Whenever we do something, there is a result. The concept is neither positive nor negative since results can either be positive or negative. Sometimes, they can be a mixture of the two. Another word for the result of an action is “effect.”

Overview: What is an effect?

An effect can be defined as the change or outcome that occurs as the result of a cause. One cause can produce a single effect or several. Causes and effects can be simply displayed on a cause and effect diagram with cause as an x axis and effect as a y axis.

3 benefits and drawbacks of effects

An effect can either be positive or negative, the term in and of itself does not point to either. Here are some benefits and drawbacks of effects.

Benefits of effects

Boost of morale – If an effect is a positive one, it boosts the morale of your employees, customers, and all those related to your organization.

Sound processes – One benefit of there being a positive effect is that it is an indication that your processes are working well.

Standards -If you have had a positive effect, it shows that your processes are likely meeting or exceeding quality standards.

Drawbacks of effects

Diminishing trust – If you have had a negative effect, this can lead to diminishing trust from your customers, employees, and shareholders.

Faulty processes – When you have a negative effect, it can be an indicator that there is an issue with your processes.

Time and resources – If there is a negative effect, you may need to allocate time and resources to determining how that effect happened so that it can be avoided.

Why is an effect important to understand?

Understanding an effect is important for the following reasons:

Understanding the outcome

Understanding an effect is important because it is necessary to have a grasp on the outcome of actions.


Effective analysis and comprehension of the effects of action allows for repeatability if the effect is favorable

Avoidance of negative effects

If you understand how you got to a negative effect, it can be avoided in the future.

An industry example of an effect

In a fast food restaurant, there is an automated char broiler that flame-broils frozen patties on a conveyer. One employee feeds the frozen patties in, while another stands on the other side, pulls the cooked patties from the char broiler, places them in-between toasted buns, and then into a warmer. From there, another employee pulls the undressed patty and bun from the warmer when it is time to put together an order. This employee dresses the burgers according to what the customer requests on their order, which is read by the employee on a monitor. During a lunch rush, the employee that feeds the frozen patties into the char broiler falls asleep since they had been out late the night before. This leads to there being no patties for the other employee to put into buns for the warmer. When orders come through, the employee that dresses the burgers has no burgers to fulfill the orders with. This ends up setting all the employees back two hours in order to try to fulfill the orders of the customers that are willing to wait. The lost revenue from the customers that are not willing to wait ends up being significant, and the employee that fell asleep is let go.

The cause in this scenario is the employee falling asleep from staying out too late. Some of the effects are there not being patties to make the burgers with, orders being backed-up, lost revenue, and the employee being let go.

3 best practices when thinking about an effect

Here are some practices to consider when thinking about effects

1. Always consider the outcome

Whenever you do anything, always consider what the effects may be.

2. You cannot always see all the effects immediately

All the effects of an action might not be immediately noticeable. There can be ripple effects that may extend for quite some time.

3. Plan for the effects

While you may not be able to predict all of the effects, you can plan ahead of time for the ones that are predictable.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about effects

What is the difference between affect and effect?

The simplest explanation is that affect is an action, as in something is being “affected,” while effect is an end result.

Is there an effect for every action?

Yes. Every action has an effect.

Can the cause of an effect be easily deduced?

Some causes can be easily deduced, while others require deep analysis. There are some effects for which the causes cannot be easily explained.

Cause and effect

In business and in life in general, it is important to understand cause and effect. In your organization, knowing the result of an action is important for everything from processes to quality control. Causes and effects can be simply displayed on a cause and effect diagram with cause as an x-axis and effect as a y-axis.

About the Author