The labor of reputation building: Creating, developing and managing individual reputation

Guillaume Dumont

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch

14 Citations (Scopus)


© 2017, © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Reputation has become a highly valuable commodity in multiple labor markets such as sports, the arts, academia, knowledge work and fashion modelling. While reputation has always played a key role in orienting the decision-making process, what has gained increasing importance are the efforts deployed by a growing number of people to create, develop and manage their individual reputation. Building on a two-year ethnographic study with high profile professional rock climbers, this article analyzes the labor of creating and managing individual reputation. The argument follows that reputational labor revolves around the strategic convergence of work activities enabling the assemblage of concrete and tangible things subtly selected and articulated. The output of this labor, the reputation, is intelligible but has practical implications on everyday work and life that need to be acknowledged and coordinated in order to perform work effectively. Finally, I suggest an operational definition of reputational labor with the aim of providing a framework for analyzing the work tasks involved in reputation building, both directly and indirectly, while acknowledging the role of the context in this process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)515-531
JournalConsumption Markets and Culture
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2018


  • ethnography
  • new media
  • Reputation
  • work


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