Common Cause and Special Cause (statistics) - Importance To Industrial and Quality Management

Importance To Industrial and Quality Management

A special-cause failure is a failure that can be corrected by changing a component or process, whereas a common-cause failure is equivalent to noise in the system and specific actions cannot be made to prevent the failure.

Harry Alpert observed:

A riot occurs in a certain prison. Officials and sociologists turn out a detailed report about the prison, with a full explanation of why and how it happened here, ignoring the fact that the causes were common to a majority of prisons, and that the riot could have happened anywhere.

The quote recognises that there is a temptation to react to an extreme outcome and to see it as significant, even where its causes are common to many situations and the distinctive circumstances surrounding its occurrence, the results of mere chance. Such behaviour has many implications within management, often leading to ad-hoc interventions that merely increase the level of variation and frequency of undesirable outcomes.

Deming and Shewhart both advocated the control chart as a means of managing a business process in an economically efficient manner.

Read more about this topic:  Common Cause And Special Cause (statistics)

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