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Mentoring for gender equality and organisational change

Jennifer de Vries (Organisational and Staff Development Services, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Australia)
Claire Webb (Organisational and Staff Development Services, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Australia)
Joan Eveline (Business School, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Australia)

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Article publication date: 1 November 2006

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Practical implications

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.

Originality/value

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.

Keywords

Citation

de Vries, J., Webb, C. and Eveline, J. (2006), "Mentoring for gender equality and organisational change", Employee Relations, Vol. 28 No. 6, pp. 573-587. https://doi.org/10.1108/01425450610704506

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited