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Doctoral Student


About me

Since September 2013, I am a PhD student in Prof. Stefano Brusoni’s Chair for Technology of Innovation Management.

I received a BSc in Tourism in 2006 and an MSc in Business Economic Sciences in 2012 (both from the University of Palermo).

In 2012, I spent a year working as RA for Prof. Antonino Vaccaro from the Center for Business in Society (IESE Business School, Barcelona) and collaborating for a short period with the University of Trento (Italy).

I grew up in the sunny Palermo (in Southern Italy), on the Mediterranean Sea. Here in Switzerland I also discovered the beauty of mountains, winter (sport!) and rain. No sarcasm! I like to face all situations with my faith, a smile, and a handful of obstinacy.

Research interests

My research focuses on Social Innovation/Entrepreneurship and Ethical Decision-Making. I am interested in understanding how social enterprises solve societal problems in innovative ways through the deployment of market-based strategies. So far, I have dealt (and I am currently dealing) with societal problems like the need of reintegrating marginalized people to workforce, the scant access to electricity in rural countries, and moral distortions in economic behavior and in consumers’ choices due to the presence of organized crime. I am looking forward to expand the list!

Teaching activities and roles

Teaching Assistance:


Research Fellowship:

Co-organization of events:

Mentoring of BSc/MSc/MAS theses and semester projects:




Journal articles

Ramus, T., La Cara, B., Vaccaro, A., and Brusoni. S. 2018. Social or Commercial? Innovation Strategies in Social Enterprises at Times of Turbulence. Business Ethics Quarterly, Published online: 27 February 2018

In this study, we investigate how different internal and external stakeholders influence the innovation strategy of a social enterprise to adopt product, process, and partnership innovations that impact either social or commercial performance. Relying on survey data from a sample of work integration social enterprises, we find that in situations of turbulence, administrative leaders do not significantly influence the innovation strategy of a social enterprise. Instead, board members and external stakeholders seem to play a role. Our study contributes to strategic and business ethics research on social enterprises and, more broadly, to the literature that explores how business organizations combine social value creation and wealth generation.

Meier, S., Pierce, L., Vaccaro, A., & La Cara, B. 2016. Trust and In-Group Favoritism in a Culture of Crime. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 132 / A: 78-92

We use experiments in high schools in two neighborhoods in the metropolitan area of Palermo, Italy to experimentally support the argument that the historical informal institution of organized crime can undermine current institutions, even in religiously and ethnically homogeneous populations. Using trust and prisoner's dilemma games, we found that students in a neighborhood with high Mafia involvement exhibit lower generalized trust and trustworthiness, but higher in-group favoritism, with punishment norms failing to resolve these deficits. Our study suggests that a culture of organized crime can affect adolescent norms and attitudes that might support a vicious cycle of in-group favoritism and crime that in turn hinders economic development.

Faldetta, G., & La Cara, B. 2010. Diversità di genere e soddisfazione dei lavoratori: Un’analisi empirica nel settore alberghiero. Università degli Studi di Palermo - Annali della Facoltà di Economia, Anno LXIV: 159-179, ISSN: 1827-8388

This article aims at analyzing the relations between the diversity management and the satisfaction of workers in business organizations. First we will offer some considerations about the concept of diversity, and specifically of gender diversity. Then we will describe some tools that can be used in gender diversity management. After that, we will analyze the relations between the implementation of these tools and the satisfaction of workers. The article shows the results of an empirical study that we carried out in some organizations operating in the hospitality industry in the area of Palermo, in order to investigate the relations in above.

Books / Book chapters

La Cara, B. 2011. Donna e valorizzazione economico-culturale del territorio. I valori femminili in chiave di sviluppo integrale, Genova Pontedecimo, ISBN: 978-88-87822-687. Brigati (Italian)

Teaching Materials

Vaccaro, A., Ramus, T., & La Cara, B. 2014. Addiopizzo Travel – Teaching Note: Fighting mafia through market-based strategies. IESE Case Studies: BET-14-E.
Vaccaro, A., Ramus, T., & La Cara, B. 2014. Addiopizzo Travel. Fighting mafia through market-based strategies. IESE Case Studies: BE-188-E.