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A win-win game is a game which is designed in a way that all participants can profit from it in one way or the other. In conflict resolution, a win-win strategy is a conflict resolution process that aims to accommodate all disputants.
- In colloquial speech, a win-win situation often refers to situation where one benefits, not necessarily through someone else's loss.
- In the context of group-dynamic games, win-win games are also called "cooperative games", "new games" or "games without losers".
- Mathematical game theory also refers to win-win games as non-zero-sum games (although they may include situations where either or both players lose as well).
- The TKI Thomas/Kilmann Conflict Profile provides a model that reveals preferences under stress and pressure. Collaboration style focuses on win-win outcomes.
Group-dynamics win-win games have been increasingly popular since the end of the Vietnam war and have been successfully applied to all levels of society.
Group-dynamics win-win games emphasize the importance of cooperation, fun, sharing, caring and over-all group success in contrast to domination, egoistic behaviour and personal gain. All players are treated as equally important and valuable. Win-win games often also carry an ethical message of caring for the environment and a holistic approach to life and society. Win-win games are a powerful tool to give people self-confidence and a "we" experience, especially when they have suffered from emotional isolation.
An example would be a game where all players try to carry a huge "earth ball" (a ball several meters in diameter) over their heads while negotiating an obstacle course. This is a typical example of a win-win game for several reasons:
- there are no losers (everyone enjoys the accomplished task).
- all players are involved (no-one is left out or sits out).
- the game is psychologically working on many levels (communication, supporting each other, having fun in a group etc.)
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