- Khalil Guliwala
Business as a (Squid) Game
By Khalil Guliwala
Squid Game. Netflix.
The concept is a simple one: a bunch of individuals get together to work on time-delimited projects, all aiming to increase their economic well-being. In the process, they work with someone one day, against them another day, always putting their physical, mental, and spiritual health on the line. Their rules of engagement are both implicit and explicit, a bizarro world of broader society, where the rules themselves push the boundaries of what is ultimately permitted.
This description applies to Squid Game. But, more importantly, it also applies to the ‘Game of Business’, particularly in an office environment. In fact, viewing the office as a parallel for Squid Game and applying some of the show’s lessons to office life could be the difference between a corner office and a desk in the dungeon, and crucially, the difference between life and death.
Preparation for the (Squid) Game of Business begins early for most, but it is honed to perfection in business schools through case studies. An often-unasked question is why the majority of case studies are analyzed as a group – surely an individual analysis should be sufficient. But how then would students learn the power of negotiation, effective communication, and emotional intelligence as they navigate difficult and crucial conservations with their peers? In Squid Game, it is not brute strength that always wins, but the ability to work with others and influence them—imagine the tug of war scene.