Communication games and how they structure #5

Another resource leading us up to a better understanding of how mixing TA with game theory might benefit our understanding of communication games is the Nash Equilibrium. We borrow terms such as this one because they posit a situation and a strategy, or at least a tactic, connected with the issues or predicates given. I am conscious it may seem a bit too much, but I think you will agree with me in a minute.

Regardless of whether you find yourself in a competitive communication game, you will always do good for yourself if you consider how things look like from the other person’s, or group’s, point of view. In recruitment we are constantly concerned with what other people perceive their choices to be. Current trends and prophesied hypes aside, everyone has a choice. Using game theory to find out if the set of options is good may take too long, but we can surely benefit from some ground rules when it comes to communication games.

Nash’s Equilibrium:

A concept of game theory where the optimal outcome of a game is one where no player has an incentive to deviate from his or her chosen strategy after considering an opponent’s choice. Overall, an individual can receive no incremental benefit from changing actions, assuming other players remain constant in their strategies. A game may have multiple Nash equilibria or none at all. (Investopedia)

I took this Investopedia as it was the most concise I could find, and has the most important points. Namely, if two players are aware of each other’s choices, or set of options,  they would stick to what they have already chosen, and that a communication game can have multiple Nash equilibria. Not always possible, but still… Think about it. Our goal as recruiters may be to try to negotiate the best possible price or setup without leaving the other party any breathing room. Respectively, a lot of people try to do the same with us.

As the communication game progresses, these lingering feelings of dissatisfaction may find an opportune moment and surface, or take the form of “getting even” with the other party. A lesson we learn quickly in HR is that it’s not worth it to get a person for some K’s less and then have to restart the selection process six months later. That can be another communication game you play with your hiring managers, but has a few less prettier names, too. So why are we talking about Nash’s equilibrium? To prove that sometimes it pays to be a bit more patient and caring, let’s say.

Even if you do not want to go for a Nash equilibrium, as sometimes there is no such thing in the cards, I think it is worth your while to check if one exists, even in theory. The mere notion that you have considered it goes a long way in communication games, and in everyday life. Moreover, if one exists, and you still decide to push for another payoff from the game, you will know that you have something to fall back on.

Before you go

There is another reason to consider this whole concept in a communication game. It can show you your own weak and strong points, depending on the result you want to achieve. Nash’s equilibrium is only one of the possible payoff options of a given game. Around this, you will find other payoffs possible.

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