The role of VUCA in Organisational Resilience

The role of VUCA in Organisational Resilience

VUCA is an acronym used to describe or reflect on the volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity of general conditions and situations, and is derived from military vocabulary.  It came into common usage in the 1990s and is being used in emerging ideas about strategic leadership that apply to a wide range of organisations.  VUCA is a practical code for awareness and readiness.

The capacity for VUCA in organisational resilience depends on the changing nature of the technical, social, political, market and economic realities of the environment in which people work.

In a given situation, how much is known and the certainty of predictions made about the outcomes of any action provides some indication of the relative degree of VUCA.

The capacity of individuals and organisations to deal with VUCA can be assessed and measured within a number of engagement themes:

  • Knowledge management that make sense of situations
  • Considerations around planning and readiness
  • Process management and resource systems
  • Functional responsiveness and impact models
  • Recovery systems and forward practices
  • Systemic failures
  • Behavioural failures

Beyond the simple acronym is a body of knowledge that deals with learning models for VUCA – preparedness, anticipation, evolution and intervention.

Resilient organisations are built by:

  • designing effective corporate governance
  • assessing vulnerabilities
  • planning for a range of scenarios/outcomes
  • developing an up-to-date business continuity plan
  • creating a team culture – by mapping minds and hearts
  • responding proactively.

A resilient culture is developed through:

  • maintaining purpose, core values, commitment and future focus
  • maintaining morale and performance.


Adapted from "The Authority Guide to Emotional Resilience; Strategies to Manage Stress and Weather Storms" - published May 2016. 

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