Wellbeing in the workplace: exploring the VUCA approach

Authors: Holley, D., Coulson, K., Buckley, C. and Corradini, E.

Publisher: Association for Learning Developer in Higher Education


This workshop was aimed at aspiring leaders/leaders/those interested in models of wellbeing and resilience. VUCA stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity, a leadership model based on the theories of Bennis and Nanus from the late 1980s (https://www.vuca-world.org/). Leaders are often required to navigate uncertainties, paradoxes, conflicts, pressures and ambiguities. The VUCA model calls for new approaches to management centred on a personal approach, and is extensively used in intercultural business masterclasses (University of Cambridge; MIT; Jagannath International Management School Kalkaji, India).

The model inspires and encourages leaders to move from the idea of the leader who ‘knows all’ towards a vision of developmental leadership. This approach clarifies the leader’s ability to develop others’ capacity to handle problems and make difficult decisions, based on the idea that every individual can contribute their skills. In strategic terms, leading in a VUCA world requires Vision, Understanding, Clarity and Adaptability/Agility. Learning development is starting to embrace this model of leadership, with a new ALDinHE Leadership CoP offering a platform for sharing both theory and practice. The overarching aim of this approach is that of conveying positive energy into the development of meaningful approaches.

Source: Manual