Strategies to deal with dependencies from Resource Dependence Theory

Jason Yip
Sep 28, 2023

Resource dependence theory — Wikipedia

Buffering strategies

  • Pre-processing to enable routing
  • Stockpiling of inputs — raw materials, products, money
  • Levelling or smoothing: reduce fluctuation of inputs and/or outputs by active stimulation of suppliers OR active demand generation (aka advertising)
  • Forecasting: anticipate changes and adapt to them
  • Adjusting scale: downsizing — focusing efforts

Bridging strategies

  • Negotiation
  • Exchange of resources (e.g., via contract)
  • Interlocking directorates / co-optation (e.g., being on each other’s board of directors)
  • Hierarchical contracts (e.g., still getting paid if a subcontractor (aka dependency) doesn’t perform)
  • Joint venture
  • Strategic alliances to pool resources
  • Associations or cartels
  • Vertical merger
  • Horizontal merger
  • Diversification



Jason Yip

Senior Manager Product Engineering at Grainger. Extreme Programming, Agile, Lean guy. Ex-Spotify, ex-ThoughtWorks, ex-CruiseControl