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Coordination, the process of interaction that integrates a collective set of interdependent tasks, is a central purpose of organizations. In this review we begin by discussing the origins of interest in coordination, tracing some of the classic perspectives. We present a review of recent literature on coordination in organizations arranged according to the mechanisms that help achieve it. We then go beyond this review to provide a framework to understand what different coordination mechanisms and activities accomplish. We propose that coordination mechanisms (such as routines, meetings, plans, and schedules) impact the work of organizations by creating three integrative conditions for coordinated activity: accountability, predictability, and common understanding. We end by examining the implications of such a perspective for future research on coordination in organizations.
- © 2009 Academy of Management