Mentoring has been identified as a key strategy to career development and has been argued to be indispensable for women to advance to positions of power. For mentoring to succeed, it is imperative that mentors trust their protégés. However, recent research has suggested that male mentors trust their male protégés more so than their female protégés. Since women are frequently mentored by men, it is imperative that they gain the same level of trust as their male peers enjoy. According to an established model of trust, trust is shaped by the mentor's perceptions of protégé ability, benevolence and integrity, as well as perceptions of the risk inherent to mentoring. This exploratory research aims to examine what influences these perceptions to shed light on how protégés can gain the trust of their mentors.
Because little research has been conducted in this area, an exploratory qualitative design was chosen. Mayer, Davis and Schoorman's model of organizational trust is used as the theoretical framework.
This research sheds light on what predicts how trust is formed, fostered and lost in a mentoring context by examining factors that may influence perceptions of ability, benevolence, integrity and risk. Several protégé behaviors were identified that influenced perceptions of ability. Perceptions of benevolence were described as “feelings”. Perceptions of integrity were influenced by keeping confidences. Finally contextual factors, such as gender, were also identified as influencing the level of trust.
The sample size was based on only 24 mentors; as a consequence, the findings are exploratory in nature and not generalizable.
Trust has been identified as a critical component of an effective mentoring relationship. As a consequence, mentoring programs must include activities that assist in establishing and fostering trust between mentor and protégé.
Women are still under‐represented in positions of power. Mentoring has been widely adopted as a mechanism to help women climb the corporate ladder. The lack of female mentors frequently means that female protégés have to be mentored by men. If women are to break the “glass ceiling,” it is imperative that male mentors trust their female protégés to the same extent as their male protégés and provide them with the same career advancing opportunities.
Very little research has examined the role of trust in mentoring, although trust has been identified as a critical element in other organizational activities, such as leadership, performance appraisal, labor‐management relations, interpersonal cooperation, e‐commerce transactions and self‐managing work teams.
Leck, J. and Orser, B. (2013), "Fostering trust in mentoring relationships: an exploratory study", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Vol. 32 No. 4, pp. 410-425. https://doi.org/10.1108/EDI-01-2010-0007Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited