Participants in the process should include individuals from all stakeholder groups associated with the problem.Affinity Diagram and Root Cause Analysis Essay.

  1. Introduce the problem or issue to participants.Normally, the facilitator has identified the problem or issue prior to the meeting. The process of introducing the problem and explaining how it is defined in the context of the project increases understanding of the participants and produces ideas that are aligned with the problem.

Example Problem/Issue:Voluntary attrition in the call center is 60%.

  1. Proceed by brainstorming causes for the problem. Participants should use a separate sticky note to identify each item they believe is a cause of the problem (see example below). “Why” questions are often very beneficial when thinking about the problem.Affinity Diagram and Root Cause Analysis Essay.

Example “Why” Question:Why are call center employees voluntarily leaving the company at such a high rate?


Affinity Diagram and Root Cause Analysis Essay.













  1. Sort ideas into themes based upon commonalities (see example below).
Compensation and Benefits
Employee Training and Tools
Low compensation
Lack of employee training
System hard to use
No leader training
Lack of career path
Lack of procedural support
Benefits too costly
System frequently down
Lack of performance feedback
Lack of performance standards














  1. Establish connections. As a team, discuss the categories and examine how they could potentially link together.

Example Connection:In this case, the “Leadership” theme had the most items.This item could be potentially aligned with the “Progression” themesince employees do not believe they are receiving feedback or have a clear career path.

  1. Establish the root cause of the problem. Look at the established themes and ask “why” questions until the real root cause of the issue is identified (see example below). At this stage of the process, many people prefer the use of different colored sticky notes for the root causes that align to the ideas that have been brainstormed.

Example: Five Whys Root Cause Analysis:

Defined Problem:Voluntary attrition in the call center is 60%.

Why are call center employees voluntarily leaving the company at such a high rate?

  • Employees feel there is a lack of leadership.

Why is that?

  • Employees do not know the performance standards.

Why is that?

  • Employees do not receive feedback about their performance.

Why is that?

  • Managers have not been trained in providing performance feedback.

Why is that?

  • There is no manager training program.

Why is that?

  • Most managers are promoted from the call center floor to fill immediate vacancies, so there is no time for training.
  1. Validate the root causes (or causes) of the problem. Validation of root causes requires reviewing reporting or survey results.The validation phase separates the “noise” from real root causes of the problem.Noise is considered any item of low impact and low volume; however, it may be a recent event that individuals considered when brainstorming, like system downtime.

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