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Back to Causal Thinking

Understanding the concept: Confounder

Types of junctions

A three-node network with two links is called a junction. These are the building blocks of all Bayesian- and causal networks. There are three basic types of junctions, with the help of which we can characterise any pattern of arrows in a three node network.

  • A → B → C (see mediator or chain)
  • A ← B → C (confounder or fork)
  • A → B ← C (see collider)



Confounder or fork

A ← B → C

A confounder will make A and C look correlated even though there is no direct cause and effect relationship between them.

In leadership situations, for example, this can be an issue. Although there is an illusion of relationship (positive or negative) in the behaviour of persons A and C, it is the result of the connection of the leader B with A and C seperately.


Examples from the field

  • HR management ← Organistional structure → Talent management
    • In many organisations, we can't say much about the relationship between Talent development and HR management without knowing the Organisational structure.