How Is Game Theory Used in Strategy?


Diego Sanchez

Game theory is a mathematical tool that has been used in various fields, including economics, political science, and biology. It is a study of strategic decision-making among rational individuals in situations where the outcome depends on the choices of all parties involved. In this article, we will discuss how game theory is used in strategy.

Understanding Game Theory

Game theory deals with the analysis of interactions between two or more rational decision-makers. It provides a framework for analyzing strategic interactions between individuals and groups. A game consists of players who have to make decisions based on their strategies, taking into account the actions of other players.

Types of Games

There are different types of games such as cooperative, non-cooperative, zero-sum, and non-zero-sum games. Cooperative games involve players working together to achieve a common goal while non-cooperative games involve players working independently. Zero-sum games involve a situation where one player’s gain is equivalent to another player’s loss while non-zero-sum games do not have this feature.

Applications of Game Theory in Strategy

Game theory has several applications in strategy such as:

  • Business Strategy: Game theory can be used to analyze the behavior of companies in oligopolistic markets where firms compete with each other.
  • Military Strategy: The use of game theory helps military strategists plan their operations by analyzing the potential actions and reactions of adversaries.
  • Negotiation Strategy: Game theory can be applied to negotiation situations where two parties are trying to reach an agreement.
  • Social Behavior: Game theory helps explain social phenomena such as cooperation, trust, and conflict resolution among individuals or groups.

Nash Equilibrium

One of the most important concepts in game theory is the Nash equilibrium. It is a situation where each player’s strategy is the best response to the strategies of other players. In other words, no player can improve their outcome by changing their strategy alone.

Prisoner’s Dilemma

Another classic example of game theory is the prisoner’s dilemma. It is a non-zero-sum game where two suspects are arrested and interrogated separately. If both suspects stay silent, they receive a reduced sentence, but if one betrays the other, they receive a harsher sentence while the betrayer receives a lighter sentence.


In conclusion, game theory provides a powerful tool for analyzing strategic interactions between individuals and groups. It has several applications in different fields such as business, military, and social behavior. Understanding game theory concepts such as Nash equilibrium and prisoner’s dilemma can help individuals make better decisions in various situations.