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The University of Southampton
Centre for Risk Research

Rock & Roll ... & Risk: New Research Explores Risk Management Amongst Freelance Musicians

Published: 11 June 2014

Research supervised by Dr Ian Harwood, a member of the Centre for Risk Research, on how session musicians manage reputational risk has recently been published in the Journal of Risk Research.

Dr Ian Harwood worked in collaboration with Christina Portman-Smith, an MSc student at the School of Management, on a research project that explored how freelance musicians manage their reputation in the era of social media. They concluded it was very difficult for them to do so. Fans can now easily record gigs in noisy venues and post them online on sites such as YouTube, Facebook or Twitter. Poor sound quality might mean their performances sound unimpressive and their reputations may suffer.

Poor recordings damage reputations

"Most of the research around reputation risk has centred around large companies which have PR experts to manage risks but these ‘one man bands' haven't got the resources to do so," explained Senior Lecturer Dr Ian Harwood, who supervised the project. "Earlier research suggests reputation management is possible but Christina argues it can be extremely difficult for people such as these musicians."

Drawing on social identity theory and models of reputation risk management, a paper based on her dissertation has now been published. "This goes to show that excellent work by our students can be recognised by respected academic publishers," added Ian.

Christina, who took a BSc degree in Maths with Actuarial Science at the University of Southampton, has now graduated with her MSc Risk Management and is working for a start-up company.

The published research paper can be accessed by clicking here.

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