Coordination should not be confused with cooperation because the two terms denote quite different meanings. Cooperation refers to the collective efforts of people who associate voluntarily to achieve specified objectives. It indicates merely the willingness of individuals to help each other.
It is the result of voluntary attitudes of a group of people. Coordination is much more inclusive, requiring more than the desire and willingness to cooperate of the participants.
It involves a deliberate and conscious effort to bring together the activities of various individuals in order to provide unity of action. It requires concurrence of purpose, harmony of effort and concerted action.
It is much more than mere reconciliation of differences or avoidance of friction. Cooperation provides the foundation for coordination by enlisting voluntarily efforts. Cooperation facilitates coordination but by itself it cannot guarantee cooperation.
Coordination does not arise automatically from the voluntary efforts of people, rather it has to be achieved through conscious and deliberate efforts of the manager. For instance, a group of six persons who attempt to move a heavy object are willing and eager to cooperate with one another.
They are fully aware of their common purpose and trying their best to move the object. But they cannot be successful in their attempt unless one of them coordinates their efforts.
He must give proper directions to all members of the group to apply the right amount of effort, at the right place and at the right time. Cooperation is a necessary but not a sufficient condition of coordination.
According to McFarland, "Coordination is a far more inclusive, term embracing the idea of cooperation. Cooperation, that is mere willingness of individuals to help each other, cannot serve as a satisfactory substitute for coordination.
Cooperation is for the most part the result of voluntary attitudes on the part of people in an organisation. Cooperation is valuable element in coordination, but cannot substitute for it." "Coordination, on the other hand, cannot be voluntarily produced by a number of cooperating persons.
Coordination is a state of affairs which an executive brings about through deliberate action on his part". Cooperation has no time, quantity or direction elements whereas coordination is the concerted effort of requisite quantity and quality arranged at the proper time through deliberate executive action. Thus, coordination is much more than cooperation.