The basic proposition of resource dependence theory is the need for environmental linkages between the firm and outside resources. In this perspective, directors serve to connect the firm with external factors by co-opting the resources needed to survive. This means that boards of directors are an important mechanism for absorbing critical elements of environmental uncertainty into the firm. Environmental linkages could reduce transaction costs associated with environmental interdependency. The organization’s need to require resources leads to the development of exchange relationships between organizations. Further, the uneven distribution of needed resources results in inter-dependent organizational relationships. Several factors would appear to intensify the character of this dependence, e.g. the importance of the resource(s), the relative shortage of the resource(s) and the extent to which the resource(s) is concentrated in the environment .
In this context, many of the resources are directly and indirectly controlled by the government. Hence, appointing directors that have influence and access to key policy-makers and government is seen as an important strategy for survival because of their knowledge and prestige in their professions and communities, firms are able to extract useful resources. This could enhance the firm's legitimacy in society and to help it achieve their goals and improve performance. Through the resource dependence role, directors may also bring resources such as specialized skills and expertise. This concept has important implications for the role of the board and its structure, which in turn affects performance. In summary, resource dependence theory provides a convincing justification for the creation of linkages between the firm and its external environment through boards as firms that create linkages could improve their survival and performance.