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Future contracting: stronger together

April 26, 2019

Big organizations have traditionally seen little need to collaborate. Their size gives them power – power over suppliers, customers, distribution networks, even over government and public policy. When it comes to negotiation, they simply don’t do it. Contract terms are imposed on the counter party. Why be reasonable when you can instead exercise control (and call it ‘compliance’)?

This attitude still exists, but increasingly proves to be outdated. The networked world exposes bullying, reveals secrets and condemns unethical behavior. The forces that drive the modern economy are also driving increased partnering and collaboration. They enable open, streamlined data flows that result in improved speed and quality of decision-making and better business results.

Not just opinion

Many commercial professionals – especially those within IACCM – have recognized the truth of this for years (read, for example, IACCM’s annual reports on the Most Negotiated Terms, dating back to 2002). The problem has been how to make the switch.

Yesterday, IACCM partnered with Leeds University Law School to stage an Academic Symposium. While coming from significantly different perspectives, speaker after speaker reinforced the message about cooperation. Lisa Bernstein from Chicago Law School promoted ‘managerial contracts’; Haward Soper from Leicester University highlighted the fact that contracts frame relationships; Christof Backhaus from Aston Business School explored cooperation in the context of ethics; and Olivier Goodenough from University of Vermont offered insight to the way that computational contracts will free up time, allowing a shift in the focus of our negotiations.

I could cite many others from this outstanding event – but the important point is that new thinking is fast becoming mainstream. ‘Stronger together’ is shifting from a mantra to a true movement that will deliver both economic and social benefit. IACCM- along with its fast-growing array of academic partners and industry thought-leaders – is assisting its members to implement the practical approaches that give collaboration meaning – contract design and simplification, relational and performance contracts, research and training. These are truly exciting times!

Discover more by joining us at one of the many IACCM events – conferences, member meetings, webinars. See for details.

  1. Gordon Watson permalink

    Tim, thanks for this report on the Leeds symposium. Could we possibly have an IACCM Webinar to provide some more information from the event please?

  2. Hi Gordon – I think we could – let me investigate. Watch out for a notice about it!

    • Gordon Watson permalink

      Thanks Tim. My daughter is currently studying Law at Leeds, so I’ll ask her to get some feedback from her lecturers too.

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