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Tools for Social Change: How equity-minded leaders use ‘root cause analysis’ to tackle tough issues

  • Photo credit:
    Macu ic for Unsplash

Examining why inequity exists and persists is one of the most crucial steps to ending injustice.

LEE’s “Tools for Social Change” is designed to provide LEE members a variety of resources & tools that can be used to examine social issues that are impacting their communities today. 


At LEE, we ground ourselves in equipping & developing leaders with the tools they need to approach equity issues. Through a specific analysis framework called “root cause analysis,” equity-minded leaders can learn to unpack these issues and find ways to make an impact. 

OK. So what is "root cause analysis"?

As leaders looking to bring about macro-level and system-level change, it is important that the course of action you plan to take will address not only a particular process or a decision, but that it also prevents it from occurring again. We don’t just want to create a “band aid” solution that fixes the issue immediately, but doesn’t prevent it from happening again in the future. And we want to make sure we are not just addressing symptoms but the root cause of the problem.

Root cause analysis challenges us to think systematically about why the issues we see on a day-to-day basis exist, and what unique role we can play in addressing the cause of them.

The goals of root cause analysis

To push ourselves to think about why challenges exist, what allows these challenges to be systemic, and what unique role we can play in addressing them.

Using the Root Cause Analysis framework

The Digital Divide

LEE member, Director of Regional Leadership Development at LEE, and Baltimore City School Board Commissioner, Ateira Griffin, uses root cause analysis to explore the possible ways & reasons for how you may see the digital divide show up in your community.

Reflect on this:

  • How do you see the digital divide show up in your community?
  • What are some of the ways you can trace back the inequities?
  • What steps can you take now to tackle this issue?

Read more about how LEE members are working to end the digital divide.

You can engage in creating systemic change too! Find out how LEE can support you by completing the form below.