This article justifies that coordination is the essence of management.
When the organisation structure is created and departments are designed, managers coordinate the activities of these departments to achieve organisational goals. Top managers communicate organisational goals to departmental managers and help them carry out the functions of planning, organising, staffing, directing and controlling for their respective departments.
They integrate objectives of the organisation with objectives of the departments and harmonies departmental goals with organisational goals. Coordination, thus, helps to coordinate the work of different departments and within each department, it integrates all the functions of management. Coordination is, therefore, rightly called the essence of management. It helps each managerial function and each departmental activity contribute to organisational goals.
1. Coordination while Planning:
When plans are made, managers ensure that different types of plans (long-term and short-term, strategic and routine), policies, rules and procedures operate in harmony and coordination with each other so that various departments effectively follow these plans.
2. Coordination while Organising:
Division of work into departments on the basis of similarity of activities, appointing people to manage these departments, defining their authority and responsibility and creating the organisation structure aim to coordinate departmental activities with the organisational goals. If the activities are divided haphazardly without coordination, some activities may not be assigned to people and some may be assigned to more than one person.
3. Coordination while Staffing:
The jobs having been created, managers ensure that people are placed on different jobs according to their skills and capabilities. This ensures placing the right person at the right job in order to achieve coordination amongst their work activities.
4. Coordination while Directing:
When a manager directs subordinates through motivation, leadership and communication, he attempts to coordinate the organisational activities. It is also an attempt to harmonies individual goals with organisational goals. Direction maintains unity and integrity amongst activities of members in the organisation.
5. Coordination while Controlling:
Controlling ensures that actual performance is in conformity with planned performance. The purpose of controlling through budgets or information systems is to coordinate the various organisational activities. Every managerial activity is, thus, coordinated to contribute towards organisational goals. Coordination is required throughout the organisation.
“Coordination is achieved by structuring the organisation in such a way as to ensure vertical coordination between hierarchical levels of management and horizontal coordination across individuals and work units at similar levels.” The principles of management like unity of command and scalar chain ease the task of managers in effectively coordinating the managerial functions.
Coordination as essence to management is, thus, intrinsic to management. Aligning internal environment with external environment, human with non-human resources to achieve organisational goals is the task of every person at every level in every department. Coordination gives meaning and purpose to every task and promotes group effort for goal accomplishment.
Coordination is neither department-specific nor function-specific. All managerial functions (planning, organising, staffing, directing and controlling) for all departments have to be coordinated to achieve the overall goals. However, the intensity of managerial functions can vary at different points of time for different departments.
Sometimes, coordinated efforts have to focus more on planning while at other times, focus has to be more on controlling. Irrespective of the degree of focus, the essence of coordination highlights its need which is pervasive in all departments, at all levels, at all points of time.
Contemporary organisations are open systems. Their active and continuous interaction with the environment presupposes presence of a strong system of coordination in the organisations. Coordination is the strength of organisational success.