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The generative role of curiosity in soft skills development for contemporary VUCA environments

Alison Horstmeyer (University of Southern California Annenberg Center for Third Space Thinking, Los Angeles, California, USA)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 5 May 2020

Issue publication date: 21 November 2020




This paper examines the role of curiosity in volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) work contexts.


This conceptual article relied upon an examination of literature about curiosity, VUCA and soft skills.


Curiosity, when encouraged and supported within the workforce, may aid organizations in closing soft skill gaps and better navigating ambiguity, perpetually changing business landscapes, and rapidly advancing technology.

Research limitations/implications

Empirical research is needed to validate, confirm and further explicate the specific mechanisms and value of curiosity within VUCA environments.

Practical implications

Organizations need to move beyond espousing a value of curiosity to deliberately and effectively cultivating and supporting it within their employees.


Although ample research and literature has examined curiosity, soft skills and VUCA environments independently, the body of literature on the specific role of curiosity in such environments is limited.



Horstmeyer, A. (2020), "The generative role of curiosity in soft skills development for contemporary VUCA environments", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 33 No. 5, pp. 737-751.



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