Purdue University Graduate School
Pellegrini - Dissertation 15.pdf (1.27 MB)

Writing, Activity, and Genre Research in Entrepreneurial Ecosystems: The Contrasting Strategies of Microenterprise and High-Growth Entrepreneurs

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posted on 2023-07-24, 00:22 authored by Mason PellegriniMason Pellegrini

“Entrepreneur” is a broad concept which encompasses many types of businesspeople. This dissertation aims to shed light on two distinct forms of entrepreneurs by applying writing, activity, and genre research (WAGR) analysis to two separate entrepreneurial ecosystems. By examining the genre ecologies used by these entrepreneurs to achieve their goals, we can differentiate between them. The WAGR approach employed in this study focuses on three aspects of networks: the participants' goals, their use of genres, and the connections between goals and genre-use. The case studies in this dissertation revolve around two business accelerators; however, these accelerators differ significantly in the types of businesses they support. Spaceworks Tacoma exclusively accelerates art-oriented businesses with fewer than five employees, particularly those owned by entrepreneurs from marginalized backgrounds. These Spaceworks businesses start small and anticipate remaining small. On the other hand, Start-Up Chile (SUP) accelerates businesses centered on disruptive technology with the aim of rapidly scaling into large organizations.

The key finding of this research is that the entrepreneurs in the case studies not only diverged in their genre-use but also in the goals they sought to accomplish using genres. The most significant genre for microenterprise entrepreneurs in this study was the oral elevator pitch, which aimed to attract new customers. While these microenterprise entrepreneurs were focused on achieving business success, their real priority was improving their community, and this orientation was evident in the genre ecology they employed. On the other hand, high-growth entrepreneurs followed distinct stages where they initially focused on data gathering and iterating their product or service, then shifted their attention to marketing and seeking investment. Genres such as the business plan, business case, and slide-based business pitch, which were scarce or nonexistent at the microenterprise accelerator, were quite popular at SUP. The business pitch served multiple purposes at SUP, including receiving feedback from peers, progressing through the acceleration program, and establishing a reputation. Moreover, apart from genre-use, the objectives of these entrepreneurs were markedly different: the Spaceworks entrepreneurs had a local focus, whereas the SUP entrepreneurs were concerned with industry-level change.


Fulbright Student Open Research Grant (Chile)


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • English

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Richard Johnson-Sheehan

Additional Committee Member 2

Jennifer Bay

Additional Committee Member 3

Bradley Dilger

Additional Committee Member 4

Clay Spinuzzi

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