Humanity in a State of V.U.C.A

Dealing with the Invisible Enemy, COVID-19 Pandemic

By: Leandro Y Paralisan

Area: Security Management, Criminal Investigation


WE ARE AT WAR! with a virus that threatens to tear us apart”. – A strong message coming from Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General World Health Organization to world leaders on 26th March, after COVID-19 cases reached an overwhelming 500,000 mark worldwide. Today, from the past couple of difficult months or so, much have been seen on the effects of this pandemic. People and nation struggling to fight the unseen enemy on the ground, while in another end, experts around the world are seemingly on the race to find the cure for this disease. Endless flow of data over the weekend indicated the rise of infections and soaring number in death tolls. The number of recoveries, seemed to give mankind, a dimmer light that we yet to foresee at the end of the tunnel.


Ending that speech, Director General Ghebreyesus shared, “COVID-19 – is the defining health crisis of our time. Mankind through this life changing experience may have perceived this pandemic in so different perspectives. And it is under this context, analysts have reached to a perception that this ordeal has pushed us into the world of VUCA.


VUCA an acronym for (VOLATILITY, UNCERTAINTY, COMPLEXITY, AMBIGUITY). 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 (UNC, 2013).


As human beings, we intensely reflect on the way of life, as nature takes its course. When our existence has been dreadfully challenged. And when being amalgamated as a nation, as country and as a community, seemed to be the only way out of this misery. Since the onset of this pandemic, being aware and becoming acquainted with facts have become an effective key to survival. But then again, the strongest defense for humanity is the realization that we at these times are truly being confronted with a pugnacious invisible enemy. And that “humanity is now in a state of V.U.CA. and the undercurrent consequences that lies within.


Factors Helping Increase Survival (in a VUCA Environment)


  1. Volatility – As the quality of being subject to frequent, rapid and significant change as reflected in the changing nature of the COVID-19 contagion and its effects. That up to this very moment, there has been conflicting studies how the disease can be transmitted, period of survival on surfaces and how this incubates and infects its victim. This on top of countless claims of antidotes.

  2. Uncertainty – As an important component a situation in which events and outcomes are unpredictable. When we are in a state of not knowing where to find the answers. When leaders of nations seemed to be in a continuing dilemma in finally putting an end to this crisis. Uncertainty if there would ever be a cure. And uncertainty if countries will ever recover again fast in terms of economy and regaining normal lives back.

  3. Complexity – Involves a multiplicity of issues and factors some of which may be intricately connected. An increase in complexity in anything that is already in a complex situation can result to confusion, anxiety and fear.

  4. Ambiguity – Can be derived from lack of clarity and the difficulties in understanding what really the situation is. When we fail to communicate and comprehend with clarity. When we refuse to be decisive in seeking out what we need to know about a difficult environment. As we fail and/or refuse to listen to diverse ideas and concepts of others and not be able to apply it in various situations.


By working to understand and have a clear perspective of all the consequence of a VUCA environment, it may help bring considerable level of control on things which may have appeared unmanageable. Having to go through the process of understanding may be exasperating from a common mind but with the will and the human nature of survival, we may be able to get through with this very hard and trying times.



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