44 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2018  

Robert C. Bird

University of Connecticut - School of Business

Date Written: February 4, 2018


The legal environment is a significant source of disruption for business. With this disruption also comes the opportunity for innovation by firms willing to understand how legal systems function. This manuscript shows how firms can respond to legal volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA) in order to capture value and manage risk. Firms can manage legal volatility by developing an agile organization that is able to exploit new regulatory opportunities before competitors. Firms can overcome legal uncertainty by harmonizing legal and business functions and embracing lawyers as a source of value. Effective management of legal complexity eliminates unnecessary confusion and optimizes the diffusion of legal knowledge so firms can respond better to legal challenges. Firms can thrive in legally ambiguous environments by careful experimentation and developing a learning organization. Law remains one of the last great sources of untapped competitive advantage, and managing legal VUCA successfully can keep a firm ahead of its rivals and promote innovation in the organization.

Suggested Citation

Bird, Robert C., VUCA (February 4, 2018). University of Connecticut School of Business Research Paper No. 18-09. Available at SSRN: or

Robert C. Bird (Contact Author)

University of Connecticut - School of Business ( email )

368 Fairfield Road
Storrs, CT 06269-2041
United States


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