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Book part
Publication date: 8 December 2016

Steven R. Watt, Mitch Javidi and Anthony H. Normore

In an article entitled “Identifying and combating organizational leadership toxicity,” authors Watt, Javidi, and Normore (Watt, Javidi, & Normore, 2015) identified and…

Abstract

In an article entitled “Identifying and combating organizational leadership toxicity,” authors Watt, Javidi, and Normore (Watt, Javidi, & Normore, 2015) identified and outlined techniques for combating leadership toxicity in Law Enforcement. This chapter extends this work by linking Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity (VUCA) to toxic leadership. Crisis happens. Volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA), (a term) coined at the Army War College in the early 1990s (Mack, O., Kare, A., Kramer, A., & Burgartz, T. (2015), Managing VUCA world. New York, NY. Retrieved from http://www.lawenforcementtoday.com/2015/12/02/capturing-the-moment-counter-vuca-leadership-for-21st-century-policing/#sthash.IKYJInr4.dpuf), is a sobering new reality for leaders and the organizations they serve. In simple terms, VUCA is chaos. It falls on leaders to understand it, prepare for it, and minimize the disruptive and destabilizing effects of it.

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The Dark Side of Leadership: Identifying and Overcoming Unethical Practice in Organizations
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-499-0

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Book part
Publication date: 21 October 2019

L. Jeremy Clegg, Hinrich Voss and Liang Chen

The acronym and neologism “VUCA” is employed by management and some scholars to denote the unpredictability of the modern world and its impact on business. The VUCA

Abstract

The acronym and neologism “VUCA” is employed by management and some scholars to denote the unpredictability of the modern world and its impact on business. The VUCA approach suggests that a rational firm’s response should be to: protect against volatility by engineering-in redundancy and slack, gather information to reduce uncertainty, develop expertise to make complexity computable, and learn heuristically to reduce ambiguity. We combine a critical perspective on the VUCA approach with the global factory model, popularly used to describe the flexibility sought by advanced economy multinational enterprises (MNEs) within the global value chain. Both VUCA and the global factory would seem to account less well for the expansion of emerging multinational enterprise (EMNEs) abroad, particularly the preference for equity-based control and inflexibility when seeking strategic assets. Also, both approaches fail to incorporate behavioral principles toward risk. Using International Business theory, we propose a research agenda that may help to make VUCA more tractable, the global factory more useful, and the internationalization of EMNEs more comprehensible.

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International Business in a VUCA World: The Changing Role of States and Firms
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-256-0

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Article
Publication date: 9 October 2017

Ayat Saleh and Richard Watson

The purpose of this paper is to examine how companies can achieve business excellence in a highly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) environment. Within the…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how companies can achieve business excellence in a highly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) environment. Within the literature about business excellence, there is a lack of understanding of the impact of today’s high VUCA on achieving business excellence. A new business concept, business excellence in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environment (BEVUCA), will be illustrated so as to bridge this gap by considering the overall VUCA influence and the influences of each specific term individually.

Design/methodology/approach

The research incorporated a systematic literature review for three knowledge areas, namely: VUCA, business excellence and the management integration of quality and risk. The later knowledge area was reviewed because such diverse management thinking can help to achieve BEVUCA.

Findings

The research provided a definition for a new business concept and the systematic literature review identified 18 critical success factors so as to manage and excel under a high VUCA business environment. Finally a conceptual framework was developed for integrating quality management and risk management thinking so as to achieve BEVUCA.

Originality/value

BEVUCA can be used to close the current gap in the body of literature by providing a link between VUCA and business excellence, and hence advancing the discussion in these areas. Additionally, the BEVUCA conceptual framework can be used as guidance in integrating quality management and risk management to achieve the identified critical success factors.

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The TQM Journal, vol. 29 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2731

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Article
Publication date: 12 March 2018

Jari Roy Lee Kaivo-oja and Iris Theresa Lauraeus

Under current market conditions of corporate foresight, turbulence is a key element of the business landscape. Turbulence can be summarised using the trendy managerial…

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Abstract

Purpose

Under current market conditions of corporate foresight, turbulence is a key element of the business landscape. Turbulence can be summarised using the trendy managerial acronym “VUCA”: volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. This paper aims to combine, for the first time, scientific discussion of technological disruption with the VUCA approach. Gartner Hype Cycle is used as a case example of technological turbulence and “vucability”.

Design/methodology/approach

First, the authors present the key concepts of technological disruption and radical innovation. Both these concepts are highly relevant for modern corporate foresight. Second, the authors discuss the key elements of current technological transformation and summarise it to create a bigger picture. Third, the authors link this discussion to the VUCA approach. Fourth, the authors present the new corporate foresight framework, which is highly relevant for corporations and takes current technological transformation more seriously than previous proposals, which expect more stable business and a technological landscape.

Findings

Key issues in modern VUCA management are agility (response to volatility), information and knowledge management (response to uncertainty), restructuring (response to complexity) and experimentation (response to ambiguity). Useful foresight tools are challenging tools, decision-making tools, aligning tools, learning tools and the ability to combine these management tools in the practices of corporate foresight and management systems. The VUCA approach is a key solution concept to technological disruption.

Practical implications

The authors present the new corporate foresight framework and management tool based on foresight, which help leaders to manage VUCA – especially under the conditions of hyper-competition and technological disruption.

Originality/value

Corporate leaders should reinvent the strategic planning framework and adjust it to the VUCA conditions and simply be more strategic. Traps and typical failures of foresight are adopting it too early, giving up too soon, adapting too late and hanging on too long. In particular, technological transformation with disruptive technologies is changing and challenging many basic assumptions of business management and strategic planning. Our comparative analysis with Gartner Hype Cycle (fast technological changes from 2008 to 2016) verifies this important aspect of technological disruption.

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Article
Publication date: 14 May 2018

Paula Ungureanu, Fabiola Bertolotti and Diego Macri

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the role played by turbulent environments in the evolution of hybrid (i.e. multi-party, cross-sector) partnerships for regional…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the role played by turbulent environments in the evolution of hybrid (i.e. multi-party, cross-sector) partnerships for regional innovation. Although extant research suggests that organizations decide to participate in such partnerships to cope with their turbulent environments, little is known about how actual perceptions of turbulent environments influence the setup and evolution of a partnership.

Design/methodology/approach

The qualitative study adopts a longitudinal design to investigate the evolution of a cross-sector regional innovation partnership between ten very different organizations. With the help of the VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) model proposed by Bennett and Lemoine (2014a), the authors study the relation between partners’ initial perceptions of environmental turbulence and the models adopted for the partnership throughout its lifecycle (emergent, brokering and platform).

Findings

The authors show that partners’ intentions to solve perceived environmental turbulence through collaboration can have the unexpected consequence of triggering perceived turbulence inside the collaboration itself. Specifically, the authors show that perceived partnership VUCA at each stage is a result of partners’ attempts to cope with the perceived VUCA in the previous stage.

Practical implications

The study highlights a set of common traps that both public and private organizations engaged in hybrid partnerships might fall into precisely as they try to lower VUCA threats in their environments.

Originality/value

The work accounts for the relationship between external and internal perceptions of VUCA in hybrid partnerships for regional innovation, and, in particular, provides a better understanding of what happens when organizations choose to enter hybrid partnerships in order to deal with perceived threats in their environments.

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Article
Publication date: 8 September 2020

Deepika and Jaya Chitranshi

The purpose of this paper is to focus on the leadership competencies of the Z generation (born after 1997) in the VUCA business environment. In today’s scenario, the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to focus on the leadership competencies of the Z generation (born after 1997) in the VUCA business environment. In today’s scenario, the business works differently than it used to previously. The young workforce wants not just to contribute their energy to the organisation but to their colleagues and themselves too, with the leading global sceneries.

Design/methodology/approach

An unstructured questionnaire was prepared by testing the reliability and validity of the data. Multiples linear regression analyses were used to derive results and to check whether the competencies are dependent on the VUCA skill sets. Entrepreneurial leadership, enabling leadership, operational leadership and architectural leadership are chosen to be the independent variables for this study.

Findings

The findings reveal that the dependability is on all the four factors for the VUCA business environment and hence the need is to practice the same in the organisation.

Research limitations/implications

The test has been done on a sample having 260 respondents. This study reveals data of the workspace environment only and not how Gen Z will behave to the conditions as individuals. Gender-perspective is not taken into account in this study.

Practical implications

The implications can be seen for the organisations’ understanding of how to deal with generation Z and empower them. The organisation-structure and processes that were developed previously will not be limited now just to making the organisations function but also impact self-development for Gen Z, the development that is focussed on work-teams of Gen Z and so the global market eventually.

Originality/value

The originality is in the variables that have been taken for this study. As the world is growing rapidly, the mind-set and the style in which the manager works are changing. Therefore, it is necessary to take into account what leadership style will affect the current business environment.

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Article
Publication date: 2 February 2015

Jan Bartscht

The purpose of this paper is to explain why systems must make a habit of exploring the unknown and identify the complex and chaotic dynamics that drive modern volatile…

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1312

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explain why systems must make a habit of exploring the unknown and identify the complex and chaotic dynamics that drive modern volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) situations.

Design/methodology/approach

Eight faculty staff from the “Thunderbird School of Global Management” were interviewed around the subject of “what does it take to be a successful 21st Century leader?” in spring 2012. These interviews were then analysed using Ricoeur’s Hermeneutic methodology which resulted in three behaviours being identified. Then, according to Ricoeur’s methodology, deep interpretation of the results took place to understand these research results through the lens of complexity science.

Findings

Systems must make a habit of actively exploring the unknown to discover the patterns that cause complex chaos. This enables them to improve their capacity to generate useful situational understanding in VUCA environments and better position themselves in the fitness landscape. Finally, the idea of “epistemic stance” is introduced as an important way of managing identity and improving innovation.

Research limitations/implications

The implication is that modern systems, e.g. leaders and organisations, must make a habit of exploring the unknown to find and understand the dynamics that drive the complex world if they are to build effective situational understanding of VUCA environments.

Practical implications

If systems wish to innovate, they must ensure they have the appropriate epistemic stance in place so that they can change their identity to allow innovation to transform the identity.

Originality/value

Whilst the behaviour of exploration is already known, this research focuses that behaviour on specifically identifying the patterns that cause complex chaos. Further, the epistemic stance is introduced which plays an important role in regulating how open a system is to changing its identity and therefore adapting and innovating.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 44 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Article
Publication date: 16 October 2017

Amir M. Sharif and Zahir Irani

This paper aims to explain the uncertainties associated with food security and, in doing so, classifies them within the context of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explain the uncertainties associated with food security and, in doing so, classifies them within the context of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA). In using this lens to frame the challenges of food security, the viewpoint proffers the need to be even more sensitive to heightened levels of uncertainty and highlights the need of governments to be prepared to meet a wider variety of external forces, risks, opportunities and threats to mitigate food insecurity.

Design/methodology/approach

This research constructs a novel morphology of food security and food waste policy futures based upon a range of scenario types based on contextual narratives relating to constraint, collapse, growth and transformation. In doing so, offering a representation that suggests order, complexity and chaos occur across a range of four domains of interaction: known (repeatable cause and effect); knowable (cause and effect separated over time); complex (cause and effect are unique and non-repeatable); and chaos (no cause and effect relationship perceivable). This orientation is represented in the form of a novel morphology that can be used to support decision-making and policymaking/consideration.

Findings

The authors have presented and identified a combination of a structured and unstructured methods to develop and hence classify a range of food security scenarios. Using the VUCA worldview and classification, the authors subsequently identify seven underlying and seven United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)-derived factors, which when combined with the Institute for the Future (IFTF) four food security scenarios in a pairwise manner led to the generation of a further 16 subsequent VUCA-inspired scenarios composed within a morphological grid. These were subsequently reclassified against three sets of stakeholders and then finally mapped to the Cynefin framework as a set of ten scenarios to show the potential of making greater sense of the VUCA nature of food security.

Practical implications

The paper proposes a novel conceptual approach to framing and understanding the wider holistic aspects of explaining and providing foresight to the complexities of food security. Hence, this paper provides policymakers with two contrasting, yet complementary, food security scenario planning techniques (VUCA and Cynefin), which envelope 16 narrative food security scenarios which can be used with stakeholders and advocacy groups in facilitating discussion about complex, messy and “wicked” interlinkages within the food security domain.

Originality/value

This is the first time in the extant literature that a combination of structured and unstructured, problem-based versus mess-based, contrasting perspectives have been brought together and developed, with the intention of creating a normative family or portfolio of narrative-driven food security scenarios. The authors present and extend four existing scenarios from the extant food security literature, and subsequently, through interpreting these scenarios via a dual and combined lens (notably using UN SDG and VUCA elements), a grid of alternative food security scenarios is produced. By then using applying the Cynefin complexity framework to these new configurations, a thematic categorisation of alternative futures is presented, which may aid policy and decision-makers when considering this topic.

Details

Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, vol. 11 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-6166

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Book part
Publication date: 17 September 2018

Fred Krawchuk

Today’s business leaders face a global environment that is marked by increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) conditions. Design thinking offers a…

Abstract

Today’s business leaders face a global environment that is marked by increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) conditions. Design thinking offers a proven way to navigate in a VUCA environment. I used this approach while serving as a military officer in Iraq and Afghanistan. This chapter focuses on what I learned from applying design thinking to our operations as well as on insights from businesses that have also successfully integrated design thinking. I use the framework “inspire, ideate, and implement” to describe how I utilized design thinking. I finish the chapter with key factors for successfully employing a design methodology to VUCA problems.

Design thinking empowers organizations to tackle successfully VUCA challenges. Inspiration allows designers to frame relevant problems that clients care about. With the pressing challenge in hand, designers immerse themselves in the context of a problem to empathize with a customer’s concerns. They synthesize input from a variety of diverse sources, and meet experts who can give meaning to their collected data. With this comprehensive picture in hand, design teams brainstorm new possibilities as they move into ideation. Taking their ideas out for a test run, they iterate the most promising ways to move into action. They conduct pilot projects, adapt to what works best, and share their learning from the process. Leaders with a design mindset, aligned with a collaborative organizational culture and congruent support systems, can build an innovative enterprise that is primed to thrive in a VUCA world.

Details

Exceptional Leadership by Design: How Design in Great Organizations Produces Great Leadership
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-901-6

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Book part
Publication date: 21 October 2019

Angels Dasi, Frank Elter, Paul Gooderham and Torben Pedersen

The disruption global digitally based firms are imposing on the positions of established multinational telcos is not just in degree, but also in kind. As such, the telcos…

Abstract

The disruption global digitally based firms are imposing on the positions of established multinational telcos is not just in degree, but also in kind. As such, the telcos are entering a period of VUCA. Although digitally based competitors could suffer from liabilities of “outsidership,” we argue that the physical presence of telcos in local markets will be insufficient to avoid a future as utilities or dumb-pipes. One significant issue as they confront VUCA is therefore whether telcos are able to develop and apply dynamic capabilities.

Details

International Business in a VUCA World: The Changing Role of States and Firms
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-256-0

Keywords

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