Definition: Coordination can be described as that invisible cord, which runs through all the activities of the organization and binds them together. It is not a function of the management, rather it is the essence of management, which is needed at all levels and at each step of the firm, to achieve the objectives of the organization.
In basic terms, coordination means the integration and synchronization of the activities, resources and efforts of the people working in the organization, which leads to unity of action, in the pursuit of the organization’s objectives.
Need for Coordination
We all are aware of the fact that there are several departments in an organization, such as Finance, Purchase, Production, Sales, Human Resource, Marketing, Research and Development etc. and the work of all the departments are interlinked and interdependent. Further, there are three levels in organizational hierarchy, wherein:
- Top-level: Comprises of the Board of Directors, Chief Executives, Managing Directors, etc.
- Middle-Level: Comprises of departmental heads and managers.
- Lowest-Level: Comprises of supervisors, first-line managers and foreman.
Coordination is a process, which ensures that various departments, units and levels of the organization work smoothly and continuously in tandem, i.e. in the same direction, towards the accomplishment of organizational goals, while effectively utilizing the resources.
It aims at involving all the elements of the company, in the plan, strategy or task, to get input from everyone and attain best results.
Coordination tends to lineup the resources, people and efforts in such a way that there is no chaos, hustle, disorder and conflict, regarding any issue in an organization. Hence it is not wrong to say “With coordination comes harmony in the performance of organizational tasks”.
Characteristics of Coordination
- Integrates efforts of employees: Coordination integrates the efforts of the employees, to translate it into a determined activity. It aims at giving a specific direction to the group, to make sure that the results obtained are according to the plans.
- Unity of Action: There must be a unity of action in the accomplishment of organization’s objectives. It is that implicit force which binds various departments, divisions and units of the concern, and ensures that they work with a single focus.
- Ongoing process: Coordination begins at the very first stage of planning, thereafter organizational hierarchy is defined keeping the company’s plans in mind. Then, the staff is hired according to the company’s plans and hierarchy, and work is assigned to them accordingly.Thereafter, the direction is given to the employees as per the company’s plans and policies. Lastly, if there are any discrepancies from the plans, they are corrected, at the controlling stage.
So, we can say that coordination is implied in all the functions of the management, which keeps on continuing.
- Pervasive Function: Coordination is a must for all the three levels of the management as are interlinked and interdependent with respect to the functions performed by these levels.
- Deliberate activity: Various activities and efforts of the organization are to be coordinated in a thoughtful and careful manner.
If there is no coordination among the various activities, then the efforts of the employees are wasted even if they cooperate. Further, in the absence of cooperation, coordination may not work effectively and leads to dissatisfaction. So, cooperation and coordination should go hand in hand.
Importance of Coordination
The importance of coordination is discussed below:
- Growth of organization: As time passes, organization grows in size, resulting in an increased volume of work. There will be numerous employees to handle the work, which are hired for different departments. At times, the departmental goals are considered more important by them, as compared to the overall goal of the concern.
So, coordination of activities, is useful in unifying all the people together, to focus on just one ultimate goal.
- Locational differences: Big corporations are located at different locations, even in different countries, which does not allow people to meet and communicate frequently. In the absence of it, coordination helps in keeping all the units and offices, together, to work in sync.
- Diversification of business: When a company decides to diversify its business, by entering into new markets with a new product, the company starts new divisions or ventures, to undertake the activities. Then also coordination plays a critical role, in reconciling the goals of the organization.
- Specialisation: In specialization, tasks are assigned to the employees as per their expertise or specialization in the specific field. Coordination helps in bringing together all the talented and experienced employees together, to maintain a harmonious relationship between various groups.
- Synergy: It is a universal fact that the combined effort of two people is always greater than those working separately. So, coordination combines the efforts of the firm which helps in achieving synergy.
Coordination keeps a balance in all the activities by ensuring the appropriate allocation of tasks to suitable persons, to realize the organization’s objectives successfully.