Experiences of Non-Profit Organizations in Korea: Development Challenges in an Emerging Economy

Experiences of Non-Profit Organizations in Korea: Development Challenges in an Emerging Economy

Ulas Cakar (Dokuz Eylul University, Turkey) and Haeeun Kim (Dokuz Eylul University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0731-4.ch023
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Social, cultural, and economic aspects of a country decide the formation and development of the country's non-profit organizations. Examining Korean NPOs shows uniqueness in their birth characteristics, historical advancement, and current location. This chapter presents discussions on definitions and functions of Korean NPOs, their development history regarding political regimes, current situation which the organizations are facing, and opportunities to overcome the challenges. The democracy movement in the 1980s facilitated activities of NPOs and different political regimes have been providing diverse backgrounds for NPOs' performance. Currently, Korean NPOs are confronted with challenges in functional and managerial aspects. The authors propose facilitating the high internet usage of Korea into a power tool for NPOs and turning the attention toward clubs and societies as possible remedies for the difficulties. This chapter is expected to promote understanding of Korean NPOs and provide insights for the future development of Korean NPO literature.
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Understanding Non-Profit Organizations In Korea

In this section, definitions and functions of NPOs will be presented, focusing on NPOs in Korea. Also two representative examples of NPOs will be explained.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Beyoungri Mingan Danche: In Korean, Beyoungri means non-profit, mingan means civilian, and danche refers organization. Thus, beyongri mingan danche refers non-profit civil organizations. Korean legal system acknowledges beyoungri mingan danche as NPO.

Gwanbyeon Danche: Gwan refers government and regime, and byeon implies surroundings of something. Thus, the term refers organizations that stay close to government’s circles to reflect government’s opinions and promote government’s activities. The term is usually translated different according to academics such as gwanbyeon organization, specially incorporated foundations, quasi-autonomous NGO, or government-related organization.

Confucianism: Philosophy that emphasizes self-cultivation and social hierarchy which was developed by Chinese philosopher Confucius. Confucianism offers the three bonds and five relationships as foundation of its ethics. The three bonds are between ruler and minister, father and son, and husband and wife. The five relationships are between father and son, ruler and minister, husband and wife, old and young, and friend and friend.

Democracy Movement: Democracy movement in Korea refers resistance movement occurred during 1960s to 1980s pursuing democracy against authoritarian government. Korean law defines democracy movement as activities to promote fundamental human rights and freedom which are guaranteed in Constitution yet suppressed by authoritarian regime.

Gongick Bubin: Gongick means public interest and bubin means corporate body that has legal characteristic. Therefore, gongick bubin refers legally registered organizations that pursue public interest. Since the organizations aim to achieve public interest, they are seen as non-profit organizations.

Simin Woondong Danche: Woondong means movement in Korean. Thus, compared with simin danche, simin woondong danche refers more radical organizations. The term Simin woondong used to be perceived similar with democracy movement in Korean history. Passing through political regimes which were friendly to civil organizations, there was increase in number of organizations which take the liberal notion. Thus nowadays the usage of the term woondong, in referring civil organizations, is likely to disappear.

Non-Profit Organization: According to Korean law, non-profit organizations are organizations that operate for the sake of public, with more than 100 regular members while profit is returned back to the organization. The law also specifies that the organization have performed public interest activities in one year in order to be acknowledged as NPO.

Simin Danche: Simin refers civil therefore, simin danche is literally civil organization. These organizations are non-government and non-profit. The organizations are formed by voluntary participation of civilians and their activities aim to promote civil interest.

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