A general scheme for theoretical treatment of organometallic reactivity is proposed. It is based upon the notion that the reactivity of a molecule is strongly affected by its coordination to metal-containing fragments. Based upon this idea we describe the large-scale organometallic reactions as reactions of the ligands in the coordination spheres of transition metal complexes. We propose here a quantum mechanical framework for analysis of effects of coordination on the reactivity and give several examples of qualitative energy profiles for reactions in the ligand spheres of transition metal complexes. © 1996 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.