the root cause

root cause

The most fundamental, central, or basic causal element of something. Violence in this part of town is rampant, but the root cause is really poverty and the wide distribution of narcotics. You're never going to solve your company's financial issues if you can't identify the root cause of your flagging sales.
See also: cause, root

the ˌroot ˈcause (of something)

the main cause of something, such as a problem or difficult situation: Poverty is the root cause of most of the crime in the city.
See also: cause, root
References in periodicals archive ?
However, regardless of the sophistication or complexity of the root cause analysis methodology used, certain considerations must always be kept in mind.
We know of numerous analyses where the root cause has been identified but not eliminated, so RCPE offers a better process.
But we do not believe that reforms such as caps on awards address the root cause of malpractice crises.
The team identified the root cause in 10 hours, which could have reduced iterations and the implementation of the solution by three weeks.
The centerpiece of the Root Cause effort was a three-day, 34 mile march from Fort Lauderdale to Miami to precede the ministerial.
A team performed a RCFA for several weeks and discovered that the root cause was worn out coupling bolts and missing bolts due to misalignment.
These steps lead to a more refined "understanding" of the exact nature and extent of the underlying disease that is the root cause of the patient's symptoms.
While traditional Predictive Maintenance processes only predict machine failures, the Proactive Reliability Maintenance process identifies the root cause of these failures and prescribes measures to prevent their reoccurrence.
I use the term RCPE because it is a waste of good initiatives and time to only find the root cause of a problem, but not fix it.