Resource Dependency

This perspective contends that organizations can adapt and directly affect their chances of survival. Like population ecology, it focuses its research at the organizational unit level. Earlier work by Zald (1970) and Walmsley and Zald (1973) defined it as the political economy model. Thompson defined some of his related work as the power-dependency model (1967). The most definitive reference is Pfeffer and Salancik (1978).

Resource dependency is an open-system theory that states that all organizations exchange resources with the environment as a condition for survival (Scott p. 114). "The need to acquire resources creates dependencies betwen organizations and external units" (p. 114), which ultimately can cause political problems that require political solutions.

In this perspective, organizations have choice over their own fate. Managers try to acquire resources without creating difficult dependencies.