How Magnets Attract and Repel: Interessement in a Technology Commercialization Competition

K6015, a South Korean firm seeking to commercialize its magnet technology in the US market, entered a technology commercialization training program structured as a competition. Through this program, K6015 (and others in the program) used several genres to progressively interest different sets of stakeholders. To understand how K6015 applied these genres, we analyze this case study in terms of interessement, a concept from actor-network theory, and standing sets of transformations, a related concept from workplace writing studies in which enacting a set of genres entails a controlled, progressive transformation of arguments. We examine the entire competition process, using K6015 and three other competitors to illustrate this process and to examine rhetorical transformations responding to different criteria. In enacting these standing sets of transformations, K6015 and other competitors transformed their innovations into commercialized technologies–and transformed themselves from innovators into entrepreneurs. Finally, we discuss implications for understanding entrepreneurship rhetorically.


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December 18, 2015