Lessons from Resource Dependence Theory for Contemporary Public and Nonprofit Management



The fiscal landscape continues to challenge public and nonprofit managers. Against this backdrop, public and nonprofit managers look for new strategies to address the challenges associated with limited resources. Resource dependence theory provides valuable guidance for managers who want to understand the considerations and consequences relevant to different types of interorganizational partnering. In this article, the theory's core ideas are described, along with three common strategies or tactics that organizations use to obtain critical resources from the environment: merging, forming alliances, and co-opting. For each strategy, the authors derive a set of practical lessons for busy public and nonprofit managers.