Everything you need to know about the techniques and methods of coordination. Coordination is the act of coordinating, making different people or things work together for a goal or effect.
Coordination refers to balancing, timing and integrating activities in an organization. Business involves multiple operations, manifold policies, varied skills, administrative processes and actions, wherein different managers display their talents in different roles.
It is a continuous process for achieving unity of purpose in the organisation. It includes all such deliberate efforts on the part of management whereby efforts of various parts of the enterprise are so blended that they move harmoniously towards the accomplishment of organisational objectives.
The techniques of coordination may be subdivided under:-
1. Structural and Formal Techniques 2. Informal and Subtle Techniques. The structural and formal techniques of coordination include:- i. Departmentalization ii. Centralization/Decentralization iii. Formalization and Standardization iv. Planning v. Output and Behavioural Control. The informal and subtle techniques of coordination are:- i. Lateral or Cross-Departmental Relations ii. Informal Communication iii. Socialization.
Additionally, some of the other techniques of coordination are:-
1. Chain of Command 2. Leadership 3. Committees 4. Communication 5. Voluntarily Coordination 6. Sound Planning 7. Incentives 8. Clearly Defined Goals 9. Co-Ordination by Simplified Organization
10. Harmonized Programmes and Policies 11. Co-Ordination by Group Meeting 12. Co-Ordination through Liaison Men 13. Co-Ordination by Special Appointee 14. Grouping 15. Conferences 16. Programmes 17. Reorganisation of Departments 18. Cross-Functioning Among Departments 19. Special Coordinators
20. Direct Supervision 21. Organization Structure 22. The Hierach 23. Personal Contact 24. General Staff 25. Task Forces 26. Teams 27. Plans and Goals 28. Rules and Procedures 29. Coordination Decisions 30. Co-Operation 31. Self-Coordination 32. Incentives 33. Public Relations.
Techniques, Methods and Tools of Coordination in Management
Techniques of Coordination – According to Martinez and Jarillo
Martinez & Jarillo (1989) categorized various coordination techniques or mechanisms into two broad categories—structural and formal and informal and subtle techniques. This categorization is similar to that of Barnard (1938), i.e. formal and informal organization.
It means grouping of similar activities into organizational units on the basis of the principles of division of labour. It provides a formal structure to the organization so that everybody knows whom to contact for a particular type of activity. This clarity is conducive to coordination.
It determines whether the locus of decision-making authority lies with the higher or lower levels of the organizational hierarchy. Therefore, it aids in coordination when people are aware of the actual decision makers and would like to contact them directly rather than wasting time elsewhere.
iii. Formalization and Standardization:
It is the extent to which policies, rules, job descriptions, etc. have been written down in manuals, and procedures have been established through standard routines. The structure provided by these policies, rules, job descriptions, and procedures guide people in the organization to coordinate as per these guidelines.
It refers to systems and processes like strategic planning, budgeting, establishment of schedules, goal setting, etc., which Intend to guide and channel the activities and actions of independent units. Thus, planning provides a framework for coordination, whereby the plans made would identify the need for collaboration and interfacing between various departments and individuals within and outside the organization.
v. Output and Behavioural Control:
It refers to coordination mechanisms required at the controlling activities of the managers. Output control is based upon the evaluation of files, records, and reports submitted by the organizational units (say departments) to the corporate (say top) management.
Behavioural control, on the other hand, is based upon direct personal surveillance of subordinates by the manager. Here, in place of monitoring performance through reports, the supervisor or the manager himself is involved in observing and checking the behaviour of subordinates.
i. Lateral or Cross-Departmental Relations:
It cuts across the formal structure, which includes direct contact among managers of different departments that share a problem, temporary or permanent task forces, teams, committees, integrating roles, integrative departments, etc.
ii. Informal Communication:
It supplements the formal communication between managers who form a network of personal and informal contacts among manager’s across-different departments of the organization, through corporate meetings and conferences, management trips, personal visits, transfers of managers, etc.
It helps in creation of an organizational culture of known and shared strategic objectives and values by communicating to individuals about the ways of doing things, the decision-making style, training, transfer of managers, career path management, measurement and reward systems, etc. In this way, a system of ideology is internalized by the executives throughout the organization, generating identification and loyalties, and ultimately, institutionalizing the firm.
According to Galbraithi & Kazanjian (1986), informal and subtle techniques of coordination are added to, and not substituted for formal and structural techniques depending upon the complexity of the strategy being pursued. Complex strategies (those resulting from interrelated, multi-plant, multi-market policies) need an enormous coordination effort, and so are implemented through both.
Techniques of Co-Ordination: To be Used by Every Manager
Every manager must remove the obstacles that deter coordination by adopting the following specific techniques:
1. Chain of Command:
This technique also emphasizes that an employee should receive orders form one superior only because dual command is a continuous source of conflict. Management has to exercise authority to regulate the performance of different departments because clear cut authority relationship help in reducing conflicts among different departments.
Co-ordination becomes possible through leadership as it provides individual motivation and persuades the group to have an identity of interests and outlook in group efforts. To achieve the common objectives of an enterprise, the manager must guide and co-ordinate the activities of his subordinates.
This Technique of achieving co-ordination is used in most organisations by forming a committee. Which helps to promote unity of purpose and uniformity of action among different departments. A committee is a group of persons and the decisions of the committee are group decisions which provide co-ordination among various activities and persons through information, advice interchange of ideas etc., while forming the committee utmost care must be taken by the management, otherwise, the decisions taken by the group may not be effective to achieve co-ordination in an enterprise.
Effective communication conveys ideas, opinions or decisions of managers to subordinate at different levels of the organization and carries back information, suggestions’ and responses from subordinates. It regulates the flow of work, co-ordinates the efforts of the subordinates of an enterprise.
To be effective, communication must be as direct as possible so as to minimize the chances of misinterpretation. To ensure proper co-ordination, various kinds of communication channels may be used, such as verbal relay of information, written reports memos or other forms of documents, mechanical devices such as teletypes, intercommunication system, etc.
5. Voluntarily Coordination:
Self-co-ordination or voluntary co-ordination is possible in a climate of mutual co-operation, when two or more persons working within the same or different departments, mutually discuss their problems and arrive at a coordinated action. This can be easily achieved in any organization, when the supervisor gives his consent without any hesitation for such a mutual consultation among subordinates.
6. Sound Planning and Clear-Cut Objectives:
The objectives of the organization and policies must be clearly defined by the management. A well-conceived plan must clearly define the goals of the organization so that inter-departmental objectives can be accomplished. Thus to ensure co-ordination, clear formulation of policies in the field of production, sales, finance, personnel, etc., must be correlated.
Incentives have a tendency to ignite action and bring about co-ordination. In order to infuse enthusiasm in a worker for greater and better work, incentives have a distinct and significant role. Financial incentives which include wage, bonus, salary, etc., and no-financial incentives which include job security of interest, to achieve co-ordination and to reduce conflicts.
Techniques of Coordination – Simplified Organisation, Harmonised Programmes and Policies, Well-Designed Methods, Voluntary Coordination and Personal Guidance
Newman has suggested the following techniques or measures as tools for securing better coordination:
1. Simplified organisation.
2. Harmonized programmes and policies.
3. Well-designed methods of communication.
4. Aids to voluntary coordination.
5. Coordination through personal guidance.
1. Simplified Organisation:
In a large organisation, special functions are allotted to different heads of departments, each of whom is concerned with only one phase of the total operation, and even bureaucratic in attitude. As for producing goods or rendering services each of these specialised units must contribute their share of the total operation, the need for co-ordination becomes imminent.
Where coordination is lacking, re-arrangement of departments may be made in order to bring together activities which have been out of step. Furthermore, clear-cut organisation and procedures that are well-known to all persons concerned will ensure coordination. Since a business organisation is a network of formal and informal relations among people holding designated positions, horizontal and vertical coordination is called for.
Coordination is greatly facilitated if the lines of authority and responsibility are clearly drawn. This is done by grouping various functions into homogeneous and non-overlapping units. The heads of these functional units will then know the exact limits of their authority and this will minimise the need for coordination. To ensure coordination, organisation should be kept as simple as possible.
2. Harmonised Programmes and Policies:
The ideal time to bring about coordination is at the planning stage. The different plans can be re-examined and checked one against the other to ensure that they all fit together into an integrated, balanced whole. The coordinating executive should check plans developed by different individuals to bring about consistency, and to see that all the plans add up to a unified programme Selection of one in preference to other or a compromise between all may have to be resorted to for effective coordination.
Moreover, coordinated activities must not only be consistent with each other, but also be performed at the proper time. For example, one process must not hold back the next process in manufacturing processes. In an assembly line in an automobile plant, timing is one of the cardinal features. The various parts must arrive at the assembly line at just the right moment.
Also, the speed of the assembly line itself and the assignment of work must be adjusted so that one group of employees is not idle for lack of something to do while others are finding it difficult to finish one job before the next job rolls along. Therefore, timing is vital in all operations.
3. Well-Designed Methods of Communication:
Good communication brings about coordination and helps members of a business organisation to work together. It helps to hold the organisation together by making it possible for members to influence one another and to react to one another. Flow of communication in all directions will facilitate coordination and smooth working of the enterprise.
The use of formal tools like orders, reports and working papers and of informal devices like the grapevine will provide adequate information to all concerned. Continuous, clear and meaningful communication provides to every member a clear understanding of the nature and scope of his work as well as that of other persons whose responsibilities are related to him. This aids the executives in coordinating the efforts of the members of their teams.
The two tools of communication for bringing about coordination are – (i) Committees, and (ii) Group Discussions.
According to Ernest Dale, two types of committees can be helpful to coordination – the Executive Committee and Special Committees. The Executive Committee consists of top executives, permanently built into the organisation structure.
This committee, according to Dale – (i) facilitates consultative supervision which contributes to uniformity of direction, (ii) makes possible coordination of long-term and short-term plans, (iii) offers a degree of flexibility in handling emergency situation, and (iv) provides greater opportunities for broader experience to executives thereby making possible a greater interchange of management personnel. Special Committees are set up with narrow and specific jurisdictions and help the executives in the task of coordination.
Group Discussion is the other tool for coordination. It provides opportunities for free and opens exchange of views and interchange of ideas, problems, proposals and solutions. Face-to-face communication enables members to attain improved understanding of company-wide matters and leads to better coordination and unified achievement.
4. Aids to Voluntary Coordination:
Ideally, coordination should take place through voluntary cooperation of the members of an enterprise. Each member should be ready and willing to adapt his work to secure unified action. In other words there is complete cooperation among all the members.
According to Newman, voluntary coordination can be secured by – (i) instilling dominant objectives among the members of the group, (ii) developing generally accepted customs and terms making it easy for people to work with one another, (iii) encouraging informal contacts to supplement formal communication, (iv) providing liaison officers to maintain close contact with various departments, or to work between the headquarters office and branches, and (v) using committees for direct personal contact and informal exchange of ideas and views.
5. Coordination through Personal Guidance:
The supervising executives have a dominant role to play in bringing about coordination of the tasks of their subordinates. They may do this by prodding, in some cases, restraining in others, providing supplementary help in another quarter, or arbitrating sincere difference of opinion among their subordinates. All this will ensure balance and unity in the total results. In the event of the work-load assigned to an executive being found too heavy to enable him to perform these coordinating duties effectively, he may rely upon one or more staff assistants.
Techniques of Coordination – Sound Planning, Simple Organisation, Chain of Command, Effective Communication, Special Coordinators, Sound Leadership
Managers use a variety of techniques for achieving coordination.
The main ones include the following:
1. Sound Planning:
Planning is the ideal stage for coordination. Every member in the organisation must understand fully how his job contributes to the overall objectives. To this end, objectives must be clearly defined. Policies, rules, procedures must be stated in precise terms, so that members are able to ensure uniformity of action. The various plans must be integrated ultimately, paving the way for coordination.
2. Sound and Simple Organisation:
A sound and simple organisation is an essential condition of coordination. The lines of authority and responsibility of each individual must also be spelt out. This helps in avoiding inter-personal conflicts. Related activities must be grouped together and, departments created, carefully. These steps will go a long way in facilitating coordination.
3. Chain of Command:
The chain of command states the relationship between a superior and a subordinate. Exercise of authority through the chain of command or hierarchy is a traditional means of securing coordination.
The various activities are brought under the control of one boss, who has the authority to issue orders, instructions and secure compliance. He can resolve conflicts by exercising his authority. By virtue of his position, a superior is able to resolve differences and achieve coordination.
4. Effective Communication:
Open and regular interchange of information facilitates understanding between individuals and groups among whom coordination is to be achieved. Through effective communication, each and every person understands his scope of activity and limits of functioning.
As a result of such understanding, one can ensure both horizontal as well as vertical coordination. Modern communication systems, such as computers, data-processing equipment, facilitate the flow of communication across various individuals and departments quickly. This helps managers in coordinating various activities, smoothly.
5. Special Coordinators:
In an organisation, where an executive finds little time to solve the problems of coordination, he can hire a specialist for doing this task. Such a person is called ‘special coordinator or independent integrator’. His main task is to collect information regarding problems, analyse the same, list the various options and suggest remedial steps. He can, thus, shape executive thinking and action along desired lines.
6. Sound Leadership:
Leadership is the ability of a manager to induce subordinates to work with zeal and commitment. Effective leadership ensures coordination of efforts, both at the planning and implementation stage.
A good leader puts activities on the right track, and inspires subordinates to pull together for the accomplishment of common objectives. He can persuade them to adjust their behaviour voluntarily, according to the needs of the situation (voluntary or self-coordination).
Through personal contact, he can bring about an atmosphere of mutual trust and cooperation within the organisation. Whenever required, he can offer incentives to members and thereby, reduce conflicts. For instance, profit-sharing is helpful in promoting team-spirit and cooperation between employers and employees.
Techniques of Coordination – Top 16 Techniques or Devices Used by Most Organizations
Most organizations have a wide variety of coordination problems and needs. Hence, a large number of coordination techniques have been developed.
The main techniques or devices of achieving coordination are as follows:
Technique # 1. Direct Supervision:
The oldest method to achieve coordination is to appoint the supervisor. His duty is to see that subordinates are working in harmony with others. He may employ directional methods, provide assistance, teach principles of coordination, and integrate activities to bring coordinated efforts.
Technique # 2. Organization Structure:
Organization is a very important device for achieving coordination. Clear-cut definition of authority, responsibility, and relationships of each department helps to avoid disagreements. Proper allocation of work, organization principles, organization charts and manuals ensure that all the parts work in coordination with one another. It helps to subdivide the total task. Thus, well-defined framework facilitates interactions and integration.
Technique # 3. The Hierarch:
One way to coordinate a number of interdependent units is to place one manager in charge of them. He supervises the two units. Whenever a coordination problem arises, “hierarch,” hears out both sides and uses all the influence and his authority to solve the problem of coordination.
Technique # 4. Personal Contact:
Those who use the personal mode deal directly with the people whose activities are to be coordinated. Managers using this device have direct relationships with peers, subordinates and superiors. They maintain informal and person-to-person contacts. This is perhaps the most effective means of achieving coordination.
Technique # 5. Executive and Staff Meetings:
Where a sufficient number of interdepartmental task problems exists, meetings by line officers can be scheduled. “Impromptu meetings” can also be held to discuss problems as they arise. Staff meetings can provide further help to solve coordination problems. These provide for the interchange of ideas and open discussion with experts.
Ordway Tead remarks, “Coordination is best achieved where the representatives of functional groups are parties to the decision-reaching process.” Dimock suggests that staff meetings can “provide a forum in which friction points or areas of inadequate coordination are brought into the open.” These create a sense of unity and interconnectedness of the work.
Technique # 6. Liaison Men:
Although coordination is the line manager’s responsibility, sometimes special employees are charged with the task of coordination. Liaison men are needed when the number of interactions and volume of information and work is increased. Such persons are variously known as “expediters”, “integrators”, “coordinators”, or more formally, an “internal boundary spanner”.
The liaison man has no formal authority over any department, but acts to facilitate an exchange of information so that coordination can be achieved between interdependent units. Integrators, on the other hand, may have somewhat different role. They provide leadership and directly influence the activities. But to deal with highly uncertain conditions and to coordinate highly heterogeneous activities, a linking manager may be given the formal authority to command action.
Technique # 7. Chain of Command:
Authority itself is a coordinating power. A superior can issue orders and instructions to subordinates. He can solve intergroup conflicts. He brings together the different parts of an organization and obtains a unity of action by his formal power. Chris Argyris opines that this device makes individuals dependent upon and passive towards the leader.
Technique # 8. Committees:
Dale suggests two kinds of committees which may be helpful to coordination. The first is the executive committee. It is permanently built into the organization’s design. It administers policy matters at the top levels. Few ad hoc committees may be appointed from time to time for coordination purposes. They are temporary and have specific objectives. Through pooling of ideas, utilizing the varied skills and by encouraging uniformity and participation, committees can contribute to coordination.
Technique # 9. General Staff:
Knowledgeable specialists and experts also aid in the coordination process by providing advice and assistance to other managers. C.B. Gupta says, “A common staff group serves as the clearing house of information and specialized advice to all the departments in the enterprise.” General staff is a means of achieving horizontal coordination.
Technique # 10. Task Forces:
A task force is a temporary team appointed to resolve a short-term coordination problem involving several work units. It consists of one or more representatives from each of the interacting units. When coordination is achieved, each member returns to his normal duty and the task force is eliminated.
Technique # 11. Teams:
Similar to task forces, a team is composed of members from several departments to resolve problems of a common interest. A team is a permanent group and deals with continuing problems of long-term nature. Team members have a dual responsibility – one to their primary functional unit; the second to the team.
Technique # 12. Plans and Goals:
Plans and goals provide direction for dealing with interdepartmental task problems. Managers and employees can refer to goal statements for guidance. Managers can create a hierarchy of goals which ensures unity of purpose and uniformity.
Technique # 13. Rules and Procedures:
The most simplistic method for achieving coordination is through rules and procedures. Routine coordination problems can be easily handled by policies and standard operating procedures. Rules and procedures provide a basis for standardization of activities and guidance for consistent actions. By following these agreed- upon guidelines, subordinates can take action quickly and independently.
Technique # 14. Coordination Decisions:
Managers can observe ongoing process of work and can make coordination decisions time-to-time. McFarland has rightly remarked, “Managers must inevitable make some decisions for the purpose of coordination. They look particularly for actions or decisions that are out of harmony with one another, for results that point to a lack of coordination effort, for sources of misunderstanding or conflict, and for unnecessary duplication of effort.”
Communication is one of the most effective tools of coordination. Inter-change of ideas and information helps in resolving conflicts and in creating mutual understanding. James Stoner writes, “Communication is the key to effective coordination. Coordination is directly dependent upon the acquisition, transmission, and processing of information.”
Communication includes various means such as procedures, letters, bulletins reports, records, and personal contacts, electronic or mechanical devices to coordinate the activities. McFarland emphasizes that “the understanding necessary for co-ordination requires continuous, clear, and meaningful communication.”
Effective coordination at every level can also be established through leadership. Good leaders, by their personal skill and behaviour, maintain team-spirit and coordinated efforts among the employees. Ordway Tead states that top managers must assert their leadership role and that “without this nothing of coordinative value will occur.”
McFarland writes, “The task of coordination is ‘human action’ task—something that the manager accomplishes by his personal activity and attitude. Thus, it is the duty of a leader to recognize and carry out his responsibilities for coordination.” Luther Gullick has described the use of leadership in coordination as “coordinating by ideas”. Thus, unity of action can be achieved through leadership skill.
Techniques of Co-ordination: Used by Modern Management
The following are the important techniques of co-ordination which are widely used by the modern management:
1. Clearly Defined Goals:
The goals of the organization should be clearly defined and each individual should understand the overall objectives and contribution which his job makes to these objectives.
2. Communication System:
A good communication system in organization contributes effective co-ordination by promoting mutual understanding and cooperation among different groups and individuals in the organization.
3. Co-Ordination by Simplified Organization:
Organization is a very important device of achieving co-ordination. In the modern large scale organizations, there is tendency towards over specialization. It leads to bureaucracy and division in different departments.
So, some benefits of specialization should be sacrificed and such an organizational structure should be developed in which the authority and function of several departments will be clearly defined but interacting. Re-arrangement of department may also be considered to bring about a greater deal of harmony among the various wings of the organization.
4. Harmonized Programmes and Policies:
Excellent opportunities for co-ordination are provided by the process of planning. The plans prepared by different individuals and departments should be checked up for consistency. The management must ensure all plans add up to a united programme.
5. Co-Ordination by Group Meeting:
Group meetings are also effective for achieving a high quality of co-ordination. Such, meeting bring the officials together and provide opportunity for co-ordination.
6. Co-Ordination through Liaison Men:
For external co-ordination it is very important and popular device now-a- days. Mostly large organizations employ liaison officer to maintain relations with government and other outside world.
7. Voluntary Co-Ordination:
Co-ordination by self- co-ordination was supposed by A. Brown and Simon. Co-ordination should not be impose from the above. Ideal co-ordination is the voluntary co-ordination. This can be secured by installing dominant objectives among people, developing generally accepted customs, encouraging informal contracts providing inter-personal and inter-department contacts and using committees for informal exchange of ideas.
Techniques of Co-Ordination: Top 6 Techniques
The following are the six techniques which are adopted in co-ordinating the efforts of different individuals and groups of individuals working for an enterprise to attain a common purpose:
(1) Co-Ordination of Command:
Managerial order is the first stage in co-ordination which is also regarded as an important method of co-ordinating the efforts. A manager keeps an eye over the work and conduct of his sub-ordinates. The work and conduct are regulated, directed, guided and controlled through order either in the form of advice or in the form of do’s and don’ts or in any other suitable form acceptable to the operating staff.
In principle co-ordination by command is good. But modern thinkers do not consider this as a good method since in the technique human relations are pushed to the background which in the long-run may not prove fruitful either for the management or for the enterprise.
(2) Co-Ordination by Personal Leadership:
Co-ordination expects a high class leadership. According to E.F.L. Brech “Co-ordination is a human effort in which the character, temperament and morals of the manager are very important. His personal example may have a lasting effect on his sub-ordinates who may emulate him. If this happens the self-co-ordination attitude may develop among subordinates. Limitations of span of control however, limits the utility of this technique of co-ordination.
(3) Co-Ordination by Communication:
Communication efforts, if effective and properly channelised go a long way in establishing a good system of communication. What is required here is that communication should be complete, properly channelised and fully effective. Circulars, Bulletins, Code of Conduct, Rules and Regulations, Bye-Laws are a few of the communicative documents which are adopted in co-ordinating the efforts in an enterprise.
(4) Co-Ordination by Committees:
Committee form of organisation is on increase these days, with the help of departmental heads and conveners of committee and sub-committees the Chief Executive Co-ordinates the activities of an enterprise. It is easy for him to co-ordinate with the help of committee. It is less consuming and less efforts are involved in co-ordinating the activities according to this technique of co-ordination.
(5) Co-Ordination by Group Meetings:
Where Committee form of organisation is not in existence, co-ordination through group meeting is advantageous. Here also it is easy to co-ordinate. Co-operation usually comes of its own from sub-ordinates who feel elevated when attending a meeting called by the executive.
(6) Co-Ordination by Special Appointee:
For co-ordinating the activities in the enterprise and independent co-ordinators may be appointed. They may be made in-charge of their respective cells and may be asked to look after the coordinating activities. But this is regarded not as a very sound and satisfactory technique of co-ordination.
The co-ordinator appointed to look-after the coordinator activities may have to be made master of all which is neither possible nor various executives would like such an arrangement. The appointed coordination will be then be deprived of the active co-operation of all personnels in the enterprise which undoubtedly is essential for any co-ordinating efforts.
Moreover, the co-ordinator so appointed may not be master of all. All best he can be jack of all. This naturally will not be a good arrangement because the coordinator in such a situation may not be able to do justice to the job to which he is entrusted.
Choice of technique of co-ordination depends on the size, time, purpose and technicalities of the job in an enterprise. There may be a combination of techniques which may be adopted by an enterprise.
Techniques of Coordination – For an Organisation
Division of work is an important factor in organising. But it is equally important to make adequate provision for co-ordination. Common superiors are the main coordinators. Informal consultation helps co-ordination. In a large company, however, we need formal means of co-ordination.
Management can achieve co-ordination by the following means:
Grouping together similar activities must not only ensure co-ordination but also minimise co-ordination problems. Grouping into sections, departments, etc., is an essential step in the process of organising. Co-ordination is the mother principle of organisation theory.
Committees aid co-ordination by pooling resources to solve problems. Committees are useful for coordinating planning and the execution of programmes. They ensure prior consultation and lead to greater acceptance and better execution of decisions. They enable training of younger managers.
They establish personal relationships and promote voluntary co-ordination. They co-ordinate overlapping or conflicting functions. The effort to understand is the beginning of reconciliation. Committees assure this.
(3) Staff Meetings:
A manager can convene staff meetings of his subordinates periodically to promote co-ordination through better and freer interchange of ideas, feelings and opinions. The staff meetings give a sense of unity to the work of the organisation. Subordinates ask questions and can get the needed information. Subordinates can be informed about new problems and developments.
A conference provides a forum of discussion and another method of making a group decision. The freer is the discussion the better the results. Free discussion, better understanding of company problems, face-to-face communication promote co-ordination.
Programmes are instruments of co-ordination. A time table, a production programme, budgets, checklist, schedules, etc., are good tools of co-ordination. Harmonised plans and programmes can assure uniform and synchronised co-ordinated activities.
(6) Methods of Communication:
Well-designed methods of communication considerably help in co-ordinating .activities. Modern means of communication can speed up distribution of accurate information to all interested parties.
(7) Voluntary Co-Ordination:
A wise manager promotes voluntary co-ordination among subordinates by encouraging informal contacts, providing liaison officers (special coordinators) to act as connecting links, developing generally accepted customs and terms, infusing in the minds of subordinates dominant or overpowering objective.
The effectiveness of personal contacts in producing voluntary co-ordination will be increased considerably by following the four guidelines of Mary Parker Follet given above.
(8) Reorganisation of Departments:
Top management may rearrange departments to secure more integrated and orderly group efforts.
(9) Cross-Functioning Among Departments:
Mary Follett suggested cross-functioning among departments at the same level in the organisation (lateral communication). Two managers can get together and resolve the issues without taking them up in the chain of command. This concept is similar to Fayol’s Bridge (Gang plank).
Project management can increase co-ordination for certain kinds of tasks with the help of cross-functional teams and integrating specialists, such as project manager.
(10) Organisational Hierarchy is the most common way of ensuring co-ordination.
(11) Other Co-ordinating Mechanisms are planning techniques, the creation of staff positions, policies, procedures and rules as standing plans for securing co-ordination. Similarly, budgets, also help to provide overall co-ordination and consistency of actions.
Techniques of Co-Ordination – Well-Defined Goals, Simplified Organisation, Proper Communication, Effective Leadership, Proper Supervision and Co-Operation
Every management will try to improve its working through proper co-ordination of work. The aim of every managerial function will be to reach organisational goals and this is facilitated only through co-ordination. The purpose should be to achieve effective co-ordination.
Some of the techniques and for achieving effective co-ordination are discussed as follows:
1. Well-Defined Goals:
The goals of the organisation should be clear and well- defined. Everybody should know the objectives and his contribution towards its achievement. Unity of purpose will be achieved through proper co-ordination.
2. Simplified Organisation:
The organisational structure should clearly define the authority and responsibility of each and every person. This will help in reducing conflicts among persons. Over specialisation of activities also creates problems of co-ordination. There should be well-defined organisational charts, job descriptions, work manuals, etc., for avoiding any type of misunderstanding. Co-ordination will be achieved when there are clear lines of authority and responsibility.
3. Proper Communication:
Effective communication helps in creating proper understanding among persons whose work needs to be co-ordinated. Through communication every individual understands his scope, limitations, his position in the organisation and his relationship with others. Regular communication among various persons helps in resolving conflicts and differences. People can understand the view point of others in the organisation.
4. Effective Leadership:
Effective leadership is essential for better co-ordination. A good leader is able to achieve co- ordination both at planning and execution stages. He brings individual motivation and persuades the group to have identity of interests in total efforts. If a leader is undecided about his tasks then he will not be able to either guide or co- ordinate their activities.
5. Proper Supervision:
Co-ordination can also be facilitated by effective supervision. A supervisor is the person who constantly watches the work of his subordinates. He can adjust the work load, provide guidance to his subordinates if the situation demands; supervisor is an important person in coordinating the work at execution level. He will keep the overall objectives of the organisation. A mind and will direct the work of his subordinates in that direction.
Co-ordination can be achieved through voluntary co-operation of employees. There should be a feeling of mutual help for each other. Cooperation can be brought by keeping mutual help for each other. Co-operation can be brought by keeping harmonious relations among employees. Management should encourage formal and informal communication among employees. There should also be committees to take important decisions. The decisions of committees will be group decisions and everybody will co-operate in implementing them.
Techniques of Coordination – 14 Means and Methods of Coordination
Management can achieve coordination by the following means:
1. Policy and Its Interpretation:
Policy must be clearly formulated and its interpretation clarified and made known to all senior executives. Planning stage is the best time for achieving co-ordination, as conflicts, if any, in the programmes and policies can be removed in the beginning itself.
2. Clear Cut Definition of Authority:
Authority relationships and responsibilities must be defined and limits of authority clearly specified.
3. Formation of Committees:
Committees are useful for coordinating, planning and the execution of programmes. They ensure prior consultation and lead to greater acceptance and better execution of decisions. This device for coordination is usually made available as and when the situation necessitates the need for a committee.
4. Staff Meetings:
A manager must hold periodical staff meetings of his subordinates. Subordinates get their doubts clarified. The free and frank exchange of ideas, feelings and opinions expressed at such meetings are well arcaded to obstacles in the realization of goals set.
A conference is an effective device for co-ordination as it facilitates discussion and group decision. If frank discussion is allowed, there will be better understanding of various issues involved and this face to face clarification promotes co-ordination. According to Fayol, weekly conference of all department managers and the chief executives are absolutely necessary for co-ordination.
Programmes, budgets, schedules, checklist, etc., are good tools of co-ordination. Standing plans and instructions indicate the expected pattern of behaviour required for co-ordinated action.
7. Direct Contact:
Direct contact is a prompt and effective means of co-ordination.
8. Methods of Communication:
Well-designed methods of communication help a good deal in co-ordination activities. Effective communication removes misunderstanding and ensures speedier action. It promotes team work.
9. Cross Functioning among Department:
According to Mary Follett, cross functioning among departments at the same level in the organization will secure coordination. For instance, two managers can sit together, discuss issues and resolve them without taking them up to the higher ups in the chain of command.
10. Effective Leadership:
Leaders across the level should infuse a feeling of collectivism in the employees and force their subordinates to operate as a team. Leaders have to step in and reconcile the conflicting goals and restore equilibrium. A good leader can easily achieve co-ordination.
11. Liason Offices:
Establishment of liason offices may help in achieving coordination among different department. They officers are supposed to be in touch with the heads of the departments and reconcile differences and restore co-ordination. Many large organizations have liason officers to maintain cordial relation between company and outsiders as well as various divisions of the company.
12. Task Forces:
Where liason officers are unable to achieve coordination, task force comprising representatives from various departments can be constituted to achieve co-ordination.
13. Rules, Policies and Procedures:
Rules, policies and procedures are used as guidelines for taking decisions in a consistent manner. It ensures unity of action at every level of management.
14. Clear Cut Chain of Command:
The line of authority should be clearly demarcated. This would reduce unnecessary conflict between superiors and subordinates. Subordinates can understand the authority of superiors and the latter can know the limit of their authority over subordinates. This will minimize differences between the two and aid in achieving co-ordination.
Techniques of Coordination – Used by Supervisors
Supervisors can use a number of techniques to enlist co-ordination.
Some of the techniques of co-ordination are discussed below:
1. Clearly Defined Objectives:
Each and every organisation has its own objectives. These objectives would be clearly defined. Then, the employees of the organisation should understand the objectives of organisation well. Unity of purpose is a must for achieving proper co-ordination.
2. Effective Chain of Command:
In each organisation, the line of authority decides who is responsible and to whom. If the line of authority and responsibility are clearly defined, the superior has proper control over his sub-ordinates. Then, the superior or manager can co-ordinate the efforts of his subordinates by means of his authority. If the line of authority is clearly defined, the superior could decrease the conflicts and get co-ordination.
3. Co-Ordination through Group Meetings:
The common group of problems of an organisation is discussed by the officials in group meetings. Such group meetings help in achieving co-ordination. The group meetings are easily convened. The reason is that there is an obligation on the part of group members to extend their co-ordination.
4. Harmonious Policies and Procedures:
Rules and regulations, procedures and programmes are used as guidelines for taking a decision in a consistent manner. It ensures uniformity in action at every level of management.
5. Effective Communication:
Effective communication promotes mutual understanding and co-operation among the various officials in an organisation. The communication should be direct as far as possible. The direct communication alone avoids any misunderstandings and misinterpretation. Quick communication can facilitate the performance of activities in time. Then there is a possibility of performance of other activities which are to be coordinated.
6. Sound Organisational Structure:
Sound organisational structure integrates the activities of different units and sub-units in an organisation. Besides, horizontal coordination is achieved with the help of sound organisational structure.
7. Co-Ordination through a Liaison Officer:
A person who acts as a link between two persons is called a liaison officer. The external co-ordination is obtained through him. Many large organisations depend on this officer to maintain cordial relations with government and outsiders.
Co-operation is the result of better relations among the employees of the organisation. The sound policies and procedures provide a basis for better relations. Informal contacts are also encouraged to ensure co-ordination through co-operation.
There are different functions in an organisation which are interlinked. So, the arrangement of different departments’ functions are in such way that each department benefits by the functioning of others. Self-co-ordination may be achieved through this process.
10. Co-Ordination by Leadership:
A manager uses his leadership skills to induce the subordinates to co-ordinate willingly. A leader can motivate the subordinates and identify the interests of individuals. These are used to get co-ordination. Many conflicts and unpleasant situations may be avoided with the help of good leadership.
The term ‘incentives’ includes only monetary incentives. They are increments in the scale of pay, bonus, profit sharing and the like. These schemes of incentives promote better team spirit which subsequently ensures better co-ordination.
Techniques of Coordination – Top 10 Techniques Used by Managers
Managers use a variety of techniques to achieve coordination, which is listed below:
1. Effective Communication Network:
Coordination requires an effective network of communication in the organization. Managerial positions are made well-connected through effective channels of communication. Every individual understands his scope of activity and limits of functioning through proper communication. Regular exchange of information facilitates understanding between individuals and groups among whom coordination is to be achieved.
2. Effective Leadership:
Effective leadership ensures coordination of efforts both at the planning and implementation stage. A good leader puts activities on the right track and inspires subordinates for the accomplishment of organizational objectives. A manager uses his leadership skills to induce the subordinates to coordinate willingly. Conflicts and unpleasant situations may be avoided with the help of good leadership.
3. Clearly Defined Objectives:
It is desirable that every department and organizational member understands the organizational objectives. Unity of purpose is a must for achieving proper coordination. The knowledge of clearly defined objectives will result in commonness of purpose. As a result, activities performed in various departments may be unified in the light of these objectives.
4. Effective Chain of Command:
The chain of command states the relationship between a superior and a subordinate. In each organization, the line of authority decides who is responsible and to whom. The superior has proper control over his subordinates if the line of authority is clearly defined. The superior can coordinate the efforts of his subordinates by means of his authority. He can resolve conflicts of subordinates by exercising his authority.
5. Committee System of Management:
Group decision-making is considered as an important device for achieving coordination in the functioning of various departments. A committee is a group of people working together to solve a certain problem. Interdepartmental committees are usually created in an organization to solve common problems on a face-to-face basis. This helps in developing mutual understanding and cooperation ultimately.
6. Simplified Organization:
Organization is a very important device for achieving coordination. Simplified organization facilitates effective coordination. The management can arrange the departments in such a way so as to get better coordination among the departmental heads. The lines of authority and responsibility of each individual member of the organization must also be spelt out clearly. This helps in avoiding interpersonal conflicts. Related activities must be grouped together and departments have to be created carefully in facilitating coordination.
7. Group Meetings and Conferences:
Group meetings are effective for achieving high quality coordination. Group meetings bring the officials together and provide opportunities for coordination. In large organizations, conferences are organized to discuss the problems of different departments which are geographically dispersed. The conference provides a meaningful platform for managers of different departments to sit together and iron out their differences.
8. Harmonized Programmes and Policies:
Standing plans (such as policies, programmes, rules, and methods) are made to guide decision-making and action on the part of the manager. The plans prepared by different individuals and departments should be checked for consistency. Those plans are used for solving routine and repetitive problems faced by different departments. The management must ensure that all plans bring uniformity and consistency in decision-making.
9. Public Relations:
For external communication, liaison with the outside world is very important. Large organizations employ liaison officers to maintain relations with Government and other external interested parties.
10. Hiring Special Coordinator:
Sometimes, a specialist is hired to act as coordinator, especially when executives find little time to solve the problems of coordination. Such a person is called special (or independent) coordinator. His main task is to collect information regarding problems, analyse the same, and suggest remedial steps.