In organisation theory, coordination has been described in the context of intra-organisational interdependencies. In this context, situations of interdependence have to be identified and appropriate coordinating devices have to be applied in order to meet the requirements.
According to James D. Thompson, there are three types of interdependencies in an organisation; such as pooled inter dependence, sequential interdependence and reciprocal interdependence. In the context of administration, pooled interdependence exists in an organisation having a number of branches/departments. Batch one of that is fairly autonomous and yet the total organisation depends for its success on the overall performance of the constituent units.
The sequential interdependence is a situation where the units are so organised that the output of one unit is the input for the second. Here, the second unit cannot function unless the first unit has produced its output and passed it on to the second unit. The reciprocal interdependence exists in a situation where the output of each unit becomes input for the others.
Thompson has suggested important coordinating devices to match the situation. The ‘standardisation’ involves framing of explicit rules to properly guide the action of interdependent units; such type of coordination is suitable for relatively stable and repetitive situations. The coordination by plan involves regulation of interdependence through the establishment of schedules, which are prepared in advance.
This type of coordination is appropriate in more dynamic situations where the organisational task is of a changing nature. ‘Coordination by mutual adjustment’ includes transmission of information and communication in the course of action, which proves useful in more variable and unpredictable situations. In addition, formal leadership, committees and staff units also contribute in achieving coordination.
In the hierarchical pattern, superior officer at – particular level acts as a coordinator. The use of various committees is a universal organisational feature in the government organisations. There are permanent standing committees for instance, in the Municipal Corporation, which enjoy) statutory powers to deal with specific functions such as financial administration, public work and education.
Special or ad- hoc committees are set-up from time to time to cope with the specific situations and problems. The committee composition often reflects the need for access to data and information that would be used in decision-making and the members of other departments and organisations are taken and the representatives of public are co-opted to facilitate the coordination.
Last but not the least; specific staff units are created to facilitate coordination. The computer centre is also a useful coordinating device in a complex large-scale organisation.