In their seminal publication, The External Control of Organizations, Pfeffer and Salancik (1978) have postulated resource dependence theory. Basically, it argues “that organizations are constrained and affected by their environments and that they act to attempt to manage resource dependencies” by setting up different forms of interorganizational arrangements. However, the original theory has sometimes been criticized for empirical and conceptual shortcomings, e.g., for combining the dimensions of power imbalance and mutual dependence in the single construct of interdependence, making theory testing challenging. In their article, Synthesizing and Extending Resource Dependence Theory: A Meta-Analysis, recently published in the Journal of Management, Drees and Heugens (2013) “consolidate 157 tests of [resource dependence theory] and corroborate its main predictions”. They show that the theory is, indeed, “a premier perspective for understanding organizational–environmental relations”. Given that a supply chain is a hybrid of one’s own organization and its environment, this result might encourage new research in our field.
Drees, J.M., & Heugens, P.P.M.A.R. (2013). Synthesizing and Extending Resource Dependence Theory: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Management, 39 (6), 1666-1698 DOI: 10.1177/0149206312471391
As part of the Kühne Foundation’s certificate program on humanitarian logistics, I have, again, been teaching logistics and supply chain management modules in East Africa during the last couple of weeks. This year, the program was held at the University of Dar es Salaam and the National Institute of Transport in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, as well as at Makerere University Business School in Kampala, Uganda. A new report, recently published by the World Food Programme (WFP), gives a good real-life overview of humanitarian logistics. Particularly, it demonstrates how WFP (1) deliver goods, how they (2) assist the humanitarian community, (3) innovate supply chain management, (4) develop capacity, and (5) partner with other organizations. WFP’s logistics strategy, “Driving the Supply Chain”, includes four priority areas: Emergency Preparedness and Response, Controls and Risk Reduction, External Service Provision, and Food Assistance Initiatives. It becomes apparent that humanitarian and commercial supply chains are highly interlinked and can learn from each other.