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Factors driving indebtedness among small- and medium-sized dairy companies

Alberto Mazzoleni (Department of Economics and Management, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy)
Enrica Pollonini (Ernst & Young Global Limited, Brescia, Italy)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 7 July 2020

Issue publication date: 24 December 2020




We developed a model to demonstrate how multiple interrelated aspects of a firm influence its recourse to third-party financing, which frequently depends on the characteristics of each food production chain.


We conducted an empirical research on a relevant sample of small- and medium-sized Italian dairy firms. Our research methodology is inspired by the grounded theory (Glaser and Strauss, 1967).


Our findings illustrated that firm indebtedness is the result of intertwined variables, linked to different firm dimensions, including growth, financial structure and economic dynamics.

Research limitations/implications

A portion of the analysed phenomenon is not explained using the sample and econometric tools.

Practical implications

There are practical implications for the decision-makers in a firm (in particular, the managers and the shareholders) as the model allows to evaluate the influence of a set of mutually interdependent firm variables for the indebtedness level.


First, we considered the recourse to third-party financing within the context of the systems theory (Millová and Blatný, 2015) and from the perspective of linked causes and mutually connected variables. Second, our research focussed on a well-defined food chain and on features of firms operating in this context. Last, our model considered the impact of the recent economic crisis, which motivated us to review the existing models.



Mazzoleni, A. and Pollonini, E. (2021), "Factors driving indebtedness among small- and medium-sized dairy companies", British Food Journal, Vol. 123 No. 1, pp. 159-175.



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