thứ ba, 2023/01/24 11:42



It was cold outside. Literally, it was minus 13 degrees when I landed at Incheon airport, South Korea. It was a bit emotional moment for me since it was the first time I visited my family in South Korea after three years of the current pandemic. I felt a bit bizarre and started realizing how unreal it is that I'm able to fly to South Korea without any covid safety measures, and also how much we have been through over the last three years for this moment. Yet, I was able to realize that South Korea I see is not the same country I visited three years ago since the society has been reshaped to survive during the pandemic.

It's true that human society and organization cannot be explained without the nature of rapid change and uncertainty. Burrell and Morgan's book, published in 1979, stated our science won't be able to predict what will happen in the future due to the complexities of human nature and society. This challenges leaders and entrepreneurs, as we have experienced over the three years, with unprecedented turmoils in economic indicators and socioeconomic changes.

In fact, the last three years might be considered the most challenging time for HR practitioners since the fundamentals of HRM have been redefined and rewritten due to the radical changes we experienced. Yet, we are in the middle of another big wave since we are about to face a major economic downturn initiated by major economies. The U.S. tech giants, e.g., Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Amazon, have already started laying off their employees. Accordingly, the export orders for the manufacturing sectors in Vietnam from the leading economies started declining, creating job losses since late last year.

Yet, during my last trip to South Korea, what surprised me was not the changes from the covid but how we made it through the challenging time. Indeed, as Covid still spreads in the community, people and organizations have struggled to stay safe while sustaining their businesses. I was surprised to pick up our rental car 'contactlessly' (leaving the car key inside the unlocked car). Also, I saw an increasing number of self-service businesses and stores, such as cafes without any staff, witnessing why human is the most adaptable to changes during this pandemic era. This is how agility plays a critical role in organizational sustainability during this uncertain and volatile time.

Yet, the key to surviving and thriving during the volatile period is a timely response to the emerging trend. This might not be an easy task since traditional leadership and management often rely on a hierarchical system, consuming critical moments of opportunity. Thus, HR practitioners should practice communication, shaping organizational learning during new changes, and empowering people for timely decisions.

In Chungking Express - Director Wang Kar-wai's early movie (1994), there is a blond woman wearing sunglasses and a raincoat at all times. People ask, "why do you always wear both?". The blond woman answers, "because we don't know if it will rain or shine." This is the time we desperately equip agility as if we don't know what comes next in the next few months.


Mr. Jung Woo Han,

Senior Program Manager - HRM Entrepreneurship, RMIT University.




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