Religious influences on social enterprise in Asia: Observations in Cambodia, Malaysia and South Korea

Isaac Lyne
Jieun Ryu
Teh Yong Yuan
Tetsuya Morita

A cursory examination of literature shows that religion and business are historically intertwined, with particular effects on society. Since the business/religion relationship is strongly driven by ethos, this relationship appears as an interesting and relevant issue in the case of social enterprises (hereafter SEs), which are value-driven initiatives. This chapter takes a look at the influence of religion on SEs in East Asia—the most religiously diverse region of the world. We start by analysing the influence of religion on international development discourse in recent decades, considering that major international development institutions have increasingly embraced SE as part of “sustainable development”. We then narrow the by considering institutional perspectives, finding value in a text by Estelle James (1993) as the basis for a theoretical framework. We proceed with a presentation of the research that was carried out, including a summary of the methodology used, before describing three case studies that illustrate the influence of different religions on SEs: Christian Protestant influence, in South Korea; Islamic influence, in Malaysia; and Buddhist influence, in Cambodia.

Suggested citation

Lyne, I., Ryu, J., Teh, Y-Y. & Morita, T. 2019. Religious Influences on Social Enterprise in Asia: Observations in Cambodia, Malaysia and South Korea in Bidet, E. & Defourny, J. (Eds) Social Enterprise in Asia Theory, Models and Practice. London: Routledge. pp. 293-313.