Although Henri Fayol, James Mooney, Ordway Tead, Lyndall F. Urwick, Luther Gullick and Louis A. Allen, all consider co-ordination as a separate function of management, it seems more accurate to treat co-ordination as the essence of managing because the achievement of harmony of individual efforts towards the accomplishment of group goals is the very purpose of management. Co-ordination is inherent in all managerial functions. Each of the managerial functions is an exercise in co-ordination. A manager achieves co-ordination through the management process and co-ordination is the outcome of managerial functions. In fact, co-ordination makes planning more purposeful, organisation better-knit and control more regulative, it is the key to the process of management. Co-ordination is the result of the process of management.
Meaning and definition of co-ordination:
Co-ordination implies an orderly pattern or arrangement of group efforts to ensure unity of action in pursuit of common objectives. It involves and orderly synchronisation of the efforts of individual components of an enterprise to provide the proper timing, amount, quality, place and sequence of efforts so that the stated objectives may be achieved with minimum of friction. Co-ordination requires unification of diverse and specialised activities. It is the task of blending the activities of individual and group efforts in order to maximise contribution towards the accomplishment of common goals.
According to Henri Fayol, “To co-ordinate is to harmonise all the activities of a concern so as to facilitate its working and its success. In a well-co-ordinated enterprise, each department or division works in harmony with others and is fully informed of its role in the organisation. The working schedules of the various departments are constantly attuned to circumstances.” The purpose of co-ordination is to secure harmony of action or team-work and concurrence of purpose.
In the words of Haimann, “Co-ordination is the orderly synchronisation of efforts of the subordinates to provide the proper amount, timing and quality of execution so that their unified efforts lead to the stated objective, namely the common purpose of the enterprise.” Mooney and Reiley have defined co-ordination as “the arrangement of group effort, to provide unity of action in the pursuit of a common purpose.”
Nature and characteristics of co-ordination:
The fore-going reveals the following features of co-ordination;
- Co-ordination is not a distinct function, but the very essence of management. It is inherent in the managerial job.
- Co-ordination is the basic responsibility of management and it can be achieved through managerial functions. No manager can evade or avoid this responsibility.
- Co-ordination does not arise spontaneously or by force. It is the result of conscious and concerted action by management.
- The heart of co-ordination is the unity of purpose which involves fixing the time and manner of performing various activities.
- Co-ordination is a continuous or on-going process. It is also a dynamic process.
- Co-ordination is required in group efforts not in individual effort. It involves the orderly pattern of group efforts. There is no need for co-ordination when an individual works in isolation without affecting anyone’s functioning.
- Co-ordination is the responsibility of each and every manager.
- Co-ordination has a common purpose of getting organisational objectives accomplished.
According to Allen, “A manager in managing must co-ordinate the work for which he is accountable by balancing, timing and integrating.” Thus, balancing, timing and integrating are the three elements of co-ordination. Balancing is ensuring that enough of one thing is available to support or counterbalance the other. It implies creating a balance between the resources of different departments and individuals. Timing means adjusting the time schedules of different activities so that they support and reinforce each other. Integrating involves unification of the diverse interests under the common purpose.
Need and importance of co-ordination:
Co-ordination offers the following advantages.
- Efficiency and effectiveness: Co-ordination helps to improve the efficiency of operations by avoiding the overlapping of efforts and duplication of work. Integration of individual efforts leads to teamwork. Co-ordination makes a productive enterprise out of diverse activities and produces the total result which is greater than the sum of individual contributions. This is called synergy. The quality of co-ordination determines the effectiveness of organised efforts. Therefore, co-ordination is known as the first principle of organisation.
- Unity of direction: Co-ordination helps to ensure unity of action in the face of disruptive forces and by welding different work groups it facilitates the stability and growth of an organisation. It provides unity of action and helps to avoid conflicts between line and staff elements.
- Human relations: Co-ordination helps to improve team spirit and morale of employees. In a well-co-ordinated organisation, organisational goals and personal goals of people are reconciled and as a result employees derive a sense of security and job satisfaction.
- Quintessence of management: Co-ordination is an all-inclusive concept and the end result of management process. According to Mary Parker Follett, “The first test of effective administration should be whether you have a business with all its parts so co-ordinated, so moving together in their closely knit and adjusting activities, so interlocking that they make a working unit that is not a congenis of separate pieces, but a functional whole or integrated unit.” Thus, co-ordination helps in the accomplishment of organisational goals.