Coordination is required whenever and wherever a group of persons work together to achieve common objectives. It is the basic cementing force in an organisation. Coordination becomes necessary because of the following disintegrating forces.
1. Increase in size and complexity of operations:
Growth in the number and complexity of activities is the major factor requiring coordination. Need for coordination arises as soon as the operations become multiple, diversified and complex. In a large organisation, a large number of individuals are employed.
These people may work at cross purposes if their efforts and activities are not properly coordinated. Increasing scale of operations may also increase geographical distance among the members of the organisation. Several layers of authority create problem of communication.
Personal contact is not possible and formal methods of coordination become essential. Operations are multifarious and there are too many centrifugal forces.
Therefore, constant efforts are requited to ensure harmonious functioning of the enterprise. As the size of organisation increases, the task of coordination becomes increasingly difficult.
Division and subdivision of work into specialized functions and departments leads to diversity; of tasks and lack of uniformity. Specialists in charge of various departments focus on their own functions with little regard to other functions.
For example, production department may insist on the manufacture of those products which are convenient and economical to produce overlooking their suitability to consumers. It becomes necessary to synchronies the diverse and specialized activities of different units to create unity in the midst of diversity.
Generally, greater the division of labor. More is the need for coordination. Specialization will not yield desired results unless specialized efforts are 'effectively integrated. Where division of labor is inevitable, coordination becomes mandatory.
Need to specialize leads to horizontal and vertical differentiation of organizational activities. The greater the differentiations, more serious are the problems of communication and coordination.
3. Clash of interests:
Individuals join an organisation to fulfill their personal goals, i.e., their physiological and psychological needs. Often individuals fail to appreciate how the achievement of organizational goals will satisfy their own goals. They may pursue their own specialized personal interests often at the expense of the larger organizational goals.
They tend to work at cross-purposes. Coordination helps to avoid conflict between individual and organizational goals. It brings about harmony between the two types of goals by making individuals see how their jobs contribute to the common goals of the organisation. Coordination avoids all splintering efforts that may destroy the unity of action.
Every individual in the organisation has his own way of working and approach towards problems. Capacity, talent and speed of people differ widely. It becomes imperative to reconcile differences in approach, timing and effort of different departments to secure unity of action.
Cooperation serves as the binding force in an organisation in the face of narrow and sectional outlook. Coordination becomes difficult due to differences in the attitudes and working styles of personnel.
5. Interdependence of units:
Various units of an organisation depend upon one another for their successful functioning. For instance the spinning plant supplies yarn to the weaving plant.
The output of one unit serves as the input of another unit. James D. Thompson has identified three types of interdependence, namely, (a) pooled interdependence, (b) sequential interdependence, and (c) reciprocal interdependence.
Pooled interdependence refers to the situation wherein the various departments of an organisation function as autonomous units and do not depend on each other for the performance of their day-today-activities. In sequential interdependence, the work of different units forms a sequence and one unit cannot do its work until the work in preceding unit has been com pelted.
In reciprocal interdependence, different units are reciprocally related and there is a give and take relationship among them. The need for coordination increases with an increase in the interdependence between organizational units. It is highest in reciprocal interdependence, higher in sequential interdependence and high in pooled interdependence.
In an organisation, conflicts may arise between line managers and staff specialists or between management and workers. Human nature is such that a person emphasizes his own area of interest and does not want to get involved in the activities of others. Coordination avoids potential sources of conflict.
In order to boost up self-importance and personal ego, some members of the organisation tend to over-emphasize their own activities. Such empire-builders try to get maximum possible share of the total resources for their own units as if the units were separate entities.
This empire building tendency does not allow cooperation and self-coordination. Special efforts become necessary to coordinate the activities and efforts of empire-builders.
8. Personal jealousies and rivalries:
Personality clashes are quite common in human organizations. Members of rival groups deliberately sabotage coordination. In their efforts to settle personal scores, some persons do not permit harmonious action or team work. Such rivalry is often accentuated by lack of clear-cut goals and specific authority limits.