Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952613 | Print ISBN: 9781412905794 | Online ISBN: 9781412952613| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Resource Dependency Theory
Matthew E. Archibald
Resource dependency theory is based on the principle that an organization must engage in transactions with other actors and organizations in its environment in order to acquire resources. While transactions between organizational and environmental actors are advantageous, they also create dependencies that are not. The focus of the theory is on the relationship between resource acquisition and its related organizational behaviors. Resources the organization needs may be scarce, not always readily obtainable, or under the control of noncooperative actors. The resulting unequal exchange generates differences in power, authority, and access to further resources. This leads to a rise in dependencies. To avoid dependencies, organizations develop strategies (as well as internal structures) that will enhance their bargaining position in resourcerelated transactions. Such strategies include taking political action, increasing the scale of organizational operations, diversification, and developing interorganizational linkages. Strategies, like diversifying product lines, lessen an organization's dependence on other actors and ...