Day 6: Cause & effect

Cause and effect. How does x influence y? Or what influences y? Sounds geeky but it’s not just something that researchers (or engineers) think about. It surrounds us in every day life.

Hours of sleep  → Alertness the following day

Hours of study  → Exam grade

I have been accused periodically of thinking too much about cause and effect.

  • Employee walks into office and says “So&so is driving me crazy, what a twit!”
  • My response: “Let’s think about that for a minute. What is So&so’s job? What kind of stress might So&so be under? What factors might be causing So&so’s behaviour? How can we help So&so, and how can we work within these constraints?”

In previous lives, this often led to some more swearing. I can be annoying. But I do this because I think there is a reason behind everything. I believe that people are inherently very similar and wake up every day with good intentions. But behaviours (y) are different because of various reasons (x): where you are born, how you are raised, challenges you face, gifts you have been given, all of this and more… And so behaviour is often explainable.

By taking time to understand the cause of an effect, it can give us a bit of insight into someone else’s situation, and provide a whole new perspective.

Published by Gwyneth Edwards

Academic and practitioner in the field of strategic management.