Conceptualising reputation.

In this instance I have defined reputation as:

An individual’s propensity to behave in a way that is consistent with the best interests of others’.

Defining behaviour that is in the ‘best interests of the other’ cannot be objectively conceptualised as it is an inherently subjective judgement. However, identifying instances when a person has behaved in a harmful self-interested manner is definable and trackable.

By assessing for the presence or absence of a pattern of harmful self-interested behaviour by a person evaluations can be made regarding the person’s propensity to behave in a way that is consistent with the best interests of others – their reputation.

Indicators of reputation.

Existing formats for evaluating a person’s propensity to behave in a certain way are littered throughout the areas of industrial and organisation psychology, clinical psychology, as well as social psychology. This vast this corpus of literature is based on one core premise though - that the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour.

Extrapolating from this body of research and based on my own clinical experience I suggest the following dependent variables (indicators/measures) of harmful selfinterested behaviour:

  1. Criminal history
  2. Work history
  3. Relationship history
  4. History of being the subject of civil and social complaints.
  5. History of impulsive or compulsive behaviour.
  6. Ongoing tracking of their social behaviour within the community.

Measuring reputation indicators.

As with all psychological concepts the operationalisation of a person’s reputation is best understood as a dynamic process that will need to evolve over time.

At this point in time it is my opinion that for each of the six variables outlined in the previous section a process of data triangulation is best used, involving:

  1. Statutory records
  2. Healthcare information
  3. Self-report data
  4. Third-party references.

For some of the defined indicators of reputation only one datapoint is needed; for example criminal history and a person’s formal record of criminal offending. For other indicators multiple data points we need to be used; for example a person’s relationship history as operationalised by formal police reports of domestic conflict, self-report data and references from previous partners.

Formulating what sorts of data are relevant to what particular reputation indicators and assigning that data number values service scale can created Will be the challenge.