The resource dependence perspective developed a framework to explain why organizations are often forced to establish linkages with other organizations in their environment. As resources become scarce, managers must expand the number of suppliers and receivers of goods in order to maintain stable operations and profits. However, these linkages place constraints on the decisions managers can make to guide the organization toward specific goals. That is, as the organization's activities become dependent on other organizations, there are fewer opportunities to guide the organization in different and novel directions.
Thus, solving the problem of scarce resources can cause a loss of organizational power. The success or failure of the organization becomes more dependent on the decisions and behaviors of the other organizations in the linkage. For instance, a firm that relies heavily on borrowing funds from a bank may include the bank president on its board of directors to promote favorable access to funds. However, the bank president may vote against decisions of the firm that run counter to the interests of the bank (e.g., the firm's decision to issue bonds to raise capital).
The resource dependence perspective is expanded to explain how dependence on organizational environments affects the fortunes of managers as they move up the career ladder. With changes in the environment, in terms of either resource distribution or organizational interdependence, the probability that managers will lose their jobs increases.In line with the contingency approach, environmental changes produce new situations, and new situations may require managers who are better able to adapt.