Game Theory and Business
Game theory emerged as a scholarly field of study in the first half of the 20th century. Since that time, it has significantly affected various academic disciplines, such as economics, political science and biology. Although the term "game theory" may suggest a certain frivolity, the concepts underlying it have many real-world applications and offer a structured and logical method of considering strategic situations. The parallels between competitive games and strategic business situations should be fairly obvious. Consider the game of chess. There are two players, each of whom makes moves in sequence. After observing the move made by the first player, the second player makes a counter move. Then the first player, having observed the first two moves, makes the third move and so on. Compare this to the business situation of gas stations competing for customers through strategic pricing. (The players in this case are station A and station B.) Suppose, for instance, that station A starts by choosing a new pricing strategy. Given station A's decision, station B decides how it will set its prices. Given station B's response, station A can choose to revise its pricing strategy and so on. The objective of each gas station in this "game" is to maximise its own profit. For each to do so, it must be continually acting and reacting to its competitor in the market as well as anticipating competitive responses when making decisions.
What does game theory have to offer?
First, game theory provides a framework, or formal procedure, for analysing any competitive situation (or "game"). Specifically, it forces you to identify the players in a game (consumers, sellers, input providers, governments, foreign organisations, etc.), their possible actions and reactions to the actions of other players, and the payoffs or rewards implicit in the game. Game theory models reduce the world in which businesses operate from a highly complex one to one that is simpler but nevertheless retains some important characteristics of the original. By capturing and clarifying the most significant aspects of competition and interdependence, game theory models make it possible to break down a complex competitive situation into its key components and to analyse the complex dynamics between players. In order for game theory to be truly useful in analysing such complex situations, certain assumptions need to be made. The most significant assumption is that the players in a game are choosing their actions optimally; that is, they are choosing their actions in the hope of maximising their ultimate payoff and they assume that the other players are doing likewise. Without this assumption, game theory cannot successfully model real-world situations. Because game theory can realistically model business situations, it helps businesses to make optimal decisions and choose optimal actions. In other words, by "solving" a game, a business can identify its optimal actions (assuming, as always, that all the other players are also choosing their actions optimally). This is especially valuable because it helps companies choose the right business strategies when confronted with a complex strategic situation. In what types of business situations can game theory be applied? Click on the linkhere to find out. The nature of the solution(s) in game theory also motivates businesses to analyse how the structure of the game can be altered so that a different (and perhaps a more favourable) game can be played. Because of its systematic approach, game theory allows businesses to examine the consequences of actions that they may not have considered. It is worth noting here that many games involving business are different from games in other fields. For instance, in business, many players can win (and lose) simultaneously, which obviously is not the case with chess. Additionally, because of the interdependent nature of most business relationships, these games are...
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