There is considerable literature about the impact of mentoring on the mentees but little is known about the effect of the mentoring relationship on the mentor. This paper aims to address that gap.
Interviews with 15 mentors and survey responses from 128 mentees are used to examine a formal mentoring programme. Most emphasis is on the perspective of the mentors, raising questions about how they view outcomes for themselves and their mentees, as well as the effects of mentoring on the workplace culture over time. Questions about the mentoring relationship, including gender differences, are analysed against the background of a decade‐long organisational change strategy.
Mentors report significant benefits for themselves and the mentee as well as the organisation itself as a result of their participation. The findings suggest that a long‐term mentoring programme for women has the potential to be an effective organisational change intervention. In particular, men involved in that programme increased their understanding and sensitivity regarding gendering processes in the workplace.
The importance of the impact of mentoring programmes on the mentors is an under‐investigated area. This study suggests that programme design, together with careful selection and targeting of mentors, enables mentoring to become a critical part of a culture change strategy.
The paper assists academics and practitioners to conceive of mentoring as a core element in an effective organisational change intervention. The innovation is to move mentoring away from assuming a deficit model of the mentee. As this programme shows, a focus on what needs to change in the dominant organisational culture, practices and values can lead to key players in the organisation becoming actively involved in the needed change process.
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