Game theory and operations research are two highly related fields that are often used interchangeably. However, they are different in their approaches and the problems they solve. In this article, we will discuss whether game theory is part of operations research or not.

What is Game Theory

Game theory is a mathematical framework that studies the behavior of rational agents in strategic situations where the outcome of each agent’s decision depends on the decisions made by others. The central idea of game theory is to model such situations as games and analyze them using mathematical techniques.

Game theory has been successfully applied in various fields such as economics, political science, psychology, biology, and computer science. It has provided insights into human behavior and has helped in designing optimal strategies for different scenarios.

What is Operations Research

Operations research (OR) is a field that uses mathematical models, statistical analysis, and optimization techniques to solve complex problems related to decision-making in organizations. The primary objective of OR is to find optimal solutions to real-world problems by analyzing data and making informed decisions.

OR has been used in various industries such as healthcare, transportation, finance, logistics, manufacturing, and telecommunications. It has helped organizations improve their efficiency, reduce costs, and increase profits.

Is Game Theory Part of Operations Research

The answer to this question is not straightforward. While game theory can be used as a tool in operations research to model strategic interactions between agents, it is not considered a part of OR per se.

Game theory focuses on analyzing individual decisions made by rational agents while OR considers decision-making processes at the organizational level. Game theory deals with one-on-one interactions between agents while OR deals with interactions among multiple agents within an organization.

However, game theory concepts such as Nash equilibrium, dominant strategy equilibrium, and mixed strategy equilibrium have been used in OR to solve problems related to pricing, inventory management, and supply chain optimization. In this sense, game theory is a useful tool in OR, but it is not a part of it.


Game theory and operations research are two related fields that have been used to solve complex problems in various industries. While game theory can be used as a tool in operations research, it is not considered a part of OR per se.

Both fields have their unique approaches and techniques for solving problems related to decision-making. Understanding the differences between these two fields can help organizations choose the right tools and techniques for solving their specific problems.