Win-win game

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In game theory, a win–win game is an interaction from which all participants can profit in some way. In conflict resolution, a win–win strategy is a collaborative strategy and conflict resolution process that aims to accommodate all participants.[1][2][3] 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 refers to a situation or transaction where all participants benefit.
  • 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 non-zero-sum games may include situations where 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[edit]

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.)

There are also mathematical win–win games, the mathematical term being non-zero-sum games. Such games are often simply represented by a matrix of payouts.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Win-Win Negotiation". Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  2. ^ "What Is Win-Win Negotiation?". Retrieved 26 June 2012. by Steve Roberts
  3. ^ "Win-Win Strategies: Case Studies" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on April 17, 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2012.