Skip to content

Understanding Coordination Loss Psychology: The Key to Better Teamwork Performance

Understanding Coordination Loss Psychology: The Key to Better Teamwork Performance

Have you ever experienced working with a team that failed to deliver? Perhaps, you were part of a project that started so well, but eventually fizzled out due to a lack of coordination among the members. This phenomenon is what psychologists call coordination loss, and it can happen to any group, no matter how diverse or experienced they may be.

Coordination loss is a complex concept that can be tough to detect if you are not trained to do so. It happens when team members fail to work together efficiently, resulting in suboptimal performance, missed deadlines, or a complete project breakdown. Worse, coordination loss can also lead to a decline in team morale, causing a ripple effect that can impact individual members’ performance and overall organizational success.

The Causes of Coordination Loss

Various factors can contribute to coordination loss in teams. Poor communication, unclear goals, lack of trust, and inadequate leadership are some of the most common culprits. For instance, if team members fail to communicate their ideas and progress regularly, it can result in misunderstandings and discrepancies in performance levels. Ineffective leadership, on the other hand, can lead to a lack of accountability and motivation, resulting in low morale among team members.

Another critical factor that contributes to coordination loss is task interdependence. Task interdependence refers to the degree to which team members depend on one another to complete their tasks successfully. If task interdependence is high, meaning that each team member’s performance affects the overall project outcome, there is a higher probability of coordination loss.

The Impact of Coordination Loss on Team Performance

Coordination loss can significantly impact team performance. Apart from the missed deadlines and suboptimal results, coordination loss can also lead to team members feeling frustrated and demotivated. This, in turn, can impact individual team members’ performance, leading to a vicious cycle of poor performance.

Moreover, coordination loss can also impact team cohesion and effectiveness. A study on the relationship between teamwork processes and team performance found that effective communication, coordination, and cooperation are essential for successful team performance. When any of these processes fail, it can lead to coordination loss, which can impact the overall cohesion and effectiveness of the team.

Strategies for Reducing Coordination Loss

Reducing coordination loss requires a combination of strategies that address the root cause of the problem. Here are some practical strategies that can help teams reduce coordination loss:

Improve Communication

The first step in improving coordination is to improve communication. Encourage team members to communicate more often and openly, share their progress and struggles, and ask for feedback. A team that communicates well can quickly detect any coordination loss and address it before it gets out of hand.

Set Clear Goals and Expectations

Unclear goals and expectations can contribute to coordination loss. To avoid this, set clear and realistic goals for the team that align with organizational objectives. Ensure that team members understand their roles and responsibilities and what is expected of them.

Foster a Culture of Trust

Trust is essential for effective teamwork. It fosters healthy collaboration and communication while reducing conflicts and misunderstandings. Encourage team members to trust each other, recognize and value each other’s contributions, and take responsibility for their actions.

Provide Adequate Leadership

Effective leadership is critical for reducing coordination loss. Leaders should provide clear guidance, set expectations, and empower team members to make decisions and take ownership of the project. Leaders should also be available to provide support and guidance when necessary.


Coordination loss is a critical issue that can impact team performance. While it may seem elusive and hard to detect, it is crucial to address it before it leads to poor results, low morale, and team breakdown. By following the strategies outlined in this article, teams can reduce coordination loss and improve their overall performance. Remember, effective coordination starts with effective communication, trust, and leadership.