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Working capital management: a literature review and research agenda

Harsh Pratap Singh (Department of Management Studies, Malaviya National Institute of Technology, Jaipur, India)
Satish Kumar (Department of Management Studies, Malaviya National Institute of Technology, Jaipur, India)

Qualitative Research in Financial Markets

ISSN: 1755-4179

Article publication date: 29 July 2014



The purpose of this paper is to review research on working capital management (WCM) and to identify gaps in the current body of knowledge, which justify future research directions. WCM has attracted serious research attention in the recent past, especially after the financial crisis of 2008.


Using systematic literature review (SLR) method, the present study reviews 126 articles from referred journal and international conferences published on WCM.


Detailed content analysis reveals that most of the research work is empirical and focuses mainly on two aspects, impact of working capital on profitability of firm and working capital practices. Major research work has concluded that WCM is essential for corporate profitability. The major issues with prior literature are lack of survey-based approach and lack of systematic theory development study, which opens all new areas for future research. The future research directions proposed in this paper may help develop a greater understanding of determinants and practices of WCM.

Practical implications

Till date, literature on classification of WCM has been almost non-existent. This paper reviews a large number of articles on WCM and provides a classification scheme in to various categories. Subsequently, various emerging trends in the field of WCM are identified to help researchers specifying gaps in the literature and direct research efforts.


This paper contains a comprehensive listing of publications on the WCM and their classification according to various attributes. The paper will be useful to researchers, finance professionals and others concerned with WCM to understand the importance of WCM. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, no detailed SLR on this topic has previously been published in academic journals.



Pratap Singh, H. and Kumar, S. (2014), "Working capital management: a literature review and research agenda", Qualitative Research in Financial Markets, Vol. 6 No. 2, pp. 173-197.



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