How the Interdependencies in Work Activities Impact on Operational Planning and Implementation

There are three main types of interdependences in an organisational structure: pooled, sequential and reciprocal (shared). 

Pooled interdependence is defined as two or more entities being mutually dependent on each other. Such examples may include sharing knowledge and expertise as part of a team, or working with a co-worker to complete a specific project. This interdependence can impact operational planning by ensuring that the right people with the relevant skillsets are placed together. In contrast, the operational plan can be detrimentally affected if the wrong people are placed together. 

Sequential interdependence occurs when one unit in the overall process produces an output necessary for the performance by the next unit.7 An example of such an interdependence is a car assembly line, where it is vital that the previous part of a vehicles assembly has been carried out before the next can commence. Operational planning in this exampling would need to ensure that the correct procedures have been put in place to ensure that the production can be carried out without delays. Are there enough parts in stock in the warehouse? Can the supplier keep up with demand? Are the correct tools in place to allow assembly to take place unhindered and on time? Failure to consider these basic requirements in the operation plan could result in delays in manufacturing and orders now being delivered on time. 

Reciprocal interdependence is similar to sequential interdependence in that the output of one department becomes the input of another, with the addition of being cyclical.8 It can be thought of as a chain where constant interaction is required. This can be particularly the case in R&D organisations where one area of the business is reliant on others sharing information, and equally an area of the business can be adversely affected if the operational plan is not adhered to and rules or systems change without prior discussion. In this case, the chain can be broken. If a football team fail to constantly interact with each other, they lose control of the ball. 

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