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Learn How to Manage Business Contracts (And Don´t Just Leave Them to Lawyers!)

Contracts are the fundamental building block of all business relationships. A free online course by the University of Southampton Business School teaches how to effectively implement and manage contracts.

Learn How to Manage Business Contracts (And Don´t Just Leave Them to Lawyers!)
Picture: myrfa/pixabay

Whenever two parties interact in the business world, their agreements are contracts. Any relevant business relationship will sooner or later lead to a contract.

A large corporation may have tens of thousands of contracts with third parties such as vendors or customers. Instead of just "signing and forgetting", these contracts need to be actively managed to be successful and to avoid negative surprises (like automatic renewals). And that also includes the negotiation and creation of new contracts.

Contract management is thus an important task for any successful organization. 

An introductory online course on contract management is now available on FutureLearn. The course is led by Professor Douglas Macbeth (University of Southampton) and Tim Cummins (IACCM). We recently had a chance to interview Professor Macbeth about the details of the course.

"Contracts are too important to be left to lawyers on their own"

Edukatico: Professor Macbeth, what is contract management and why is it important?

Professor Macbeth: Contract management defines how people up to major corporations wish to transact business with a counterparty

It is about the positives of a good relationship and possible negatives and how each gets rewarded and/or compensated. 

It is the fundamental structure of trade.

Edukatico: Shouldn´t contracts best be left to lawyers?

Professor Macbeth: They are too important to be left to lawyers on their own. 

A much wider group of stakeholders needs to be involved in the complete contract life cycle from recognition of need, defining requirements and boundaries of any agreement, identification of competent and interested counterparties through to contract award, initiation, management and improvement and then to renewal, modification or termination and lessons learned. 

Lawyers are important but should not be driving the process.

Intro to the Contract Management online course 

"Many of the lessons can be applied immediately"

Edukatico: Your online course "Contract Management: Building Relationships in Business" on the FutureLearn platform explores the world of contracts. What are the main topics participants in the course can expect to learn about?

Professor Macbeth: It is a wide ranging course looking at what can go wrong and right in such an important business process. 

Particular features are online discussions with experts about latest developments. The materials are presented in a concise and lively way across many traditional teaching boundaries so that the whole picture can be understood and contracting is set in an appropriate context for the business or organization.

Edukatico: Who would be most likely to benefit from your MOOC and why? Is there a specific learner profile for the course?

Professor Macbeth: Everyone needs to be aware of the role they should be playing in the contract lifecycle and the opportunities to save money by doing it well.

Edukatico: How will participants be able to apply the skills they learn in this course?

Professor Macbeth: Many of the lessons apply in all sorts of organizational situations and can be applied immediately

The interaction with other students from around the world demonstrates the similar issues faced by all organizations and that we can learn from each other’s experience.

Edukatico: Thank you for this overview and all the best for your MOOC!

The "Contract Management" course launches on the FutureLearn platform on November 6, 2017 and is free to learn. It was designed by the University of Southampton Business School and the premier professional association in the world in this field, The International Association for Contract and Commercial Management (IACCM). An optional certificate for the course can be purchased.

The MOOC (massive open online course) combines the academic view with practical examples from the business world. Its previous versions have already been attended by thousands of learners from around the globe.

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