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Should Professional Certification Become Mandatory?

March 9, 2010

“Best Practices should be extended to cover the initial recruitment of persons for a particular function ( procurement or contract specialist ).  I have observed in most organisations these functions are not given the same importance, as compared to for example finance, where the bar has been set for entry i.e CPA ,ACCA certification made mandatory for one to be considered.  It is a high time IACCM and other professional bodies engage with organisations to make it mandatory for any practictioner within this function to attain the required relevant certification.”

This view was expressed by a student in the IACCM Managed Learning program, on one of the message boards. I understand his frustration.

Professions tend to go through several phases in their development. First, based on a social need, individuals become specialists in a particular field. They learn either from personal experience, or from a specific mentor. Over time, these individuals may start to network and share some experiences; they may even write occasional books, but often they do not fully agree about the scope or role of their activities. The role remains dominated by personal and organizational perspectives of its purpose and the skills and knowledge needed for performance. Many individuals in fact fear ‘professionalization’ because a) it will create standards they might not meet; and b) it will result in a level of discipline that might make their work less fun. Attitudes like this inhibit the status of all practitioners and make it almost impossible to demonstrate the value or contribution of the role.

Over time, if a job is to become recognized as a profession, consensus builds that this particular field is of such importance that it needs standards of practice and a formal body of knowledge. At this point, it is generally able to offer recognized sources of training and people select it as a career path. There is also a commitment to research and wider sources of education and training (for example, universities and business schools) – all the characteristics laid out in the IACCM best practices module. 

Contract and commercial management is still on this journey. We have progressed a long way – for example, the IACCM learning program is the first (and only) effort to capture and spread a global body of knowledge. At present, there are more than 4,500 students who are among the leaders in establishing a group of similarly qualified individuals with a common understanding of  their role and value. IACCM is working very hard to push for certification and to do this we must also create executive and public understanding that this will result in business and social value. We are encouraging more publications; we are working to get academic programs at universities and business schools; and we are undertaking large volumes of research and authoring.

Now we need you – the practitioners – to show your excitement end dedication by becoming powerful advocates for the value of contract management and the need for employers to demand certified professional standards. And of course, to set an example by becoming certified yourself!

One Comment
  1. Walter permalink

    IACCM and other similar associations,chartered Institutes can influence the proposed change in making it absolutely mandatory to be certified .How can IACCM and others approach this?a) Initiating dialogue with key persons in big organisations with tha aim of influencing adaptation of policy that demands certification b) Global sensitisation ,awareness creation ( preaching the gospel ) of this profession through variation medium c) Establishing charters or offices globally for managing of members.

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