Satisfaction with mentoring relationships: does gender identity matter?

Rowena Ortiz‐Walters (Lender School of Business, Quinnipiac University, Hamden, Connecticut, USA)
Kimberly‐Ann Eddleston (College of Business Administration, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA)
Kathleen Simione (Lender School of Business, Quinnipiac University, Hamden, Connecticut, USA)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Publication date: 25 May 2010



The purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of gender identity on protégés' satisfaction with mentoring relationships. More specifically, it aims to investigate whether or not a protégé's feminine or masculine identity, by virtue of emphasizing different criteria, roles, and preferences, impacts his or her satisfaction with the performance of a mentor.


Managers and/or professionals, identified by in‐career MBA students at large universities in the East, completed surveys to assess relationship satisfaction as a mentoring outcome.


The results of this study indicate that masculine protégés, who strongly identify with their career roles, report being more satisfied with mentors who provide career development support. Conversely, feminine protégés, who measure career success using socio‐emotional‐based criteria, report being more satisfied with mentors who provide psychosocial support.

Research limitations/implications

The study is limited in its generalizability due to the type of sample studied. The sample consisted of managers from a variety of male‐dominated occupations. In addition, since the data were self‐reported on a single survey, common method bias may also be an issue.

Practical implications

Despite limitations, the study implies that assessment of gender identity and related skills can provide organizations with more effective guidance and matching of mentors and protégés to maximize perceived satisfaction on the part of the protégé.


Although many studies have investigated a variety of factors that affect mentoring, few have examined the influence of gender identity on the functioning of these relationships.



Ortiz‐Walters, R., Eddleston, K. and Simione, K. (2010), "Satisfaction with mentoring relationships: does gender identity matter?", Career Development International, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 100-120.

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