We argue that organizations often fail to organize effectively because individuals have lay theories about organizing that lead to coordination neglect. We unpack the notion of coordination neglect and describe specific cognitive phenomena that underlie it. To solve the coordination problem, organizations must divide a task and then integrate the components. Individuals display shortcomings that may create problems at both stages. First, lay theories often focus more on division of labor than on integration. We discuss evidence that individuals display partition focus (i.e. they focus on partitioning the task more than on integration) and component focus (i.e. they tend to focus on single components of a tightly interrelated set of capabilities, particularly by investing to create highly specialized components). Second, when individuals attempt to integrate components of a task, they often fail to use a key mechanism for integration: ongoing communication. Individuals exhibit inadequate communication because the ‘curse of knowledge’ makes it difficult to take the perspective of another and communicate effectively. More importantly, because specialists find it especially difficult to communicate with specialists in other areas, the general problem of communication will often be compounded by insufficient translation.