Coordination is a continuous process for achieving unity of purpose in the organisation. It leads to blending the activities of different individuals and groups for the achievement of certain objectives.
Learn about:- 1. Introduction to Coordination 2. Definitions of Coordination 3. Features 4. Need 5. Objectives 6. Principles 7. Essence of Coordination in Management 8. Types 9. Techniques 10. Importance
11. Constraints 12. Coordination and Communication 13. Guidelines for Effective Coordination 14. Advantages 15. Limitations.
Coordination: Introduction, Definitions, Importance, Types, Techniques, Features, Principles and Other Details
Coordination – Introduction
Coordination has been viewed by different management experts in different ways. Henry Fayol considers coordination as a function of manager. Louis A. Allen also regards coordination as one of the separate managerial functions. James D. Mooney considers coordination as the first principle of organisation. Ralph C. Davis looks upon coordination primarily as a vital phase of controlling.
An enterprise comes into existence with a view to attaining pre-determined goals. For this purpose, several activities are performed. These activities are grouped suitably. For example, in a manufacturing enterprise activities are grouped into production, finance, marketing, personnel, etc. Activities belonging to different groups are performed by different groups of people who work under different managers.
These managers, keeping in view the nature of work, perform the managerial tasks of planning, organising, directing, etc. As a result, variations in tasks performance may arise which, in turn, may hamper the process of goal achievement.
Therefore, unity of action is very much essential in the performance of managerial tasks of different managers, and this necessitates appropriate coordination. With the help of coordination, achievement of organisation goals becomes possible. In fact, coordinated act makes impossible, possible.
Coordination as an essence of management implies that it affects all functions of management. It affects planning, organising, staffing, directing and controlling at all levels of management across all business activities. Coordination is not a separate function but a correlating and integrating function within the management’s operational framework. Coordination involves arranging and placing all managerial functions together to run the management smoothly and achieve the required goals and objectives of a business. The performance of any of the managerial functions is an exercise in coordination.
Coordination – Definitions
Coordination is a continuous process for achieving unity of purpose in the organisation. It leads to blending the activities of different individuals and groups for the achievement of certain objectives.
One of the important question with regard to coordination is whether or not, it is to be considered as the sixth function in the chain of management functions (e.g., planning, organising, staffing, directing and controlling).
According to George R. Terry and Theo Haimann, “coordination is a part of the managerial functions of planning, organising, staffing, directing and controlling. It is one of the most important element of management process and facilitates the entire process of managing. Therefore, it is the essence of management.”
According to Terry, “Coordination deals with the task of blending efforts in order to ensure successful attainment of an objective. It is accomplished by means of planning, organising, actuating and controlling”. This implies, coordination act as cohesive mechanism and helps in synchronisation of managerial functions such as planning, organising, directing and control.
As described by Mooney and Railey, “Coordination is the orderly arrangement of group efforts to provide unity of action in the pursuit of a common purpose.” It assist in orderly execution of various functions of the different component parts of the organisation so that the objectives can be achieved with minimum disturbances and maximum cordial environment. Some management experts such as – Fayol, L.A. Allen, and Ordway Tead consider coordination to be a separate function of management.
However, modern management experts are of the view that coordination is not a separate function of management. In fact, they recognise coordination as major part of all the other functions of management. According to modern view, management cannot be accomplished without proper coordination and hence management has to concentrate its efforts on the establishment of coordination.
Modern management experts Koontz and O’Donnell are also of the view that “Coordination is the essence of management.” This implies that manager engaged in managing is basically establishing coordination while discharging his duties.
Coordination – Top 5 Features
Coordination has the following features:
1. Coordination is relevant for group efforts and not individual efforts. It involves the orderly pattern of group efforts because an individual who is working in isolation does not affect functioning of others and no need for coordination arises.
2. Coordination is a continuous and dynamic process. It is a continuous process because it is achieved through the performance of functions which is a continuous phenomenon. It is dynamic process because the functions, in which context coordination is applied, are dynamic and may change over the period of time.
3. Coordination emphasizes unity of efforts which is the heart of coordination. This involves fixation of time and manner of performance of various functions in the organization and makes the individual efforts integrated with the total process.
4. Higher is the degree of synchronization in the performance of various functions by various persons in the organization, higher is the degree of coordination and higher is the possibility of achievement of organizational objectives.
5. Coordination is the responsibility of every manager in the organization because he- tries to synchronize the efforts of his subordinates with others.
Coordination – Need
The need for coordination arises whenever and wherever, a group of persons work together to achieve common objective. Coordination is the basic cementing force in an organisation.
The need for coordination mainly arises because of the following disintegrating forces:
(i) Increase in Size and Complexity of Operations:
Growth in the number and complexity of activities is a major factor requiring coordination. In a large organisation, a large number of people process the work at various levels. These people may work at cross purposes, if their efforts and activities are not properly coordinated. Size brings about the problems of communication as well.
It may be difficult to communicate the policies, orders and managerial actions on a face-to-face basis. Personal contact is, rather, impossible and formal methods of coordination become essential. If the operations of an organisation are multiple, complex and diversified, the need of coordination is felt everywhere.
Usually, in an organisation, work is divided along functional lines. Thus, we have specialists taking care of manufacturing, financing, personnel, marketing functions. Over a period of time, these specialists develop ‘tunnel visions’ (inability to look beyond their own narrow speciality).
They are more interested in developing their own departments and thereby, increase their sphere of influence, in the organisation. For example, production executives might be more interested in producing high-quality, high-priced items.
In the words of Stoner and Freeman, “Without coordination, people and departments would lose sight of their roles, within the organisation. They would pursue their own special interests, often, at the expense of organisational goals.”
(iii) Clash of Interests:
People join an organisation to fulfil their personal goals, i.e., their physiological (food, shelter, clothing, entertainment) and psychological (economic security, recognition for good work, freedom to do work independently, etc.) needs. Often individuals fail to appreciate how the achievement of organisational goals will satisfy their own goals.
The environment in the organisation, organisational rules and regulations may also frustrate their attempts to realise their personal goals. As a result, they are forced to pursue their narrow personal interests sacrificing organisational interests. They tend to work at cross purposes. Coordination helps to avoid conflict between individual and organisational goals.
Managers can bring about harmony between individual and organisational goals by developing a closer contact with subordinates, by evolving attractive incentive schemes, recognising good work and by explaining how subordinates can achieve their own personal goals, by achieving organisational goals.
(iv) Difference in Attitudes and Working Style:
According to Lawrence and Lorsch, the need for coordination, basically, arises owing to the differences in attitudes and different working styles of people in an organisation. Every individual has his own way of dealing with problems. The specific orientation towards particular goals might be different.
To sales people, product variety may take precedence over product quality. Accountants may see cost control, as most important to the organisation’s success, while marketing managers may regard product design as most essential. Further, there are differences in time orientation of people.
For example, production manager may be more concerned with problems that have to be solved immediately. Others, like the members of a research and development team, may be preoccupied with problems that will take years to solve. Again, there may be differences in formality of structure.
Each type of unit in the organisation may have different methods and standards for evaluating progress, towards objectives and for rewarding employees. In a production department, for example, the standards may be quite clearly defined in terms of cost, quality and schedule, and a control system may exist for precise measurement of these criterions. In the personnel department, however, standards of performance may be quite broadly defined, such as ‘upgrading the skills of field personnel’.
Thus, the capacity, talent and speed of people differ widely. It is, therefore, essential to reconcile differences in approach, timing and effort of various departments, with a view to secure unity of action.
(v) Independence of Units:
When a department depends on the activities of other departments (or units) to carry its own activity, units are said to be inter-dependent. In an organisation, various units depend upon one another for their successful functioning. In a restaurant, for example, the waiters, cooks, supervisors and cashiers are independent.
To serve the customers, each must make his own contribution, in an orderly manner. The chef must cook the meal, the waiters must serve the items, and the supervisors must greet the visitors in a systematic manner. All must move in unison, so that customers are satisfied. The need for coordination increases with an increase in the interdependence between organisational units.
Coordination – 6 Main Objectives
The main objectives/purposes of co-ordination are as follows:
1. It is aimed at reconciling or integrating the goals so as to bring unity of action in the organization
2. A basic purpose of co-ordination is to bring about the total accomplishment of organizational goals and also getting better results.
3. Co-ordination helps to improve the economy and efficiency of operations.
4. Management can improve job satisfaction and morale of employees by coordinating their interests with organizational goals.
5. It helps to prevent conflicts between individuals and groups by increasing mutual co-operation and understanding.
6. Through co-ordination, the survival, growth and image of an organization are ensured.
Coordination – Principles by Mary Parker Follett
Principles are a set of given rules, norms, behaviour and guidelines that are followed to make things turn out to be effective. Co-ordination is a process of integrating the efforts of the employees in a deliberate manner so as to enable the attainment of organisational objectives in a smooth and efficient way.
Mary Parker Follett of the Human Behavioural School has talked about four Principles of Co-ordination which we shall discuss first and then, certain other principles which if followed, makes the process of attainment of company goals and objectives smoother.
Mary Parker Follett’s Principles of Co-Ordination:
1. Principle of Early Start:
Co-ordination should begin at an early stage of the management process. It should start from the planning function. This would help all the other functions to be performed with ease and success. If plans are effectively implemented it would be possible to integrate all other activities of the various departments smoothly.
2. Principle of Direct Personal Contact:
There should be a direct personal contact between the department heads as well as between the subordinates and their managers. This nurtures a good personal relationship between them and enables to remove conflicts and misunderstandings that might develop during the course of work. Delay of work, if any, gets addressed and a sense of mutual understanding and cooperation prevails in the workplace.
3. Principle of Continuity:
Co-ordination is a continuous process. During the course of management function, the managers take all care to see that co-ordination takes place and the overall objectives of the organisation are achieved. It is an unending process.
To reap the benefits of co-ordination it should start from planning and continue through organising, directing, staffing, motivating and controlling. At all levels and all activities the process of co-ordination should carry on.
4. Principle of Reciprocal Relationship:
Co-ordination is based on mutual relationship. Situations create an impact that are interrelated and interdependent. So employees and managers must analyse the impact that would be created based on their actions and decisions. This principle if implemented properly would bring success to the organisation.
5. Principle of Mutual Trust:
A sense of mutual trust and fellow feeling must prevail within the organisation. The managers should have respect for the feelings of subordinates and also the employees must have proper regards and esteem for their superiors.
6. Principle of Unity of Command:
This principle states that a hierarchy should be followed in the flow of direction of orders and instructions. Command should come from one boss along the line of authority. This is important to remove confusion and establish clarity of authority and responsibility.
7. Principle of Scalar Chain:
For making co-ordination effective the scalar chain principle should be followed. The superior-subordinate relationship must be established from the highest level to the lowest level so that accountability may be fixed.
8. Principle of Unity of Direction:
This principle states that there must be one plan coming from one boss. Too many plans from more than one boss creates confusion and the essence of co-ordination fails.
9. Principle of Clarity of Objectives:
Clearly defined objectives and plans makes co-ordination effective. All employees should have proper knowledge of the objectives in clear terms. This helps in achieving co-ordination smoothly.
10. Principle of Subordination of Individual Interest to Group Interest:
In order to implement team spirit in the organisation, the superiors should see that group interest is given priority over individual interest of the employees.
Mary Parker Follett gave the following principles for achieving co-ordination:
1. Early beginning – Co-ordination must be sought in the early stages of activity. It may often be impossible or at least very difficult if this is attended to after work has proceeded uncoordinated. Consider, for example the situation created by the placement of a purchase order for a machine by production manager while the cash budget shows that no funds are available for the purpose.
2. Direct contact – Co-ordination should be attained by direct contact among the parties concerned. This would ensure promptness and avoid red-tapism.
3. Reciprocity – Co-ordination should be regarded as a reciprocal relating to all factors in the situation, viz., production, sales, finances, men and management.
4. Continuity – Co-ordination must be maintained as a continuous process.
Coordination – Essence of Coordination in Management
The essence of coordination in management can be understood by the following functions of management:
1. Coordination and Planning:
When a manager is performing the function of planning, coordination among various activities being performed by different departments in an organisation remains at the centre of this thought process. While planning, activities being performed by the different departments in an organisation are considered.
For example, when a sales manager is planning to increase the market size; of its product, he has taken into consideration the views of the production manager, the purchase manager, the finance manager, etc., so as to avoid any problem that may arise in future. This clearly shows that coordination is very essential while performing the function of planning.
2. Coordination and Organising:
When the function of organising is performed, the main work of the organisation is divided into various sub-functions. The relationships between the various people performing those sub functions are defined so as to properly complete all the activities in a systematic manner. During the process of organising, the manager has to make efforts to establish coordination not only among the various departments of the organisation but also various people working in the same department.
For example, work is divided among various personnel of the department in such a manner that where the work of one person ends, the work of the next person begins. If there will be any deficiency in the work of one person, it will have impact on the work of others. As a result of this, everybody make efforts to complete his work on time and the workers do not interfere in the work of other personnel engaged in the process.
3. Coordination and Staffing:
The importance of coordination is also witnessed in staffing. Subsequent to the process of organising which help in the allocation of various divisions within organisation, staffing is required to create positions of human resource. It involves manpower planning, employment, wage determination, training and development. The manager has to fill all the positions with capable and experienced people so that the various activities of the business may proceed without any hindrance.
4. Coordination and Directing:
Directing implies issuing of instructions for doing some specific work. While issuing directions, manager is doing the function of coordination. While issuing orders and instructions to a subordinate, one has to keep in mind the effect they will have on other people, and one must ensure that it should not have any adverse effect. This will assist in establishing coordination. For example, two people performing the same work shall be treated equally in order to avoid any resentment between them.
In order to overcome such problem, manager shall use free and open discussion along with group decision-making with subordinates and other personnel engaged in the activity. Directing without giving consideration to coordination may result in undesirable situation and results.
5. Coordination and Controlling:
It is essential that the progress of work shall be constantly evaluated as a part of control technique so that adverse results can be avoided and corrective action can be initiated in time. If required, the efforts of the subordinates are synchronised and tuned with the objectives of the organisation.
This effort taken by the manager in synchronising the efforts of the subordinates to avoid deviation requires proper coordination. If it is not properly coordinated, it will not deliver the satisfactory results. Therefore, in the context of coordination, controlling enables harmonisation of the objectives of the organisation and the resources available to achieve those objectives.
From the above discussion, it can be concluded that coordination is concerned with all the functions of management. Therefore, it can be stated without any doubt that coordination is not a separate function of management; rather it is the essence of management.
Coordination – Types: Internal and External Coordination
1. Co-ordination may be internal or external to the enterprise. Co-ordination among the employees of the same department or section, among workers and managers at different levels, among branch offices, plants, departments, sections is called internal co-ordination, whereas co-ordination with customers, suppliers, government and other outsiders with whom the enterprise has business connections is called external co-ordination.
2. Another classification of co-ordination is vertical or horizontal. Co-ordination of the activities of manager, deputy manager, superintendent and others below him is called vertical coordination. This means co-ordination from top down or bottom up. On the other hand, horizontal co-ordination takes place sideways, for example, co-ordination among different departments of the enterprise such as production, sales, purchasing, finance, personnel, etc., is called horizontal co-ordination.
Coordination can be classified into two types:
This means coordinating the work of the internal part of the organisation. This includes all the departments, sections, sub-sections and small units of work groups and personnel (managers and workers).
The internal coordination is again classified into:
a. Vertical coordination
b. Horizontal coordination
a. Vertical coordination – This refers to the type of coordination in which a superior authority coordinates with his subordinate and vice versa. For example, Human Resource Manager (HRM) coordinates with Dy. Manager, HRM and Dy. Manager coordinates with Sr. Manager, HRM, so on and so forth.
b. Horizontal coordination – This refers to coordination and relations and activities between executives and employees at their respective department level or between different departments.
This refers to the relationship and coordination of those who are not the part of organisation and as such they are not connected with each other. The relation with external agencies and coordination of the activities would be beneficial to the enterprise.
These agencies are – (i) Customers, (ii) General public, (iii) Institutions of auxiliary services, (iv) Industrial organisations, (v) Marketing agencies, (vi) Government and Semi- government agencies, (vii) Commercial organisations, (viii) Banks, and (ix) Agencies of information and other technologies, etc.
Coordination – Top 8 Techniques
Louis A. Allen suggests that “a manager, in managing, must co-ordinate the work for which he is accountable by balancing, timing and integrating.” This means that balancing, timing and integrating are the basic techniques of co-ordination.
Balancing means that enough of one thing is provided to support or counter-balance the other.
Timing involves the adjustment of the time schedules of different activities in such a way that they support and reinforce each other.
Integrating implies the unification of the variety of diverse interests for the accomplishment of the organisation objectives.
Coordination is a continuous process of achieving orderly group effort and unity of action in the pursuit of a common purpose. In fact, it is the essence of managerial functions. Hence, it is the task or responsibilities of the manger. But achieving coordination is not easy. It is rather complex and challenging. Apart from the principles of coordination, there are some important techniques which can be adopted for bringing about desired level of coordination in the organisation.
These techniques are explained below:
1. Coordination through Effective Leadership:
Leadership and coordination are the two sides of the same coin. Both are inter-related and inter-dependent. In the words of Dalton E. McFarland, “The concept of coordination is basically inseparable from that of leadership, so that to speak of either one is to imply the existence of the other. To act in one area is also to act in the other.” While leadership is an ability to inspire, direct, influence and persuades the people in the organisation for accomplishing the common goals, coordination is the process of synchronising and unifying the efforts of the people within an organisation.
It is the leadership motivates the people; it is the leadership that directs effectively the activities of the group; that inspires and persuades the subordinates to contribute with their maximum capacity and efficiency to the goals of the organization; and it is the leadership that resolves the conflict and enhances the morale of the employees. Finally, it is the leadership that fosters cohesiveness and harmony in between different individuals, units or departments which ultimately leads to coordination.
2. Coordination through Self-Coordination:
Self-coordination is considered an important technique of achieving coordination. The concept of ‘Self-coordination’ has been evolved by Alvin Brown. Brown has defined self-coordination as “the effort of independent responsibilities to achieve the harmonious or reciprocal performance of their own responsibilities.” Herbert Simon has given the concept self-adjustment in place of self-coordination. Actually, the term ‘self-coordination’ or ‘self-adjustment’ denotes only one thing, that is, promotion of voluntary coordination.
In the big organisation activities are grouped and a number of units or departments are created so that the organisation can perform each and every activity in an efficient manner. This shows that the operation of one department depends upon the operation of the other. For example, the production department for efficient operation depends on purchase department, transport department, personnel department and so on.
Similarly, these departments also depend upon production departments for their efficiency and performance. This clearly reveals that a great deal of self-coordination is needed for an organisation to run smoothly, effectively and efficiently.
This also shows that individual departments need to adjust their work or efforts to the work or efforts of others. This is made possible only when the managers of the various departments or units work for establishing coordination among themselves. The objectives of the organisation cannot be achieved without it.
3. Coordination through Committees:
Now-a-days, the use of committee has become widespread. In every organisation, whether business or non-business, committee has acquired an important place. In fact, the basic objective of setting committees is to establish coordination amongst various units, individuals or departments. The committee provides an opportunity to bring about horizontal and vertical coordination.
It opens the doors of interaction of members of various groups or departments which produce better results in comparison to an individual. The committee helps in solving intra-departmental and inter-departmental problems and, thus, fosters coordination. Different types of committees may be formed to resolve variety of the issues leading to conflict in the organisation.
4. Coordination through Staff Meetings:
Staff meetings may be considered as an effective technique for bringing about effective coordination in the organisation. In the words of Dalton E. McFarland, “Periodic staff meetings, wisely managed, can be highly effective in promoting coordination through better communication. Usually, it is desirable for a regular time to be set aside and a suitable private conference room to be available.”
Henry Fayol has also suggested a weekly conference of department heads for the purposes of informing management about the running of the concern, making clear the cooperation to be expected as between various departments, utilising the presence of departmental managers for solving various problems of common interest.
Dimock has suggested five main functions of staff meetings:
(i) To give everyone present a sense of unity and interconnectedness of the work of the organisation as a whole.
(ii) To learn from the chief executive about new problems and developments which affect their work.
(iii) To solicit and enlist the thought and cooperation of staff members in the solution of problems.
(iv) To provide an opportunity for subordinates to bring up questions which the executive should know about and which may affect the operations of parallel divisions of the organization.
(v) To provide a forum in which friction points or areas of inadequate coordination are brought into the open.
5. Coordination through Group Decisions:
Apart from the committee which is a kind of a group, other groupings may exist for the purpose of promoting coordination. Group decisions, so for as their relevance for coordination is concerned, offer the opportunities for free, frank and open discussion. These also provide opportunities not only for interaction, but also for exchange of ideas, feelings, experiences, problems, proposals and solutions.
Group decision-making focuses on face-to-face communication. An important benefit of group decisions is that better knowledge and improved understanding of the matters related to the whole organisation promotes better coordination. Decision through conferences is an example of group decisions-making. Use of group decision-making is viewed as an effective technique of coordination.
6. Coordination through Liaison Officers:
As a matter of fact, line managers are responsible for promoting coordination in the organisation by executing their managerial functions effectively.
The line manager, for this purpose, organises the meeting of departmental heads, meeting of staff and other meetings periodically. But, in special situations, these meetings may not be organised in time. To fill the gap, liaison officer’s services may be utilised. According to Henry Fayol, the best liaison officer would be the general manager who visits all the departments and has all the information about the organisation and its operations.
However, if the general manager is not in a position to act as a liaison officer, some other employees may act as liaison officers. Thus, liaison officers are generally part of the staff who are thoroughly familiar with operating conditions not only of the concerned department or division but also of others.
7. Coordination through Special Coordinators:
In large-sized organisations consisting of several separate divisions and departments remote from each other, coordination becomes difficult. In such a situation, special coordinators are appointed. For this purpose, a coordination cell may also be created. The coordination cell is entrusted with the task of gathering relevant information and the same is sent to various departments or divisions. This helps in establishing coordination among different departments.
8. Coordination through Effective Communication:
Effective communication network has a vital role to play in the process of promoting coordination in the organisation. According to McFarland, “For coordination, each individual in the organisation needs a clear understanding of the nature and scope of his own work as well as that of other people whose responsibilities are related to his. The understanding necessary for coordination requires continuous, clear and meaningful communication.” Thus, the technique of effective communication has a significant role in bringing about effective coordination in the organisation.
Coordination – Importance
The effective performance of managerial functions requires co-ordination.
(i) Unity in Diversity:
Effective co-ordination is the essence of good management. There are large number of employees and each one has different ideas, views or opinions, activities and background in a large organization. Despite of diversities in persons working, all of them direct their efforts towards achievement of common goals of the organisation. Therefore achieving unity in these people of diversities becomes essential.
(ii) Teamwork or Unity of Direction:
The efforts, energies and skills of various persons should be integrated as group efforts to achieve the objectives of organization. Co-ordination encourages the employees to work as a team and achieve the common objectives of the organisation. This increases the team spirit of the employees.
(iii) Functional Differentiation:
The organization functions are divided department-wise or section-wise. Each department performs different jobs so as to achieve the general objectives. There are many departments in the organization. Each department performs different activities.
Coordination integrates (bring together) these activities for achieving the common goals or objectives of the organization. Thus, coordination gives proper direction to all the departments of the organization.
There is a high degree of specialization in the modern industrial world. To adopt specialisation; manager assigns every activity to a specialist by dividing organisational activities in a number of specialised activities and department.
In such a case it becomes essential to achieve co-ordination in activities of different departments and specialists otherwise there will be disputes among specialists. Luther Gulick has rightly observed in this regard, “If sub-division of work is inescapable, co-ordination becomes mandatory.”
(v) Reconciliation of Goals:
Each department or division has its own goals to achieve within the stipulated time. Individuals act in his own way to achieve his own goals and don’t give any due consideration to organizational goals. Therefore, co-ordination reconciles the employee’s goals with both departmental and organization goals.
Koontz writes, “Thus it becomes primary duty of a manager that he should overcome the difference of interests efforts and procedure and synchronize the individual goals and works so that group goals can be achieved.”
(vi) Congruity of Flows:
Congruity of flows refers to the continuous flow of similar information from one direction to other directions. Coordination ensures the smooth and continuous flow of information regarding the utilization of resources, activities, using of authority and output.
Coordination – Constraints
An organization cannot be successful unless co-ordination exists between its’ different departments, groups and activities. There are, however, some limitations to the degree of co-ordination that can be achieved in any organisation.
Some of the constraints to effective co-ordination arise from the following:
1. Uncertain future poses a serious challenge to effective coordination. Natural phenomenon like rains, floods, droughts and certain abnormal changes in the behaviour of individuals and groups in the organisation are the examples of uncertain future.
2. Knowledge, experience, character and wisdom of managers and their confused and conflicting objectives and ideas also act as a constraint for effective co-ordination.
3. Lack of administrative skills and adequate knowledge of required techniques on the part of managers also limit the degree of coordination in any organisation.
4. Lack of orderly method of developing and adopting new ideas and programmes block effective co-ordination.
5. A vast number of variables involved in the incompleteness of human knowledge, particularly with regard to human beings, also limit the degree of co-ordination.
Coordination – Coordination and Communication
Co-ordinating the actions of two or persons or sections or departments toward the accomplishment of a common goal is a big problem for any organisational unit. However, effective means of communication can achieve the desired co-ordination and harmony of objective. Communication is the mortar that holds our organisational structure together.
It provides the basis for co-ordinating interpersonal, intergroup and interdepartmental relationships so that management can reach the ultimate organisational goals. Thus leading, motivating, coordinating functions are effectively carried out through communications the life force of any organisation.
Co-ordination and communication are very closely interdependent. Really speaking, communication is the means of co-ordination. Common understanding of common problems (through communication) can unite the personnel for showing teamwork and a better performance.
Teamwork requires proper co-ordination. Effective leadership itself depends upon both co-ordination and communication. There are two types of communication. General communication is carried on horizontally between the chains of command, i.e. between manager or two parallel departments. It is necessary to secure co-ordination in operations.
Personal communication provides the basis for action and co-operation in the enterprise and it is confined within a chain of command upward and downward both. It is called two-way personal communication flowing in both directions Continuous two-way communication is an integral part of co-ordination. Well-designed methods of communication promote co-ordination.
Coordination – Guidelines for Effective Coordination
Effective co-ordination is sine qua non of good management. It entirely depends on effective leadership. Together only they can assure direction of corporate efforts effectively towards the stated objectives. Co-ordination is a continuous and never ending process in management.
Co-ordination is vertical, horizontal, internal and also external, i.e., between the enterprise and the stakeholders, viz. shareholders, customers, employees, society and government. Mary Parker Follet has given certain guidelines or principles governing effective co-ordination-
i. It must be a continuous process.
ii. It must be by direct face-to-face contact between the responsible people concerned.
iii. It should start at the earliest stage of planning, organising, policy-making and control.
iv. It must involve a reciprocal relationship, i.e., willingness to give and take among the persons and activities concerned.
These four principles contain sound advice. These simple guidelines will promote co-ordination at all levels of management during actual operation and supervision and not just in the manager’s conference.
Additional factors for securing, co-ordination are:
i. Democratic participative management.
ii. Clear- cut and careful delegation of authority with no overlapping of responsibility can achieve vertical and horizontal co-ordination.
iii. Prevention of conflicts by co-ordination through anticipating problems.
Coordination – Advantages
The basic role of a manager in an enterprise is like that of an orchestra conductor who directs the activities of the orchestra party in such a way that it produces harmony in music. As a coordinator, the manager performs the function of securing and maintaining unified action throughout the organisation. He directs the activities of the group in such a manner that it brings about harmonious relations and unified action to achieve the given objectives.
In a business enterprise, coordination will lead to the following advantages:
(i) Better Results – Through coordination, duplication of efforts is avoided. The time and energy thus saved are better utilised in creative tasks. This results in total accomplishment which will be far in excess of the sum of the individual parts.
(ii) Economy and Efficiency – Coordination leads to economy and efficiency in the organisation by avoiding wastage of resources and duplication of efforts. Due to coordination, there will be no delays and breakdowns which will further increase efficiency.
(iii) Better Utilisation of Human Resources – Modern organisations employ specialists in diverse fields for better results. Their efforts need to be integrated if the services of such experts are to be utilised fully. Coordination can help in integration of the activities of the experts or specialists.
(iv) Meeting Environment Challenges – The technological, economic, social, and political environments of modern business are very complex. Proper coordination of the operations of different departments can help in meeting these challenges effectively.
(v) High Morale – Coordination in organisation and staffing leads to job satisfaction of employees. This improves the morale of different groups. As a result, their loyalty to the organisation is increased. They work whole heartedly for the attainment of the objectives of the organisation.
Coordination – 6 Major Limitations
There are some limitations also in achieving effective coordination.
Some of these are discussed below:
1. Increased Specialization:
Though specialisation helps to increase organisational productivity, it also creates the problem of coordination. According to Paul R. Lawrence and Jay W. Lorsch, “people in specialised units tend to develop their own sense of the organisation’s goals and how to pursue them.” Higher the degree of specialisation, therefore, more difficult it is to coordinate the activities.
2. High Interdependence amongst Various Units:
Higher the degree of dependence of one unit on the other, greater is the need for coordination and more difficult it is to coordinate. Achieving coordination of units/activities with reciprocal interdependence is more complex than for activities with pooled interdependence.
Pooled interdependence – Performance of one unit does not depend on the other, but overall performance of each unit affects the performance of the organisation as a whole. Thus, organisational performance depends upon pooled or combined performance of each unit or department of the organisation.
For example, an organisation is structured on the basis of products. Each product division has functional heads to look after activities related to its product. Success of one product division does not depend upon the other, but the overall performance of the organisation depends upon how successfully each product division operates its activities.
Reciprocal interdependence – Where there is give and take relationship between different units, it is known as reciprocal interdependence.
If a business firm loads its trucks with finished goods and sends them to different locations for unloading; unless the unloaded trucks come back to them, they cannot be reloaded for further shipment. This two-way flow of activities between different units is a form of reciprocal interdependence.
3. Different Approach towards the Same Problem:
If different departments look at the same problem in different ways, there will be problem of coordinating their activities.
If a company wants to increase profits; production department may want to improve the quality of goods, while sales department may want to improve advertisement to increase the sale. Finance department may aim at cost control as the means of increasing the profits. Since each department has different perception about the way organisational profits can be increased, top managers find it difficult to coordinate conflicting opinions of different functional heads.
4. Uncertainty about Future:
Howsoever skilled and competent may the managers be in coordinating the activities of different units, changes in environmental factors can make coordination difficult. Unprecedented changes can result in failure of plans making coordination difficult. Internal uncertainties like strikes and lockouts also make coordination difficult.
5. Lack of Skill:
Even in certain situations, where work flows smoothly, coordination becomes a problem if managers do not have the knowledge, skill and competence to coordinate.
Coordination makes use of behavioural skills in dealing with people. Managers with autocratic style of leading can face problems in coordinating the efforts of their work force.
6. Informal Groups:
Informal groups which are strongly bonded by forces of culture, social values and ethics can affect the ability of highly skilled managers to coordinate organisational activities.