According to Jerry, ‘Co-ordination is the adjustment of the parts of 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”.
A simple and brief definition of co-ordination has been given by Seckler-Hudson as “the all important duty of inter-relating the various parts of the work”. In general, coordination means making arrangements so that all parts of an organisation pull together toward defined goals, without duplication, without gaps and conflicts and on time. An orchestra represents perhaps the nearest perfection of co-ordination.
Co-ordination can be of two types: (a) internal or functional which is concerned with the coordination of the activities of individuals working in an organization; and (b) external or structural which is concerned with co-ordinating the activities of various units of an organisation. Both types of coordination are affected horizontally and perpendicularly.
Horizontally, co-ordination establishes interrelation between one worker and another, between one branch and another, between one section to another between one division or department and another. Perpendicularly, coordination is established between one employee and his officer, between officer and his next superior and so on and between one section and a branch, between a branch and a division and so on.
According to Graves, essential factors in coordination are (i) familiarity with the work of other agencies (ii) informal acquaintance (iii) physical proximity (iv) a specific objective, (v) the desirability of a limited number of participants.
Co-ordination is an administrative activity in which every employee is sometime or the other involved, directly or indirectly. It is basically, a function of general nature though it may be fulfilled by an amateur or a technician while performing a generalist role. In public organisations authority is always commensurate with responsibility.
Coordination involves exercise of powers or authority by higher staff over the lower, and the proper discharge of responsibility by the lower staff. Coordination builds linkages across various levels of organisation thereby affecting functional equilibrium in the organization as a whole.
Mae Farlend suggests four ways of achieving effective co-ordination. These are:
1. Clarifying authority and responsibility:
This will reduce overlapping and duplication of work.
2. Checking and observation:
It is also a control procedure whereby the executive can compare between actual activity and desired activity. Records and reports help the executive to detect the spots where inter-relations of the units are lacking.
3. Facilitating effective communication:
Effective communication processes help in clarifying authority and observing the co-ordination which exists. The effective coordinating devices here are the use of committees and group decision-making techniques.
4. Co-ordination through leadership:
Top Administration must assert its leadership role and without this nothing of coordination value will occur.