Title

Are you my Mentor? Informal Mentoring Mutual Identification

Publication Type

Journal Article

Version

Postprint

Publication Date

2012

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to understand the extent to which potential mentors and protégés agree that an informal mentoring relationship exists. Because these relationships are generally tacitly understood, either the mentor or protégé could perceive that there is a mentoring relationship when the other person does not agree. Whether gender affects this is also to be examined. Individuals were asked to identify their mentoring partners. Each report of a partner was then compared to the partner's list to determine whether there was a match (i.e. both reported the relationship as an informal mentoring relationship) or a mismatch (i.e. where one partner reported the relationship as an informal mentoring relationship but the other did not). This pattern of matches and mismatches was then analyzed to determine level of matching and gender differences. There is little agreement between mentoring partners: neither potential protégés nor potential mentors were very accurate at identifying reciprocal informal mentoring partners. However, gender was not found to be related to different levels of matching. Previous work has not examined whether potential informal mentoring partners perceive the relationship in the same way. This has implications for employees who are depending upon their mentoring partners for support that may not be forthcoming because the partner does not view the relationship similarly. The findings also have implications for researchers, particularly when studying mentoring relationships from only one perspective and implicitly assuming agreement between partners.

Keywords

Mentoring, Gender, Human resource management, Interpersonal relations, Management philosophy

Discipline

Human Resources Management

Research Areas

Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources

Publication

Career Development International

Volume

17

Issue

2

First Page

137

Last Page

148

ISSN

1362-0436

Identifier

10.1108/13620431211225322

Publisher

Emerald