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Mentoring.

This special edition of the Review of Business is devoted to the process of mentoring and its impact on employees and organizations. Much has already been written about mentoring, but the articles in this millennium edition build upon previous work and focus on new approaches to mentoring that will help both the employee and the organization move into the 21st century. What is consistent in all these articles is that mentoring is important for job success and job satisfaction of employees. Also evident in the articles is that businesses that nurture mentoring benefit as well. Mentoring and other similar types of communication support need to be offered to all workers for career and organizational development.

The first two articles offer suggestions for better matching and development of participants in the mentoring process based upon individual characteristics of both the protege and the mentor. Lee, Dougherty, and Turban's article reports on the importance of certain personality traits and work values in organizational mentoring programs. The article investigates personality dimensions as well as work values. Suggestions are offered for companies if a potential mentor or protege does not have these personality dimensions or values. In addition, strategies are provided to match proteges with mentors who have similar work values and personalities.

The Pittenger and Heimann article also advocates that the organization should pay closer attention to individual variables of the mentor and the protege to improve the effectiveness of mentoring programs. Certain characteristics of the organizational environment also need to be in place to support the mentoring relationship. Given the appropriate environment, organizations then need to focus on the individual variable of self-efficacy. Self-efficacy refers to one's self-perception of competence to perform a task, function, or role successfully. Self-efficacy of mentors and proteges should be key in determining their readiness and ability to participate effectively. A model is proposed to show the relationship between self-efficacy, effective mentoring and greater job satisfaction.

Most studies focus on the mentor as a senior organizational member who is not one's direct supervisor. However, the third article by Minter and Thomas provides a unique focus by developing managers as mentors. Three models of manager mentoring (coaching, mentoring, counseling) are described to enhance the communication-linking processes between supervisors and employees. Supervisors need to choose from these three approaches based on the performance of the employee. Coaching strategies that motivate and allow for individual effort are most effective in working with high performance employees. Mentoring strategies that provide feedback for skill development are most effective in dealing with average performance employees. Counseling strategies that help the employee correct attitudinal or behavioral problems are most effective in dealing with marginal or problem employees.

The next three articles examine mentoring and diversity. The article by Knouse and Webb discusses mentoring in the military context, especially as it applies to women and minorities. The article offers several mentoring alternatives, such as peer mentoring, surrogate mentoring, team mentoring, specialty advising, professional group mentoring, and virtual mentoring. These military "mentoring" alternatives are then discussed in terms of the business context. Such creative alternatives can provide mentoring for women and minorities who might be excluded from the more traditional mentoring relationships.

The article by Hill and Gant describes a mentoring program that was developed by professional minorities for use in two companies to facilitate the career development of minority employees. The organizational communication support program is unique in that it was developed by minorities for minorities, and it is also unique in that the program blends the best elements of informal and formal mentoring. Step-by-step procedures and recommendations are provided for implementation by other companies.

In her article, Kalbfleisch examines how gender affects the selection process of mentors and proteges. Same sex mentoring relationships occur more frequently than cross-sex relationships in both business and academic settings. People are drawn to each other based on similarity; therefore, mentoring usually occurs between members of the same sex. In addition, external pressure to avoid cross-sex mentoring relationships also exists in the form of gossip, jealousy, or sexual innuendo. The internal and external pressures for same-sex relationships pose a problem for females in professions where males hold most of the positions of authority.

The final article focuses on the important "bottom-line" of mentoring. Alleman and Clarke offer an instrument to evaluate the effectiveness of mentoring programs. In most organizations the mentoring process is largely left unmanaged. If mentoring programs are well designed and implemented, however, they can positively affect the bottom line of the organization. The article suggests a 5-step process for implementing and evaluating a mentoring program. Such research is important to demonstrate that mentoring is good not only for the participants but for the company as a whole.

Susan Kogler Hill and Margaret Hilton Bahniuk, Special Edition Editors
COPYRIGHT 2000 St. John's University, College of Business Administration
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Copyright 2000 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Review of Business
Date:Mar 22, 2000
Words:791
Previous Article:Internships at St. John's University: A Transition to the Workplace.
Next Article:The Role of Personality and Work Values in Mentoring Programs.


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