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A win–win game is game theory which is designed in a way that all participants can profit from the game in one way or the other. In conflict resolution, a win–win strategy is a collaborative strategy and conflict resolution process that aims to accommodate all participants. In economics, it is a voluntary transaction where both parties gain wealth, as in the double thank-you of capitalism.
- In colloquial speech, a win–win situation often refers to a 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 both players win or 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 overall group success in contrast to domination, egoistic behavior 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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