Nov 12, 2007

Zero Sum Game

One of the most underrated of the factors being utilised in decision making is the realisation whether the outcomes are zero sum or n0t. Based on this knowledge, the approach to solving the problem should differ markedly, and failure to recognise this phenomenon makes for improper decision making, and people can be persuaded via wrong analogies.

You want examples, let me give you one. Lets take the example of selection of Indian cricket team.
Only 14 can be selected, so if 1 player on the margin is selected, then 1 player for margin needs to be dropped. (Now suppose both the players are of equal caliber). Thus this makes a zero sum game and the selector has to drop someone. So it doesn't makes sense for the selector to be in good books of every player in the squad. But suppose you are a coach of the same team. Then, if you invest in some players and try to build a team spirit, and that player is dropped to bring another person. This is not a zero sum game and the coach actually loses in this scenario.

So we can see that, for a selector and a coach, the rationale for decision making is not same and both have different incentives. So to come to the point, when Greg Chappell and Kiran More sort of ganged up on Ganguly, it weakened their case that they are a doing it for professional and not personal reasons. So all in all, apart from all the base sentiments coming to Dada's rescue, Dada's supporters were right at some level.