Coordination can be defined as “Synchronization of efforts from the stand-point of time and the sequence of execution”. In general coordination means bringing together the activities and resources of organisation and bringing harmony in them.
Coordination is the base or primary function of every manager because various departments of an organisation are working independently and there is need to relate and integrate their activities.
Coordination: The Essence of Management
Coordination brings unity of action and integrates different activities of organisation. Coordination is considered as the essence of management because of following reasons
1. Coordination is needed to perform all the functions of management
(i) In planning coordination is required between main plan and supportive plans of different departments.
(ii) In organising coordination is required between different resources of an organization and also between authority responsibility and accountability.
(iii) In staffing coordination is required between skill of a person and job assigned to him, between efficiency and compensation etc.
(iv) In directing function coordination is required between superior and subordinates, between orders, instructions, guidelines and suggestions etc.
(v) In controlling function coordination is required between standards and actual performance.
2. Coordination is required at all the levels
(i) Top level requires coordination to integrate all the activities of organisation and lead the efforts of all the individuals in one common direction.
(ii) Coordination is required at middle level to balance the activities of different departments so that these can work as a part of one organisation only.
(iii) Lower level requires coordination to integrate the activities of workers towards achievement of organisational objectives.
3. Coordination is the most important function of an organization
Any company which fails to coordinate its activities cannot survive and run successfully for a long period of time.
For example, Allwyn Company, established in 1942, was the first company to produce a double-decker bus. It was running successfully as a leading electronic industry, especially in refrigeration industry. By the end of 1980 the company faced the problem of coordination. There was lack of balance and integration of different activities; as a result the company started facing huge losses and by 1993 company had an accumulated loss of Rs. 168 crore. Company failed to balance its departmental activities and product folios.
So in short we can say without coordination no company can work efficiently and earn profit.
Need of coordination
(i) Growth in size: As organizations grow in size, the number of people in the organization also increases. They may work for cross purposes. So, coordination is needed to integrate their efforts and activities, i.e., to bring unity of action.
(ii) Functional differentiation: In an organization, there may be separate departments of production, finance, marketing and human resources. All departments have their own objectives, policies, strategies, etc. So, there may arise a conflict between them. For example, the marketing department’s objective may be to increase sales by 10 percent by offering discounts. But the financial department may not approve such discounts as it means loss of revenue. Therefore, coordination is necessary to link the activities of various departments and to avoid conflicts among them.
(iii) Specialization: In modern organizations, there is a high degree of specialization, arising out of the complexities of modern technology and the diversity of tasks to be performed. So, organizations employ a number of specialists, who think that they only are members, which leads to conflict between them. Therefore, coordination is required to avoid conflict between the specialists and the other members.
In the absence of coordination, there will be chaos and conflicts in the organization as shown in figure. There will be no synergies among production, sales, accounts, stores and other departments and the customers will not get timely delivery of goods.