The Role of Community Engagement and Entrepreneurship in the Sustainability Performance of Social Ventures in South Korea


  • Heewon Kim Arizona State University
  • Mary Kiura
  • Rebecca Leach
  • Hee Jung Cho



venture entrepreneurship, community engagement, social venture, Sustainability performance, Work satisfaction


Social ventures, hybrid enterprises pursuing for-profit business and mission-driven nonprofit goals, have rapidly grown in South Korea owing to local governments’ proactive policies and support. Despite extensive government support, community-based social ventures often fail to sustain themselves due to lacking experience, strategies, and social networks. Informed by stakeholder theory, this study investigates the relationships between social venture strategies and the core dimensions of government-funded, community-based social enterprises’ sustainability performance (economic, human resources management, and social performance). We circulated our online survey among the employees of community-based social start-ups funded by local governments in South Korea. In total, 210 participants completed the survey. The results of structural equation modelling demonstrated that venture entrepreneurship and community engagement are positively associated with all dimensions of sustainability performance, subsequently improving work satisfaction. As community-based social ventures involve diverse stakeholders, organizational members should negotiate complementary or competing values in a holistic picture of all involved parties (e.g., funders, employees, and residents) to pursue sustainability efforts.

Author Biographies

Heewon Kim, Arizona State University

Heewon Kim  (Corresponding author) (Ph.D., Rutgers University) is an associate professor at the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University. Her research interests include fairness and justice, power and knowledge inequalities, voice and participation, and institutional violence.

Mary Kiura

Mary Kiura (Ph.D., Arizona State University) is an Assistant Professor at Purdue University Fort Wayne. Her research centers on issues of voice, justice, status, and relationships in organizational and intercultural contexts.

Rebecca Leach

Rebecca Leach (Ph.D., Arizona State University) is an assistant professor of communication at the University of Arkansas. Her research lies at the intersection of organizational and health communication. Rebecca uses a social scientific approach to examine the factors that promote well-being and flourishing in the workplace, including organizational compassion, resilience, and justice.

Hee Jung Cho

Hee Jung Cho (Ph.D., Sogang University) is a senior researcher at the Institute of Social Sciences at Sogang University. Her research interests include social venture management, local community revitalization, and the influences of technology use on business and politics.




How to Cite

Kim, H., Kiura, M., Leach, R., & Cho, H. J. (2023). The Role of Community Engagement and Entrepreneurship in the Sustainability Performance of Social Ventures in South Korea. Contemporary Management Research, 19(2), 81–105.



Corporate social responsibility and business ethic