New Directions for Relational Coordination Theory

Jody Hoffer Gittell

in The Oxford Handbook of Positive Organizational Scholarship

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199734610
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 New Directions for Relational Coordination Theory

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Relational coordination theory makes visible the relational process underlying the technical process of coordination, arguing that coordination encompasses not only the management of interdependence between tasks but also between the people who perform those tasks. This chapter introduces relational coordination theory, then proposes five potential directions for its further development, each of which deepens the contribution of the theory to positive organizational scholarship. The first proposed direction is to develop the social psychological foundations of relational coordination theory, placing it more firmly into the context of relational theory. The second is to extend relational coordination theory from its focus on role relationships to include personal relationships and to explore the interplay between them. Third is to broaden relational coordination networks beyond the core workers who have typically been considered, to include multiple other participants: so-called noncore workers, the customer herself, and participants outside the focal organization who are involved in the same value chain. Fourth is to extend the theorized outcomes of relational coordination beyond outcomes for the organization and its customers to include outcomes for workers as well. The fifth proposed direction is to go beyond the linear model of organizational change implicit in relational coordination theory toward a more dynamic and iterative model of change. These new directions will be previewed briefly in anticipation of their future development.

Keywords: Relationships; communication; coordination; relational coordination

Article.  7832 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Organizational Psychology ; Social Psychology

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