The coevolutionary war game is a nontraditional form of strategic meant to facilitate effective decision making for global companies and other organizations that cannot simply rely on the traditional approaches. This is mainly because it has been designed to help with the navigation of the more complex strategy landscapes. The games involve an organization splitting into groups, each with a maximum of 20 executives and senior managers. Thereafter, within a period of three days, five moves and responses are used to trigger a simulated multiyear trajectory, which no team directly controls. This paper features an analysis of the coevolutionary war game and how it is used for decision making, and it also considers its limitations.
Coevolutionary Gaming and Decision Making
According to Cares and Miskel (2007), these games do not actually develop strategy, but the idea of it is that the players will be able to identify and understand some of the competitive dynamics that enhance its development. Therefore, this insight will be useful in the creation of even more robust strategies for companies. This is the way the coevolutionary gaming facilitates group decision making. Basically, the games enable a company to see its strategy dynamics from two sides; from its own perspective and the perceived competitors’ perspective. This is important because it enables the organization to know what to expect from competitors once it introduces its products. Therefore, decision making can be made at this early stage to avoid any negative effects later on. This happens when the organization is presented with an opportunity to unmake its strategy in response to the anticipated reaction from its competitors.
The coevolutionary gaming also facilitates decision making in the sense that it encourages the development of a crisis strategy basing on some of the possible attacks they are anticipating. The attack team will enable the organization to learn about some of the surprises they would have been challenged with once they went to the market with the product. In most cases, companies always end up discovering the strategy. This however, only happens after three or four changes have been made, and this may be years after the introduction of a product (Kelley & Nahser, 2014).Therefore, decision making is facilitated in the sense that they are made before the actual problem arises by exposing the company to the possible ways in which competitors will react once they are in the real market (Cares & Miskel, 2007).
Limitations of the Coevolutionary Gaming
While analyzing how the game works, it is highly possible that there may be some limitations about it. The most obvious is that communication processes may be affected. To be able to effectively show how this may happen, the Johari Window will be used.
Table 1: Johari Window
The first quadrant is usually a representation of things known to self, and the things others know about you. It includes things like behavior, skills, knowledge, attitudes and even history (Shenton, 2007). The coevolutionary gaming seems to set groups of people, working together towards a specific goal, against each other. Therefore, for each group to ensure that they are successful in their tasks, they will tend to limit communication with others from the other groups. Sharing their knowledge will seem limited to specific people. The second quadrant represents things unknown to an individual but that are known to others. If there are people working on the other group, who are aware of this kind of information, it will be difficult for them to come and communicate this to an individual (Shenton, 2007). This is basically because the coevolutionary game will expect the teams to attack each other (Cares & Miskel, 2007). Therefore, instead of focusing on improving each individual, the result is that the members will start using this knowledge about each other, against the individual. The third quadrants, featuring the hidden area is basically a representation of the things known to self but is unknown to others. The fourth quadrant represents things unknown to self and unknown to others.
It is always important to focus on the Open Area as the more people know about each other, the more productive, cooperative, and effective they will be as a team working towards a specific goal (Shenton, 2007). This area can be enlarged when all individuals disclose information about themselves to each other. Unfortunately, since the coevolutionary gaming makes it seem like they are working towards different goals, this may not be possible.
Solution to Problem
An example of a situation whereby coevolutionary gaming may impede decision making is when there are more than one proposed steps. These have all been developed due to the coevolutionary gaming that has already affected communication between groups. Therefore, decision making is impeded since it becomes difficult to know which of the steps will be more reliable. Some groups may simply hide information just because they feel their option is best. Others who would be in a similar situation handling a similar task may have turned out with a different response. This is a clear representation that different competitors react differently.
The solution in such a case would be to base decision making, not only on the feedback from the games, but also from other researches as well. Members from the various groups should be expected to base their reactions on research and not only on what they feel about the product if they were competitors. This can be in terms of effects on sales, decrease in competitive advantage as a result of the introduction of a highly competitive product and so on. Thus, individuals will know that they are not supposed to work against each other, but together to finally come to an understanding on the way forward.
Judging from the findings of this paper, it is clear that the coevolutionary gaming may not be the best method to use primarily for decision making. Instead, it should be used alongside other models or tools to help minimize its limitations, which could end up hurting the decision making of the organization. Therefore, as people are being divided into groups, they should also be encouraged to keep communicating effectively, and also conduct research, instead of basing their reactions on what they think. This is important as it will ensure that all groups come up with a reasonable reaction, one that is highly possible within the real business environment. Without proper communication between co workers, it will be difficult to tell which reaction is actually true and based on facts. However, with the presence of research to back up any response, it will be easier to make an informed decision on the strategy to take.