University of London Professor David Faulkner has written extensively about the need for cooperative, rather than purely competitive, strategic business relationships and alliances. Since the early 1990s Faulkner has studied the “essence” of competitive strategy, and the challenges involved in integrating cooperation as part of the competitive mindset. One of his books is International Strategic Alliances: Cooperating to Compete (1995). The strategies of cooperation has been his most common theme.
I’ve been a game theory fan for many years, particularly as it relates to showing that cooperative behavior indeed creates true “win-win” situations. So I was excited to read a work of University of Pennsylvania professors Alexander J. Stewart and Joshua B. Plotkin, ‘From Extortion to Generosity, Evolution in the Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma‘, published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS).
I’ve talked at length in this series recently about how academics and big thinkers have buttressed the importance of trust and collaboration in outsource deals. While it may seem like an anomaly, or at least a new idea, to mention cooperation and contracts in the same breath, it’s neither.
This month’s column pays a tribute to Elinor Ostrom, who shared the Nobel Prize award in economic science in 2009 with Oliver Williamson. Ostrom, who died at age 78 on June 12, was cited by the Nobel Committee for “her analysis of economic governance, especially the commons,” a term that refers to resources that are owned or shared in common among communities.