What is Relational Coordination?
Relational coordination is a mutually reinforcing process of interaction between communication and relationships carried out for the purpose of task integration. More simply, relational coordination is coordinating work through relationships of shared goals, shared knowledge and mutual respect, supported by frequent, timely, accurate, problem-solving communication. Together, these communication and relational dynamics provide the basis for coordinated collective action under conditions of task interdependence, uncertainty, and time constraints.
Relational coordination is also a validated tool for measuring and analyzing the communication and relationships networks through which work is coordinated across functional and organizational boundaries. This tool can capture coordination among frontline workers (relational coordination), between frontline workers and clients (relational coproduction), and between frontline workers and their leaders (relational leadership).
Prior research has established, in a wide array of industry contexts including healthcare, that the design of organizational structures influences the strength of relational coordination, and that relational coordination in turn predicts quality and efficiency performance as well as client and worker satisfaction.
New Directions for Relational Coordination Theory (in Oxford Handbook of Positive Organizational Scholarship)