Fishikawa is a visualisation tool that provides a structure for information gathered by cause and effect analysis.

Also known as

  • Cause and effect diagram.
  • Fishbone diagram
  • Herringbone diagram.

The tool

Fisher’s Process of Transition, and its associated Personal Transition Curve (see following diagram), provides an insight into how individuals respond to change.

A Fishikawa or herringbone diagram with the various causes and effect.

Fishikawa helps you to understand and map the relationships and linkages between causes and effects.

When used carefully, the structure of the previous diagram encourages the identification of multiple causes / factors that can lead to a single problem.

The diagram provides spaces for users to write in:

  • The problem that is being investigated (the Effect).
  • The main causes of the effect.
    • These will be categories, and may include things like: people; processes; equipment; management; environment etc.
  • More specific, contributory causes, which will eventually provide an explanation for—and inform a solution to—your problem.
    • These contributory causes have been described as Level 1 causes and Level 2 causes in the diagram.

Why use it

When to use it

How to use it



Use in conjunction with

Complemented by


Additional information