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Dialectical tensions experienced by diversified mentoring dyads

Marcy Meyer (Department of Communication Studies, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, USA)

International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education

ISSN: 2046-6854

Article publication date: 2 March 2015




The purpose of this paper is to examine diversified mentoring relationships (DMRs) at a mid-sized Midwestern state university (MMSU) in the USA.


The author conducted semi-structured interviews with 14 MMSU faculty members and professional personnel who comprised seven diversified mentoring dyads. The mentees were primarily members of underrepresented minority (URMs) groups, whereas the majority of mentors were members of the dominant culture.


A thematic analysis of the data, grounded in the literature on developmental relationships and relational dialectics theory (RDT), reveals tensions that diversified mentoring dyads experienced, as well as communication strategies that dyad members used to manage these tensions.

Research limitations/implications

Although this research is limited by its small sample size and unique geographic location, the findings offer in-depth insight and practical implications for URM faculty members in predominantly white institutions around the globe.

Practical implications

The findings of this study have important implications for training supervisors, mentors, and senior colleagues of URM faculty members.


This study is unique in that it examines DMRs from a dyadic communication perspective; moreover, it applies RDT to DMRs in organizations.



Meyer, M. (2015), "Dialectical tensions experienced by diversified mentoring dyads", International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 21-36.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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