Lessons from Resource Dependence Theory for Contemporary Public and Nonprofit Management

Deanna Malatesta, Craig R. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

151 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-25
Number of pages12
JournalPublic Administration Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


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