Silvia Sacchetti

Via Verdi, 26 - 38122 Trento
tel. 0461 281425
silvia.sacchetti[at]unitn [dot] it

PhD Commerce (University of Birmingham, UK) Part-time - 2004

MSc Business Research (University of Birmingham, UK) Full –time - 1998

Laurea, Political Science (University of Bologna, Italy) - a.a.1996-1997

Carriera accademica ed attività didattica

I am currently Associate Professor of Economic Policy at the University of Trento, Department of Sociology and Social Research, where I teach entrepreneurship and administration of third sector organisations (PG), as well as economic policy (UG), and two seminars with teaching credits attached on topics related to dissertation writing. I am the academic coordinator of seminars on university inclusion services, stakeholder engagement in health programmes,  of political economy in the Euro area. Within my Department I contribute to administrative activities through collegial activities in post-graduate and under graduate programmes, including the doctoral school. I am also in charge of the inclusion (former disability) services for the Department students (UG and PG). 

Outside the University, I am scientific coordinator of the research area on Governance at the research center Euricse, which supports sectorial research within the same research center (i.e. on community enterprises, on work integration enterprises, on cultural organisations). The work carried out in recent years, which informs also my teaching, has developed conceptual and methodological tools for the study of economic coordination among stakeholders, as well as the ethical value of governance with respect to the results produced for stakeholders and communities. 

Earlier, I have worked in other UK Universities: as Senior Lecturer at the Department of Public Leadership and Social Enterprise of The Open University (2014-2017), at the University of Stirling (Management School, 2009-2014 as permanent Lecturer), and at the University of Birmingham (Business School,  2006-2009, as permanent Lecturer). My academic experience in Italy goes back to my earlier career, when I have worked at the Universities of Bologna (Faculty of Political Science, 1996-97, short-term research contract), Ferrara (with research and teaching contracts at the Faculty of Economics and then Engineering, 1998-05), and Trento (Faculty of Economics, 2007, teaching contract). I have taken two periods of maternity leaves, in 2002 and 2005. 

My past teaching at the Open University includes three courses on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (one for MBAs, one for second year UG students, one for third year UG students) and, unitil 2015, “Organisations and their Environment”. The MBA course and the course on Organisations have been taught “in presentation,” meaning that I have been part of the central academic team that coordinates and informs a team of associate lecturers who deliver an established course. UG courses on Entrepreneurship and Innovation are instead being taught “in production,” meaning that I have been or I am part or the team that produces the new course and its teaching materials.

In my previous academic appointments I have also taught a variety of courses, including topics on Globalisation, Socio-Economic Development, Industrial Development Models, Third Sector Organisations, Business Ethics, International Business, Knowledge, Innovation and Regional Development, Industrial Organisation, Research Methods. At Stirling, between 2009 and 2014, I have introduced and directed two MSc programmes (International Business and Socio-Economic Development; HRM and Socio-Economic Development). I have also contributed to redesign and direct for two years (2010-12) the Stirling MBA programme around issues of Social Responsibility and UN Prme (Principles for Responsible Management Education).


Dec 2016-ongoing   


Associate Professor, Political Economy, Full time

Department of Sociology and Social Research, 

University of Trento, Italy

(with research leave Dec 2016 - June2017) 

July 2014-June 2017

Senior Lecturer, Full time

Department of Public Leadership and Social Enterprise

The Open University Business School

Faculty of Business and Law

Milton Keynes (UK)

September 2009-July 2014

Lecturer in Socio-Economic Development, Full-time 

Dep. of Work, Management and Organisation

Stirling Management School, University of Stirling

Stirling, Scotland (UK)

September 2006-August 2009

Lecturer in Industrial Development Policy, Part –time (probation awarded)

Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham 

Birmingham (UK)


Post-doc researcher in Industrial Development Policy funded by Regione Emilia-Romagna, Department of Commerce (Assegno di Ricerca) 

Faculty of Economics

University of Ferrara 

Ferrara, Italy

Interessi di ricerca

My current research addresses the governance and networking of organisations that produce meritorious goods, within two sectors in particular: 

  • the cultural sector, and in particular creative occupations and cultural nonprofit organisations, currently focusing on cultural volountary organisations, music schools and musicians and their implications for communities and stakeholders. In 2020 I was granted Euros 50,000 by the bank foundation Fondazione Caritro to start a research project on music schools, their networks and local development (start December 2020 for two years) to take extant research further. In 2021 I was responsible (with Mario Diani) for a research project commissioned by the trentino Brass Band Federation (Euros 10,000).
  • work integration social enterprises and their implications for communities and stakeholders. In 2015 I was granted internal but competitive OU funds on social enterprise governance. This internally funded preliminary research has developed into a successful Leverhulme Research Grant (£10,000) awarded by the British Academy to address work integration social enterprises.

My early research has been concerned with the limits of corporate hierarchies, and especially with the development implications of concentration of decision-making power in production governance in terms of uneven development amongst people and localities. Starting from critical literature, I have studied production governance solutions for the development of inclusive economies and localities, and for building inclusive relations amongst communities of interest at all societal levels. Specifically, earlier research has focused on the study of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), their networks and clusters as industrial development models.

Over the past 5 years specific research lines have addressed:

  1. The implications of different governance forms and policy choices for socio-economic development, focusing on:
  • The governance and networking of cooperatives and social enterprises
  • The features of multi-actor governance with applications to social enterprises and welfare services
  • Social capital, and particularly cooperation leading to the rise of networks of social enterprises in Scotland for the promotion of public interest, with applications to welfare services and to bioreserves.
  • Inclusive and exclusive preferences underpinning different business models and their impacts over the public interest.
  • Inclusive and exclusive preferences underpinning different spatial policies and their impacts over the public interest.
  1. Creativity and its context: implications for individual satisfaction and motivations, focusing on the analysis of worker microdata concerning individual wellbeing in the organizations of the social economy. Specifically I have focused on:
  • The relation between organisational dimensions (such as membership, perceived fairness and autonomy; involvement, teamwork, training and learning), individual motivations and aspects of individual satisfaction
  • The resilience of individual motivations within complex systems (i.e. social enterprise; universities)

Through these streams, my current aim is to build a body of literature that contributes to explain the implications that taking a cooperative and inclusive approach to business and policy can have in terms of development model. I am currently applying this body of work to the study of production governance of health and personal services, as well as in cultural organisations. 

Attività di ricerca


Fondazione Caritro, Bando per progetti di ricerca su tematiche umanistiche e sociali. Coordinatrice.

Project Title: Il sistema di istruzione musicale in Provincia di Trento. Sviluppare spazi creativi per le scuole, le comunità e i musicisti attraverso le collaborazioni ed il networking. Duration: 2 years. External funds: 50,000 Euros. Total budget: Euros 69.481. Partners: University of British Columbia, Canada; University of St Andrews, Scotland; Euricse (Italy); Department of Humanities, Trento, Submitted 4 June 2020, awarded. Start December 2020.

Project summary: The project wants to lay stable foundations for the study of the music schools system in Trentino through the analysis of formal and informal collaborations and networks that relates private music schools, public actors (provinces and municipalities), public training institutes (conservatory, music high schools, compulsory schools, social and health services), private companies in the music industry, in the culture, in commerce and leisure industries, foundations and other nonprofit actors.

Specifically, the project examines the nature of the activities of the music schools in Trentino and their ability to generate value (artistic, educational, social and economic) in a context where organizations, musicians, students, and the whole community faces important challenges (also following the global health contingency). It also delves into the erosion of the vitality of the music system and of the community. The idea is to map a potentially multicentric system where diversity and complementarities between organizations and skills can activate unexplored resources and dynamics of community empowerment development, affecting the vitality of people and organizations (private and public).

The vitality concept, which is opposed to that of inertia or lock-in, is articulated on the basis of two main indicators concerning the inclusiveness and participation level of stakeholders and the consequent ability of the system to activate the creative and innovative potential of participants (known to be related to their satisfaction and well-being). The project legacy is about identifying and developing a new method to appreciate and evaluate the characteristics (to the advantage and disadvantage) of music education sector and its potential ability to generate greater vitality and people’s well-being.


SCIENTIFIC LEAD OF THE RESEARCH AREA ON GOVERNANCE. This research area is part of the programme funded by the Trentino Province at EURICSE, since 2017.

Research Project Abstract: This project pools interdisciplinary competences in organization and management, and in law and economics for delivering a systematic review and comparative assessment of existing and possible firm governance configurations economic democracy and the general interest. 


British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grants- SRG 2015 Round (£10,000). Project reference nr. SG150560. Title of project: “The “innovative social enterprise”. Reaching sustainability and continuity in the provision of health related services” May 2015. Awarded (Duration: 2 years, September 2015-August 2017). 

Research Project Abstract: In European regions the health sector is facing increasing difficulties. The demand and complexity of the services is growing and resources are shrinking. SEs have long been considered an innovative way to respond to these challenges, but there has been less attention paid to whether and how their governance arrangements contribute to service innovation and to their longer-term sustainability. Specifically, because of the multiplicity of the interests involved, governance solutions that favour the inclusion of stakeholders are advocated by SE legal frameworks across Europe. The modalities of stakeholders’ participation and its effects have not been fully researched to date. We build on debate on organisational innovation and stakeholder participation, and factor in the relevance of social costs, which particular governance and organisational structures can be able to internalize. Making use of case study analysis, the research adds to extant literature by considering solutions that support the development of SE to the benefit of stakeholders and society more broadly.


Mini-bid grant (£ 3500) awarded by: Collaborative Governance Strategic Research Area in Citizenship and Governance at the Open University. Title of the project: A literature review and comparative analysis of social enterprise governance models: The case of Colombia. Supervising 1 research assistant. (March 2016-July 2016).


Research Project Abstract: The aim of the small project is to review literature on models of social enterprise, in order to highlight the most relevant and innovative institutional architectures for adequately exploiting and channelling citizens’ ability to solve key communities and societal problems. The review does so by comparing findings in the literature on the European model and findings in the literature on the solutions that are emerging in so-called South-of-the-world countries, focusing on Latin America. To fully harness the contribution of social enterprises to societal wellbeing, inclusion and prosperity, their rationale and roles need to be better understood and subsequently translated into effective policies that are able to exploit their competitive advantages vis-à-vis public and for-profit enterprises. 


Seedcorn Funding at the Open University (£2500): Assessing Governance Models of Healthcare Social Enterprises. Hosting institution: Euricse, Trento (Italy). Awarded (December 2014-July 2015).


Research Project Abstract: Social enterprises have seen a consistent growth in Europe and elsewhere over the last decade. Specifically for the provision of healthcare and welfare services social enterprises have flanked the public sector, developing innovative responses to particular welfare needs. Still the question remains on whether health and welfare services can be provided by social enterprises consistently with the interests of the disadvantaged groups and with the public interest more broadly (Borzaga and Fazzi, 2014). In answering this question, the social enterprise governance can provide relevant indications on the effectiveness of outcomes (i.e. in terms of quality and innovativeness) and nature of impacts. In passing, this is one instance of a wider gap – the need to shift social enterprise research from the level of the firm to the level of the system, and system governance. The analysis is expected to identify typologies of social enterprises on the basis of their approach to inclusion of multiple needs by looking at: production organisation (who contributes to produce social value along the value chain); governance (with specific attention to the degree of multiple stakeholder ownership); surplus distribution (across potentially conflicting interests); outcomes (quality of services, innovation); and impacts (e.g. welfare of users and communities). Methodology: conceptual framework development; analysis of existing data set; case study analysis.


My latest book:


Edited by Silvia SacchettiAsimina ChristoforouMichele Mosca

© 2018 – Routledge

The first idea in putting together this volume was to go beyond the nowadays widespread idea of spatial regeneration, take a step back and look at what has become a transversal phenomenon across groups and societies: social poverty. Social poverty is the paucity of social relations and especially of cooperation among people. So the idea of the book is to analyse what institutions and what entrepreneurial solutions can reinstate cooperation back into society and communities, and help to address social poverty. The second idea was that, although social enterprises have been celebrated in many contexts as organisations that can favour cooperation, they cannot succeed on their own. So the volume wanted to analyse a number of contextual factors that complement social entrepreneurial initiatives, from web technologies, to participatory democracy, city leadership, finance, and physical spaces.


My latest Journal Special Issue is on:

Community-Based, Collaborative Solutions to Sustainable Economic Development in and around Biosphere Reserves

Published open access on The Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity (JEOD), this issue is completely dedicated to the topic on community-based and collaborative solutions to sustainable economic development in and around Biosphere Reserves. The issue is edited by Colin Campbel – SEBR Network and OASIIS (Scozia) – and Silvia Sacchetti – University of Trento.

The Unesco programme “Man and the Biosphere” recognizes, at international level, the presence of territorial areas where the natural resources are protected and valuated thanks to the presence of institutions and organisations that emphsise cooperative features.The articles published identify a framework for research (the article by Sacchetti and Campbell) as well as case studies which analyze the role of the institutional framework as well as of social enterprises as socio-enviromental infrastuctures: these, among the production of goods and services of collective interest, contribute to refocus approaches and models of local development from the point of view of social capital, inclusion and sustainability. 



Campbell, Colin and Sacchetti, Phd, Silvia, Editorial: Community-Based, Collaborative Solutions to Sustainable Economic Development in and Around Biosphere Reserves (October 18, 2017). Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity, Special Issue on Community-Based, Collaborative Solutions to Sustainable Economic Development in and around Biosphere Reserves, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2017, pp. 1-9. Available at SSRN:

Sacchetti, Phd, Silvia and Campbell, Colin, Biosphere Reserves: An 'Enabling Space' for Communities (October 18, 2017). Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity, Special Issue on Community-Based, Collaborative Solutions to Sustainable Economic Development in and around Biosphere Reserves, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2017, pp. 10-32.. Available at SSRN:

Sacchetti, Phd, Silvia and Campbell, Colin, Creating Space for Communities: Social Enterprise and the Bright Side of Social Capital (February 24, 2015). Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity, Vol. 3, No. 2, 2014, p. 32-48. Available at SSRN:



Tiruneh, E.A., Sacchetti, S. and Tortia, E., 2017. Do art experts (bohemians) attract high-skilled professionals? Evidence from panel data in German regions. Competition & Change, p.1024529417744143.


My latest work on GOVERNANCE can be found in the following working papers:

Sacchetti, Phd, Silvia and Borzaga, Carlo, The Foundations of the 'Public' Organisation: Strategic Control and the Problem of the Costs of Exclusion (December 4, 2017). Euricse Working Papers, No. 98 | 17. Available at SSRN:

Birchall, Johnston and Sacchetti, Phd, Silvia, The Comparative Advantages of Single and Multi-Stakeholder Cooperatives (September 13, 2017). Euricse Working Papers No. 95|17. Available at SSRN: or

Sacchetti, Phd, Silvia, Governance for a 'Socialised Economy'. A Case Study in Preventive Health and Work Integration (December 29, 2016). Euricse Working Papers, 89|16. Available at SSRN: or

Sacchetti, Phd, Silvia and Catturani, Ivana, The Institutions of Governance. A Framework for Analysis (June 15, 2017). Euricse Working Papers, 92 | 17. Available at SSRN:

Borzaga, Carlo and Sacchetti, Phd, Silvia, Why Social Enterprises are Asking to Be Multi-Stakeholder and Deliberative: An Explanation Around the Costs of Exclusion (April 14, 2015). Euricse Working Papers, 75 | 15. Available at SSRN: or

Sacchetti, Silvia & Ermanno, Tortia, 2016. "A needs theory of governance," Econometica Working Papers wp59, Econometica.

Sacchetti, Phd, Silvia and Tortia, Ermanno C., The Internal and External Governance of Cooperatives: Membership and Consistency of Values (September 17, 2013). Euricse Working Paper No. 62 | 13. Available at SSRN: or


Silvia Sacchetti's SSRN page

Silvia Sacchetti's IDEAS page

Silvia Sacchetti on ResearchGate


Appartenenza a società e comitati scientifici

The main academic networks which provide support and peer review to my research are in the areas of cooperative firms, social enterprises, socio-economics, local development, organization theory, and industrial development policy. In particular, the EMES Network (social enterprise research network); ICA International Cooperative Alliance, the Association for Socio Economics (ASE), the IPPE (International Initiative for the Promotion of Political Economy); the International Confederation of Associations for Pluralism in Economics (ICAPE), the Academy of Management (AoM), the EAEPE European Association for Evolutionary Political Economy, IAFEP International Association for the Economics of Participation, SASE Society for Advancement in Socio-Economics, SIE Società Italiana degli Economisti, EUNIP (European Network for Industrial Policy). 

Following research activity, I have been visiting professor at the University of Modena-Reggio Emilia, Faculty of Economics and Communication (2013). I was coordinator an inter-faculty work group on “collaborative governance” at my University, as one of the Open University Strategic Research Areas (SRAs). Externally, I am co-chief editor of JEOD (Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity, published by Euricse, European Research Institute on Cooperatives and Social Enterprises, Trento, Italy), where I also coordinate the research area on Governance, funded by the Trentino Province. 

My external academic activities include stable collaborations (as in developing research and research bid proposals) with:

  1. Euricse, where collaborations have focused on positioning cooperatives and social enterprises into wider evolutionary scenarios for the development of communities. At Euricse I am coordinator of the “governance” research group and Co-chief Editor of JEOD (Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity).
  2. University of British Columbia, Management School, Canada, where I have visited in 2019 and in 2018. Together we have developed a cluster that focuses on the study of music schools and their publics, and more generally with engaging publics in socio-economic activities in non-metropolitan regions, and including non-academic partners with whom faculty have worked with over years. 
  3. Centre for the Study of Co-operatives, University of Saskatchewan, Canada, where I have been visiting in September 2015 with the aim of developing a common research network and agenda across the OU, Euricse, and the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives.
  4. Assist Social Capital and Creative Stirling (both are community interest companies, CIC, located in Scotland). These are collaborations that begun when I was at Stirling University and that has greatly enriched the contents of my post-graduate teaching and practice-based research on social enterprises and social capital. The study and promotion of the complementarities between social enterprises and social capital is particularly relevant to the approach taken, and contributes to the current policy debate, as well as to the creation of new interpretations of the role of governance for social inclusion. The collaboration has generated joint research publications and applications on asset-based community welfare and on a UNESCO funded project on biosphere reserves coordinated by Assist Social Capital.

Silvia Sacchetti's EURICSE page

Silvia Sacchetti's EMES page

Silvia Sacchetti's SSRN page

Silvia Sacchetti's IDEAS page