Facilitating a Public Policy Issue: Practicing Textbook Tools and Confronting Challenges That Textbooks Don’t

By Steven M. Maser, Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Williamette University; Samuel J. Imperati, Institute for Conflict Management, Inc., with thanks to Jessica Ordonez of Apicality Communication, LLC.


Students address challenges that facilitators of group processes typically confront but that textbooks typically do not. Supported by videos excerpted from televised broadcasts of the meetings of a task force that includes business, government, and community interests, students learn tactics for achieving a consensus. The public policy issue involves advising the City Council on a proposal from the owner of the local minor league soccer and baseball teams to purchase a Major League Soccer franchise if the City reconfigures the existing stadium for soccer and builds a new stadium for baseball. Integrating lessons learned from multiple public policy facilitations, the case consists of ten discussion questions. Instructors choose among learning objectives and the questions associated with them to fit available class time. Supplementary materials include public documents about events impacting the decision and Adaptable Takeaway Tools for facilitators to employ in any group decision process.

Honorable Mention, Best Teaching Case Competition, 2015.

Download the Case (pdf)

Download the Teaching Note (pdf)

Download the Video Transcripts (pdf)