Resource Dependence Theory



This chapter aims to make resource dependence theory (RDT) more accessible for scholars of international organizations. It first outlines RDT’s origins and evolution, introduces its core assumptions, and discusses the theory’s shortcomings. RDT is currently experiencing a phase of theory revival, refinement, and empirical application. Secondly the chapter explores whether RDT can be applied to international organizations and considers works by International Relations (IR) scholars who have employed a resource dependence perspective. Increasing empirical evidence indicates that RDT has the potential to improve our understanding of cooperation among international organizations. Open questions remain about RDT’s scope and its compatibility with other organizational and IR theories. The chapter concludes by suggesting several avenues for future research.


External Resource Resource Dependence Social Exchange Theory Resource Dependence Theory International Relation 
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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Friedrich Schiller UniversityJenaGermany
  2. 2.New York University Abu DhabiAbu DhabiUnited Arab Emirates

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