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Journal of Social Change

Abstract

Organizational leaders in the 21st century face relentless changes in the business environments in which they operate. The diversity, intensity, and rapidity of these changes create volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA), which challenge leaders on ways to lead effectively as existing methods prove inadequate. The problem in this study was that of inadequate leader preparedness to lead and win in VUCA environments. The purpose of this hermeneutic phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences of 15 Nigerian corporate executives about their VUCA business environment and the strategies they employed for VUCA-readiness and success using open-ended interview questions. The conceptual framework guiding this study was a combination of chaos theory and complexity leadership theory. Through Ricoeur’s theory of interpretation, member checking, and contextual triangulation, 11 key themes emerged to highlight key coping and readiness strategies for leaders operating in turbulent environments. The key recommendations for practice are to inculcate VUCA-readiness and organizational resilience principles in line with this study’s findings. The study findings may contribute to positive social change in providing strategies for organizational sustainability, firm success, business readiness, responsive leadership, and enhanced employee well-being.

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