Is it an auditor’s responsibility to seek the “root cause” while conducting an audit?
An auditor should not seek the root cause for an audit finding. An auditor’s responsibility is to verify compliance with a requirement (e.g. ISO 9001 standard) and determine if there is compliance with the requirement or not. In doing so, there is objectivity in making that assessment.
If an auditor determines the root cause, it introduces subjectivity and potential conflict of interest to the audit process and in correcting an issue. In addition, the auditor may not have the full information about the issue thus the “root cause determined by the auditor” may not correct the non-compliance to the requirement.
Dilip A. Shah ASQ Fellow, ASQ-CQE, CQA, CCT,
President, E = mc3 Solutions,
Technical Director, Sapphire Proficiency Testing Services
Past Chair, ASQ Measurement Quality Division (2012-2013)
Past Member of the A2LA Board of Directors (2006-2014)
For more on this topic, please visit ASQ’s website.