"...when someone speaks of "the root cause," what they mean is "the one thing I can fix that, with the least pain or hassle, will keep this problem from happening again in the near future ... at least until the time when a recurrence will be viewed by stakeholders as a separate event, unrelated to the first."
For back-up to the idea of having so many definitions, Bill Corcoran left us with:
"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master -- that's all."
(Through the Looking Glass, Chapter 6, Lewis Carroll)
It seems pretty amazing that there could be 39 definitions of root cause, but maybe we can understand that each type of culture needs its own definition or group of definitions.
Editor’s note: Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass is getting a lot of play here at Industrial Heating recently. For more, check out Dan Herring’s last two “The Heat Treat Doctor” columns (Sept. & Oct. 2012).