August 22, 2018 | Mark Paradies

Dunning-Kruger Effect – Another Reason You Need TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis

Watch this Ted-Ed talk about the Dunning-Kruger Effect.  The Dunning-Krger Effect is a cognitive bias whereby people who are incompetent at something are unable to recognize their own incompetence.  Not only do they fail to recognize it, they’re also likely to feel confident that they are competent.

Investigators can fall into this trap. Often when people use cause-and-effect (5-Whys, Fault Trees, Why Trees, …), they think they know the root cause of the problem. All they have to do is build the tree that proves their answers. How does cause and effect analysis fall short?

The #1 reason it falls short is because gaps in an investigator’s knowledge (that he/she underestimate) block the other possibilities, and the investigator doesn’t realize that he/she is jumping to conclusions.

“When you don’t know that you don’t know, it’s a lot different than when you do know that you don’t know.” – Bill Parcells

If you do know that you don’t know every possibility, how do you bridge that gap? The TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis System guides you. TapRooT® root cause analysis helps investigators “fill in the gaps” in their knowledge to keep them from making the mistake of thinking that they know more than they do. TapRooT® offers an investigation and improvement process that includes built-in human factors, root cause analysis and troubleshooting tools. It takes investigators far beyond their own knowledge. TapRooT® doesn’t start out looking for “why” something happened. Instead, it starts out trying to understand “what” happened.

TapRooT® encourages investigators to identify all the mistakes, errors or equipment failures, and find the root cause of each one. Thus, there isn’t a “root cause” for an accident. Rather, there are multiple root causes for each mistake, error or equipment failure that contributed to an accident.

The tool used to analyze these causal factors is called the Root Cause Tree®. It is copyrighted and, in software form, patented. It is human factored to lead investigators to the root causes of human performance and equipment problems. This is how an investigator can know what he/she doesn’t know.

Attend a public TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis Course and find out how TapRoot® can help you improve your ability to find and fix the real root causes of incidents, accidents, quality problems, patient safety events, process safety incidents, quality problems, and equipment failures.  See our upcoming courses here:

Root Cause Analysis
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