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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.
- Win/Win - People can seek mutual benefit in all human interactions. Principle-based behavior.
- Win/Lose - The competitive paradigm: if I win, you lose. The leadership style is authoritarian. In relationships, if both people aren't winning, both are losing.
- Lose/Win - The "Doormat" paradigm. The individual seeks strength from popularity based on acceptance. The leadership style is permissiveness. Living this paradigm can result in psychosomatic illness from repressed resentment.
- Lose/Lose - When people become obsessed with making the other person lose, even at their own expense. This is the philosophy of adversarial conflict, war, or of highly dependent persons. (If nobody wins, being a loser isn't so bad.)
- Win - Focusing solely on getting what one wants, regardless of the needs of others.
- Win/Win or No Deal - If we can't find a mutually beneficial solution, we agree to disagree agreeably - no deal. This approach is most realistic at the beginning of a business relationship or enterprise. In a continuing relationship, it's no longer an option.
- 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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