RC Survey

Tony Suchman and Jody Hoffer Gittell

The Relational Coordination Survey is a seven-question instrument based on the theory of relational coordination. Relational coordination is measured by surveying participants in a particular work process about their communication and relationships with other participants in that work process. Because coordination is the management of interdependencies between tasks, and because people are typically assigned to tasks through their roles, relational coordination is typically measured between roles rather than between unique individuals. 

RC Survey is a tool that enables organizations to understand where relationships are strongest and weakest amongst functional groups in a focal work process and can serve as one of the first diagnostic steps in improving performance or as a way to evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention.

To gain insight into the measurement and analysis of relational coordination, read our Research Guidelines (available to RCRC partners).

A Brief History of the RC Survey

RCRC founder Jody Hoffer Gittell has spent the past two decades developing, validating, testing, and refining the relational coordination metric, increasingly joined by colleagues from around the US and beyond. The RC Survey was first developed in 1994 in the context of flight departures. It has been validated for use in flight departures (the original six-item measure), then in healthcare (including "accurate communication" to become a seven-item measure). Using the same seven items, the survey has been used to assess cross-functional coordination as well as cross-organizational coordination and has been used to assess coordination among workers as well as coordination between workers and customers. An alternative shorter measure (with 4 items only) was developed and validated in long-term care.  

Brandeis University spin-off Relational Coordination Analytics, located in Canton, Massachusetts, has built additional capabilities into the RC Survey, including more sophisticated data visualization, the inclusion of the client/patient in the coordination network, cross-site benchmarking and more while remaining closely linked to the RCRC and its mission. 

...this tool provides results that open up a dialogue for clients to self-assess their performance, discover specific areas for change, and begin to develop solutions unique to their particular needs and circumstances.