Sustainable working capital management : A case study of five successful firms

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Företagsekonomiska institutionen; Uppsala universitet/Företagsekonomiska institutionen


With the financial crisis, many firms suffered from liquidity shortages and needed to quickly change their way of working to release capital from the operations. Scholars argue that firms should handle immediate crisis with short-term measures first, and then change the underlying organizational routines to prevent recurrence. The management of working capital has received increased attention amongst corporate managers as a result of the crisis, whereby it is interesting to understand how firms can reduce their working capital in a sustainable way. By using the problem-finding and problem-solving approach, this study explores how successful firms have found and solved problems to make them sustainable. To answer the research question a multiple-case study is performed, where five firms are explored through interviews with key respondents. The study indicates that urgency is the main driver for both introducing and increasing the focus on working capital management. Different strategies for obtaining sustainable working capital management are found, where focus and commitment from the top management is suggested to be the glue that makes it last. It is furthermore suggested that managers have two main tools for creating and sustaining desired routines and practices; communication and control.

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