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Competition arises whenever at least two parties strive for a common goal which cannot be shared: where one's gain is the other's loss (an example of which is a zero-sum game).[1]

It is, in general, a rivalry between two or more entities: animals, organisms, economic groups, individuals, social groups, etc., for group or social status, leadership, profit, and recognition: awards, goods, mates, prestige, a niche, scarce resources, or a territory.

Competition occurs in nature, between living organisms which co-exist in the same environment.[2] Animals compete over water supplies, food, mates, and other biological resources. Humans usually compete for food and mates, though when these needs are met deep rivalries often arise over the pursuit of wealth, power, prestige, and fame. Competition is a major tenet of market economies and business, often associated with business competition as companies are in competition with at least one other firm over the same group of customers. Competition inside a company is usually stimulated with the larger purpose of meeting and reaching higher quality of services or improved products that the company may produce or develop.

Competition is often considered to be the opposite of cooperation, however in the real world, mixtures of cooperation and competition are the norm.[3] Optimal strategies to achieve goals are studied in the branch of mathematics known as game theory.

Competition has been studied in several fields, including psychology, sociology and anthropology. Social psychologists, 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. Additionally, anthropologists study the history and prehistory of competition in various cultures. They also investigate how competition manifested itself in various cultural settings in the past, and how competition has developed over time.

Baseball, a competitive sport

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 and competitive diving compete against each other in order to come close

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 and competitive diving 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; dual sports, such as doubles tennis, and team sports competition, such as cricket or football. While most sports competitions are recreation, there exist several major and minor professional sports leagues throughout the world. The archery; dual sports, such as doubles tennis, and team sports competition, such as cricket or football. While most sports competitions are recreation, there exist several major and minor professional sports leagues throughout the world. The Olympic Games, held every four years, is usually regarded as the international pinnacle of sports competition.

Competition is also found in trade. For nations, as well as firms it is important to understand trade dynamics in order to market their goods and services effectively in international markets. Balance of trade can be considered a crude, but widely used proxy for international competitiveness across levels: country, industry or even firm. Research data hints that exporting firms have a higher survival rate and achieve greater employment growth compared with non-exporters.

Using a simple concept to measure heights that firms can climb may help improve execution of strategies. International competitiveness can be measured on several criteria but few are as flexible and versatile to be applied across levels as Trade Competitiveness Index (TCI) [43]

The tendency toward extreme, unhealthy competition has been termed hypercompetitiveness. This concept originated in Karen Horney's theories on neurosis; 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. 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 and less psychologically healthy than those who score low on the trait.[44] Hypercompetitive individuals generally believe that "winning is so important, it's the only thing that matters".[citation needed]

Consequences

Competition can have

Competition can have both beneficial and detrimental effects. Many evolutionary biologists view inter-species and intra-species competition as the driving force of adaptation, and ultimately of evolution. However, some biologists disagree, citing competition as a driving force only on a small scale, and citing the larger scale drivers of evolution to be abiotic factors (termed 'Room to Roam').[5] Richard Dawkins prefers 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 (termed the 'selfish gene').

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 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 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 for the owners.