Root-Cause Analysis of Workers’ Reluctance to Share Ideas

Subject: Employee Management
Pages: 1
Words: 402
Reading time:
2 min
Study level: College

One of the most common problems that many organizations face is how to manage internal and external changes effectively. In this regard, suppose that the top managers of the company that operates in the sphere of sportswear retail decide to empower their workers by letting them share ideas on work-process improvement. However, after one month, only a few employees presented their original thoughts, while most of the workers claimed they were satisfied with the current procedures and regulations. Yet, managers suspected that the latter assertions were not true. Therefore, they can use root cause analysis to identify what led to the weak employees’ response to the new initiative.

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Many methods can help leaders locate the real reason(s) that caused the problem. One such method is the 5-Whys which is highly suitable for the example presented above (Parker, 2019). It is useful as this framework allows analysts to avoid falsely identifying the primary causes of the problem (Serrat, 2017). As such, the solution to the issue introduced above would have the following form:

  1. Why do employees not want to present their ideas concerning changes in the work process to the top managers? Because they do not believe that their opinion can influence anything.
  2. Why do workers think that their suggestions will not have any effect? Because of the existing corporate culture.
  3. The main purpose of the initiative is to change that culture, so why does it still exist? Because line managers could not communicate that idea clearly to their subordinates.
  4. Why did line managers fail to communicate the essence of the initiative to employees? Because they also do not believe that workers’ suggestions can have any impact on policies.
  5. Why do line managers not believe that employees’ opinions can have an influence? Because top management failed to communicate that idea correctly and motivate line administration to facilitate the change.

As a result, the core of the problem is that workers did not want to share their ideas concerning the changes in the work process due to top management’s failure in communication. For this reason, when the root cause is clearly defined now, it is possible to elaborate on the most effective recommendations. For instance, top managers should first convince the line administration of the truthfulness and necessity of the proposed initiative. To achieve that, the company leaders can study line managers’ opinions about change in work processes and then apply them in practice.


Parker, S. (2019). 5 whys. Lean & Six Sigma Review, 18(4), 32.

Serrat, O. (2017). The five whys technique. In Oliver Serrat (ed.) Knowledge solutions (pp. 307-310). Springer, Singapore.