Coordination in Management: Types, Importance, Principles and Problems (with Example) FOR PA

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In this article about we will discuss about the coordination in management. In order to harmonize the activities of the organization, it is indispensable to see that everybody in the business understands the main objectives of the business and works towards their achievement in active cooperation with others.

This can be achieved through coordination, which means integrating all activities in an enterprise. Hence, coordination is the function of correlation and integrating the diverse goals, activities and approaches to bring about commonality of goals and unity of efforts.

‘Coordination is balancing and keeping the teams together and seeing that working activities are per­formed with due harmony among members themselves.’ – [E.F.L. Breach]

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Learn about:- 1. Meaning of Coordination 2. Definitions of Coordination 3. Concept 4. Characteristics 5. Objectives 6. Elements 7. Factors 8. Significance 9. Types 10. Advantages 11. Problems and Other Details.

Coordination as the Essence of Management: Nature, Steps, Need, Principles, Types, Techniques, Problems and a Few Others


Contents:

  1. Introduction, Meaning and Nature of Coordination
  2. Definitions of Coordination
  3. Concept of Coordination
  4. Characteristics of Good Coordination
  5. Features of Coordination
  6. Elements of Coordination
  7. Factors Affecting Coordination
  8. Ways in which Coordination is Helpful
  9. Objectives of Coordination
  10. Principles of Coordination
  11. Types of Coordination
  12. Techniques of Coordination
  13. Steps in the Coordination Process
  14. Coordination as an Essence of Management
  15. Systems Approach to Coordination
  16. Requisites of Effective Coordination
  17. Is Co-Ordination and Cooperation Inter-Changeable
  18. Facts to be Observed in Coordination
  19. Managerial Functions and Coordination
  20. Advantages of Coordination
  21. Problems of Coordination

Coordination – Introduction, Meaning and Nature of Co-Ordination

Coordination plays a very important role in every field of human activity. Coordination as the essence of management function, achieves the objectives of an enterprise by directing and unifying group efforts. The coordinator of an enterprise must also direct and coordinate the activities of various personnel so as to bring unified element in the task of managing and must be effected through the various functions of the management.

“Co-ordination” is balancing and keeping the terms together, by ensuring a suitable allocation of working activities of the various members and seeing that these are performed with due harmony among the members themselves.” -E.F.L. Brech

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Co-ordination has been viewed by different management authors and experts in different ways. Henry Fayol considers co-ordination to be one of the separate managerial functions to a manager. Louis A. Allen has also regarded co-ordination as one of the separate managerial functions. Further, James D. Mooney considers co-ordination as the first principle of organisation and Ralph C. Davis considers co-ordination primarily as a vital phase of controlling.

Further, co-ordination is the integration, synchronisation or orderly pattern of group efforts in the enterprise towards the accomplishment of common objectives. It is a part of the managerial functions of planning, organising, staffing, directing and controlling. It transverses the entire process of managing. It is the essence of management.

From the various definitions the following nature of co-ordination may be stated:

(1) Co-ordination is the responsibility of the top executive which is related with the qualities of his leadership.

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(2) It is a process the need of which is felt in all the activities. The managers, however have been conscious of “the co-ordinating efforts”.

(3) It is an orderly arrangement of group activities which is a necessity in all activities, particularly in a group activity it is most essential.

(4) It’s success largely depends on unity of action.

(5) It aims at the attainment of common purpose as defined by the objectives of the enterprise.


Coordination – Definitions by Eminent Writers: Alan C. Reiley, James D. Mooney, George R.Terry and Ordway Tead

Co-ordination may be defined as an ongoing process whereby a manager develops in integrated, orderly and synchronised pattern of group effort among his sub-ordinates and tries to attain unity of effort in the pursuit of a common purpose.

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“Co-ordination is the orderly arrangement of group effort, to provide unit of action in the pursuit of common purpose”. – Alan C. Reiley and James D. Mooney

It is the effort of assure a smooth interplay of the functions and forces of the different component parts of an organisation to the end that its purpose will be realised with a minimum of friction and a maximum of collaborative effectiveness.

George R. Terry, in his book Principles of Management has said – “Co-ordination 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.”

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Ordway Tead has said – “Co-ordination is the effort to ensure a smooth interplay of the functions and forces of all different component parts of an organisation to the end that its purpose will be realised with a minimum of friction and a maximum of collaborative effectiveness.”


Coordination – Concept

Coordination is concerned with synchronizing and unifying the action of a group of people for realizing a common objective. Coordination ensures unity of action in the realization of a common objective. Coordination is one of the important functions of management. Coordination is the art of achieving har­mony of group efforts for the accomplishment of organizational goals. It involves synchronization of different actions, so that planned objectives can be achieved with the minimum of conflict. Effective communication helps a lot for achieving coordination.

Coordination is a process of integration. It is the management of interdependence. The need for coordi­nation is not only job related but also relationship oriented. It develops team spirit and creates an atmosphere of cooperation among the staff. It is an arrangement of group effort to achieve organizational goals without much wastage of time, effort, and money.

All the departmental activities are to be linked together in order to ensure the smooth and successful functioning of an organization. It is the responsibility of a manager to coor­dinate the activities of all the departments of the organization for achieving the predetermined objectives.

An efficient manager can perform his coordination function in the following ways:

i. Coordination between individuals in a group;

ii. Coordination between different groups of a department;

iii. Coordination between various departments of an enterprise;

iv. Coordination between various activities and operations;

v. Coordination between the efforts of employees and managers;

vi. External coordination.


Coordination – 6 Important Characteristics of Good Co-Ordination

According to Koontz and O’Donnell – “A good co-ordination is that which forecasts the problems and takes necessary preventing measures so that it may not arise at all.” Every effort should be made to have best co-ordination system.

A good system of co-ordination should satisfy the following characteristics:

(1) Co-Ordination is a continuous process carried on by the managers. In involves an orderly arrangement of group efforts. Its purpose is to secure unity of action towards common objectives.

(2) Co-Ordination should not be made through orders. It should not come from the above. Instead it should come through co-operation and willingness. Co­ordination through co-operation and willingness ensures better results.

(3) Co-Ordinating activities must respond to time, policies, programmes and objectives. They should always be in tune.

(4) Co-Ordinating approach should be balanced and as far as possible it should be of both the types – vertical as well as horizontal.

(5) It should be based on personal contact, Mumbai co-operation, mutual confidence, good human relations and above all on the continuity principles.

(6) It should aim at morale boosting of the workers.


Coordination – Top 5 Features

(i) Coordination Integrates Group Effort:

The need for coordination is felt when group effort is needed for the accomplishment of an objective. In short, it can be said that coordination is related to group effort and not individual effort. The question of coordination does not arise, if the Job is done by one person only.

(ii) Coordination Ensures Unity of Action:

The nature of coordination is of creating unity in action. It means during coordination process an effort is made to create unity among the various activities of an organisation. For example, the purchase and sales departments have to coordinate their effort so that supply of goods takes place according to purchase order.

(iii) Coordination is a Continuous Process:

It is not a job which can be performed once and for all, but its need is felt at every step. Many activities are performed in a business. If any one of the activity goes on fluctuating either for more or less than required, the whole organisational balance is disrupted. Thus, a close watch has to be kept on all the activities to maintain the balance.

(iv) Coordination is an All Pervasive Function:

Pervasiveness refers to that truth which is applicable to all spheres (business and non-business organisations) and places uniformly. Like making of time table in an educational institution is an apt example of establishing coordination. In the same manner, to synchronize the activities of different departments, like purchase, sales, production, finance etc., in a business organisation, coordination is required.

(v) Coordination is the Responsibility of All Managers:

Coordination is needed at all the three, i.e., top middle, and lower managerial levels. Different activities performed at all the levels are equally important. Thus, it is the responsibility of all the managers that they make efforts to establish coordination.


Coordination – Top 3 Elements: Group Effort, Unity of Action and Common Purpose

Following are the elements of coordination:

1. Group Effort:

Coordination integrates individual efforts of each unit so that the unit works as a group. It ensures that individuals work as group for promoting their individual and organisational goals.

2. Unity of Action:

Coordination ensures that activities of each individual, group and department are headed towards the common goal. All activities should be performed within the framework of policies, procedures etc.

3. Common Purpose:

Coordination maintains balance amongst individual, departmental and organisational goals. It ensures that resources and tasks are assigned to individuals and departments in a manner that working of one department promotes the working of other departments. All individuals, groups and departments should have a common purpose, that is, achieve the organisational goals.


Coordination – Factors Affecting Coordination: Growth in Size, Growing Specialisation, Human Nature and their Problems

The need for co-ordination emerges and arises as the operations begin to be multiple or complex by reason of the fact that more than one person is concerned with them. Through co-ordination duplication of work and work at cross purposes can be eliminated.

Further, the need for co-ordination arises because of conflict between line and staff. A specialist may follow his own line and may not appreciate the point of view of others. At present the task of co-ordination is becoming increasingly complex and difficult.

The factors which affect co­ordination are as follows:

(1) Growth in Size:

At present the more complex organisations structure of any institution involving more sub-ordinates brings about added problems of communication. The growth in the size of an enterprise and the larger employment of people in the enterprise; the task of sychronising daily activities becomes more complicated. All these situations make co-ordination more difficult.

(2) Growing Specialisation:

Modern business is becoming more complex, therefore, specialisation in bringing the need for more co-ordination because of the diversity of tasks to be undertaken and of persons to carry them out.

(3) Human Nature and their Problems:

The problems and nature of human beings are so complicated that they always present problems of co-ordination. Executives are pre-occupied with the work of their own departments, therefore they are reluctant to become involved in the activities of other departments. This tendency is more discernible if the compensation of the executives is determined in relation to the financial performance of his department.

Therefore, the need for co-ordination arises from the diversity of tasks to be undertaken and of persons to carry them out.


Coordination – 4 Important Ways in which Co-Ordination Helps an Organisation

Coordination is the epitome of management. It is important to the success of any enterprise.

It helps an organisation in the following ways:

Way # 1. Increases Efficiency:

Coordination pulls all the functions and activities together. The human as well as non-human resources are utilised in a right manner. Activities follow a specific direction. Waste motions, overlapping and duplica­tion of efforts, misuse of resources are, thus, prevented. Coordination enables an organisation to use its resources in an optimum way. The resources flow through productive channels, paving the way for required quality and quantity of output. Efficiency is, thus, improved.

Way # 2. Improves Human Relations:

Coordination brings unity of action and direction. Members begin to work in an orderly manner, appreciating the work put in by others. They understand and adjust with each other by developing mutual trust, cooperation and understanding. They move closer to each other. In short, it improves human relations.

Way # 3. Inter-Departmental Harmony:

According to Fayol, where activities are well-co­ordinated, each department works in harmony with the rest. Production knows its target; maintenance keeps equipment and tools in good order; Finance procures necessary funds; Security sees to the protection of goods and service personnel and all these activities are carried out in a smooth and systematic manner. Coordination, thus, creates a harmonious balance between departments, persons and facilities. This, in turn, helps in meeting goals efficiently and effectively.

Way # 4. Key to Other Functions:

The importance of coordination largely lies in the fact that it is the key to other functions of management like planning, organising, staffing, directing and controlling. The different elements of a plan, the var­ious parts of an organisation and phases of a controlling operation must all be coordinated. Coordinating makes planning more purposeful, organisation more well-knit, and control more regulative and effective.


Coordination – 5 Main Objectives : Economy and Efficiency, Better Personnel Relations, Reconciliation of Goals, Total Accomplishment and Retention of Good Personnel

The main objectives or purposes of co-ordination are as follows:

(1) Economy and Efficiency:

Co-ordination will bring economy and efficiency in the organisation. It will avoid duplication of efforts and this will bring economy in labour, time and equipment. When all the activities of the organisation are properly correlated there will be least delay which will bring efficiency in the business organisation.

(2) Better Personnel Relations:

Good co-ordination gives job satisfaction to the employees which keeps their morale high. Here, good human relations exists because the authority – responsibility relationships are clear. The conflict between line and staff personnel can also be avoided through proper co­ordination.

(3) Reconciliation of Goals:

This can be achieved by co-ordination only. The conflict of goals arises because everybody perceives the organisational goals differently and tries to achieve them is his own way. If any confusion and chaos exists in the organisation, then co-ordination is necessary to bring unity of action in the organisation.

(4) Total Accomplishment:

It is only through co-ordination that the total accomplishment in the organisation can be brought about. Authors of management are of this opinion that the total accomplishment of ten employees of a department whose efforts are properly co-ordinated will be for greater than the mathematical sum of their individual accomplishment. This happens because through co-ordination duplication of efforts is prevented and the time and energy thus saved are better utilised in more creative tasks.

(5) Retention of Good Personnel in Business:

Sound co-ordination has a significant effect on the development and retention of good personnel in business. If each executive and employee derives job satisfaction, there will be a tendency on the part of the executives and employees to stay with the organisation. The absence of this will create improper condition and atmosphere in which it would be difficult for any person to stay for long in the organisation.


Coordination – Principles of Co-Ordination according to Mary Parker Follet 

The various principles of coordination, according to Mary Parker Follet, may be listed thus:

(i) Principle of Direct Contact:

In the first principle, Mary Parker Follet states that coordination can be achieved by direct contact among the responsible people concerned. She believes that coordination can be easily obtained by direct interpersonal relationships and direct personal communications.

Such personal contacts bring about agreement on methods, actions, and ultimate achievement of objectives. Direct contacts also help wither away the contro­versies and misunderstandings. It is based on the principle, that coordination is better achieved through understanding, not by force, order and coercion.

(ii) Early Stage:

Coordination should start from the very beginning of planning process. At the time of policy formulation and objective setting, coordination can be sought from organisational participants. Obviously, when members are involved in goal-setting, coordination problem is ninety percent solved.

It is because participative goal-setting enables agreement and commitment to organisational goals and there is no question of conflict and incongruence of goals of individuals and organisations. Coordination, if not initiated in the early stages of planning and policy formulation, becomes difficult to exercise in the later stages of execution of plans.

(iii) Reciprocal Relationship:

As the third principle, Mary Follet states, that all factors in a situation are reciprocally related. In other words, all the parts influence and are influenced by other parts. For example, when A works with B and he, in turn, works with C and D, each of the four, find themselves influenced by others that is influenced by all the people in the total situation.

Follet contends that this sort of reciprocal relation and this sort of interpenetration of every part by every other part, and again by every other part, as it has been? Permeated by all, should be the goal of all attempts at coordination.

(iv) Principle of Continuity:

The fourth principle, advocated by Follet, is that co­ordination is a continuous and never-ending process. It is something which must go on all the times in the organisation. Further, coordination is involved in every managerial function.

(v) Principle of Self-Coordination:

In addition to the four principles listed by Follet above, Brown has emphasised the principle of self-coordination. According to this principle, when a particular department affects other function or department, it is in turn, affected by the other department or function.

This particular department may not be having control over the other departments. However, if other departments are modified in such a fashion, that it affects the particular department favourably, then self-coordination is said to be achieved. For instance, as we know, there must be coordination between the level of production and sales.

When the production department alters its to­tal production in such a way, so as to suit the sales capacity of the marketing department [even before the marketing department makes request to cut down production or to increase production, then self-coordination is said to have taken place. This, of course, requires effective communication across the departments. This principle is rarely practised in day-to-day life.


Coordination – Types: On the Basis of Scope and Flow in an Organisation and On the Basis of Relationship

Coordination can be of various types, which are as follows:

1. On the Basis of Scope and Flow in an Organization:

i. Internal Coordination:

This refers to the coordination between different departments and various individ­uals working in the enterprise. It involves synchronization of the activities and efforts of individuals in various departments, plants, and offices of an organization.

ii. External Coordination:

The coordination between an organization and its external environment is known as external coordination. Here, external environment consists of outside parties who are interested about the affairs of the organization (such as Government, customers, investors, suppliers, competitors, etc.). No organization operates in isolation. An organization has to establish external relations and coordination for its success and survival in the long run. Management should take necessary steps to satisfy the conflicting needs and demands of interested external parties.

2. On the Basis of Relationship:

i. Vertical Coordination:

This refers to the coordination between different levels in the organization. Vertical coordination is achieved by the top management through delegation of authority. The management should ensure the harmonious working of different levels (top, middle, and lower) according to the overall organiza­tional policies and programmes.

ii. Horizontal Coordination:

This refers to the coordination between various departments (or positions) at the same level in the organization. For instance, coordination between various functional managers such as production manager, marketing manager, finance manager, etc., can be termed as horizontal coordination. Horizontal coordination is achieved through mutual consultations and cooperation. Horizontal coordination between various departments is essential for synchronization of diverse activities of an organization.


Coordination – 12 Important Techniques: Scalar Chain, Rules and Procedures, Plans and Goals, Information System, Lateral Relationships, Slack Resources and a Few Others

The following techniques help to achieve 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 harmonises work at different levels in the organisation and brings discipline and order amongst levels 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 everytime 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 with each other 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. If organisation expects demand for its product to be 10,000 units every month, it should produce 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.

Technique # 7. Cooperation:

Cooperation is a way of achieving coordination. Cooperation refers to voluntary actions of members to work collectively as a group. If all members cooperate with each other, it will result in coordination amongst 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 will be 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 freely 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 producing different products.

These coordinators usually work as staff managers and help in coordinating 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 budgeted 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.


Coordination – 8 Steps to Achieve Effective Coordination: Clearly Defined Objectives, Proper Cooperation, Effective Communication, Effective Leadership and a Few Others

The following steps are generally followed for achieving effective coordination:

Step # 1. Clearly Defined Objectives:

The objectives (or goals) of the organization should be laid down clearly. Every individual and each department must understand the overall objectives and what is expected of them by the organization. Unity of purpose is a must for achieving proper coordination.

Step # 2. Proper Cooperation:

Coordination must be accompanied by cooperation. The individuals in the organ­ization must be willing to help each other voluntarily. Coordination is impossible without cooperation. Cooperation without coordination has no fruit and coordination without cooperation has no root. Therefore, every manager should try to achieve both simultaneously.

Step # 3. Clear Lines of Authority and Responsibility:

There should be a proper delegation of authority and responsibility at all levels of management. Authority must be delegated in a clear way. The individual member must know what is expected of him by his superior. Authority flows from top to bottom through various positions. There should be a clear line of authority in every organization which indicates who is accountable to whom. The line of authority and responsibility helps in reducing conflicts and achieving coordination.

Step # 4. Effective Communication:

Establishment of an effective communication system is the key to proper coor­dination. The channels of communication used in the organization should be reliable so that they are able to create proper understanding in the mind of the receiver. Various managerial positions are made well-con­nected through vertical, horizontal, and diagonal channels of communication. Interaction between related departments facilitates effective coordination.

Step # 5. Effective Leadership and Supervision:

Real coordination can be achieved only through effective leader­ship. A leader can induce his subordinates to coordinate willingly. Many conflicts and unpleasant situations can be avoided with the help of good leadership. On the other hand, supervisors also play an important role in coordination. Managers should monitor the work of subordinates to ensure successful performance as planned. So, there is a need for coordination between the supervisors and the top executives.

Step # 6. Comprehensive Programmes and Policies:

Well-defined programmes and policies are essential for achieving effective coordination. It brings uniformity and consistency in decision-making on the part of managerial personal and action on the part of non-managerial personnel. Comprehensive programmes and policies are used for solving routine and repetitive problems faced by different departments.

Step # 7. Good Organizational Structure:

The various departments in the organization must be grouped in such a way that the work moves smoothly from one phase to another. Over specialization may complicate the coordination work. The management should arrange departments in such a way, so as to get coordination among the departmental heads. Similar functions are put under the charge of one executive to facilitate better coordination.

Step # 8. Developing Personal Contact:

Personal contact avoids controversy and misunderstanding. Coordination should be achieved through cooperation and mutual understanding. Therefore, ideas, views, opinions, recommendations, etc., are to be conveyed to the receivers through personal contact for ensuring better coordination.


Coordination – As an Essence of Management

Alvin Brown has given three phases of administration. They are- (1) Planning, (2) Doing, and (3) Seeing.

These three phases are to be co-ordinated in order to get the best possible results. This job is accomplished by the manager. Unless he does it, his plans may not be realised.

He has to co-ordinate the efforts of his sub-ordinates in order to see that:

(a) The orders and instructions are being carried out,

(b) There is no deviation from plans, policies and programmes,

(c) The time schedule is being kept, and

(d) The organisation is forcing ahead in attaining the objectives of the enterprise.

It is because of co-ordinating activities of the manager the enterprise moves ahead towards its goal. Keeping this point of view in mind Harold Koontz and Cyril O’Donnell have described co-ordination as “the essence of managership.”

But modern thinking does not conform with the thinking of Koontz and O’Donnell. The modern thinking is that co-ordination is not an independent function which can be performed separately. It is inter-related rather mixed with every function of management.

Follet’s view is that the co-ordination starts from the very first stage of managerial function, i.e., planning and goes systematically with all the functions, i.e., organisation, direction, policy implementation and motivation. Co-ordination is a continuous process in which all factors in a situation are reciprocally related with each other. Management functions, therefore cannot remain in isolation.

Alvin Brown goes a step further when he brings self-co-ordination into picture and describes it as “the efforts of independent responsibilities to achieve harmonious or reciprocal performance of their own responsibility.” With the advent of self-co-ordination concept into co-ordination the “essence of managership” losses its importance and ‘self-co- ordination’ with an active assistance of the manager gains importance.


Coordination – Systems Approach to Coordination

The primary reason for coordination is that departments and workgroups are interdependent. They depend on each other for information and resources to carry out their respective activities. The greater the interdependence between depart­ments, the more coordination, the organisation demands, if departments are to be able to perform effectively.

According to Thompson, there are three major forms  of interdependence; pooled, sequential and reciprocal. Pooled interdependence means that each department is part of the organisation and contributes to the common good, but each department is relatively independent because work does not flow between units.

State Bank of India branches or Wimpey’s restaurants, are examples of pooled interdependence. They share financial resources from a com­mon pool but do not interact with each other. In sequential interdependence, the output of one unit becomes the input for another, in a sequential manner.

The first department must perform correctly, so that the second department can perform correctly. Coordinating long-linked units requires careful planning by the manag­er. It may be necessary to promote day-to-day communication among plants, so as to identify trouble spots and prevent interdepartmental conflicts.

Reciprocal interdependence exists when activities flow both ways between units. This form is clearly the most complex. For example, hospitals employ resources from several departments (e.g., x-ray, nursing, surgery, physiotherapy, etc.) to restore a patient’s health.

Each specialist and department, supplies some of the resources required to help the patient. Doctors and professionals from each specialised area meet to discuss the patient’s recovery. The method of coordination is mental adjustment, achieved through group meetings. Designing an organisation to take care of recipro­cal interdependence is not an easy task.

Open communication and careful planning are essential. As Hellriegel et al., remarked, “Because management cannot easily anticipate all customer demands or solve all the problems that arise, managers must continually communicate face to face, to be sure that they understand the nature and scope of the issues and problems and to devise solutions”.

One useful way to integrate various departments in an organisation is to view them as interrelated and interconnected parts of an open ‘system’. The systems approach ensures better coordination by considering an organisation as a system, consisting of different sub-systems.

The output will be satisfactory and effective, when the differentiated sub-systems are integrated properly through coordination. Because all the parts are interdependent, just like parts in the human body, the performance of organ­isation requires proper functioning of all the sub-systems. When any of the parts is not in order, then the total output is affected.

Systems approach, thus, enables management to find out the loopholes in the system and instantaneously, rectify the particular sub-part, which is not in order. Through feedback and feed-forward control system, an organisation is in a position to check the functioning of various parts in the organisation. Systems approach, thus, ensures better coordination.


Coordination – 8 Important Requisites of Effective Coordination: Start before the Plan, End after Control, Continuous Process, Dynamism and a Few Others

1. Start before the Plan:

Coordination should start even before the plans are formulated and finalized. The plans should be coordinated with the environmental factors.

2. End after Control:

Coordination ends only after the control function. Control function has to be coordinated with the planning function in order to ensure that the plans are achieved.

3. Continuous Process:

Coordination is a continuous process. The organizational activities are to be networked and the network should continue uninterruptedly so as to ensure continuous workflow.

4. Dynamism:

Coordination should be dynamic in order to foresee the environmental changes and infuse their consequences into the network of organizational activities before the competitors adopt it. Therefore coordination should be dynamic.

5. Direct Personal Contact:

Coordination can be effective, if the superior establishes and maintains direct personal contact and direction with his subordinates.

6. Effective Communication:

Communication without distortions, gaps etc. make the coordination perfect.

7. Flat Organisation Structure:

Flat organisation structure allows the employees to interact and communicate freely and frequently with their superiors. Further the superiors also interact with his/her subordinates with an open mind, which in turn make the coordination effective.

8. Leadership:

Democratic and participative leadership allow the employees and leader to communicate with each other frequently. Further, they encourage the subordinates to express their ideas, view-points etc. regarding their activities. Thus, they enable the coordination effective.


Coordination – Is Co-Ordination and Co-Operation Inter-Changeable

The terms ‘Co-ordination’ and ‘Co-operation’ cannot be used inter-changeably because they have got different meanings.

Co-ordination is a process of deliberately bringing the efforts of various components of an enterprise in order to give them a unity of purpose. It is an orderly arrangement of group efforts to provide unity of action in the pursuit of common objectives.

Co-operation, on the other hand denotes the collective efforts by the persons working in the enterprise voluntarily for accomplishing a particular purpose. It is the willingness of the individuals to help each other. Therefore, it is clear that the concept of co-ordination is broader in scope than that of co-operation.

Co-ordination is something more than co-operation or voluntary efforts of individuals; it is a deliberate effort by the management. The existence of co-operation among the members of the group facilitates co-ordination. But that does not mean that co-ordination originates automatically from the voluntary efforts of the group members. It has to be achieved through the conscious and deliberate efforts of the managers.

For Example – Five persons engaged in pushing a car out of the mud have a strong desire to co-operate with one another. But they may not be successful in their attempt unless one of them is able to co-ordinate the efforts of all of them.

Similarly, harmony and sweet voice in music cannot be achieved by the orchestra party unless an orchestra conductor co-ordinates the activities of the group members. To conclude, a manager plays an important role as a co-ordinator. Effective co-ordination cannot be achieved without the actual co-operation of the group members. Co-ordination without co-operation and co-operation without co-ordination are detrimental to the organisation. Every manager should try to achieve both simultaneously.


Coordination – Facts to be Observed in Co-Ordination: According to Henry Fayol

Henry Fayol has stated that a well co-ordinated enterprise the following facts are to be observed:

(1) Each department should work with the rest;

(2) Each department, division and sub-division should be precisely informed as to the share they must take in communal task;

(3) The working schedule of the various departments and sub-divisions should be constantly as per circumstances.

Mr. Fayol has further stated that these three requirements are not always fulfilled and the lack of co-ordination is apparent in three ways:

(1) Each department knows and wants to know nothing of the other.

(2) Water-tight compartments exist between the divisions and offices of the same department as they do also between different departments.

(3) No one thinks of the general interest; initiative and loyalty are non-extent.


Coordination – 5 Most Important Managerial Functions: Forecasting, Organising, Staffing, Directing and Controlling

Co-ordination is the essence of managership. It is something which comes about as the manager performs his managerial functions efficiently and effectively.

Seymour Tiles while stating the functions of a manager asked “What does a manager do”?

Different answers came from different foremen:

(1) “He is the guy who gives orders to people”; and

(2) “He sits in a plush office at the corner of the building and drives a big automobile.”

Every sub-ordinate most probably paints more or less same picture of a manager. But practically manager get things done through other people and in fact here he heaves a sigh of relief. A manager – (i) sets objectives (ii) frames policies, (iii) makes decisions, (iv) prepares an organisation, (v) gives and chalks out a plan, (vi) delegates authority, (vii) guides, directs and controls the people at work, (viii) solicits co-operation and co-ordinate their efforts, (ix) evaluates the work, (x) motivates people, (xi) recruits personnels and lastly, (xii) gets the work done.

Getting the work done is one part of his function and it is the ultimate aim of any manager.

The above functions may be grouped under the following five broader groups:

(1) Forecasting and planning,

(2) Organising,

(3) Staffing,

(4) Directing, and

(5) Controlling.

(1) Co-Ordination through Forecasting and Planning:

The very first work of a manager is to plan and forecast on the basis of which he sets his objectives and that of the enterprise. On these objectives he bases his policies and programmes to be implemented and carried out. He accordingly takes his decisions.

Seven functions are usually associated with forecasting and planning. These are:

(a) Forecasting,

(b) Determining the objectives,

(c) Framing the policies,

(d) Deciding the programmes,

(e) Preparing the time schedule,

(f) Deciding the procedure etc., and

(g) Budgeting.

(2) Co-Ordination through Organizing:

Mooney considers co-ordination as the very essence of organising. It is an essential part of organising. Unless the manager bears in mind how various factors are to function together, the organisation structure will not to be a successful one. In order to obtain co-ordination while organising, the manager must look at it, both vertically and horizontally.

Poor co­ordination is caused quite often by lack of understanding of who is to perform what or due to the fact that the manager did not clearly delegate authority and exact responsibility. Therefore, the preparation of an organisation structure is very essential so as to accomplish the objectives.

Three important functions are there under his function. These three are:

(a) Departmentalisation

(b) Delegation, and

(c) Defining authority and responsibility.

(3) Co-Ordination through Staffing:

It is the most arduous function which the manager has to perform since staff accomplishes the tasks and achieves the set objectives.

Under this function the manager does the following work:

(a) Selection, training, payment of salary, evaluation, promotion, retrenchment and retirement of workers;

(b) Establishment and development of a better system of communication;

(c) Advise the staff; and

(d) Associate the staff in managerial decisions.

Therefore, a manager must select the right number of executives in various positions with the right type of education and training so that they may willingly co-operate and co-ordinate.

(4) Co-Ordination through Directing:

The essence of giving orders, instructions, coaching and teaching sub-ordinates means to co-ordinate their activities in such a manner that the overall enterprise objective will be achieved in the most efficient way. Thus, manager’s expertness in effectively directing his sub­ordinates will bring about co-ordination.

Under direction a manager has to perform the following functions:

(a) To take decisions on problems arising from time-to-time;

(b) To direct and guide the personnels under his charge;

(c) To evaluate the activities of personnels;

(d) To issue orders and instructions from time to time; and

(e) To motivate the personnels.

(5) Co-Ordination through Controlling:

The controlling function is that which brings about co-ordination and leads the organisation to the desired goals. Good communication is of great help in the co-ordination of various activities. Personal contact is the most effective means of communication to achieve co-ordination. Controlling is not an independent work. It follows from planned objectives, organised efforts, necessary guidance and instructions and human relations.

Under this function a manager:

(a) Determines the standard of work to be done by the personnels;

(b) Evaluates the work and conduct of those who are working under him;

(c) Explains the policies and programmes; and

(d) Looks into the deviations from standards set and tries to improve over them.


Coordination – Top 3 Advantages of Good Co-Ordination System – Increases the Efficiency, Improves the Morale and Develops and Retains Good Personnels

The following are the advantages of a good co-ordination system:

(1) Increases the Efficiency:

If there is an effective co-ordination in all the activities of the enterprise, then there is no reason why efficiency of the business enterprise cannot increase.

Overall and effective co-ordination results into the following benefits to the organisation in general:

(a) It increases the productivity;

(b) It economies the various process;

(c) It helps in economising the activities and inter-related economy;

(d) It reduces the cost of production;

(e) It reduces the cost of distribution and marketing;

(f) It results into increased profitability.

Above written are some of the obvious test of increase in business efficiency which in turn ensures smooth functioning, proper growth and prosperity.

(2) Improves the Morale:

Effective leadership makes the co-ordination effective and thereby a success. An effective co-ordination helps in increasing the efficiency of the business enterprise which brings growth and prosperity to the enterprise. A growing and prosperous enterprise not only secures the job of those who are working with the enterprise but future promotion, executed higher income and further incentives encourages the workers to come out with their best to help their enterprise to achieve success. This naturally boosts the morale of the workers. Since they work with a common aim to achieve the pre-determined objectives.

(3) Develops and Retains Good Personnels:

Co-ordination helps in evaluation of work and conduct of all those who are working for the enterprise. Evaluation in its turn helps in rewarding the good worker. If workers are being suitably rewarded it is natural for them to remain with their organisation and serve it better.

They, therefore would not like to leave the organisation. Instead they would like to stick to it. An effective and successful co-ordination attains the objectives of developing its working force and retaining them with the organisation as long as they are fit to render their valuable service to their organisation.


Coordination – 5 Major Problems Faced in Co-Ordination

The following factors are responsible in the way of effective coordination:

i. Lack of Administrative Talent:

This arises due to the selection of inefficient personnel. They do not know the administrative procedure properly. This results in ineffective coordination.

ii. Clash of Interests:

Often individuals are pursuing narrow personal interests by sacrificing organizational interests. Sometimes, individuals fail to understand how the achievement of organizational goals will satisfy their own goals. As a result, there exists a conflict between individual goals and organizational goals.

iii. Differences in Attitudes and Working Styles:

Every individual has his own way of dealing with prob­lems. Moreover, there are differences in attitudes of individuals to attain a specific goal. Above all, the capac­ity and talent of people differ widely. This results in ineffective coordination.

iv. Complexity of Operations:

In a big organization, a large number of people process the work at various levels. It may be difficult to communicate the policies, orders, and managerial actions on a face-to-face basis. If the operations of an organization are diversified and complex, then the need for coordination is felt every­where. The huge size of an operation brings about problems of coordination.

v. Specialization:

Specialists take care of various specialized functions (such as purchasing, production, finance, marketing, etc.). They are more interested in developing their own departments. They pursue their own special interests at the cost of organizational goals. This results in ineffective coordination.


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