Functionalist Approach to Problem Solving

Unicist Root Cause Management introduced an approach for problem solving, facing the management of root causes and avoiding the use of shortcuts used as palliatives, to develop structural solutions.

The use of recurring palliatives in problem solving, when the root causes of problems are unknown, demonstrated to be a fallacious shortcut, frequently used for conjunctural solution building, that produces paradoxical results. 

The unicist approach to problem solving was developed to deal with complex adaptive systems such as social, economic and business processes.

The Unicist Management of Causality

The unicist management of causality is based on the unicist ontology of the complex adaptive systems that describes their nature and defines the concepts that regulate their evolution.

A problem exists when a functionality, that has been defined as possible to be achieved, cannot be fulfilled.

The unicist approach to problem solving defines three types of causes that are integrated in the concept of problem causality.

  • Triggering causes: that define the operational causes that generate a problem.
  • Necessary causes: that define the root causes of the problem.
  • The limit causes: that define the boundaries of what is possible to be achieved.

Different Levels of Solutions

The unicist approach to problem solving defines four levels of solutions that can be achieved according to the level of knowledge of the problems.

It has to be considered that people who need to avoid risks cannot deal with problems’ causality and substitute the knowledge of problems with pre-concepts that allow them to avoid facing the risks of developing solutions.

The different levels of solutions that have been defined are:

  1. Repairs
  2. Palliatives
  3. Systemic Solutions
  4. Adaptive Solutions


The natural response of people when an urgent problem appears is to repair it, based on the negative consequences that need to be avoided.

This is a short-term energy saving action to face the solution of problems.


The natural response when people do not have the knowledge to solve specific problems is the use of palliatives to mitigate the consequences of such problems.

This is a short-term energy saving actions when there is a lack of knowledge to solve problems.

Systemic Solutions

The development of systemic solutions is the necessary approach when the problems deal with the efficiency of the processes. In this case, it solves the root causes of the problem, but if the lack of efficiency is produced by dysfunctional efficacy, it will reappear due to the entropy of the solution.

Adaptive Solutions

This is the approach to develop structural solutions for problems. It drives to research the fundamentals of efficacy and efficiency and find a solution that integrates the problems, their restricted context and their wide context.

Diego Belohlavek

NOTE: The Unicist Research Institute (TURI) has been the world leading private research organization in its segment since 1976.

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