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Article

Bonding and Bridging Forms of Social Capital in Wildlife Tourism Microentrepreneurship: An Application of Social Network Analysis

1
Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, University of North Texas, Denton, TX 76203, USA
2
Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, NC State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
3
Department of Geography, Environmental Management & Energy Studies, University of Johannesburg, Auckland Park, Johannesburg 2092, South Africa
4
Department of Environment and Society, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322, USA
5
Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, NC State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 315; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020315
Received: 29 December 2017 / Revised: 21 January 2018 / Accepted: 24 January 2018 / Published: 26 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Developing Tourism in Rural and Agricultural Regions)
Tourism has been recognized as an important economic sector, requiring a high degree of involvement from the entrepreneurial sector to diversify tourism products and services to meet increasing demand. Tourism is often considered a tool for economic development and a strategy to improve the livelihoods of rural citizens. Specifically, nature-based tourism, such as wildlife tourism, is growing faster than tourism in general, providing a myriad of opportunities for small-scale entrepreneurial engagement. However, several obstacles exist for these small-scale tourism enterprises, such as a lack of social capital. This study examined a network of wildlife tourism microentrepreneurs for bonding and bridging forms of social capital using a social network analysis approach, where bonding and bridging social capital have their own interpretation. Thirty-seven in-person interviews were conducted with wildlife tourism microentrepreneurs from North Carolina’s Pamlico Sound Region. The study revealed that microentrepreneurs interacted with each other in a bridging network structure. The ability to reciprocate with other members of the network was essential for business success. The results identified four key bridging ties connecting potential sub-groups in the network, connected to each other in a redundant fashion. We concluded that the formation of a bridging network structure was a function of entrepreneurial phenomena that may not promote a highly trusted, well-connected network. The findings and implications are further discussed in the paper. View Full-Text
Keywords: wildlife tourism; microentrepreneurship; social capital; bonding; bridging; social network analysis wildlife tourism; microentrepreneurship; social capital; bonding; bridging; social network analysis
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MDPI and ACS Style

KC, B.; Morais, D.B.; Seekamp, E.; Smith, J.W.; Peterson, M.N. Bonding and Bridging Forms of Social Capital in Wildlife Tourism Microentrepreneurship: An Application of Social Network Analysis. Sustainability 2018, 10, 315. https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020315

AMA Style

KC B, Morais DB, Seekamp E, Smith JW, Peterson MN. Bonding and Bridging Forms of Social Capital in Wildlife Tourism Microentrepreneurship: An Application of Social Network Analysis. Sustainability. 2018; 10(2):315. https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020315

Chicago/Turabian Style

KC, Birendra, Duarte B. Morais, Erin Seekamp, Jordan W. Smith, and M. N. Peterson 2018. "Bonding and Bridging Forms of Social Capital in Wildlife Tourism Microentrepreneurship: An Application of Social Network Analysis" Sustainability 10, no. 2: 315. https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020315

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