Social entrepreneurs: innovating rural tourism through the activism of service science

Kang Lin Peng, Ming Chu Lin

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


PurposeThis study aims to construct an integrated social entrepreneur system in the rural area of Hengshan, Taiwan, that could benefit four stakeholders, namely, tourists, business, community and government. Two social entrepreneur cases demonstrate a mutually beneficial situation of lowering the structural unemployment rate, returning young human capital to villages and innovating rural tourism through the activism of service science. Design/methodology/approachQualitative approach was applied to data obtained from 12 research projects spanning three years. Service experience engineering (SEE) methods were used to conduct a service design for social entrepreneurs in an integrated service system. The service system aimed to innovate rural tourism through the activism of service science. FindingsSEE methods explain a series of service design processes that helped our research team start up two social entrepreneur projects as service prototypes to offer service innovation based on cultural creativity to innovate rural tourism. These two social entrepreneurs in rural tourism offer job opportunities to young people and senior citizens alike. In addition, an integrated service system of interdisciplinary knowledge, multi-stakeholders and local resources fulfills various requirements of stakeholders to promote sustainable rural tourism. Research limitations/implicationsReal action studies are limited in the research on social entrepreneurs. This case study provides research insights into service science and calls for action in practice to change the future of a local village. The results provide the philosophy and knowledge of service science that social entrepreneurs of rural tourism can use in the village. Designing service innovation for rural tourism has shaped its vision toward a sustainable tourism system. Originality/valueFew studies have shown that social entrepreneurs could innovate rural tourism. The present study presents an action case through the activism of service science.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1225-1244
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2016


  • Rural tourism
  • Service experience engineering
  • Service innovation
  • Service science
  • Social entrepreneur

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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