Conflict Management

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The League and League of Wisconsin Municipalities Mutual Insurance are partnering with the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service (WIPPS) to provide training, information and consultation for elected leaders in conflict management.


Conflict Management Column

by Eric Giordano, Ph.D., Executive Director, Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service, University of Wisconsin System published in the The Municipality.

It's Time for Ethical Communication (PDF) September 2020 "Ethical Communication is an effective collaborative approach to resolving interpersonal conflict."

Why We Feel so Right Doing the Wrong Thing (PDF) January 2021 "Can we overcome this cycle of distrust and begin to reconcile our differences or are we locked into a predestined future of political strife and unrest? Fortunately, there is something we can do about it."

Brownies, Brains and Information Habits, Part 1 (PDF) March 2021 "Social science research shows over and over again that people with deeply held political convictions—irrespective of political ideology—can consume the exact same information yet come to opposite conclusions about what is true. In other words, accessing shared facts is not enough to change minds. To make matters worse, it is not clear that we are even consuming the same information."

Brownies, Brains, and Information Habits, Part II (PDF) May 2021 "(S)ocial science research shows that people with deeply held convictions – irrespective of political ideology – often consume the same information yet come to opposite conclusions about what is true. Accessing shared facts, therefore, is not enough to change minds. But what if we could change our environment to reduce exposure to poor news sources and one-sided information and fundamentally change how we consume news?"

A Time for De-escalation (PDF) July 2021 "It is important to distinguish between the short-term goals of de-escalation in relation to longer-term goals of conflict resolution. De-escalation is primarily focused on removing us from the precipice of an acute conflict; if done effectively, it can lay the groundwork for a deeper conflict resolution process designed to rebuild trust, restore relationships, and prevent future conflict."

Restoring Equilibrium in Our Relationships (PDF) September 2021 “Being forced to navigate an increasingly complicated and divisive world reminded me of some game theory principles I learned in graduate school. Game theory is a set of analytical tools designed to explain behaviors and outcomes when decision-makers interact.”

Ground Rules for Meetings and Deplaning (PDF) January 2022 "Ground Rules are principles that define a code of conduct and outline expectations of behavior. They can be created quickly and adapted to any situation and are an especially effective social deterrent against disruptors. The power of Ground Rules has surprisingly little to do with their actual content. Instead, it is the process of creating them, along with the social expectations they generate, which make them so valuable."  

Polarization: What Can We Do? A Response to Robert Talisse (PDF) March 2022 "Not all polarization is bad, but the US could be in trouble by Robert Talisse on The Conversation "A deeper concern is that “our capacities for responsible citizenship – specifically, our aptitude for navigating political disagreement” has atrophied. But what can we practically do?" 

What is Our End Game? (PDF) May 2022 "Not only have we lost trust in people with different views from our own, we have begun to dehumanize them. If we continue to foster the narrative of a good versus evil struggle, we create for ourselves an excuse to set aside civility, break rules, and cross the Rubicon toward organized violence. Simply put, we are edging toward an abyss of our own making, which begs the question: What is the end game?"

The Stories We Tell (PDF) July 2022 "This tendency to paint one side as pure and the other incorrigible is a tale as old as time. The point is, no matter our political persuasion, our brain’s propensity for motivated reasoning can betray us. To believe we are immune is the crux of the problem. The stories we tell and choose to believe about ourselves and others are both a reflection of, and powerful motivator for, the relationships we choose and hold valuable."

Burying the Hatchet (PDF) September 2022 "Not going to lie. During a seemingly endless hour, I wondered if this group was even capable of listening without interruption for a few minutes, let alone move toward meaningful negotiations to resolve deep problems. Just when I started thinking this might be the mission impossible that I always dread, a switch seemed to flip, and participants started letting go (temporarily) of their past grievances."

Has Everything Been Said? (PDF) November 2022 "Fortunately, there is a tried-and-true tool that remains relevant even in today’s challenging environment: The IAP2 Spectrum of Public Participation (accessible at This tool can help create reasonable expectations about process and outcomes and launch us on a constructive path to deliver on our promises by encouraging us to answer two questions: What is our purpose for engaging the public? What is our commitment to the public via this engagement?" 

Conflict Management Consultation 

This service is brought to you by League Mutual Insurance (LWMMI) and the League.

WIPPS will provide one-on-one consultation where a community has a complex or longstanding conflict management challenge. The cost of this consultation will be negotiated between WIPPS and the individual municipality, except in cases where League Insurance deems it advisable to support one of its insured municipalities. Learn more "League Conflict Management Resource" (PDF)

If you are insured by League Mutual Insurance (LWMMI), contact Eric Giordano at email to seek an initial consultation and discuss fees. If you are unsure of your municipal insurance provider, you may contact Matt Becker, CEO email

List of League Mutual Insureds

10 14 Conflict Management League Conference Giordano_Page_01


October 14, 2020 - 122nd Annual Conference Presentation (PDF) by Eric Giordano, WIPPS