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A Global Model for Contract Management

February 12, 2013

In a lead article, The Economist recently highlighted the Nordic countries and suggested they may be ‘the next supermodel’. Its Special Report then goes on to expand on the reasons for this focus. I was struck by the report because in my view, the Nordics are also leading-edge when it comes to contract and commercial practices.

The Nordic countries had their financial collapse some years before other Western economies. Their collapse came mostly in the 1990s, when the levels of taxation and public expenditure became unsustainable. Having gone through harsh reform in order to recover, they were left relatively unscathed by the financial crisis of 2008.

The Economist outlines many aspects of the social and economic reforms since that time and describes the egalitarian, consensual society that supports high levels of employment and a readiness to embrace change and innovation. The article concludes “The world will be studying the Nordic model for years to come”.

IACCM has strong membership within the Nordic countries and links to a number of universities and business schools (including some that come in for special mention in the Economist article). This is because the Nordics are also a center for innovation in contract management and a leading force behind ‘proactive law’. In line with their generally collaborative spirit, the Nordic countries have grasped that contracts are important and that, in general, they need to be balanced and fair – a framework that assists in building trust and governance. In addition, Scandinavia is leading in work on ‘visualization in contracts’ – that is, making it easier for users to understand them.

So if the Nordics truly do represent the shape of things to come in aspects of social and business organization, it is good to see that they take contract management so seriously and appreciate its contribution to improved success in the global market. It renews my confidence that the IACCM global community is on the right track!

  1. James Doran permalink

    Thanks Tim. If not already in circulation, it would be good to get some case studies from the Nordic community so we can share their experiences. Especially, if we can find instances that support the IACCM’s structure and methodology.

    • James
      Thanks for your reply. We do indeed have quite an array of examples, ranging from company-specific presentations (e.g. Ericsson) to webinars, audio calls and papers that represent the work of practitioners and academics. Examples are the work of the Proactive Law Community of Interest (a specific sub-group within IACCM); webinars on ‘contract usability’ by people such as Helena Haapio and Stefania Passera (this will also be featured again at our European conference in Berlin); and academic research and papers by people such as Henrik Lando from Copenhagen Business School and Rene Henschel from Aarhus, plus the massive amount of work coming from Finland (which is also represented in a number of books).

      You are right that we should perhaps build on this blog by holding a webinar or in some other way featuring the work of ‘The Nordic School’. I will test their interest in doing this!


  2. Steven Malloy permalink

    Hi James,
    Whereas, I would agree that Nordic culture generally embraces change and innovation and is hierarchically more flat than compared to the rest of Europe, more importantly, drafting in plain, user friendly English is always a goal the parties strive to achieve when striking a contract. This is even more important once signed and others must interpret and operationally execute what was agreed. Brevity and clarity are perhaps more common in the Nordics and this alone is a contract management success factor for the region.

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