Knowledge dependence theory: External knowledge, uncertainty, and organizations



Pursuing new technologies requires significant learning, research, and development, often predicated on obtaining knowledge from external sources. External knowledge, in turn, is a critical resource that influences organizational actions and serves as an important base for competitive advantage. However, acquiring external knowledge also leads to greater levels of dependence on the external environment. While research has generally considered the implications of resource dependence, we propose a new theoretical framework to consider the unique dimensions of knowledge and the implications of knowledge dependence. Based on our theorizing, we propose a future research agenda to advance our understanding of knowledge dependence and the resulting uncertainty.