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What is Co-ordination?

Co-ordination : Nature, Importance, Techniques, Features, Barriers

According to Terry, “Coordination is the orderly synchronization of efforts to provide the proper amount, timing and directing of execution in harmonious and unified actions to a objective.” Henry Fayal, considering the coordination as one of the important functions of management states, “to coordinate is to harmonize all the activities of a concern in order to facilitate its working and its success.” To quote Toad, Coordination is the effort to assure a smooth interplay of the functions and forces of all the different components of an organization to the end that purposes will be realized with a minimum of friction and a maximum of collaborative effectiveness.” In the words of Breech,”

Coordination is that balancing and keeping the team together by ensuring a suitable allocation of working activities to the various members, and seeing that they are performed with due harmony among the members themselves.”

Thus, coordination means binding together, unifying synchronizing and harmonizing all activity and effort of an enterprise in order to achieve some predetermined objectives. Coordination, thus, stresses upon the balancing of various activities, harmony in the working of all the units, unified and blended approach, pulling together the entire enterprise, timely communication to each other and the required cooperation.

Nature of Coordination

Henri Fayol, states that in a well coordinated enterprise the following nature is to be observed, “

  • Each department works in harmony with the rest. Store knows what has to be supplied and at what time; Production knows its target; Maintenance keeps equipment and tools in good order; Finance procures necessary funds; Security sees to the protection of goods and persons, and all these activities are carried out in sure orderly fashion.
  • In each department divisions and sub-divisions are precisely informed as the shares they must take in the communal task and the reciprocal aid they are to afford to one another.
  • The working schedule of the various departments and sub-divisions, therefore, is constantly attened to the circumstances.
  • Coordination implies avoidance of all splintering efforts, delays, controversies and conflicts that may destroy unity of working.

Need and Importance of Coordination: “Coordination as an Essence of Management”

Coordination has assumed added importance on account of growing complexity of business and increasing specialization. In the words of E.F.L. Breach, the need for coordination arises for the diversity of tasks to be performed and of the persons who carry them out. The need for coordination also arises due to differential perceptions, orientation, interests and attitudes of individual members of an organization.

Coordination as an essence of management, or the need and importance of coordination arise on account of the following.

  1. Coordination increases total accomplishment:

    Through coordination, it is possible to bring about total accomplishment which will be more in excess of the sum of the individual contribution. It has been proved that the total accomplishment of six employees of a department will be far greater than the mathematical sum of their individual efforts because the coordination avoids duplication of effort and the time and energy thus saved is better utilized in other creative efforts.

  2. Coordination is key to other functions:

    The importance of coordination is based on the fact that it is the key to other functions of the management; like planning, organizing, controlling, etc. Coordination makes planning more purposeful, organization more well-knit and control more regulative.

  3. Coordination harmonizes conflicts:

    There is always divergence of opinion among individuals regarding the methods to be used for achieving the organizational goals and objectives. Coordination becomes necessary in order, to harmonize conflicts to secure unity of efforts in the pursuit of a common goal. Without coordination, individual efforts would lead to confusion.

  4. Coordination emphasizes better human relations:

    Coordination gives much importance to human relations. The general level of morale is considerably effected by coordination. If the organization is operating without proper coordination, it would lead to uncertainties among group members. In a well coordinated business, those who work to achieve results are shared with credit for the achievements.

  5. Coordination facilitates retention of good personnel :

    George R. Terry has pointed out that sound organization, has a significant effect on the development and retaining of good personnel in business. If job satisfaction is present, executives, will tend to remain in the job.

  6. Coordination helps to achieve the advantages of specialization:

    The modern business operates in an atmosphere of specialization. But the benefits of specialization will be available to organizations when it coordinates the specialized skills of individuals into the organizational actives. This means that the first condition to benefit specialization is coordination.

  7. Coordination strives for unity amidst diversity:

    An organization represents a pooling of diverse resources and facilities, adoption of diverse skills, and techniques, in the pursuit of achieving goals. Diversity demands unity. To manage diversity means to bring about unity or unification. Otherwise, diversity is likely to lead to disintegration. The managerial function of coordination strives for the desired degree of unity, without hurting diversity.

  8. Coordination improves the level of morale:

    Coordination establishes unity among managers and employees. Dirty politics and bad intention on each other comes to an end. It improves mutual understanding and creates confidence among the people. Each one takes care of the interest of others. This will help to increase morale of managers and employees. George Terry writes effective coordination increases the number of employees in an organization and they remain in the organization.

  9. Coordination establishes balance:

    Coordination establishes balance between various sub-systems like production, marketing finance etc. Collective efforts and unity of action between systems bring efficiency in achieving goals.

  10. Coordination establishes unity of command and direction:

    For establishing coordination, rights and duties at each level of the organization is needed to be clearly defined. A subordinate must receive orders from one superior only ar a time. One plan and one nature of activity is usually assigned to a superior. This will establish unity of command and direction.

  11. Coordination facilitates management of change:

    A manager forecasts the external environmental factors like economic social, technical, political, and social changes etc. and makes efforts to integrate these factors favourable to the organization. Any resistance from the employees for accepting the change will be brought to an end and can successfully implement the required changes in the organization.

  12. Coordination minimizes cost:

    Coordination helps to avoid duplication of activities and thus bring down the production as well as labour costs.

  13. Coordination builds up image:

    Good coordination between managers and employees builds up the good will of the organization. Efficient people may be available to become members of the organization. Better utilization of production resources brings larger profits so that the company can distribute good dividends among its investors.

Techniques of Co-ordination

Effective and best coordination can be achieved only through a well balanced combination of techniques. Those techniques may be described as follows:

  1. Sound organization structure:

    Effective coordination can be established through sound organization structure. Design of organizational structure should be based on the principle of coordination. Department or unit must be grouped in such a way that work moves smoothly from one phases to another without any interruption. Sound organization structure also helps to define right and responsibilities very clearly at each level.

  2. Clearly defined objectives:

    For effective coordination every individual in the organization and every department understood the overall objectives of the enterprise. There must be unity of efforts.

  3. Effective leadership:

    Effective coordination at every level is possible through good relationship. Good managers, by their good behaviour and attitude, maintains team-spirit and work culture among the employees.

  4. Precise and well understood plans:

    Precise and well understood plans work for a longer time and helpful in bringing effective coordination. All the plans formulated by an enterprise must be inter-related and well designed to fit together.

  5. Meetings and conferences:

    By organizing regular or periodical meeting and conferences, managers can achieve effective coordination. In such occasions, everyone will get an opportunity to express their problems/grievances etc. freely so that profitable discussion could be possible.

  6. Common nomenclature:

    The task of coordination will become easier if the enterprise develops a system of common nomenclature or use of words in describing work classification so that all persons concerned speak and use the same nomenclature or language.

  7. Effective channels of communication:

    Coordination requires effective communication channels. Personal contact is usually considered to be the most effective means of communication for achieving coordination.

  8. Budget:

    Success of an organization depends upon optimum use of time, capital and materials. With the help of different budgets, coordination between different departments, effects and means can be possible.

  9. Self-coordination :

    Self-coordination refers to adjusting oneself keeping in view of others attitudes and the circumstances. Managers can motivate others for self-coordination, but it would be possible only when the person is so matured and well balanced.

  10. Voluntary team work:

    A basic requirement for effective coordination, is that executives must have an active understanding and acceptance of the concept of deliberated and voluntary teamwork. Co-ordination cannot be achieved by force or imposed authority.

  11. Co-ordination by administrative actions:

    By using the methods of inspection, supervision, inquiry etc. coordination can be attained between different departments individual and groups.

  12. Co-ordination by written communication:

    Where personal contact becomes difficult, written communication can be used as a means to coordination. Letters, reports, notices and other forms of written communication can be used for achieving coordination.

  13. Proper timing:

    It is highly desirable that coordination activities are performed at the proper time. Scheduling of activities and other devices can be used for ringing out proper sequence in the activities.

Characteristics of Co-ordination

The important characteristics include the following:

  1. Co-ordination emphasis on unity of efforts between individuals, groups and departments of an organization.
  2. Co-ordination is one of the important functions of management and its task is to integrate the activities of the organization towards achievement of common goals.
  3. It is a continuous and never ending process, commencing with planning and continues along with the life of the organization.
  4. It aims towards achievement of the mission and on the basis of which it draws out goals and plans to achieve the mission.
  5. Co-ordination establishes orderly arrangement between physical factors, materials, machines, and manpower so as to make these functions easier to achieve the objectives.
  6. Co-ordination is a universal activity essential for every type of business or non-business activities irrespective of the types of economies.
  7. It is a challenging and dynamic activity. Only a dynamic management can achieve coordination at early stages.
  8. Co-ordination is more than cooperation. Even with desire for cooperation, much result cannot be achieved so long as the management is unable to unity of efforts. As such cooperation is not a synonymous term for coordination.

Barriers to Coordination

In most of the organizations the following factors create difficulties in achieving the desired coordination.

  1. Large number of units-

    The greater is the number of units and subunits, the larger the number of people with varying skills and personal specialization, the more difficult becomes the task of securing coordination. Because each departmental head tends to think about the objectives and policies of his own department, ignoring others.

  2. Subordination of general interest to individual interest:

    In the absence of proper motivation, the individual interests of people become more important and work as a barrier to coordination. The subordination of general interest might be caused by a number of factors, such as, laziness incompetence, or lack of loyalty honesty and integrity on the part of employees.

  3. Defective delegation:

    If the authorities have not been properly delegated and responsibilities fixed, the conflicts and confusions over authority and responsibility begin to take place. Similarly if the objectives and policies have not been clearly defined and communicated, the utter confusion will take place, disrupting the harmony in working.

  4. The party politics:

    When informal groups are formed, the members of one group begin to support his group rightly or wrongly and then the rival group deliberately tries to sabotage the coordination and does not offer the needed cooperation. The personal conflicts between line and staff positions, between people of sales and those of the production department or between the department head and his sensor subordinates are common examples of such party-politics.

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