The Reputation Economy: Knowledge Workers and Freelance Networks

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 6:30 PM
Room: 414
Distributed Paper
Alessandro GANDINI , Social and Political Sciences, University of Milan, Milan, Italy
Ivana PAIS , Department of Social and Political Sciences, Department of Sociology, UniversitÓ Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan, Italy
A decade after Richard Florida's 'creative class' manifesto we are now confronted to labour markets in the knowledge economy where professionals are increasingly independent and networked. The project-based and freelance nature of contemporary knowledge work enhances the necessity of constructing a solid reputation within a professional network, which appears to be a determinant element to build successful careers. This combines with the use of social media for professional purposes and the increasing importance of digital marketplaces where reputations become visible and, under certain conditions, potentially measurable.

Based on a doctoral research combining mixed methods within an ethnographic approach, this contribution dwells upon the networked dynamics of creative labour across both offline and online environments, to discuss the existence of a Reputation Economy whereby reputation management becomes the determinant element for the professional success of networked knowledge workers. This has implications at the level of subjectivity and hybridization of skills within highly fragmented labour markets.