Competition
Overview
Competition is a contest
Contest
A contest is an event in which at least two teams or individuals compete. There may be an award to a winner or awards for multiple top performers, but a contest may be imposed for training...

 between individuals, groups, animals, etc. for territory, a niche, or a location of resources. It arises whenever two and only two strive for a goal which cannot be shared. Competition occurs naturally
Nature
Nature, in the broadest sense, is equivalent to the natural world, physical world, or material world. "Nature" refers to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general...

 between living organisms which co-exist in the same environment
Natural environment
The natural environment encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally on Earth or some region thereof. It is an environment that encompasses the interaction of all living species....

. For example, animals compete over water supplies, food, mates, and other biological resources. Humans compete for water, food, and mates, though when these needs are met deep rivalries often arise over the pursuit of wealth
Wealth
Wealth is the abundance of valuable resources or material possessions. The word wealth is derived from the old English wela, which is from an Indo-European word stem...

, prestige, and fame
Celebrity
A celebrity, also referred to as a celeb in popular culture, is a person who has a prominent profile and commands a great degree of public fascination and influence in day-to-day media...

.
Quotations

To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there's no music, no choreography, and the dancers hit each other.

Jack Handy

The more unfair competition, the better.

Milton Friedman, as quoted by Michael Ignatieff on the BBC Radio 4s program 20:20 (5 February 1997)

Live daringly, boldly, fearlessly. Taste the relish to be found in competition — in having put forth the best within you

Henry J. Kaiser

In business, the competition will bite you if you keep running; if you stand still, they will swallow you.

William S. Knudsen|William S. Knudsen

When you want to win a game, you have to teach. When you lose a game, you have to learn.

Tom Landry

Encyclopedia
Competition is a contest
Contest
A contest is an event in which at least two teams or individuals compete. There may be an award to a winner or awards for multiple top performers, but a contest may be imposed for training...

 between individuals, groups, animals, etc. for territory, a niche, or a location of resources. It arises whenever two and only two strive for a goal which cannot be shared. Competition occurs naturally
Nature
Nature, in the broadest sense, is equivalent to the natural world, physical world, or material world. "Nature" refers to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general...

 between living organisms which co-exist in the same environment
Natural environment
The natural environment encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally on Earth or some region thereof. It is an environment that encompasses the interaction of all living species....

. For example, animals compete over water supplies, food, mates, and other biological resources. Humans compete for water, food, and mates, though when these needs are met deep rivalries often arise over the pursuit of wealth
Wealth
Wealth is the abundance of valuable resources or material possessions. The word wealth is derived from the old English wela, which is from an Indo-European word stem...

, prestige, and fame
Celebrity
A celebrity, also referred to as a celeb in popular culture, is a person who has a prominent profile and commands a great degree of public fascination and influence in day-to-day media...

. Business is often associated with competition as most companies are in competition with at least one other firm over the same group of customers.

Recorded history of competition

The written historical record demonstrates propensity of human males to engage physical competition is genetically programmed reproductive behavior . Competition sports were, as ancient literature records, originally employed as an alternative to war between sovereign states populated by citizens of similar racial heritage, or as a means of resolving blood feuds. Dueling was one such competition, but it was forbidden by The Roman Catholic Church and was consequently banned. In ancient Greco-Roman civilization, warrior skill was a matter of dignity and self-respect. In several discrete instances, members of Roman nobility became incensed by some grave injustice, and though these men were advanced in years, to prove the gravity of the offense, abandoned home and family, in favor of leading an army into battle against the aggressor. These old and respected men were feeble in comparison to young soldiers, so they gave their lives as testimony against injustice, which in turn spurred the people on to pursue the cause.

Through refinement and application of symbolic reverence, competition in medieval Western civilization was encouraged in academics, trades and crafts, becoming a key component driving the full exploitation of human potential and excellence.

Consequences

Competition can have both beneficial and detrimental effects. Many evolutionary biologists view inter-species and intra-species competition as the driving force of adaptation
Adaptation
An adaptation in biology is a trait with a current functional role in the life history of an organism that is maintained and evolved by means of natural selection. An adaptation refers to both the current state of being adapted and to the dynamic evolutionary process that leads to the adaptation....

, and ultimately of evolution
Evolution
Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...

. However, some biologists, most famously Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins
Clinton Richard Dawkins, FRS, FRSL , known as Richard Dawkins, is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author...

, prefer to think of evolution in terms of competition between single genes, which have the welfare of the organism 'in mind' only insofar as that welfare furthers their own selfish drives for replication. Some social darwinists claim that competition also serves as a mechanism for determining the best-suited group; politically, economically and ecologically. Positively, competition may serve as a form of recreation
Recreation
Recreation is an activity of leisure, leisure being discretionary time. The "need to do something for recreation" is an essential element of human biology and psychology. Recreational activities are often done for enjoyment, amusement, or pleasure and are considered to be "fun"...

 or a challenge provided that it is non-hostile. On the negative side, competition can cause injury and loss to the organisms involved, and drain valuable resources and energy. In the human species competition can be expensive on many levels, not only in lives lost to war, physical injuries, and damaged psychological well beings, but also in the health effects from everyday civilian life caused by work stress, long work hours, abusive working relationships, and poor working conditions, that detract from the enjoyment of life, even as such competition results in financial gain.

Economics and business

Merriam-Webster defines competition in business as "the effort of two or more parties acting independently to secure the business of a third party by offering the most favorable terms". It was described by Adam Smith
Adam Smith
Adam Smith was a Scottish social philosopher and a pioneer of political economy. One of the key figures of the Scottish Enlightenment, Smith is the author of The Theory of Moral Sentiments and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations...

 in The Wealth of Nations
The Wealth of Nations
An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, generally referred to by its shortened title The Wealth of Nations, is the magnum opus of the Scottish economist and moral philosopher Adam Smith...

(1776) and later economists as allocating productive resources to their most highly-valued uses. and encouraging efficiency. Later microeconomic theory distinguished between perfect competition
Perfect competition
In economic theory, perfect competition describes markets such that no participants are large enough to have the market power to set the price of a homogeneous product. Because the conditions for perfect competition are strict, there are few if any perfectly competitive markets...

 and imperfect competition
Imperfect competition
In economic theory, imperfect competition is the competitive situation in any market where the conditions necessary for perfect competition are not satisfied...

, concluding that no system of resource allocation is more efficient than perfect competition
Perfect competition
In economic theory, perfect competition describes markets such that no participants are large enough to have the market power to set the price of a homogeneous product. Because the conditions for perfect competition are strict, there are few if any perfectly competitive markets...

. Competition, according to the theory, causes commercial firms to develop new products, services and technologies, which would give consumers greater selection and better products. The greater selection typically causes lower prices for the products, compared to what the price would be if there was no competition (monopoly
Monopoly
A monopoly exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity...

) or little competition (oligopoly
Oligopoly
An oligopoly is a market form in which a market or industry is dominated by a small number of sellers . The word is derived, by analogy with "monopoly", from the Greek ὀλίγοι "few" + πόλειν "to sell". Because there are few sellers, each oligopolist is likely to be aware of the actions of the others...

).

However, competition may also lead to wasted (duplicated) effort and to increased cost
Cost
In production, research, retail, and accounting, a cost is the value of money that has been used up to produce something, and hence is not available for use anymore. In business, the cost may be one of acquisition, in which case the amount of money expended to acquire it is counted as cost. In this...

s (and prices) in some circumstances. For example, the intense competition for the small number of top jobs in music and movie acting leads many aspiring musicians and actors to make substantial investments in training which are not recouped, because only a fraction become successful. Critics have also argued that competition can be destabilizing, particularly competition between certain financial institutions.

Three levels of economic competition have been classified:
  • The most narrow form is direct competition (also called category competition or brand competition), where product
    Product (business)
    In general, the product is defined as a "thing produced by labor or effort" or the "result of an act or a process", and stems from the verb produce, from the Latin prōdūce ' lead or bring forth'. Since 1575, the word "product" has referred to anything produced...

    s which perform the same function compete against each other. For example, one brand of pick-up trucks competes with several other brands of pick-up trucks. Sometimes, two companies are rivals and one adds new products to their line, which leads to the other company distributing the same new things, and in this manner they compete.

  • The next form is substitute or indirect competition, where products which are close substitutes for one another compete. For example, butter competes with margarine, mayonnaise and other various sauces and spreads.

  • The broadest form of competition is typically called budget competition. Included in this category is anything on which the consumer
    Consumer
    Consumer is a broad label for any individuals or households that use goods generated within the economy. The concept of a consumer occurs in different contexts, so that the usage and significance of the term may vary.-Economics and marketing:...

     might want to spend their available money
    Income
    Income is the consumption and savings opportunity gained by an entity within a specified time frame, which is generally expressed in monetary terms. However, for households and individuals, "income is the sum of all the wages, salaries, profits, interests payments, rents and other forms of earnings...

    . For example, a family which has $20,000 available may choose to spend it on many different items, which can all be seen as competing with each other for the family's expenditure. This form of competition is also sometimes described as a competition of "share of wallet".


In addition, companies also compete for financing on the capital markets (equity or debt) in order to generate the necessary cash for their operations. An investor
Investor
An investor is a party that makes an investment into one or more categories of assets --- equity, debt securities, real estate, currency, commodity, derivatives such as put and call options, etc...

 typically will consider alternative investment opportunities given his risk profile and not only look at companies just competing on product (direct competitors). Enlarging the investment universe to include indirect competitors leads to a broader peer universe of comparable, indirectly competing companies.

Competition does not necessarily have to be between companies. For example, business writers sometimes refer to internal competition. This is competition within companies. The idea was first introduced by Alfred Sloan at General Motors in the 1920s. Sloan deliberately created areas of overlap between divisions of the company so that each division would be competing with the other divisions. For example, the Chevy division would compete with the Pontiac
Pontiac
Pontiac was an automobile brand that was established in 1926 as a companion make for General Motors' Oakland. Quickly overtaking its parent in popularity, it supplanted the Oakland brand entirely by 1933 and, for most of its life, became a companion make for Chevrolet. Pontiac was sold in the...

 division for some market segment
Market segment
Market segmentation is a concept in economics and marketing. A market segment is a sub-set of a market made up of people or organizations with one or more characteristics that cause them to demand similar product and/or services based on qualities of those products such as price or function...

s. Also, in 1931, Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble is a Fortune 500 American multinational corporation headquartered in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio and manufactures a wide range of consumer goods....

 initiated a deliberate system of internal brand-versus-brand rivalry. The company was organized around different brand
Brand
The American Marketing Association defines a brand as a "Name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers."...

s, with each brand allocated resources, including a dedicated group of employees willing to champion the brand. Each brand manager was given responsibility for the success or failure of the brand, and compensated accordingly. This is known as intra-brand competition.

Finally, most businesses also encourage competition between individual employees. An example of this is a contest between sales representatives. The sales representative with the highest sales (or the best improvement in sales) over a period of time would gain benefits from the employer.

Shalev and Asbjornsen also found that success (i.e. the saving resulted) of reverse auction
Reverse auction
A reverse auction is a type of auction in which the roles of buyers and sellers are reversed. In an ordinary auction , buyers compete to obtain a good or service, and the price typically increases over time...

s correlated most closely with competition. The literature widely supported the importance of competition as the primary driver of reverse auctions success. Their findings appear to support that argument, as competition correlated strongly with the reverse auction success, as well as with the number of bidders.

It should also be noted that business and economic competition in most countries
Country
A country is a region legally identified as a distinct entity in political geography. A country may be an independent sovereign state or one that is occupied by another state, as a non-sovereign or formerly sovereign political division, or a geographic region associated with a previously...

 is often limited or restricted. Competition often is subject to legal restrictions. For example, competition may be legally prohibited, as in the case with a government monopoly
Government monopoly
In economics, a government monopoly is a form of coercive monopoly in which a government agency or government corporation is the sole provider of a particular good or service and competition is prohibited by law...

 or a government-granted monopoly
Government-granted monopoly
In economics, a government-granted monopoly is a form of coercive monopoly by which a government grants exclusive privilege to a private individual or firm to be the sole provider of a good or service; potential competitors are excluded from the market by law, regulation, or other mechanisms of...

. Tariffs, subsidies or other protectionist measures may also be instituted by government in order to prevent or reduce competition. Depending on the respective economic policy, pure competition is to a greater or lesser extent regulated by competition policy and competition law
Competition law
Competition law, known in the United States as antitrust law, is law that promotes or maintains market competition by regulating anti-competitive conduct by companies....

. Another component of these activities is the discovery process, with instances of higher government regulations typically leading to less competitive businesses being launched.

Competition between countries is quite subtle to detect, but is quite evident in the world economy
World economy
The world economy, or global economy, generally refers to the economy, which is based on economies of all of the world's countries, national economies. Also global economy can be seen as the economy of global society and national economies – as economies of local societies, making the global one....

. Countries compete to provide the best possible business environment for multinational corporations. Such competition is evident by the policies undertaken by these countries to educate the future workforce. For example, East Asian economies such as Singapore, Japan and South Korea tend to emphasize education by allocating a large portion of the budget to this sector, and by implementing programmes such as gifted education
Gifted education
Gifted education is a broad term for special practices, procedures and theories used in the education of children who have been identified as gifted or talented...

.

Law

Competition law
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

, known in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 as antitrust law, has three main functions. Firstly, it prohibits agreements aimed to restrict free trading between business entities and their customers. For example, a cartel
Cartel
A cartel is a formal agreement among competing firms. It is a formal organization of producers and manufacturers that agree to fix prices, marketing, and production. Cartels usually occur in an oligopolistic industry, where there is a small number of sellers and usually involve homogeneous products...

 of sports shops who together fix football jersey prices higher than normal is illegal. Secondly, competition law can ban the existence or abusive behaviour of a firm dominating the market. One case in point could be a software company who through its monopoly
Monopoly
A monopoly exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity...

 on computer platforms makes consumers use its media player. Thirdly, to preserve competitive markets, the law supervises the mergers and acquisitions
Mergers and acquisitions
Mergers and acquisitions refers to the aspect of corporate strategy, corporate finance and management dealing with the buying, selling, dividing and combining of different companies and similar entities that can help an enterprise grow rapidly in its sector or location of origin, or a new field or...

 of very large corporations. Competition authorities could for instance require that a large packaging company give plastic bottle license
License
The verb license or grant licence means to give permission. The noun license or licence refers to that permission as well as to the document recording that permission.A license may be granted by a party to another party as an element of an agreement...

s to competitors before taking over a major PET
Polyethylene terephthalate
Polyethylene terephthalate , commonly abbreviated PET, PETE, or the obsolete PETP or PET-P, is a thermoplastic polymer resin of the polyester family and is used in synthetic fibers; beverage, food and other liquid containers; thermoforming applications; and engineering resins often in combination...

 producer. In this case (as in all three), competition law aims to protect the welfare of consumers by ensuring business must compete for its share of the market economy
Market economy
A market economy is an economy in which the prices of goods and services are determined in a free price system. This is often contrasted with a state-directed or planned economy. Market economies can range from hypothetically pure laissez-faire variants to an assortment of real-world mixed...

.

In recent decades, competition law has also been sold as good medicine to provide better public services
Public services
Public services is a term usually used to mean services provided by government to its citizens, either directly or by financing private provision of services. The term is associated with a social consensus that certain services should be available to all, regardless of income...

, traditionally funded by tax
Tax
To tax is to impose a financial charge or other levy upon a taxpayer by a state or the functional equivalent of a state such that failure to pay is punishable by law. Taxes are also imposed by many subnational entities...

 payers and administered by democratically
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 accountable government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

s. Hence competition law is closely connected with the law on deregulation of access to markets, providing state aids and subsidies, the privatisation of state-owned assets and the use of independent sector regulators, such as the United Kingdom telecommunications watchdog Ofcom
Ofcom
Ofcom is the government-approved regulatory authority for the broadcasting and telecommunications industries in the United Kingdom. Ofcom was initially established by the Office of Communications Act 2002. It received its full authority from the Communications Act 2003...

. Behind the practice lies the theory, which over the last fifty years has been dominated by neo-classical economics. Markets are seen as the most efficient method of allocating resources, although sometimes they fail
Market failure
Market failure is a concept within economic theory wherein the allocation of goods and services by a free market is not efficient. That is, there exists another conceivable outcome where a market participant may be made better-off without making someone else worse-off...

, and regulation becomes necessary to protect the ideal market model. Behind the theory lies the history, reaching back further than the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

. The business practices of market traders, guilds and governments have always been subject to scrutiny and sometimes severe sanctions. Since the twentieth century, competition law has become global. The two largest, most organised and influential systems of competition regulation are United States antitrust law and European Community competition law. The respective national authorities, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission
Federal Trade Commission
The Federal Trade Commission is an independent agency of the United States government, established in 1914 by the Federal Trade Commission Act...

 (FTC) in the United States and the European Commission's Competition Directorate General
Directorate-General for Competition (European Commission)
The Directorate-General for Competition is a Directorate-General of the European Commission, located in Brussels, Belgium. The DG Competition is responsible for establishing and implementing a coherent competition policy for the European Union. The DG Competition has a dual role in antitrust...

 (DGCOMP) have formed international support and enforcement networks. Competition law is growing in importance every day, which warrants for its careful study.

Politics

Competition is also found in politics
Politics
Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the...

. In democracies
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

, an election
Election
An election is a formal decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative democracy operates since the 17th century. Elections may fill offices in the legislature, sometimes in the...

 is a competition for an elected office. In other words, two or more candidates strive and compete against one another to attain a position of power. The winner gains the seat of the elected office for a predefined period of time, towards the end of which another election is usually held to determine the next holder of the office.

In addition, there is inevitable competition inside a government. Because several offices are appointed, potential candidates compete against the others in order to gain the particular office. Departments may also compete for a limited amount of resources, such as for funding
Budget
A budget is a financial plan and a list of all planned expenses and revenues. It is a plan for saving, borrowing and spending. A budget is an important concept in microeconomics, which uses a budget line to illustrate the trade-offs between two or more goods...

. Finally, where there are party systems, elected leaders of different parties will ultimately compete against the other parties for law
Law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

s, funding
Funding
Funding is the act of providing resources, usually in form of money , or other values such as effort or time , for a project, a person, a business or any other private or public institutions...

 and power
Political power
Political power is a type of power held by a group in a society which allows administration of some or all of public resources, including labour, and wealth. There are many ways to obtain possession of such power. At the nation-state level political legitimacy for political power is held by the...

.

Finally, competition also exists between government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

s. Each country
Country
A country is a region legally identified as a distinct entity in political geography. A country may be an independent sovereign state or one that is occupied by another state, as a non-sovereign or formerly sovereign political division, or a geographic region associated with a previously...

 or nationality
Nationality
Nationality is membership of a nation or sovereign state, usually determined by their citizenship, but sometimes by ethnicity or place of residence, or based on their sense of national identity....

 struggles for world dominance, power, or military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 strength. For example, the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 competed against the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 in the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 for world power, and the two also struggled over the different types of government (in these cases representative democracy
Representative democracy
Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principle of elected individuals representing the people, as opposed to autocracy and direct democracy...

 and communism
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

). The result of this type of competition often leads to worldwide tensions, and may sometimes erupt into war
War
War is a state of organized, armed, and often prolonged conflict carried on between states, nations, or other parties typified by extreme aggression, social disruption, and usually high mortality. War should be understood as an actual, intentional and widespread armed conflict between political...

fare.

Sports

While some sports (such as fishing
Fishing
Fishing is the activity of trying to catch wild fish. Fish are normally caught in the wild. Techniques for catching fish include hand gathering, spearing, netting, angling and trapping....

 or hiking
Hiking
Hiking is an outdoor activity which consists of walking in natural environments, often in mountainous or other scenic terrain. People often hike on hiking trails. It is such a popular activity that there are numerous hiking organizations worldwide. The health benefits of different types of hiking...

) have been viewed as primarily recreational, most sports are considered competitive. The majority involve competition between two or more persons (sometimes using horses
Horse racing
Horse racing is an equestrian sport that has a long history. Archaeological records indicate that horse racing occurred in ancient Babylon, Syria, and Egypt. Both chariot and mounted horse racing were events in the ancient Greek Olympics by 648 BC...

 or cars
Auto racing
Auto racing is a motorsport involving the racing of cars for competition. It is one of the world's most watched televised sports.-The beginning of racing:...

). For example, in a game of basketball
Basketball
Basketball is a team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules...

, two teams compete against one another to determine who can score the most points. While there is no set reward for the winning team, many players gain a sense of pride
Pride
Pride is an inwardly directed emotion that carries two common meanings. With a negative connotation, pride refers to an inflated sense of one's personal status or accomplishments, often used synonymously with hubris...

. In addition, extrinsic rewards may also be given. Athletes, besides competing against other humans, also compete against nature
Nature
Nature, in the broadest sense, is equivalent to the natural world, physical world, or material world. "Nature" refers to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general...

 in sports such as whitewater kayaking
Whitewater kayaking
Whitewater kayaking is the sport of paddling a kayak on a moving body of water, typically a whitewater river. Whitewater kayaking can range from simple, carefree gently moving water, to demanding, dangerous whitewater. River rapids are graded like ski runs according to the difficulty, danger or...

 or mountaineering
Mountaineering
Mountaineering or mountain climbing is the sport, hobby or profession of hiking, skiing, and climbing mountains. While mountaineering began as attempts to reach the highest point of unclimbed mountains it has branched into specialisations that address different aspects of the mountain and consists...

, where the goal is to reach a destination, with only natural barriers impeding the process. A regularly scheduled (for instance annual) competition meant to determine the "best" competitor of that cycle is called a championship
Championship
Championship is a term used in sport to refer to various forms of competition in which the aim is to decide which individual or team is the champion.- Title match system :...

.
Professional sports, as well as the business of it, are intense and extremely competitive, while recreational sports are often less intense and found enjoyable by many, as well as cathartic. Yet psychological evidence has been found that the more aggressive sports result in increased aggressive behavior when the sport is not being played. For those attaining winning status, endorphins are released, often driving them, and in extreme cases, addicting them to increased levels of competition, dedication, and enjoyment of the sport. In the case of sports viewers, participating artificially, similar evidence was found.

Competitive sports are governed by codified rules agreed upon by the participants. Violating these rules is considered to be unfair competition. Thus, sports provide artificial (not natural) competition; for example, competing for control of a ball, or defending territory on a playing field is not an innate biological factor in humans. Athletes in sports such as gymnastics
Gymnastics
Gymnastics is a sport involving performance of exercises requiring physical strength, flexibility, agility, coordination, and balance. Internationally, all of the gymnastic sports are governed by the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique with each country having its own national governing body...

 and competitive diving
Diving
Diving is the sport of jumping or falling into water from a platform or springboard, sometimes while performing acrobatics. Diving is an internationally-recognized sport that is part of the Olympic Games. In addition, unstructured and non-competitive diving is a recreational pastime.Diving is one...

 compete against each other in order to come closest to a conceptual ideal of a perfect performance, which incorporates measurable criteria and standards which are translated into numerical ratings and scores by appointed judges.

Sports competition is generally broken down into three categories: individual sports, such as archery
Archery
Archery is the art, practice, or skill of propelling arrows with the use of a bow, from Latin arcus. Archery has historically been used for hunting and combat; in modern times, however, its main use is that of a recreational activity...

; dual sports, such as doubles tennis
Tennis
Tennis is a sport usually played between two players or between two teams of two players each . Each player uses a racket that is strung to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over a net into the opponent's court. Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society at all...

, and team sports competition, such as cricket
Cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

 or football
Football
Football may refer to one of a number of team sports which all involve, to varying degrees, kicking a ball with the foot to score a goal. The most popular of these sports worldwide is association football, more commonly known as just "football" or "soccer"...

. While most sports competitions are recreation, there exist several major
Major
Major is a rank of commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in almost every military in the world.When used unhyphenated, in conjunction with no other indicator of rank, the term refers to the rank just senior to that of an Army captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel. ...

 and minor
Minor league
Minor leagues are professional sports leagues which are not regarded as the premier leagues in those sports. Minor league teams tend to play in smaller, less elaborate venues, often competing in smaller cities. This term is used in North America with regard to several organizations competing in...

 professional sports leagues throughout the world. The Olympic Games
Olympic Games
The Olympic Games is a major international event featuring summer and winter sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games have come to be regarded as the world’s foremost sports competition where more than 200 nations participate...

, held every four years, is usually regarded as the international pinnacle of sports competition.

Education

Competition is a major factor in education. On a global scale, national education systems, intending to bring out the best in the next generation, encourage competitiveness among students through scholarships. Countries such as England and Singapore have special education
Special education
Special education is the education of students with special needs in a way that addresses the students' individual differences and needs. Ideally, this process involves the individually planned and systematically monitored arrangement of teaching procedures, adapted equipment and materials,...

 programmes which cater for specialist students, prompting charges of academic elitism
Academic elitism
Academic elitism is a charge sometimes levied at academic institutions and academics more broadly, arguing that academia or academics are prone to undeserved and/or pernicious elitism; the term "ivory tower" often carries with it an implicit critique of academic elitism...

. Upon receipt of their academic results, students tend to compare their grades to see who is better. In severe cases, the pressure to perform in some countries is so high that it can result in stigmatization of intellectually deficient students, or even suicide as a consequence of failing the exams; Japan being a prime example (see Education in Japan
Education in Japan
In Japan, education is compulsory at the elementary and lower secondary levels. Approximately 98% of all students progress to the upper secondary level, which is voluntary . Most students attend public schools through the lower secondary level, but private education is popular at the upper...

). This has resulted in critical re-evaluation of examinations as a whole by educationalists . Critics of competition (as opposed to excellence
Excellence
Excellence is a talent or quality which is unusually good and so surpasses ordinary standards. It is also an aimed for standard of performance.-History:...

) as a motivating factor in education systems, such as Alfie Kohn
Alfie Kohn
Alfie Kohn is an American author and lecturer who has explored a number of topics in education, parenting, and human behavior...

, assert that competition actually has a net negative influence on the achievement levels of students, and that it "turns all of us into losers" (Kohn 1986). Economist Richard Layard
Richard Layard
Richard Layard, Baron Layard is a British economist. He was founder-director in 1990 of, and is a current programme director at, the Centre for Economic Performance at the...

 has commented on the harmful effects, stating "people feel that they are under a great deal of pressure. They feel that their main objective in life is to do better than other
people. That is certainly what young people are being taught in school every day. And it's not a good basis for a society."

Competitions also make up a large portion of extracurricular activities in which students participate. Such competitions include TVO
TVOntario
TVOntario, often referred to only as TVO , is a publicly funded, educational English-language television station and media organization in the Canadian province of Ontario. It is operated by the Ontario Educational Communications Authority, a Crown corporation owned by the Government of Ontario...

's broadcast Reach for the Top
Reach for the Top
Reach for the Top is a Canadian game show in which teams of high school students participate in local, provincial and eventually national trivia tournaments...

 competition, FIRST
First
First or 1st is the ordinal form of the number one.First or 1st may also refer to:* First , minor summit below the Schwarzhorn in the Bernese Alps in Switzerland* First , mountain in Bernese Alps in Switzerland...

 Robotics, Duke Annual Robo-Climb Competition (DARC) and the University of Toronto Space Design Contest
University of Toronto Space Design Contest
The University of Toronto Space Design Contest, or UTSDC is an annual contest for high school students founded in 2003. Teams work together to develop a solution for a design challenge, set every year...

. In Texas, the University Interscholastic League
University Interscholastic League
The University Interscholastic League is an organization that creates rules for and administers almost all athletic, music, and academic contests for public primary and secondary schools in the American state of Texas....

 (UIL) has 22 High School-level contests and 18 elementary and Junior High in subjects ranging from accounting to science to ready writing.

Literature

Literary competitions, such as contests sponsored by literary journals, publishing houses and theaters, have increasingly become a means for aspiring writers to gain recognition. Prestigious awards for fiction include those sponsored by the Missouri Review, Boston Review
Boston Review
Boston Review is a bimonthly American political and literary magazine. The magazine covers, specifically, political debates, literature, and poetry...

, Indiana Review
Indiana Review
Indiana Review ' is a small, student-run literary magazine at Indiana University. Founded in 1976, it has a circulation of about 2,000.A biannual review, IR publishes essays, fiction, graphic arts, interviews, poetry, and reviews...

, North American Review
North American Review
The North American Review was the first literary magazine in the United States. Founded in Boston in 1815 by journalist Nathan Hale and others, it was published continuously until 1940, when publication was suspended due to J. H. Smyth, who had purchased the magazine, being unmasked as a Japanese...

 and Southwest Review
Southwest Review
The Southwest Review is a literary journal published quarterly, based on the Southern Methodist University campus in Dallas, Texas. It is the third oldest literary quarterly in the United States of America . The current editor-in-chief is Willard Spiegelman.The journal was formerly known as the...

. The Albee
Edward Albee
Edward Franklin Albee III is an American playwright who is best known for The Zoo Story , The Sandbox , Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? , and a rewrite of the screenplay for the unsuccessful musical version of Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's . His works are considered well-crafted, often...

 Award, sponsored by the Yale Drama Series, is among the most prestigious playwriting awards. Some American writers, such as Gina Ochsner
Gina Ochsner
Gina Ochsner is an American author best known for her story collection, The Necessary Grace to Fall, which won the Flannery O'Connor Award in 2001, and her novel, The Russian Dream Book of Colour and Flight ....

 and Jacob Appel
Jacob M. Appel
Jacob M. Appel is an American author, bioethicist and social critic. He is best known for his short stories, his work as a playwright, and his writing in the fields of reproductive ethics, organ donation, neuroethics and euthanasia....

, have gained prominence specifically for their active participation in numerous literary competitions.

Charging fees for literary competitions is extremely controversial. Some writers view fees as a form of exploitation that takes advantage of aspiring authors and playwrights. However, fee-based contests also have strong supporters who argue that these competitions offer rare opportunities for young writers to have their voices heard at a time when access to major agents and editors has grown increasingly limited.

Biology and ecology

Competition within and between species is an important topic in biology
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

, specifically in the field of ecology
Ecology
Ecology is the scientific study of the relations that living organisms have with respect to each other and their natural environment. Variables of interest to ecologists include the composition, distribution, amount , number, and changing states of organisms within and among ecosystems...

. Competition between members of a species ("intraspecific") is the driving force behind evolution
Evolution
Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...

 and natural selection
Natural selection
Natural selection is the nonrandom process by which biologic traits become either more or less common in a population as a function of differential reproduction of their bearers. It is a key mechanism of evolution....

; the competition for resources such as food
Food
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals...

, water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

, territory
Territory (animal)
In ethology the term territory refers to any sociographical area that an animal of a particular species consistently defends against conspecifics...

, and sunlight
Sunlight
Sunlight, in the broad sense, is the total frequency spectrum of electromagnetic radiation given off by the Sun. On Earth, sunlight is filtered through the Earth's atmosphere, and solar radiation is obvious as daylight when the Sun is above the horizon.When the direct solar radiation is not blocked...

 results in the ultimate survival and dominance of the variant of the species best suited for survival. Competition is also present between species ("interspecific"). A limited amount of resources are available, and several species may depend on these resources. Thus, each of the species competes with the others to gain access to the resources. As a result, species less suited to compete for the resources must either adapt
Adaptation
An adaptation in biology is a trait with a current functional role in the life history of an organism that is maintained and evolved by means of natural selection. An adaptation refers to both the current state of being adapted and to the dynamic evolutionary process that leads to the adaptation....

 or die out
Extinction
In biology and ecology, extinction is the end of an organism or of a group of organisms , normally a species. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the last individual of the species, although the capacity to breed and recover may have been lost before this point...

. According to evolutionary theory, this competition within and between species for resources plays a critical role in natural selection
Natural selection
Natural selection is the nonrandom process by which biologic traits become either more or less common in a population as a function of differential reproduction of their bearers. It is a key mechanism of evolution....

. For example, a smaller tree will receive less sunlight than an adjacent tree which is larger than it in a rainforest
Rainforest
Rainforests are forests characterized by high rainfall, with definitions based on a minimum normal annual rainfall of 1750-2000 mm...

. The larger tree is competing with the smaller one for the same sunlight. While competition has been observed between individuals, populations and species, there is little evidence that competition has been the driving force in the evolution of large groups. For example, between amphibians, reptiles, and mammals.

The study of competition

Competition has been studied in several fields, including psychology
Psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

, sociology
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

 and anthropology
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

. Social psychologist
Psychologist
Psychologist is a professional or academic title used by individuals who are either:* Clinical professionals who work with patients in a variety of therapeutic contexts .* Scientists conducting psychological research or teaching psychology in a college...

s, for instance, study the nature of competition. They investigate the natural urge of competition and its circumstances. They also study group dynamics, to detect how competition emerges and what its effects are. Sociologists, meanwhile, study the effects of competition on society as a whole. In addition, anthropologists study the history and prehistory of competition in various cultures. They also investigate how competition manifested itself in various cultural
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

 settings in the past, and how competition has developed over time.

Competitiveness

Many philosophers and psychologist
Psychologist
Psychologist is a professional or academic title used by individuals who are either:* Clinical professionals who work with patients in a variety of therapeutic contexts .* Scientists conducting psychological research or teaching psychology in a college...

s have identified a trait in most living organisms which can drive the particular organism to compete. This trait, unsurprisingly called competitiveness, is viewed as an innate biological
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

 trait which coexists along with the urge for survival. Competitiveness, or the inclination to compete, though, has become synonymous with aggressiveness and ambition in the English language
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

. More advanced civilization
Civilization
Civilization is a sometimes controversial term that has been used in several related ways. Primarily, the term has been used to refer to the material and instrumental side of human cultures that are complex in terms of technology, science, and division of labor. Such civilizations are generally...

s integrate aggressiveness and competitiveness into their interactions, as a way to distribute resources and adapt. Most plants compete for higher spots on trees to receive more sunlight.

However, Stephen Jay Gould
Stephen Jay Gould
Stephen Jay Gould was an American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science. He was also one of the most influential and widely read writers of popular science of his generation....

 and others have argued that as one ascends the evolutionary hierarchy, competitiveness (the survival instinct) becomes less innate, and more a learned behavior. The same could be said for co-operation: in humans, at least, both co-operation and competition are considered learned behaviors, because the human species learns to adapt to environmental pressures. Consequently, if survival requires competitive behaviors, the individual will compete, and if survival requires co-operative behaviors, the individual will co-operate. In the case of humans, therefore, aggressiveness may be an innate characteristic, but a person need not be competitive at the same time, for instance when scaling a cliff. On the other hand, humans seem also to have a nurturing instinct, to protect newborns and the weak. While that does not necessitate co-operative behavior, it does help.

The term also applies to econometrics
Econometrics
Econometrics has been defined as "the application of mathematics and statistical methods to economic data" and described as the branch of economics "that aims to give empirical content to economic relations." More precisely, it is "the quantitative analysis of actual economic phenomena based on...

. Here, it is a comparative measure of the ability and performance of a firm or sub-sector to sell and produce/supply goods and/or services in a given market. The two academic bodies of thought on the assessment of competitiveness are the Structure Conduct Performance Paradigm and the more contemporary New Empirical Industrial Organisation model. Predicting changes in the competitiveness of business sectors is becoming an integral and explicit step in public policymaking. Within capitalist economic systems, the drive of enterprises is to maintain and improve their own competitiveness.

Hypercompetitiveness

The tendency toward extreme, unhealthy competition has been termed hypercompetitiveness. This concept originated in Karen Horney
Karen Horney
Karen Horney born Danielsen was a German-American psychoanalyst. Her theories questioned some traditional Freudian views, particularly his theory of sexuality, as well as the instinct orientation of psychoanalysis and its genetic psychology...

's theories on neurosis
Neurosis
Neurosis is a class of functional mental disorders involving distress but neither delusions nor hallucinations, whereby behavior is not outside socially acceptable norms. It is also known as psychoneurosis or neurotic disorder, and thus those suffering from it are said to be neurotic...

; specifically, the highly aggressive personality type which is characterized as "moving against people". In her view, some people have a need to compete and win at all costs as a means of maintaining their self-worth
Self-esteem
Self-esteem is a term in psychology to reflect a person's overall evaluation or appraisal of his or her own worth. Self-esteem encompasses beliefs and emotions such as triumph, despair, pride and shame: some would distinguish how 'the self-concept is what we think about the self; self-esteem, the...

. These individuals are likely to turn any activity into a competition, and they will feel threatened if they find themselves losing. Researchers have found that men and women who score high on the trait of hypercompetitiveness are more narcissistic
Narcissism
Narcissism is a term with a wide range of meanings, depending on whether it is used to describe a central concept of psychoanalytic theory, a mental illness, a social or cultural problem, or simply a personality trait...

 and less psychologically healthy than those who score low on the trait. Hypercompetitive individuals generally believe that "winning isn't everything; it's the only thing".

See also

  • Biological interaction
    Biological interaction
    Biological interactions are the effects organisms in a community have on one another. In the natural world no organism exists in absolute isolation, and thus every organism must interact with the environment and other organisms...

  • Competition regulator
    Competition regulator
    A competition regulator is a government agency, typically a statutory authority, sometimes called an economic regulator, which regulates and enforces competition laws, and may sometimes also enforce consumer protection laws...

  • Competitor analysis
    Competitor analysis
    Competitor analysis in marketing and strategic management is an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of current and potential competitors. This analysis provides both an offensive and defensive strategic context to identify opportunities and threats...

  • Cooperation
    Cooperation
    Cooperation or co-operation is the process of working or acting together. In its simplest form it involves things working in harmony, side by side, while in its more complicated forms, it can involve something as complex as the inner workings of a human being or even the social patterns of a...

  • Cooperative
    Cooperative
    A cooperative is a business organization owned and operated by a group of individuals for their mutual benefit...

  • Ecological model of competition
    Ecological model of competition
    The ecological model of competition is a reassessment of the nature of competition in the economy. Traditional economics models the economy on the principles of physics . This can be seen in the economics lexicon: terms like labour force, market equilibrium, capital flows, and price elasticity...

  • Monopolistic competition
    Monopolistic competition
    Monopolistic competition is imperfect competition where many competing producers sell products that are differentiated from one another...

  • Planned economy
    Planned economy
    A planned economy is an economic system in which decisions regarding production and investment are embodied in a plan formulated by a central authority, usually by a government agency...

  • Racing
    Racing
    A sport race is a competition of speed, against an objective criterion, usually a clock or to a specific point. The competitors in a race try to complete a given task in the shortest amount of time...

  • The Hunger Games
    The Hunger Games
    The Hunger Games is a first person young-adult science fiction novel written by Suzanne Collins. It was originally published on September 14, 2008, by Scholastic. It is the first book of the Hunger Games trilogy. It introduces sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in a post-apocalyptic world...

  • Zero-profit condition
    Zero-profit condition
    In economic competition theory, the zero-profit condition describes the condition that occurs when an industry or type of business has an extremely low cost of entry...

  • Zero-sum
    Zero-sum
    In game theory and economic theory, a zero-sum game is a mathematical representation of a situation in which a participant's gain of utility is exactly balanced by the losses of the utility of other participant. If the total gains of the participants are added up, and the total losses are...

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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