Difference Between Coordination and Cooperation

Business organizations use “Coordination” and “Cooperation” frequently, which are the two common phrases used to describe ‘the way people work together.’


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These are the terms often interchanged by people as these definitions contradict or overlap in nature. Therefore, people tend to misplace words with different meanings altogether, leading to confusion and communication gaps.

Key Takeaways

  1. Coordination is organizing and synchronizing the efforts of individuals or groups to achieve a common goal.
  2. Cooperation is the process of working together with others for a common goal.
  3. Coordination is focused on ensuring that everyone is working in sync, while cooperation is focused on sharing resources and working together.

Coordination vs Cooperation

Coordination refers to the process of organizing and integrating various activities, tasks, or resources to achieve a specific objective. Coordination involves organizing and integrating different activities, while cooperation involves the willingness of individuals or groups to work together.

Coordination vs Cooperation

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The main attributes to draw a line between coordination and cooperation include connection, communication, goals, resources, power, commitment, collaboration, co-exist, and accountability.

On the other hand, cooperation is a discretionary action of individuals to work collectively for a mutual profit. It requires joint efforts of all the organisation’s members to achieve a defined target. 

Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonCoordinationCooperation
Definition It is an orderly arrangement of combined elements at the management level to attain common goals by maintaining harmony and ensuring the smooth functioning of the assigned work sets.  It is described as a voluntary effort of individuals who work together or adhere to the standards to accomplish organisational goals. 
ProcessContrived; It is a system incorporated deliberately by the organisation’s managers. It is a part of the management process. Voluntary; It is an action that arises due to already shared informal relations.
NeedIt is required for the achievement of the goals within an organization. It arises from the sheer desire for one’s informal relations and aching to work together. 
ScopeWider scopeNarrow scope
ActivityPerformed only at the top levels of management within an organization for a long period. Performed at every level within an organization for a short period as it involves voluntary actions. 

What is Coordination?

Coordination is principally the combined effort required and bought about to gain fruition. Coordination is possible for both individuals and amongst a group of people.

In individuals, a great example would be human motoric coordination. It is a deliberate combination of body movements and perfectly synchronized actions to finish a task. For instance, when you coordinate your leg movements simultaneously to run in a race. 

In addition to group coordination, which is a separate entity for goal achievements, its faster efficiency makes them achieve than they would otherwise.

The management employs coordination for operations, including human resources, production, purchase, sales, marketing, and finance. It acts as a loop for all the implemented activities by the organization, i.e., planning, controlling, staffing, directing, organizing, and leading. 

Also, it ensures that all the organisation’s departments work in sync. It reflects the “unity of action” among the employees and groups.

Through coordination, each employee can achieve objectives efficiently and maintain harmony.

Coordination implies synchronization amongst the various departments and caters to reducing conflict. Hence, it is crucial to have synchronization between the departments and their work, as lacking coordination results in chaos. 


What is Cooperation?

Cooperation involves a voluntary effort of two or more people who will work or act together for a shared mission or profit. It is voluntary and not forced as they enjoy doing it together for benefits. 

For instance, participating in a sports competition involves participants who voluntarily agree to the rules and regulations of the games and act together to obtain who is the best team. It is a social arrangement of people working together for mutual benefits. 

Understanding and communication between the two entities are essential as they work together long-term. Communication here requires both the sender and the receiver to be aware and obtain the information that includes who is assigned what work and how they will do it. 

Merely as synchronization is attached to coordination, cooperation is inseparable from communication. The benefits of cooperative learning and social groups serve higher self-esteem, confidence, achievement rates and build positive relationships.

In the workplace, cooperation provides a healthy working atmosphere that enables employees to work side by side to achieve individual and organizational objectives.

Corporate cooperation reflects the proverb, ‘united we stand, divided we fall,’ as it provides a win-win situation leading to mutual accomplishment and organizational growth.


Main Differences Between Coordination and Cooperation

  1. Cooperation is when one person hands you a brick, and you lay the brick. At the same time, coordination is when the coordinator commands you to pick up the brick. It is a challenge between voluntary versus involuntary action. 
  2. The etymology of “coordination” is derived from the Middle French and Late Latin word “coordinationem,” a noun which means the process of coordinating. On the other hand, the etymology of “cooperation” is derived from Late Latin “cooperationem,” i.e., nominative for “cooperatio,” a noun which means “work together towards the same end.” 
  3. Coordination is a planned process in an organization and is monitored thoroughly. On the contrary, cooperation is an involuntary process that occurs spontaneously out of mutual respect. 
  4. Communication plays a pivotal role in both these terms. In contrast, coordination involves open communication between group members instead of cooperation, which involves tactic communication. 
Difference Between Coordination and Cooperation
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