Management in the VUCA World: The Role of Spirituality

The conference aims to discuss the role of spirituality the VUCA World of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. In a VUCA world and the traditional competitive landscape scarcity of resources, cost-conscious consumption and short-term investors make decision-making within tight margins rationally, emotionally and spiritually demanding. In the ‘Big Data’ economy of the VUCA world, managers are expected to rely on data collection and rational processes.

But this is not always possible at both human and knowledge resource levels. There is a need for managers to simplify business processes and organizational and team relationships for the psychological and spiritual wellbeing of themselves and their colleagues. In contexts of cultural and organizational diversification, managers also need to adapt their mindset to the rising multicultural values of their employees and customers. Many organizations have increased in scale only to lose flexibility, entrepreneurial spirit and market effectiveness.

There is therefore a need for new organizational practices and governance inspired by spirituality. Employees can feel alienated in their workplaces as they experience a lack of meaning and purpose. There is also a need for tools to enhance meaningful and purposeful workplaces. Many wisdom-traditions promote simplicity, frugality, empathy and interconnectedness and other spiritual values that can give support and guidance in a potentially alienating VUCA environment.

Possible topics 

  • What could be the contribution of practical ancient wisdom to the understanding and practice of spiritual values in management the VUCA World ?
  • To what extent might the spirit of entrepreneurial leaders and firms provide tangible examples of simplicity and frugality in practice?
  • What could be the role of spirituality in management education in addressing the challenges of the VUCA world?
  • What are the good practices of spiritually inspired management in business operations, resource productivity, brand management strategy and corporate behavior?
  • How might company and brand reputation be developed with a spiritual perspective?
  • How might the philosophical and spiritual roots of simplicity and frugality be developed to provide support for all who face the demands of living and working in a VUCA world?
  • What changes can realistically be implemented in the prevailing investment paradigm which allow business to better reflect the principles of simplicity, frugality, empathy and interconnectedness in management?

This list is not exhaustive so other topics within the theme will be considered as well. Participants are asked to submit case studies of good practices, empirical and conceptual contributions.

Practitioners are invited to submit case studies of good practices, decision making dilemmas and experiences of development training in related fields.