Mentoring is a concept that originated between 800 and 700 BC and which is still in existence in organisations irrespective of size, nature of ownership, type of industry or geographic location. In its most primal form it is regarded as a method according to which a less experienced employee (protégé or mentee) is guided and advised by a more experienced and skilled employee (mentor) in terms of life as well as professional skills. However, this definition has developed over time as organisations applied mentoring in a more structured manner and institutionalised it within formal organisational processes. Mentoring was, therefore, regarded as a method to “systematically develop the skills and leadership abilities of less experienced members of the organization” (SPA Consultants, 1995, p. 14). Mentoring has been in use within the library and information science profession from the mid-1980s and various publications have discussed the use of mentoring from an American, Australian and British perspective. However, relatively few publications are available regarding the use of mentoring within the South African contexts, and therefore an extensive discussion on the implementation of a structured mentoring scheme at the National Library of South Africa (NLSA) is included in the article. This study draws particularly on recent literature on the knowledge economy and more specifically knowledge management to suggest ways in which the concept of mentoring should be revised. Mentoring should henceforth be seen as a knowledge management technique to support the creation and sharing of tacit knowledge rather than merely a technique to develop less experienced individuals. This revised view of mentoring is of particular importance to ensure the sustainability of library and information service organisations in the knowledge economy.
Botha, D. (2006), "Mentoring Revisited", Garten, E., Williams, D. and Nyce, J. (Ed.) Advances in Library Administration and Organization (Advances in Library Administration and Organization, Vol. 24), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 151-189. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0732-0671(06)24005-7Download as .RIS
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