As time moves, so do new things and experiences in every field. The field of contract law and negotiations has not been spared either. Some of these trends include;
- The Technology Age; unlike in the past when communication used to take a lot of time, communication today is real time. Technology has ensured that with some decisions, the parties to a contract may not have to meet one on one. They could do a teleconference and deliberate on issues as though they met physically. Correspondence can be sent real-time courtesy of internet and generally speaking, things are happening much faster. E-contracting has become a popular way of concluding contracts where the agreement is signed electronically.
- Globalization; More than ever before, the world is becoming smaller and smaller. We are now all members of the globe and we can reach any corner of the world via a click of a button thanks to internet. With this, the parties to a contract are no longer confined to their local counterparts but procurement of goods and services can be done from the world at large. This has its fair share of pros and cons.
- A More Enlightened World; With information being available all over, the society is more enlightened on all matters. Thus anyone sourcing for goods or services is surer of what they exactly want, how they want it and when they want it. Anything short of such expectations will be treated with the wrath it deserves. The world has become more litigious and therefore the parties contracting must be vigilant in their dealings.
- The Embracing Of Win – Win: More than ever before, corporates have come to embrace teamwork as the new normal. Contracting parties are now embracing each other not as competitors but as partners. They want to work together as a team. Thus negotiations are becoming more friendly but with strict observance of legal standards.
- The Emergence Of International Contract Brokers; These brokers may not come out and indeed declare themselves to be such but they do exist like cartels in various fields and they want to get a share of the proceeds of the parties once the contracts are signed. They are also called wheel dealers and can make the cost of the final product to skyrocket. They are most common in international contracts especially when one of the parties is a government,
Challenges and Opportunities Posed Emerging Trends
- With high technological advancement come heavy investments. Parties must invest heavily in equipping their staff with the knowledge and skills of using modern state of the art gadgets. This calls for continuous staff training. With every new technological device, the staff must be retrained to be able to gain the necessary expertise to use the gadgets and be conversant with the technological systems such as software. Parties must also invest heavily in acquiring such equipment. However, parties have an opportunity of doing business faster and cutting costs in labour. Delivery time is also significantly reduced.
- Globalization comes with cut-throat competition. The few opportunities available are up for grabs so many interested parties and thus competition is cut-throat. This significantly reduces the profit margins. The opportunity here is that there is a lot of variety. One can choose from many suppliers. Competition comes with reduced cost and better quality.
- A more enlightened society means a society that is open to new ideas thus marketing becomes easier. Social media has become a formidable marketing tool and with it the consumer base has significantly expanded. The challenge is that the standards have to be maintained thus increased cost.
- Win-Win calls for sacrifice. When it’s all teamwork, parties find themselves sacrificing their objectives. The opportunity is that though there may be sacrifices, the benefits are weightier at the end of the day.
Coping with Emerging Trends in Contract Law and Negotiations.
They say that nothing is static. It’s more so in corporate world. One has to cope with the new trends to stay afloat. Parties must ensure that they indeed embrace the trends and capitalize on the opportunities provided the emerging trends. Parties must;
- Embark on continuous training to keep abreast with new trends.
- Invest in modern technological devices.
- Get as much information as possible before negotiations to avoid unnecessary breakups.
- Consult widely with other players in the market to get to learn of anything new.
We are living at a time when things are moving so fast. The fact that a person is on the right track today does not make him so safe, he may be run over if he remains in the same spot so to speak. The parties involved in contract negotiations must stay alert and be very well informed on new trends if they will be relevant. Organisations intending to enter into negotiations must properly invest in the right technology and continuous training of staff to be abreast with the changing trends. The need for adapting to the new trends cannot be overemphasised. It is therefore imperative on parties undertaking contract negotiations to be well acquainted with the various trends and consult widely to stay afloat.
1. Evaluate some of the common emerging trends in contract negotiations.
2. You can’t teach an old dog new trick. Discuss the relevance of this adage in the context of emerging trends in contract negotiations.