Cause is an input (X) that impacts an output (Y). Generally, the term cause is used when an input has a negative impact on the output. However, the impact may be positive or negative. The extent of impact may be strong or weak.
Root Cause is an input (X) that has a strong impact (usually negative) on the output (Y). Root cause is usually the source or the deepest cause and fixing it shall prevent recurrence of the negative impact on the output. Root causes ideally should not have further underlying causes
An application-oriented question on the topic along with responses can be seen below. The best answer was provided by Sujata Dhawase on 03rd May 2019.
Applause for the respondents - Paul K, Steve C, Stephen J, ChrisM, Leanne, KevN, Alan N, R Rajesh, Ransingh Satyajit Ray, Kiran Kumar, Sreyash Sangam, Shankar B,G J Mahaalakshumi, Umang Shah, Girish Vasan, Padmanaban V, Avinash Modi, Chander Mohan Dhingra, Saby, Parsa Karthik, Venkatraman J, Chitra Hariharan, Prashanth Datta
Also review the answer provided by Mr Venugopal R, Benchmark Six Sigma's in-house expert.