Home Concepts Managing Stress & Challenges The Shattered Tin Man Midst the Shock and Awe in Mid-21st Century Societies I: Shattering and Shock

The Shattered Tin Man Midst the Shock and Awe in Mid-21st Century Societies I: Shattering and Shock

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Shock and Shattering

I have portrayed a hypothetical shift in the life of our Wizard of Oz characters from the early and mid-20th Century to the late 20th Century and early 21st Century. I have suggested the Vandehei shard that might welcome each of them. I have also suggested how their life in a specific shard might cause them to lead a life that is shattered. This shattering comes not only from the choices they have made in living and working in the mid-21st Century. It also comes from the challenges that each of them must make in living with the challenging VUCA-Plus conditions of our mid-century society. Within each of the 12 shards, we will find that the challenges being faced accelerate for all of our OZ characters –and for each of us in real life.

There is now a dominating state of volatility (V), uncertainty (U), complexity (C), and ambiguity (A) in our world that is coupled with, turbulence and contradiction (VUCA-Plus) (Bergquist, 2022). This shocking VUCA-Plus condition has played a central role in the shattering of our Tin Man and his companions from Oz. At this point, to provide some clarity about these VUCA-Plus conditions and how they interact with Vandehei’s 12 chards, I will dwell briefly on the meaning to be assigned to each of the VUCA-Plus terms, suggest how we might expand on VUCA-Plus, and relate each VUCA-Plus conditions to one or more of the 12 shards. I will also suggest ways in which these conditions have impacts on our Oz characters—and on each of us.

Environment and Epistemology

Two of the original aspects of VUCA (Complexity and Volatility) have to do with environment (the number and nature of the elements found in a specific setting.  One of these aspects, Complexity, concerns the many elements in a specific setting as well as the dynamic interactions that exist among these elements. This setting is complex because we have to consider not only the number of elements (making the setting complicated) but also the interactions and interdependencies (making the setting complex) (Miller and Page, 2007). The second environmental aspect, Volatility, refers to the rate and shifting rate of change among the elements as they interact with one another.  It is all a bit confusing when everything is related to everything else—and everything is always changing.

The other two aspects of VUCA have to do with epistemology (the way in which knowledge is acquired and reality is defined). Ambiguity concerns the assessment of both the evidence available regarding reality and the meaning assigned to this reality. Reality can appear in quite “fuzzy” form. The fourth aspect, Uncertainty, is about the stability of any assessment being made regarding reality. Under conditions of uncertainty, reality seems to be changing in unexpected ways over a short period of time. Why should we do an extensive assessment, make plans or offer expert predictions if our world is hazy, swirling and always surprising us?

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