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This content is taken from the University of Southampton & IACCM's online course, Contract Management: Building Relationships in Business. Join the course to learn more.


You may find that in this course we use terminology that you are unfamiliar with. This is why we have created this comprehensive glossary of terms.

If you think that there are any terms missing from this glossary that might be useful to fellow learners, please let us know in the comments.



Accountability - Responsibility for ensuring something is done

Acronyms - Abbreviation formed from first letter of other words (eg LASER, BASIC)

Addenda - Appendix or supplementary material

Agenda - A plan or goal (often secret) that guides behaviour

Amendments - Change or addition

Anglo Saxon Common Law - Law created by judges via court decision as opposed to that created by statutes via the legislative process

Arbitration - Mediation or negotiation by a third party in event of a dispute

ASEAN Association of South East Asian Nations - Political and economic organisation of 10 countries

Asset register - List of property (that has some value that could be realised) owned by a company

Award - To give something


Background intellectual property - Intellectual property (cf) created before a collaboration (cf)

Benchmark - A standard to which things may be compared; the process of comparing something with a standard

Best practice - Commercial or professional procedures that are accepted as most effective

Black Friday - Friday immediately following the US public holiday of Thanksgiving

Business case - Rationale or reasons for performing a project or task


Caveat emptor - Buyer beware (Latin) – legal principle that it is the buyer’s responsibility to ensure they know about the product or service they are purchasing

Change curve - Model describing the four stages people go through when adjusting to change

Civil Law - Legal system based on principles developed by legislators and compiled into a code that can be referred to

Civil Service Code - The standard of behaviour expected of all UK Civil Servants to uphold core values (cf)

Civil Service Learning - UK Government department

Collaboration- Two or more parties working together, especially as a joint intellectual effort

Commercial - Concerned with or engaged in trading or business

Commonalities - Shared ground, having something in common

Compensation - Money awarded to an organisation or individual in the event of failure to provide products or services as agreed

Competition - Rivalry between two or more businesses or organisations chasing the same customer or market (cf)

Compliance - Acting or behaving as previously agreed

Competitive exposure - The extent to which an organisation is vulnerable to its competitors

Confidential information - Information that can only be shared with a few people for the purposes of facilitating negotiations

Consumer - Person or organisation using services or commodities

Contingent labour - Temporary, freelance, agency or contract workers only used when an organization requires their services

Contract - A voluntary, legally binding agreement between two or more parties

Copyright - Exclusive legal right automatically granted to originator of literary (or other) material

Counterfeit - A fake or forgery

Critical - Vital or important for success

Crown Commercial Service - UK Government department

CSCMP - Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals


Decentralised culture - Organisational structure where daily decisions and operations are delegated by top managers to lower level managers

Department of Work and Pensions - UK Government department

Developed societies - Highly industrialised nations

Dispute resolution - Process of resolving disagreements between parties (cf)

Downstream - The part of the product lifecycle that deals with finished products and customers

Dyad - A network with two nodes; a relationship between two entities/organisations


Efficiencies - Using the lowest amount of input to create greatest amount of output

Enterprise - Business or company

European Union - Political and economic union of 28 member states

Executive - The senior managers of an organisation


Foreground intellectual property - Intellectual property (cf) created during a collaboration (cf)


Genesis - Beginning

Governance - Establishment and monitoring of policies and activities


Heterogenous processes - Varied and differing processes

HM Treasury - UK Government department

Hypothesis - An idea to be tested through research


Incentives - Payments or other positive or negative reasons that motivate an organisation or individual to do something

Indemnities - Security or protection against legal responsibility for an action

Industry - Primary business activity of a company

Infrastructure - Basic equipment and structures required for an organization to function effectively

Intellectual Property - Legal term for creations of the mind eg inventions (cf), designs, names, images

Intelligence - Collection of information of economic value

Innovation - New idea, device or method; act of introducing the new idea, device or method

Invention - A product or process, usually created after study and experiment

Inventory - Raw materials, work in progress and finished goods that are the part of the business’s assets that they plan to trade


Jurisdiction - The territory (cf) in which the legal authority of a specific court or legal system holds


Key Performance Indicator - Quantifiable measure that organisations use to check they are meeting their goals and assess performance


Legislation - Laws

Liability (1) - Being held legally responsible for something

Liability (2) - Company or organisation’s debt

Liquidated damages - The amount agreed upon by parties (cf) for compensation (cf) during contract negotiations

Litigation - The process of taking legal action

Localize - To make adjustments to an agreement, service or product in order for it to be appropriate to the local area


Market - Geographic or industry area in which organisations conduct business

Ministry of Justice - UK Government department

Misrepresentation - Giving a false or misleading account

Monologue - One-sided conversation

Monopoly - Control of the entire supply of goods or services in a given area or market

MOOC - Massive Open Online Course

Multi-disciplinary - Involving several academic disciplines


Negotiator - Individual who bargains and makes deals with others

Network - A group or system of interconnected individuals or organisations

Notional current asset - Agreed value of an asset used to calculate payments


Objectives - Goals or targets

Objective - Impartial and unbiased

Obligations - Activities or duties to which an organisation or individual is morally or legally bound

Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) - A government department responsible for the construction of sports venues and infrastructure, and planning and funding transport for the Games (Closed 2014)


PAC committees - Public Accounts Committee, appointed by UK House of Commons to oversee public spending

Parties - Entities involved in a contract

Patents - A license conferred for a set period that excludes others from making or selling an invention

Principles - A concept or idea that is the foundation for a system of behaviour or set of beliefs

Procurement - The process of obtaining a product or service


Quantified - Measuring an amount in numbers


Regulatory - Control created by law or principle

Relationship - Association between organisations entered into for commercial purposes

Revenue recognition - Accounting principle which determines the conditions under which income is recognised as revenue

Risk mitigation - Steps taken to reducing adverse effects


Scope - The extent of an agreement or the material it covers

Stakeholders - Parties (cf) who may be affected by decisions or actions

Supply chain - The organizations, people, processes and resources involved in moving a product or service from the supplier to the consumer

Surplus - The amount that remains when use or need is satisfied


Tactics - Using available means to achieve a specific goal

Tender documents - Written invitation to potential suppliers of a product or service informing them of the information the buyer needs in order to make a purchasing decision

Territories - A specific geographical area

Transactional - Involving exchange or transfer or goods, services or money

Transaction costs - The cost of participating in a market (cf). These include the costs of finding information, bargaining and enforcing contracts

Transfer price - The price paid for goods and services supplied by one part of a (large) company to another

Transparency - Operating in such a way that others can see what actions have been performed

Trust - Belief that a person or organisation is reliable and honest


Upstream - The part of the product lifecycle that deals with manufacturing and raw materials

Utility - Being useful or beneficial


Value - A product or service’s importance or worth

Values - Principles and standards of behaviour

Value erosion - Failure to achieve potential revenues

Vendors - Individual or organisation offering a product or service for sale


World Economic Forum - International institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation




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This article is from the free online course:

Contract Management: Building Relationships in Business

University of Southampton