Accelerating global and local VUCA-related disruptors


as drivers for organisational strategic responses

Revisiting organisational strategic management
(Part 5)


By Alan Stretton, PhD (Hon)

Sydney, Australia


This is the fifth of a series of articles which revisit some aspects of organisational strategic management about which I have written in the past. The first article of this series (Stretton 2020l) proposed a six-stage recursive strategic management sequence, and discussed managerial arrangements to help coordinate and optimise the stages in this model. The second article (Stretton 2020m) discussed augmenting this model to facilitate management of changes impacting planned strategic initiative outcomes and the realisation of benefits.

The third article (Stretton 2021a) introduced deliberate and emergent strategies, and moved on to assemble and classify a variety of strategic drivers which particularly influence the establishment of strategic objectives. The fourth article (Stretton 2021b) incorporated the internal and external strategic drivers identified above into the recursive strategic management model, and discussed some differences between industries in the nature and priorities typically accorded to strategic drivers.

This article will continue with the strategic driver theme. We will briefly revisit some potential global disruptive events discussed by Pells 2009b, and previously listed in Figure 3-9 in Stretton 2021a, alongside a list of key external strategic drivers derived from Pells’ list and another source.

We will then discuss contributions from Hubbard & Rogers 2019, who identify some 38 disruptors in the context of accelerating VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) environments in the 4th Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) era – many of which are particularly relevance to the Covid-19 era. These will be broadly allocated under the key external strategic drivers headings previously established.

We will also be drawing on Hubbard & Rogers’ quite detailed organisational management responses to challenges associated with these disruptive strategic drivers.

We start with briefly revisiting Pells’ potential disruptive global events.


As noted first in Stretton 2021a, David Pells has written several papers over the past couple of decades on “Global tides of change” (Pells 1998), “Significant global events” (Pells 1999), “Global business intelligence” gathering (Pells 2009a), and preparing for “Disruptive events” (Pells 2009b). In the latter paper Pells discussed disruptive events as a major risk factor, and poses questions about “how can you identify potential disruptive events and how should you, your team or your organisation prepare?” He went on to list and discuss nine categories for considering potential disruptive events.

In Stretton 2021a, these were broadly aligned with a list of key external strategic drivers, as summarised in Figure 5-1.


To read entire paper, click here

How to cite this paper: Stretton, A. (2021). Accelerating global and local VUCA-related disruptors as drivers for organisational strategic responses; Revisiting organisational strategic management (5), series article; PM World Journal, Volume X, Issue IV, April. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/pmwj104-Apr2021-Stretton-accelerating-vuca-related-disrupters-revisiting-OSM-series-5.pdf


About the Author

Alan Stretton, PhD     
Faculty Corps, University of Management
and Technology, Arlington, VA (USA)
Life Fellow, AIPM (Australia)


Alan Stretton is one of the pioneers of modern project management.  He is currently a member of the Faculty Corps for the University of Management & Technology (UMT), USA.  In 2006 he retired from a position as Adjunct Professor of Project Management in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Australia, which he joined in 1988 to develop and deliver a Master of Project Management program.   Prior to joining UTS, Mr. Stretton worked in the building and construction industries in Australia, New Zealand and the USA for some 38 years, which included the project management of construction, R&D, introduction of information and control systems, internal management education programs and organizational change projects.  He has degrees in Civil Engineering (BE, Tasmania) and Mathematics (MA, Oxford), and an honorary PhD in strategy, programme and project management (ESC, Lille, France).  Alan was Chairman of the Standards (PMBOK) Committee of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) from late 1989 to early 1992.  He held a similar position with the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM), and was elected a Life Fellow of AIPM in 1996.  He was a member of the Core Working Group in the development of the Australian National Competency Standards for Project Management.  He has published over 200 professional articles and papers.  Alan can be contacted at alanailene@bigpond.com.au.

To see more works by Alan Stretton, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/alan-stretton/.