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The purpose of this paper is to explore whether the disconnect between mentoring theory, which posits that women receive less workplace mentoring than men, and empirical…
The purpose of this paper is to explore whether the disconnect between mentoring theory, which posits that women receive less workplace mentoring than men, and empirical results, which have found that women report equivalent or more mentoring received than men, is due to differences in perception rather than in actual mentoring provided.
Using an MTurk sample of working adults (n=251), a 2 (protégé/participant gender: male/female) × 2 (mentor gender: male/female) × 3 (amount of mentoring: high/medium/low) between-subjects experimental design was tested. This approach held relationship characteristics constant, allowing for an examination of the role of gender in mentoring perceptions.
Gender was associated with the way protégés viewed a mentoring relationship and their reports of mentoring received. When identical relationships were described, women were more likely than men to identify a senior colleague as a mentor, and protégés in heterogeneous gender mentoring relationships reported more mentoring received than those in homogeneous gender relationships.
When examining mentoring, perceptual differences need to be considered before drawing conclusions.
This study calls into question findings of equivalent mentoring – refocusing attention on the importance of informal mentoring for improving women’s workplace outcomes.
Using an experimental design that holds relationship characteristics constant, this study is able to examine whether perceptions of mentoring are affected by gender. No study has previously done so, and results from the current study help to explain why there has been a disconnect between theory and empirical results.
The purpose of this study is to understand the extent to which potential mentors and protégés agree that an informal mentoring relationship exists. Because these…
The purpose of this study is to understand the extent to which potential mentors and protégés agree that an informal mentoring relationship exists. Because these relationships are generally tacitly understood, either the mentor or protégé could perceive that there is a mentoring relationship when the other person does not agree. Whether gender affects this is also to be examined.
Individuals were asked to identify their mentoring partners. Each report of a partner was then compared to the partner's list to determine whether there was a match (i.e. both reported the relationship as an informal mentoring relationship) or a mismatch (i.e. where one partner reported the relationship as an informal mentoring relationship but the other did not). This pattern of matches and mismatches was then analyzed to determine level of matching and gender differences.
There is little agreement between mentoring partners: neither potential protégés nor potential mentors were very accurate at identifying reciprocal informal mentoring partners. However, gender was not found to be related to different levels of matching.
Previous work has not examined whether potential informal mentoring partners perceive the relationship in the same way. This has implications for employees who are depending upon their mentoring partners for support that may not be forthcoming because the partner does not view the relationship similarly. The findings also have implications for researchers, particularly when studying mentoring relationships from only one perspective and implicitly assuming agreement between partners.