Successful joint actions require precise temporal and spatial coordination between individuals who aim to achieve a common goal. A growing number of behavioral data suggest that to efficiently couple and coordinate a joint task, the actors have to represent both own and the partner’s actions. However it is unclear how the motor system is specifically recruited for joint actions. To find out how the goal and the presence of the partner’s hand can impact the motor activity during joint action, we assessed the functional state of 16 participants’ motor cortex during observation and associated motor imagery of joint actions, individual actions, and non-goal-directed actions performed with either 1 or 2 hands. As an indicator of the functional state of the motor cortex, we used the reactivity of the rolandic magnetoencephalographic (MEG) beta rhythm following median-nerve stimulation. Motor imagery combined with action observation was associated with activation of the observer’s motor cortex, mainly in the hemisphere contralateral to the viewed (and at the same time imagined) hand actions. The motor-cortex involvement was enhanced when the goal of the actions was visible but also, in the ipsilateral hemisphere, when the partner’s hand was visible in the display. During joint action, the partner’s action, in addition to the participant’s own action, thus seems to be represented in the motor cortex so that it can be triggered by the mere presence of an acting hand in the peripersonal space.