Business is often thought of according to a game and in most games a score is kept. A lot of board games and even quite a few card games are scored using money. The person or team who ends up with the greater sum of money in the end is the winner. Even such small games between individuals as bets in the end result in a transfer of money to the winner. Solomon's explanation runs concurrently in that in games, the best way to keep score is to have a dependable point system, a definite unit of worth. In comparison, when society is looked upon according to these game theorists, then money usually becomes the all too important measurement. Solomon states that the reason we do this, is because social theorists in general like to talk about money, because money is a readily measurable utility, a readily comparable measure, an apparently clear basis for comparison. Economists also talk the jargon involving and including money. Money talk is what they have learned to do, it is their profession. Solomon finds many problems with this theory. He states that game theorist modeling society end up talking a great deal about money. Of course here too, the proper excuses are made, "money isn't the only or even the primary social good," "money is only a means and not an end," and so forth. Economists as stated before talk money because it is their profession, what they know. However, they will admit, if they are pressed, that people do (at least occasionally) want things that money can't buy. He states when referring to unrefined theorists that they recognize that equal amounts of money do not have equal significance for different people, and so the inescapable qualifications of marginal utility and the "utility of money" are (hesitantly) entered into the equation. Solomon also states that everyone is different, and because of this success and "maximum utility" may be hard to measure. Solomon looks at this according to two different people. One person wants to succeed! greatly by winning a downhill ski race while another is not interested in this and is thus not driven or motivated by the end result. He instead wants to sleep in his hammock, nothing makes him happier or gives him more satisfaction then stretching out and taking a nap. In order to use this theory, Solomon states that everything would have to be placed on an equal scale so they could be measured and compared. I totally agree with Solomon. I do not believe that everything can be measured according to its worth. There are far too many controlling factors such as the different interests between different parties. What they value and what they do not; what they need and what they do not need. If one student was very bright and excelled in academics, she would put more value on obtaining high grades she would put more value on obtaining high grades whereas a person who didn't usually do so well wouldn't. Or in another context, if that second person usually did well, but valued another opportunity, perhaps their
team and accomplishments, they would place it on a lower scale. In order to be motivated and to strive towards accomplishing our goals, we have to have that innate desire to succeed. We have to be satisfied intrinsically as well. An example of a "game" which many university students in our position face is that of graduating university and entering the "business world". We are predisposed to believe that in order to be happy we need to select our jobs according to the salary being offered. And from this 'status symbol', (extrinsic reward) we are rated among our fellow colleagues. Your ability and worth are measured according to your paycheck. This just is not the way all things happen in today's business world. Sure, like all situations this may play a role in motivating some individuals, but it definitely would not be the deciding factor for all. A lot of students upon emergence, want to obtain the best job for them in terms of how much knowledge they can learn, the experience they can obtain and the contacts and relationships they can build. These are all things which cannot be placed on a scale. If they were all placed on a scale, they would all fall at different levels for different people.! The Open-ended Playing Field The main point being offered here is that games are too specific to be compared with business and society. Solomon gives such examples as the foot-ball field which has carefully drawn lines around it, and that only a certain number of players are allowed on the field at one time. He also looks at Poker, how it is played with a "conscientiously nonpersonalized" deck of cards and the players are either "in" or "out". You are not permitted to sit back to wait to find out if the circumstances of the situation are optimal for you. Solomon sees life as being vastly different from games in this regard. Business deals can allow any number of players, there is not a pre-decided number. Games involve only the immediate players, the ones directly involved at the particular episode. Conversely, business does not merely include the few situated in the boardroom, but also the employees and customers and entire community, "stakeholders" and not necessarily insiders. Games once started have to stay the way they began, with the same players and no one can enter or leave without a new game being started. Business on the other hand can have many different players and participants at different stages and situations. Every situation of business life is different according to the parameters and circumstances. Because every individual is different and has their own ideas and ideologies, the context of every situation will be different. No two individuals think exactly the same way about every situation. And even when they do agree on some basic principles they will hardly ever agree on all. This is not the situation with games, in a deck of cards you only have as ! many options in playing your hand and in deciding what move to make. In a boardgame you only have so many spaces you can land on, so many questions you can be asked, and so many numbers on the dice you can roll. The number of permutations and combinations for the situations are limitless for the situations we live through in our business lives. I absolutely agree with the points Solomon is making. If we were to compare our lives with games, especially in the context of business, we would be limiting ourselves greatly. We would be degrading our abilities and strengths. Almost anyone can learn to play almost any game. With practice and knowledge of the rules and methods just about anyone in a short period of time can play a game well enough to succeed. Business has so may variables that no one could ever foresee all the circumstances and situations that could possibly take place. That is why we have some people that are really good at foot-ball (stereotyped as the jock) and some people are really good at chess (stereotyped as the intellect). Business is not quite so easily segregated into determining what type of person is best in a particular situation. Entrepreneurs and managers for example have been described as having particular qualities and attributes that make them successful at the endeavor. However, it has been proved time and time again that it is not only and not always these people that succeed. There are so many different qualities all joined together, intertwined, to make someone great. It would be impossible to look at someone and say that they would fail as an entrepreneur because they do not have "the defined qualities" that an entrepreneur should possess. Perhaps under one circumstance or situation that person would fail, however, perhaps the is booming at that time and there is an enormous need for the product or service. By all means under this scenario this person would be bound to succeed. Success depends on far too many variables and situations to be controlled. When a person "tries out" for a wrestling team, the coach, after a relatively short period of time, can determine who should and should not make the team according to their strength and size. A recently graduated student looking for a job would pose a much greater problem for an employer. The employer can use such variables as grades, the interview, references, etc. However, there is no outright guarantee that they are getting the best employee. Perhaps they obtained good grades in school, that may or may not coincide with their ability to make quality decisions and to get the work done effectively and efficiently. A good reference may show that the student worked very well, but that was at another job. There is always the possibility that the individual will not like the new job or that they will find it too hard or too easy. Even the interviewing process is not an easy determinant because of particular peoples strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps they are relatively shy! upon just meeting new people, but as they acquire comfort, they may perform the best work possible. Those who make a fabulous first impression may end up being inherently lazy and may get bored and demotivated extremely fast. For these reasons, business has no rights or wrongs, no absolutes. It becomes what you make of it. A game is just a game and will always be "just a game". It is repetitive and after a period of time downright boring. In business, the world is your oyster!