Difference between Coordination and Cooperation

Co-ordination and co-operation — the two should not be confused because the two terms denote quite different meanings. Co-operation refers to the collective efforts of people who associate voluntarily to achieve specified objectives. It indicates merely the willingness of individuals to help each other. It is the result of a voluntary attitude of a group of people. Co-ordination is much more inclusive, requiring more than the desire and willingness to co-operate of the participants. It involves a deliberate and conscious effort to bring together the activities of the various individuals in order to provide unity of action. It requires concurrence of purpose, harmony of effort and concerted action. It is much more than mere reconciliation of differences or avoidance of friction.

Co-operation provides the foundation for co-ordination by enlisting voluntary efforts which facilitate co-ordination, but by itself it cannot guarantee co-ordination. Co-ordination does not arise automatically from the voluntary efforts of the manager. For instance, a group of six persons who attempt to move a heavy object are willing and eager to co-operate with one another. They are fully aware of their common purpose and are trying their best to move the object, but they cannot be successful in their attempt unless one of them co-ordinates their efforts. He must give proper directions to all members of the group to apply the right amount of effort, at the right place and at the right time. Co-operation is a necessary, but not a sufficient condition of co-ordination.

Difference between co-ordination and co-operation:

Difference between co-ordination and co-operation are given below.

  • Status — co-ordination is the essence of management and it is vital for the success of all managerial functions. Co-operation, on the other hand, does not enjoy the status of the essence of management. Co-operation is no doubt essential for successful co-ordination, but it is more of a personal attitude rather than organisational.
  • Nature of work — in the organisation, the nature of work is such that it needs to be divided and then integrated. Co-ordination of all interdependent activities is utmost necessary, but co-operation does not arise out of any limitations of organisation structure. The individuals may learn to co-operate with each other even though their activities may not be related.
  • Deliberate — co-ordination requires deliberate and intentional efforts of a manager. On the other hand, co-operation is voluntary. In other words, co-ordination is a contrived process, whereas co-operation is a natural process.
  • Scope — co-ordination is broader in scope than co-operation. It includes both co-operation and deliberate efforts to maintain unity of action and purpose.

According to McFarland, “co-ordination is a far more inclusive term embracing the idea of co-operation. Co-operation, that is mere willingness of individuals to help each other, cannot serve as a satisfactory substitute for co-ordination. Co-operation is for most part the result of voluntary attitudes on the part of people in an organisation. Co-ordination, on the other hand, cannot be voluntarily produced by a number of co-operating persons. Co-ordination is a state of affairs which an executive brings about through deliberate action on his part.” Thus, co-ordination is much more than co-operation. Co-ordination is the epitome of all managerial functions while co-operation is an attitude of an individual or group. Need for co-ordination arises due to limitations of formal organisation structure, but co-operation is necessary even in case of non-interdependent activities. Thus, co-ordination is a broader concept than co-operation, but to be effective an organisation requires both. Co-operation will be ineffective in the absence of co-ordination just as co-ordination is not possible without co-operation.

Read More: Coordination in Business Management

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