Executive Development Blog

The Origins of VUCA

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Mar 10, 2017 2:23:37 PM


The notion of VUCA was introduced by the U.S. Army War College to describe the more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous, multilateral world which resulted from the end of the Cold War (Kinsinger & Walch, 2012). The acronym itself was not created until the late 1990s, and it was not until the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, that notion and acronym really took hold. VUCA was subsequently adopted by strategic business leaders to describe the chaotic, turbulent, and rapidly changing business environment that has become the “new normal.”

roads.jpgBy all accounts, the chaotic “new normal” in business is real. The financial crisis of 2008-2009, for example, rendered many business models obsolete, as organizations throughout the world were plunged into turbulent environments similar to those faced by the military. At the same time, rapid changes marched forward as technological developments like social media exploded, the world’s population continued to simultaneously grow and age, and global disasters disrupted lives, economies, and businesses.

UNC Executive has researched the topic of VUCA extensively.  Download our white paper below titled, Developing Leaders in a VUCA Environment which:

  • Discusses the history of VUCA and how it applies to business strategy and development.
  • Explores how VUCA is relevant to leadership development.
  • Discusses the “VUCA Prime,” which flips the acronym to focus on vision, understanding, clarity, and agility.
  • Offers suggestions on what HR and talent managers must do to change their leadership development approach to foster leadership vision, understanding, clarity, and agility.

Click to Download Full White Paper