”The pace of change, for instance, encourages us to develop agility and resilience in the face of uncertainty.”
By Sniazhana Diduc
In the grand scheme of things, one thing that has remained constant throughout the ages – the uncertainty of our world. As human beings, we have always lived in a highly uncertain, complex and ambiguous environment. It’s an intrinsic part of the human experience. In todays’ time, post-pandemic changes, numerous political crisis as well as preceding environmental, economic and financial crises, all contribute to the distress of an unknown and uncertainty future. How many of us feel comfortable living in this ambiguous and uncertain environment? I guess not many. Similarly, many companies nowadays have to navigate through various types of uncertainty.
It is crucial to recognize that while the essence of uncertainty remains unaltered, there are distinct elements that distinguish our era from those that preceded it. A number of factors that define the uncertainty of our times can be identified as following:
- The acceleration of change. Perhaps the most conspicuous feature of our contemporary world is the breakneck speed at which change occurs. We are living in an era of incrementally rapid transformations. The question that arises is whether we, as human beings, possess the capacity to keep up with this acceleration.
- The vanishing certainty of verification. In the past, we could rely on our ability to verify the accuracy of information and results. However, in the digital age, the landscape has shifted. Advanced technologies and programs can produce results that appear flawless but may lack validity. The ability to distinguish facts from fiction becomes increasingly elusive. More often the line between reality and fabrication blurs.
Existing research offers rationally planned decision-making models where uncertainty is eliminated primarily through control as one of the most common ways to manage uncertainty. However, the volatility and uncertainty caused by the changing events that we experience today are far from being controllable. Hence, we have to prepare to deal more with the unknown than with the known. While these challenges might seem daunting, they also present opportunities for growth and adaptation. The pace of change, for instance, encourages us to develop agility and resilience in the face of uncertainty. The digital age challenges us to become more discerning consumers of information, reinforcing the importance of critical thinking.
To operate successfully, and not just survive in times of change, managers will benefit more from actively trying out different uncertainty management methods. Traditional, rationally-based decision-making is not enough to manage uncertainty. My research explores these uncertainty management methods and urges decision-makers in organizations for extensive and open collaboration. Updated professional mindset and collaboration will help to navigate through the times of uncertainty.
About the author:
Sniazhana Diduc has extensive experience in international business education and industry, teaching courses like International Strategic Management and Cross-Cultural Management. She has run an online retail company in Finland and has consulting experience in market analysis and strategic entry into new markets. Her main focus is on mergers, acquisitions, and managing change. Sniazhana’s research has earned her numerous awards and she is adept at sharing her findings at various levels. She is passionate about collaborating with industry partners, innovating through research, and mentoring students to reach their potential.
Sniazhko, S. (2019). Uncertainty in decision-making: A review of the international business literature. Cogent Business & Management, 6: 1.
Sniazhko, S. (2021). Uncertainty management of integration managers in MNCs during post-acquisition integration. Acta Wasaensia 466. University of Vaasa
Diduc (Sniazhko), S. (2022). Integration team members’ approaches to uncertainty management in M&A. European Management Journal, 40 (6).
Cover art: Julio Serrano & Niclas Hagnäs