Using the photovoice method to understand experiences of people with physical disabilities working in social enterprises

Sangmi Cho, Min Ah Kim, So Il Kwon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Social enterprises can be an alternative option for people with disabilities to build confidence in the job market, where unemployment and difficulty securing a decent job is a social issue for this population. However, limited studies have examined these experiences from the participants’ perspectives. Objective: This study explored the life experiences of people with disabilities working in social enterprises, using the photovoice method. Methods: Five employees with physical disabilities working in a social enterprise participated in five sessions of photovoice in South Korea. They took photos for each session on four themes and participated in group discussions. Results: This paper draws from narrations and photos shared during group discussions regarding four themes selected by participants: my current state, life changes after being employed in a social enterprise, feeling frustrated, and my future. The participants reported better quality of life both financially and socially, but also felt frustration facing interpersonal, health, or workload problems while working at a social enterprise. They expressed hope to continue working in their social enterprise, and thus ultimately experience better quality of life and a sense of contributing to society. Conclusions: Employers can create more supportive and sustainable workplaces to secure decent job opportunities for persons with disabilities at a social enterprise and contribute social value. Social work professionals should provide professional support to employees with disabilities who are struggling with health and psychosocial problems that often occur in social enterprises.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)685-693
Number of pages9
JournalDisability and Health Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Inc.


  • Disabilities
  • Photovoice
  • Social enterprises
  • South Korea
  • Working experiences


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