This article throws light upon the top twelve techniques that help to achieve coordintion in an organisation. The techniques are: 1. Scalar Chain 2. Rules and Procedures 3. Plans and Goals 4. Information System 5. Lateral Relationships 6. Slack Resources 7. Cooperation 8. Independent Units 9. Committees 10. Managerial Integrators 11. Meetings 12. Self-Coordination.
Technique # 1. Scalar Chain:
Scalar chain identifies every person’s position in the organisation structure. It identifies the authority and responsibility attached to each position in the scalar chain. When one knows his position, the position of his boss and subordinates, it facilitates coordination.
People issue orders according to their position to ensure that work is done according to rules and policies. The chain of command harmonizes work at different levels and brings discipline and order in the work of various departments.
Technique # 2. Rules and Procedures:
In organisations where simple and routine activities are performed, rules and procedures provide established standards of performance. Organisational members perform according to rules without going to top managers every time they face a problem. Rules and procedures, thus, provide effective guidelines to achieve coordination.
Technique # 3. Plans and Goals:
Well defined plans and goals help to achieve coordination by ensuring that efforts of all individuals and departments are directed towards organisational goals.
Technique # 4. Information System:
People of different departments at all levels need information for making various decisions. Effective information systems, like computers and networking facilitate free flow of information and facilitate coordination throughout the organisation.
Technique # 5. Lateral Relationships:
Lateral relations refer to relations between peer groups of different departments. People of different departments interact through formal and informal communication systems. These relations refer to “coordination of efforts through communicating and problem solving with peers in other departments or units, rather than referring most issues up the hierarchy for resolution.”
An effective system of communication facilitates coordination by developing strong relationships amongst people of different departments.
Technique # 6. Slack Resources:
It means keeping buffer stock of resources. This provides flexibility to the organisation to adapt to internal and external pressures without waiting for resources to be procured by the procurement department. The buffer stock is sufficient to meet the departmental needs till new supplies are obtained. It also provides a leeway to different units to meet each others’ requirement and reduces the need for constant and continuous coordination.
If organisation expects demand for goods to be 10,000 units every month, it should produce additional units, say 11,000 units to meet sudden, unexpected increase in demand. In case it does not do so, it will have to wait to produce to meet the increased demand.
Competitors can take advantage of this and divert the customers to increase their clientele. Maintaining slack resources, thus, facilitates coordination amongst different departments and units. (Maintaining the buffer stock depends upon the nature and value of products and the expected demand in the contingent situations).
Technique # 7. Cooperation:
Cooperation helps in achieving coordination. Cooperation is voluntary actions of members to work collectively as a group. If all members cooperate with each other, it will result in coordinating their activities.
Technique # 8. Independent Units:
If organisation is structured in a manner that different units carry out all functional activities (production, finance, marketing and personnel) with respect to their units independently, the need for coordination gets reduced. Though this is financially costly, it will reduce top manager’s burden to coordinate the activities of these units.
Technique # 9. Committees:
“Committees are usually formal organised groups with a designated membership and chairperson and regularly scheduled meetings.” Committees are formed to solve specific organisational problems like leave committee. This looks into cases of absenteeism and transfer of workers and achieves coordination by keeping the organisational work force satisfied at their jobs.
Committees help to achieve horizontal coordination amongst efforts of different departments. Leave committee, for instance, looks into leave cases of employees of all departments. Committee members discuss problems of their respective departments and arrive at mutually acceptable solutions to problems. Acceptance of mutually derived solution is the sign of coordination.
Technique # 10. Managerial Integrators:
Managerial integrators are specially appointed managers or special coordinators who coordinate the products or projects. They are the brand managers who coordinate the activities of work groups carrying out different projects or different products. They ensure efficient use of scarce organisational resources over products or projects that require integration of functional activities.
They also enable the organisation to adapt to the fast changing environment. These coordinators usually work as staff managers and coordinate the activities of line managers. They provide timely and useful guidance to departmental managers who need their assistance. This facilitates coordination at inter-departmental level.
Sometimes, project coordinators or discipline coordinators are appointed to ensure that the project is completed in time within the constraints of resources and that discipline is maintained throughout the organisation. This technique of coordination is usually followed in large-sized organisations.
Technique # 11. Meetings:
Meetings are an effective way to achieve coordination as people of different departments meet at specific time intervals to discuss the progress of their departments. Members of different departments openly discuss the departmental problems and through mutual discussions, develop solutions acceptable to all.
This promotes interaction, cooperation and understanding amongst members of various departments and promotes coordination.
Technique # 12. Self-Coordination:
Though external forces are effective in achieving coordination, the most effective way to achieve coordination is to realise on one’s own that all members, all levels and all departments are aimed to gear towards one goal—that is, the organisational goal.
People should realise the importance of interdependence of departmental activities to achieve the organisational goal and through it, satisfaction of their personal goals. People and organisations are not different from each other. Self realisation that both have to maximise each other’s interest without disharmony and conflicts is the best way to achieve coordination.