In what ways are problems and issues expressed similarly? In what ways do they differ? Explain why.


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Nathaniel Hobby Profile
Nathaniel Hobby answered
To understand the similarities and differences between problems and issues we must first define both terms, to gain a greater understanding of their meanings.
  • Problem
The term 'problem' can be defined as a situation or obstacle that is difficult to resolve or accomplish but needs to be dealt with nevertheless. The situation is usually one of harm, uncertainty or doubt and in need of resolving. An example of a problem is a drinking problem. The overuse of alcohol is harmful and the problem is in need of rectifying. Problems can also come in the form of circumstances. For example, you are driving home and the road ahead is closed, this is a problem. It is occasionally used to describe puzzles too, for example a Sudoku problem.
  • Issue
An 'issue' can be defined as a question or circumstance that needs to be debated, disputed or defined; usually where some form of decision needs to be made. The issue could regard a decision about where to go for an evening meal or how a business company decides to discipline an employee following a breaking of rules. The term issue can also be used to describe the giving out or distributing of a product; for example, the officer had to issue army uniforms to the soldiers.
  • Similarities and differences
Both terms point to a situation or question that needs to be answered or decided upon, and both terms need a course of action towards a resolution. However, they differ in that the term 'problem' speaks more about an obstacle or an uncertainty whilst the term 'issue' is used more widely to define a circumstance or situation that needs debating. I would suggest that the term 'problem' is a stronger terminology for the term 'issue', used to denote a more serious, dangerous or difficult issue.
Amanda Wells Profile
Amanda Wells answered
A problem is something in need of a solution. This could be a puzzle such as a mathematical question, or a difficulty where you need to decide what is the best action to take. An issue is a question for discussion - it's often expressed in a similar way to a problem (eg 'resolve the issue) but really an issue is something to be debated rather than necessarily solved.

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