A Human Centered Organizational Culture: Focused on Wellbeing, Fairness and the Common Good

Nicolas Majluf

COVID-19 and the Global Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) Environment

At the time of this writing, people worldwide have been living one of the most profound disruptions in recent human history. I find myself anchored at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic that is sweeping the world from the beginning of 2020. The news focus on the advance of coronavirus in countries around the world and the precautions people must take to be safe and avoid spreading the virus, including seclusion, social distancing and other hygiene concerns.

This situation has lasted months, and it is far from over (August 2020). Despite the continuous efforts of national authorities and healthcare professionals in the front line in Chile, where I live, the pandemic is running its course, with its burden of contagion, critical illnesses and many deaths. This process will go on until a vaccine is discovered to spread immunization and stop contagiousness. Experts and nations are waiting for a flattening curve of the disease.

The alteration of life is enormous. Income earning has become uncertain for a large portion of the population. Many have lost their jobs while many others have had their salaries decreased. Businesses are closing, and the few that remain open cannot operate regularly. To get food or medicines is increasingly difficult. Forecasts anticipate a severe global recession unseen since the Great Depression. Substantial losses of people's wellbeing, welfare and income are expected in countries worldwide.

The pandemic is contributing to call increased attention and scrutiny of institutions at the national and international levels. The world’s governing institutions’ growing instability adds volatility and uncertainty to this global VUCA environment. In this context, ethical dilemmas are demanding. Lifting quarantine restrictions to start the economies is an excruciating quandary. Governments’ decision is between losing lives today or avoiding poverty and hunger in the future, pressed by the precarious existence under long confinement.

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