Concept of Coordination

Concept of Coordination:

Coordination is one of the first and vitally important principles of organization. An organization can work effectively only when it is characterized by coordination among its parts. Coordination is the means for avoiding conflicts whenever these may arise in an organization and resolving these effectively and efficiently. It is also a means of keeping the inter-dependent nature of various parts of the organization as also of preventing one-sided efforts. James D. Mooney says, “Coordination is the first principle of organization and includes within itself all other principles which are subordinate to it and through which it operates.” In fact, Coordination is also the first principle of management.

People combine together in an organization to achieve common goals. Every organization is characterized by specialization and division of work. Different persons perform different functions. Coordination is the means for correlating all the functions performed by various parts. It performs the important role of unifying the activities of all the personnel engaged in an organization. It involves the orderly arrangement of a group effort to provide unity of action in the pursuit of a common purpose. As Prof. L. D. White observes, “Coordination is the adjustment of parts to each other and of the movement and operation of parts in time, so that each can make its maximum contribution to the product of the whole…..Effective coordination is absolutely essential to good administration and is the direct responsibility of overhead management.”

If the components or parts of an organization are not knit together through coordination, overlapping and conflict arise and these defeat the very purpose of the organization.

Need- In every organization, the need for Coordination rests upon the following four factors:

  • The need to avoid overlapping and confusion in the organization.
  • The need to prevent or discourage lopsided concentration on one aspect of work to the exclusion of other aspects.
  • The need to curb the growing tendency towards empire-building on the part of some parts of the organization.
  • The need to avoid conflict as far as possible and in case conflict emerges, the need to resolve it through appropriate action and coordination of interests.

Meaning and Definition of Coordination:

Coordination is the technique to solve the problems of organization and management. Coordination stands for bringing about consistent and harmonious actions of persons towards a common goal. It is the adjustment of various parts to each other and of the movement and operation of parts in time so that each can make its maximum contribution towards the attainment of organizational goals.

Definition: Some well-formulated definitions of Coordination are as under:

(1) According to Newman, “Coordination is the orderly synchronization of efforts to provide the proper amount, timing and directing of execution, resulting in harmonious and unified action to a stated objective.”

(2) In the words of Terry, “Coordination is the process of adjustment of parts in time so that each may make its maximum contribution to the product of the whole.”

(3) Seckler Hudson defines Coordination as “the all-important duty of inter-relating of the various parts of the work.”

(4) According to L. D. White, “Coordination is the adjustment of the parts with each other and of the movement and operation of parts in time so that each can make its maximum contribution to the product of the whole.”

(5) In the words of Pfiffner, “Coordination is a technique for drawing together a number of conflicting skills and interests and leading them towards a common end. It is the centripetal force in administration.”

From the above definitions, we can conclude that Coordination means making arrangements in such a way that all parts of an organization may pull together towards specifically defined goals without mutual conflicts and bickerings and without a gap or duplication. It is a process of adjustment of different elements with a view to secure concentrated and collective efforts of all parts towards the attainment of organizational goals effectively and efficiently.

Sometimes Coordination is confused with cooperation. Coordination is in reality different from cooperation. Terry differentiates Coordination from cooperation by telling the story of a boy who wished to take an early morning train and accordingly, he set his watch ahead by half an hour before going to bed. His father knowing of his son’s desire to take the early train goes to his son’s bedroom and turns the watch up half an hour. Likewise is done by his mother. As a result, the boy wakes up one and a half hours earlier than required. In this example, cooperation among the actions of the son, the father, and the mother has been present but there has been a lack of coordination. Had the three coordinated their efforts, the result would have been the desired one. Coordination is the process or the means whereby various parts of an organization function together effectively. A sound system of coordination and organization leads to harmony, efficiency, and economy. It avoids conflicts, duplicacies, failures, and mismanagement.

Kinds of Coordination:

Coordination can be classified into four kinds:

  • Internal or Functional Coordination- It refers to the process of inter-relating, harmonizing, and integrating the parts and work within an organizational unit.
  • External or Structural Coordination- It is concerned with the coordination of the activities of different organizational units.
  • Horizontal Coordination- It refers to the securing of inter-relation between one employee and another, between one section and another, between one branch and another, between one division and another, and between one department and another.
  • Vertical Coordination- Vertical coordination means the securing of coordination between one employee and his office, between the office and his next superior, and so on, and between one section and a branch between branch and division, and so on.

Techniques of Coordination:

Hindrances in the way of Coordination:

For organizational effectiveness and efficiency, it is essential to secure coordination in the operations of every organization. Since coordination has to be secured consciously by having recourse to various techniques, it also becomes imperative that possible hindrances in the way of coordination should be identified and eliminated. Coordination efforts can suffer due to several difficulties like lack of skill, non-use of techniques, inexperience, and inadequate or faulty planning. Some of these difficulties, as Luther Gulick observes, can arise from:

  • The uncertainty of the future… to the behavior of individuals and of people.
  • The lack of knowledge, experience, wisdom, and character among leaders and their confused and conflicting ideals and objectives.
  • The lack of administrative skill and technique.
  • The vast number of variables involved and the incompleteness of human knowledge particularly with regard to man and life; and
  • The lack of orderly methods of developing, considering, perfecting, and adopting new ideas and programmes.

To this list, Seckler Hundson adds four more:

  • Size and complexity.
  • Personalities and political factors.
  • Lack of leaders with wisdom and knowledge pertaining to Public Administration.
  • The accelerated expansion of Public Administration to international dimensions.


As already stated, these hindrances can be and should be eliminated. This can be done by conscious efforts on the part of the top management or the employers. It should be their primary duty to inter-relate various parts of the work. Delays in resolving deadlocks and problems can also be a hindrance in the way of coordination. It has to be avoided. The operation of an organization should be kept healthy not only through objective, clear-cut decisions and actions but also through the introduction of formal and informal contacts among the personnel and units of an organization.

Coordination is a highly important principle of organization. Coordination facilitates the synchronization of the efforts of individuals and institutions to achieve goals with economy and efficiency. The success or failure of an organization depends to a very large extent upon the effective measures initiated and effected for ensuring coordination. Coordination has to be accepted and secured as a cementing force that binds the individuals of an organization together and then makes it possible for them to attain the defined goals effectively.

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