Game Theory at the Office

          An interesting article by Liam Ward-Proud explores the principles of game theory applied to everyday live.  For instance, Proud explains that in an office that provides a monetary reward for working hard at the office (staying late at the office) creates an equilibrium of everyone working long and absurd hours, because those that leave early will be viewed negatively by management.  Another aspect explored by Proud reveals that it is best to be cooperative with other in the long term.  If you constantly ‘snitch’ on co workers, despite what illegal thing they are doing, you will be negatively viewed in the office as a ‘snitch’, and people will not view you in a positive way.  Also, Proud points out that consistency is key in business.  However, when negotiating, unpredictability can be beneficial.  Acting in a rash way can make the person you are negotiating with reconsider their stance.  The example in the article is if your boss is asking you to stay late, you can threaten to quit.  This is a unexpected, rash threat, however, if your boss views you as a strong asset, they will agree to your terms and allow you to not work late.  This may sound extreme, but it reveals that predictability is not a good strategy when negotiating.  All in all, this article presents interesting information regarding the application of game theory to real-life circumstance.


2 thoughts on “Game Theory at the Office”

  1. This is very interesting but at the same time concerning. The idea that the Nash equilibrium of working is for everyone to work absurd hours is not a very good thing. That means that unless you are willing to sacrifice your life as much as the person next to you you wont be successful unless everyone agree not to work that much. Another area of concern is the idea that you cant snitch on your co workers because you will be viewed negatively. If the Nash equilibrium is to do unethical things it can be a very dangerous environment.

  2. This was an interesting read. Though I don’t condone ruthless behavior in order to gain an upper hand, I’ve learned that sometimes that’s really the only way to get what you want and for people to take you seriously.

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