Diversity of Social Enterprise Models in South Korea

Eric Bidet, Hyungsik Eum, Jieun Ryu

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, we analyse the emergence and development of social enterprise in South Korea. Our purpose is to show how different broad, consensual and successive conceptions of social enterprise—the so-called meta-models—have generated a dynamic and complex environment which includes a variety of models of social enterprise. Based on multiple data sources, including interviews, documents, statistics and field research, we illustrate the diversity of Korean social enterprise models by using the EMES ideal-type as a conceptual framework that leads us to analyse the social, economic and governance dimensions of each type of social enterprise. This research suggests that the social enterprise phenomenon should not be limited to its expressed contents or to an excessively strict legal or economic definition. It eventually contributes to advancing our understanding on social enterprise by showing that the definitions and concepts of social enterprise can be diverse across different social, economic and political contexts. For this reason, building a universal typology that can embrace social enterprises in different national contexts is by far a challenging task.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1261-1273
Number of pages13
JournalVOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations
Issue number6
Early online date19 Jan 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Jan 2018


  • Social enterprise
  • South Korea
  • Typology
  • Cooperatives
  • Self-sufficiency


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