Everything you need to know about techniques of coordination in management. Coordination is an endeavour to ensure smooth inter-play of functions, orderly synchronizing functions of different departments for accomplishment of goals.
It enables various groups of people working in the organization to work harmoniously to achieve the goals. All managerial functions are instrumental functions to co-ordination.
Co-ordination is a continuous process and it is done at all levels of management. Mangers use a variety of techniques in the business organisation to achieve co-ordination. every management function should lead to coordination. However, coordination problems may arise because it is almost impossible to create a mechanically perfect system of clear-cut jurisdictions.
Co-ordination is the process of synchronising activities of various persons in the organisation in order to achieve goals.
Co-ordination is undertaken at every level of management. At the top level, the chief executives will co-ordinate the activities of functional or departmental managers. If there is lack of co- ordination between production and sales departments then either production will suffer or sales will suffer.
Similarly, personnel department will like to know the manpower needs of various departments
“Coordination is the orderly synchronization of efforts of the subordinates to provide the proper amount, turning and quality of execution, so that their unified efforts lead to a stated objective, namely, the common purpose of the enterprise”. — Haimann
The techniques of coordination in management are as follows:-
1. General Techniques 2. Specific Techniques 3. Clearly Defined Goals 4. Clear Lines of Authority and Responsibility 5. Precise and Comprehensive Programmes and Policies
6. Cooperation 7. Effective Communication 8. Effective Leadership and Supervision 9. Putting in Place Clear-Cut Rules and Procedures 10. Establishing Appropriate Chain of Command or Hierarchy
11. Planning of Goals and Objectives 12. Liaison or Relationship Roles 13. Task Forces 14. Establishment of Separate Department for Coordination 15. Balancing and a Few Others.
Techniques of Coordination in Management: General, Specific, Clearly Defined Goals and a Few Others
Techniques of Coordination in Management – 2 Main Techniques: Specific and General Techniques
Co-ordination is a continuous process and it is done at all levels of management. Mangers use a variety of techniques in the business organisation to achieve co-ordination.
These techniques may be divided as:
1. General techniques and
2. Specific techniques.
Technique # 1. General:
Co-ordination can easily be achieved if managerial functions are properly designed and executed. Thoughtful and proper design of managerial functions is the key to successful co-ordination. Almost all managerial functions directly affect co-ordination, for example planning, organisation, departmentation, supervision, leadership and control. Policies and procedures should be co-ordinated while planning the objectives and goals of the business concern.
If the policies and procedures are in consistent with objectives, it will create problems to the business concern. Therefore there should be clear-cut and effective delegation of authority and specified relationships to avoid many conflicts and misunderstanding. This promotes co-ordination. It is the duty of top executives to create various departments based on various functions and establish relationship between various departmental heads, managers, executives and subordinates.
People, leadership and supervision, too, promote co-ordination which ultimately results in team spirit and honest effort for achieving ultimate objectives. Control techniques also help the organisation towards achieving common objectives of the organisation as well. The co-ordination can be achieved if manager starts co-ordination efforts of unifying, blending and harmonizing from the very early stage of planning and continues to the last stage of controlling.
Technique # 2. Specific:
It is managers’ duty to see that the co-ordination exists in the entire organisation although he cannot order for it. It is the product of efforts undertaken in the enterprise.
Following are some specific techniques that can be used by managers for ensuring co-ordination:
i. Co-Ordination by Meetings and Conferences:
Periodic meetings of staff of various levels of management is an effective technique of co-ordination. Weekly group meeting or conference of the departmental heads under the chairmanship of the general manager is a very effective device for coordination, suggested by Henri Fayol. It provides them an opportunity for direct contact, asking them how the things are going on.
Their problems difficulties, management’s expectation from them, solving their problems, exchanging various ideas, opinions, points of view, problems, and solutions are effectively discussed and resolved in such meetings. All this leads to harmony and unity in working.
ii. Co-Ordination by Committees:
Establishment of departmental committees is another technique to ensure effective co-ordination. These committees meet periodically and discuss various managerial problems and find solutions to these problems. Sometimes there are some permanent committees for the purpose of coordinating the activities of two or more departments. The committees usually comprise of representatives from all departments. Thus committees solve many managerial problems and serve as a sound technique of co-ordination.
iii. Co-Ordination by Liaison Officer:
Instead of establishing permanent co-ordination committees, appointing a liaison officer and entrusting him the co-ordination work is less expensive and more effective as this liaison officer is always available. This liaison officer would do the work of establishing and maintaining co-ordination among important departments. In modern days this practice is not prevalent.
iv. Co-Ordination by Order and Command:
This is one of the effective techniques of coordination. A manager, by issuing orders and commands to their subordinates, achieves effective coordination. The manager can also clearly define the work of his subordinates, their role, function, and timing of performing the work, in order to achieve co-ordination. In modern days this technique is not considered good, since, it neglects significance of human relations.
v. Co-Ordination by Goals or Targets:
The top boss fixes targets for all the departments and entrusts the job of fulfilling them to his subordinates’ i.e. departmental heads. He, by his own means, ensures achievement of such goals and completion of the targets. This, indirectly, establishes coordination.
vi. Co-Ordination by Departmentation:
Departmentation facilitates co-ordination in a better way than other techniques. It is one of the important means of dividing the large scale business concern into smaller administrative units. Departmentation is done on the basis of functions products, customers, territories and so on. As these departments are interdependent, co-ordination is automatically established.
vii. Co-Ordination by Communication:
Proper communication is a successful system of coordination. As such adequate facilities for good communication should be provided. Defective communication system may result in ineffective co-ordination.
viii. Co-Ordination by Special Coordinators:
In big industrial concerns, along with various managers, a project coordinator is appointed. His main duty is to co-ordinate various activities relating to a particular project. The function of this co-ordination cell is to collect information and send it to the various departments. Smooth co-ordination and ultimate success of the enterprise is assumed by such a special co-ordination cell.
A company may adopt any type of technique from the above. Its choice depends upon the type, size and objective of the business concern. Sometimes a company may adopt a combination of some of the above techniques to achieve the desired results.
When a group of people works to achieve a common objective or purpose, co-ordination becomes a must to synchronise their efforts. And when sub-division of work is not possible then co-ordination becomes compulsory. Co-ordination is essential when diversified tasks are undertaken by some persons, co-ordination starts as soon as the operations begin. Without proper co-ordination the organisational objectives cannot be achieved. It is essential for the survival of an organisation.
Co-ordination is the essence of management. In all small and big organisations there are individuals and groups competing for influence and resources. There are differences of opinion and values, conflicts of priorities and of goals. Individuals as well as groups have different roles, different goals and different skills. The overall task of management is to co-ordinate and integrate or blend these differences into one united wholeness. Co-ordination is a central problem of the organisation.
Ideally co-ordination spreads throughout all managerial activities. Management has to secure effective coordination of human efforts and non-human resources. Management of a big business is essentially a task of co-ordination. All departments, sections etc. are duly welded into one united and integrated whole aimed at working to achieve common goals. Thus we have unity of direction and unity of objectives. Co-ordination tones up general level of employee morale and job satisfaction.
Various types of plans such as objectives, policies, strategies schedules and programmes serve as means of coordinating the activities of the enterprise spread over several departments and divisions. The organisation cannot be said to be efficient unless it attempts to achieve co-ordination by creating a sound organisation structure. It defines the activities of the enterprise in terms of individual tasks and the activities that are grouped into homogenous work units and authority positions.
Without the process of integration of diverse activities, roles and authority relationships will not be clear, Staffing function involves manpower planning, employment, training, wage fixation, merit rating, job evaluation etc. All these sub-functions are performed in such a manner that there are right persons on different jobs. All this helps in achieving co-ordination in assigning tasks to various individuals. With the help of direction, manager can influence the behaviour of individuals so as to evolve goal directed effort.
This is very much essential for achieving co-ordination. Controlling also contributes towards achieving co-ordination. Under this function, standards of performance are established, and actual performance is compared with standard performance and deviation if any is measured, and then necessary corrective measures are undertaken.
By implementing these measures all activities are converted into achieving co-ordination in the business enterprise. Finally it can be concluded in such a way that, co-ordination is achieved by performing various functions of management.
Techniques of Coordination in Management – 6 Common Techniques
1. Clearly Defined Goals – The goals of the enterprise should be laid down clearly. Every individual in the enterprise should understand the overall objectives and the contribution by his job to these objectives. Unity of purpose is a must for achieving proper coordination.
2. Clear Lines of Authority and Responsibility – There is a line of authority in every enterprise which indicates as to who is accountable to whom. The line of authority and responsibility should be clearly defined to achieve coordination. Clear-cut authority relationships help in reducing conflicts among different positions (particularly line and staff) which is essential for sound coordination.
3. Precise and Comprehensive Programmes and Policies – Laying down well-defined programmes and policies is another measure for achieving effective coordination. This brings uniformity of action because everybody understands the programmes and policies in the same sense.
4. Cooperation – Coordination must be accompanied by cooperation. The individuals in the organisation must be willing to help each other voluntarily. Cooperation can be brought about by keeping harmonious relations among the people in the organisation by encouraging informal contacts to supplement formal communication and using committees for exchange of ideas and views at the top level.
5. Effective Communication – Effective communication is the key to proper coordination. The channels of communication used in the enterprise should be reliable so that they are able to create proper understanding in the minds of the receivers. Personal contacts should be encouraged as it is the most effective means of communication for achieving coordination.
6. Effective Leadership and Supervision – Management can achieve better coordination through effective leadership and supervision. Effective leadership ensures coordination both at the planning and the implementing stage. Effective supervision is necessary to guide the activities of individuals in the proper direction.
Techniques of Coordination in Management – Clearly Defined Goals, Clear Lines of Authority and Responsibility and a Few Others
1. Clearly Defined Goals:
The goals of the enterprise should be laid down clearly. Every individual in the enterprise should understand the overall objectives and the contribution by his job to these objectives. Unity of purpose is a must for achieving proper coordination.
2. Clear Lines of Authority and Responsibility:
There is a line of authority in every enterprise which indicates as to who is accountable to whom. The line of authority and responsibility should be clearly defined to achieve coordination. Clear-cut authority relationships help in reducing conflicts among different positions (particularly line and staff) which is essential for sound coordination.
3. Precise and Comprehensive Programmes and Policies:
Laying down well- defined programmes and policies is another measure for achieving effective coordination. This brings uniformity of action because everybody understands the programmes and policies in the same sense.
Coordination must be accompanied by cooperation. The individuals in the organization must be willing to help each other voluntarily. Cooperation can be brought about by keeping harmonious relations among the people in the organization by encouraging informal contacts to supplement formal communication and using committees for exchange of ideas and views at the top level.
5. Effective Communication:
Effective communication is the key to proper coordination. The channels of the communication used in the enterprise should be reliable so that they are able to create proper understanding in the minds of receivers. Personal contacts should be encouraged as it is the most effective means of communication for achieving coordination.
6. Effective Leadership and Supervision:
Management can achieve better coordination through effective leadership and supervision. Effective leadership ensures coordination both at the planning and the implementing stage. Effective supervision is necessary to guide the activities of individuals in the proper direction.
Techniques of Coordination in Management – 6 Main Techniques
Establishment of specific rules and procedures as regards different activities and the people performing them, is by far the simplest method of coordination. The rules and procedures serve as guidelines in respect of the action to be taken in a given situation to minimize interaction between individuals and groups of individuals on this account.
An important advantage of coordination through rules and procedures is that while individuals and groups may change, the rules and procedures will be relatively permanent. But the main drawback of rules and procedures is that they can be useful only where interdependent activities are predictable and it is easy to secure individual and group response.
Any shortcoming of coordination by means of rules and procedures may be made good by crafting a chain of command where a common supervisor has authority to monitor and control the interaction between individuals and departments concerned.
For example, a problem which equally affects Production Department and Sales Department may be resolved through intervention of the general manager who is the common supervisor for both departments and, therefore, has the requisite authority to resolve any problems between them.
The only limitation of coordination by means of use of hierarchy is that it may leave little time for the common supervisor to attend to his own area of responsibility, particularly if the time and the goal orientation of the interdependent subordinates are different.
Planning involves determination of targets and time-schedules for the interdependent departments. If each department is handed a task to be completed within a given period, coordination will be much easier. Particularly so, if the interdependent departments are engaged in widely divergent activities with different time and goal orientations in which case enforcing coordination by means of rules and procedures, or by hierarchy, may not be effective enough.
Growth of interactions and volume of information exchanged between any two or more departments may make it necessary to establish a liaison or linkage role-strategy between them. Accordingly, any one or more persons may be assigned the duty of resolving issues between any two or more interdependent departments.
Any person(s) performing the liaison role will necessarily face conflicting performance-expectations from the interdependent departments. This will naturally create stress situations for him. Moreover, all liaison persons may not be equally competent to handle all the problems between interdependent departments.
Sometimes, in view of the growing complexity of activities of interdependent departments, as also rigid time and goal orientations, even liaison persons may not be able to deliver the desired results. In such a case, a temporary task force consisting of representatives from each interdependent department may be set up to look after the coordination function.
Once the problem facing the interdependent departments has been satisfactorily solved, the task force may be wound up.
If there are a number of problems frequently arising between interdependent departments, each having its own time and goal orientation, and all other means to enforce coordination have proved inadequate for the job, it will be advisable to set up a separate department with requisite formal authority to deal with coordination functions.
The department of coordination may be staffed with specialists in fields such as production, marketing, finance, etc., and the head may be asked to report directly to a top manager.
Techniques of Coordination in Management – 3 Techniques given by Louis Allen: Balancing, Timing and Integrating
According to Louis A. Allen, “a manager, in managing, must coordinate the work for which he is accountable by balancing, timing and integrating.” In other words, balancing, timing and integrating are basic techniques of coordination.
Balancing means adequate provision of any one thing to support or counterbalance the other. It amounts to bring equilibrium in the functioning of different interdependent departments, each of them having a different time and goal orientation.
Timing involves operating, moving or turning on the activities of interdependent departments at the same time and speed to achieve effective synchronization between them. This will ensure that activities of different departments support and reinforce each other.
Integrating means to unify diverse time and goal orientations of interdependent departments in a manner that they jointly contribute to accomplishment of overall organisational objectives.
Techniques of Coordination in Management – 6 Major Techniques: Coordination by Chain of Command, Coordination by Leadership and a Few Other Techniques
The basic objective of all managerial functions is to get things done by coordinate efforts. Thus, every management function should lead to coordination. However, coordination problems may arise because it is almost impossible to create a mechanically perfect system of clear-cut jurisdictions.
Therefore, managers have to achieve coordination by using relevant coordination techniques which are as follows:
Technique # 1. Coordination by Chain of Command:
In an organization, the chain of command is the most important technique of coordination, particularly vertical coordination. Vertical coordination is required to synchronize the work allocated to several management levels in the organization. It ensures that the various levels act according to organizational prescriptions.
A manager can achieve vertical coordination by using his authority and issue orders and instructions to his subordinates to act in a coordinated way. He can define the authority of his subordinates, their functions, and timing of performance of these functions. This process can go down the organization. However, role of chain of command in achieving vertical coordination is limited.
Technique # 2. Coordination by Leadership:
If coordination cannot be achieved by mere exercise of authority, managers can use leadership to bring coordination among their subordinates. Leadership is the process of influencing and supporting others to work willingly and enthusiastically to achieve desired results. It persuades the people working in groups to keep group interests above their personal interests. Thus, many conflicting situations can be overcome by inducing people to work in harmony by exercising leadership.
Technique # 3. Coordination by Committees:
Committee is a body of persons entrusted with discharge of some functions collectively as a group. The role of a committee is significant in achieving horizontal coordination, that is, coordination of efforts of functional, divisional, or territorial units. Committee ensures that problems which arise out of relationships among various units can be solved by group decisions.
Group decision making provides opportunities for free discussion and exchange of ideas, problems, proposals, and solutions. This creates better understanding of each other which helps in coordination.
Technique # 4. Staff Meetings:
Periodic staff meetings can be highly effective in promoting coordination.
Such meetings contribute to achieve coordination in the following ways:
(i) The meetings develop sense of unity among the concerned persons and help in understanding of interconnectedness of the work of the organization as a whole.
(ii) Superior provides information to subordinates about new problems and developments which affect their work.
(iii) Superior may solicit views and cooperation of staff members in the solution of problems.
(iv) Subordinates get opportunity to share information which they possess and is relevant for the unit as well as organization as a whole,
(v) A forum is created in which friction points or areas of inadequate coordination are brought into the open. For holding staff meeting, ‘management by walking around’ method of staff meeting may also be adopted. In this method, managers walk through various departments and hold non-scheduled meetings to overcome the problems of coordination.
Technique # 5. Special Coordinators:
Generally, in large organizations, special coordinators are appointed. They normally work in staff capacity to facilitate the working of line managers. A coordination cell may also be created. The basic responsibility of the cell is to collect the relevant information and to send this to various heads of departments or sections so that inter-departmental work and relationship are coordinated.
In some cases, a particular person is appointed to coordinate the work of a particular nature. For example, in a project, a project coordinator can also be appointed along with various functionaries. His basic function is to coordinate various activities of the project and to keep information about the development of the project.
Technique # 6. Self-Coordination:
Self-coordination involves functioning of each department in such a way that each department coordinates with other departments. Each department, section, or individual affects others and is also affected by others. Therefore, if these departments, sections, or individuals adopt a method of working which facilitates others, self-coordination is achieved. This can be done by better horizontal communication.
However, mere communication does not work unless there is a proper organizational climate in which each one sees the integration of his objectives with organizational objectives and also the benefits of his department with others.
In using various techniques of coordination, managers have to keep two factors in mind- essentials for effective coordination and following the principles of coordination.
Techniques of Co-Ordination in Management – 10 Techniques by Prof. Newman
Prof. Newman suggested ten techniques for securing coordination.
1. Clearly defined goals – The goals of the organisation should be laid down clearly. Every individual in the organisation should understand the overall objectives and the contribution to these objectives by his job.
2. Well-defined authority and responsibility – The line of authority and responsibility should be clearly defined to achieve coordination. This helps to reduce conflicts among different positions. This facilitates substantive co-ordination.
3. Well-defined work procedures – When the work procedures are well-defined and adhered to properly, these help to achieve coordination easily.
4. Simplified organisation – Coordination becomes easier when the organisation is made simple. Such an organisation structure clearly lays down the duties and responsibilities of various positions.
5. Harmonized programs and policies – The plans prepared and policies framed at various levels should be in conformity with the overall plans of the concern.
6. Effective Communication – An effective system of communication is the key to proper co-ordination. In order to ensure that the policy decisions, programs etc. are conveyed to all levels, modern system of communication is essential. Personal contacts should also be encouraged.
7. Provisions of check and inspection – There should be provisions of check and inspection to know what is happening in the organisation. They help to correct those factors which create problems in co-ordination.
8. Cooperation – Coordination must be accompanied by cooperation. Co-operation can be obtained by encouraging informal contacts, participation in management, and using committees for exchange of ideas and views at the top level.
9. Effective leadership and supervision – Coordination can be achieved through effective leadership and supervision. Effective leadership ensures co-ordination both at the planning and the implementing stages.
10. Proper organisational climate – Organisational climate refers to the work environment that prevails in the organisation. If this is developed properly, much of co-ordination problems will not emerge.
Techniques of Co-Ordination in Management
1. Co-ordination of Command – The manager or superior directs or commands his workers to control their efforts by balancing accountability and operating time.
2. Group Meetings – The managers and other officials meet to discuss common problems of organisation and the top management will provide solutions for smooth working.
3. Co-ordination through leadership and delegation.
4. Hierarchy – One boss will co-ordinate the activities down the line as a measure of control.
5. Liaison – A PRO or Liaison officer will co-ordinate and activate the functions of various departments and facilitate control of activities.
6. Incentives – This is a positive control measure and co-ordination process by which the incentives are given as and when the achievements happen.
Other Techniques – Co-ordinations, as measure of control, will be achieved voluntarily by informal contacts among people, by providing for interpersonal and inter-department contacts, making provision for unforeseen happenings, conducting frequent committee meeting to solve problems, creating a climate of mutual trust and collaboration and indoctrinating organisational members with goals and mission of the organisation.
Techniques of Coordination in Management – 2 Popular Techniques: Oral and Written Techniques
1. Oral Techniques (Tools):
i. Regular staff meetings
ii. Problem review meetings
iii. General organisational meetings and information meetings
iv. Technical meetings
v. Task-force meetings
vi. Routine meetings of manager-workers
vii. The Grapevine
viii. Special co-ordination activities.
2. Written Techniques (Tools):
i. Written objectives and management philosophy
ii. Organisation charts
iii. Documented plans
iv. Operating and policy manuals
v. Programme instructions, work packages, work orders
vi. Memos, reports, letters, bulletins
vii. Minutes of meetings
viii. Designs and Drawings
Co-ordination, as a tool of control technique, monitors the tasks and operations without the knowledge of employees. Continuous supervision of work through co-ordination itself is a strong control measure.
Besides co-ordination of activities which serves as a-general control measure, “Budgetary control” devices including budgets such as production budget, cash budget, capital budget, sales budget etc., play a major role in controlling the plan activities. Non-budgetary control devices such as managerial statistics, break-even analysis, internal audit, cost accounting etc. also act as effective tools of control system.