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Affective correlates of a good mentoring relationship

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Affective correlates of a good mentoring relationship
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Includes bibliographical references.
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by Mark Franklin Brechtel.

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THE AFFECTIVE CORRELATES OF
A GOOD MENTORING RELATIONSHIP
















By

MARK FRANKLIN BRECHTEL


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2003













This dissertation is dedicated to Hallie Ward.














ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to express my appreciation to the people in my life that are most

responsible for the good things that I am and do (and none of the not-so-good). First, my

mother, who (with a little help) started it all and is thus responsible for it all. Second, my

wife, Brenda, who has carried far more than her fair share in the past dozen years and

who would like to stop now, please. Third, my three daughters (in order of how much

work they did on this particular project), Christen, Christy, and Lisa-they are the reason

much of anything is worthwhile.













TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page

A CKN OW LEDGM EN TS ................................................................................................. i1

ABSTRA CT....................................................................................................................... vi

CHAPTER

1 IN TRODU CTION .......................................................................................................... 1

Defining M entering ....................................................................................................... 5
Brief History of M entoring............................................................................................ 6
Im portance of M entoring............................................................................................... 8
Present Study ............................................................................................................. 10

2 REVIEW O F LITERA TURE ...................................................................................... 11

Construction of the M entering Relationship................................................................ 14
Functions of the M entering Relationship .................................................................... 20
Career and Psychosocial Functions ....................................................................... 21
Additional Functions.............................................................................................. 24
Phases of the M entering Relationship ......................................................................... 25
Phillips' Five-Phase M odel ................................................................................... 27
M issirian's Three-Phase M odel............................................................................. 28
Kram 's Four-Phase M odel..................................................................................... 29
Em pirical Validity of the Phase M odels ................................................................ 30
Outcom es of the M entering Relationship .................................................................... 33
Correlation of Functions to Outcom es................................................................... 34
Self-Efficacy, Productivity, and Success in Graduate School............................... 36
Job Satisfaction, Prom otion, and Incom e .............................................................. 37
Im pact of Protdgi Characteristics.......................................................................... 39
Obstacles to the M entering Relationship..................................................................... 41
N negative Behaviors................................................................................................ 42
Structural, Department Specific, and Relational Obstacles................................... 42
Risks to M entors .................................................................................................... 44
Other Factors That Affect the Mentoring Relationship ............................................... 45
Gender Factors....................................................................................................... 45
Ethnicity, Sexual Orientation, and Other Cultural Factors.................................... 50
Ethical Concerns in the M entering Relationship ......................................................... 52
Introduction to the M ethod .......................................................................................... 55
V alue of Qualitative Research ............................................................................... 55
Grounded Theory M ethodology ............................................................................ 58

iv









3 M ETH OD ..................................................................................................................... 65

Participants................................................................................................................... 65
The Researcher............................................................................................................. 66
Procedure .....................................................................................................................69
Data Acquisition .................................................................................................... 69
Data Analysis......................................................................................................... 71

4 RESU LTS .................................................................................................................... 76

Feeling Respected........................................................................................................ 78
Respect of Persons ................................................................................................. 79
Respect of a Person's Right of Self-D eterm ination............................................... 81
Feeling V alued by or Im portant to the M entor ............................................................ 83
Availability ............................................................................................................ 84
Tim e and Effort...................................................................................................... 86
Feeling Safe ................................................................................................................. 88
N ot Experiencing Rejection................................................................................... 89
Receiving Affirm ation and Encouragem ent .......................................................... 92
Trust.......................................................................................................................93
Feelings of Belonging and Com m unity....................................................................... 95
Feelings of Increasing Com petence........................................................................... 100
Clarifying Expectations ....................................................................................... 101
Following an Appropriate Developmental Course .............................................. 102
Increasing Autonom y........................................................................................... 103

5 DISCU SSION .......................................................................................................... 105

APPENDIXES

A IN FORM ED CON SEN T ........................................................................................... 118

B M EN TOR INTERV IEW SAM PLE ........................................................................... 121

C SATISFIED PROTEGE (SP3) INTERVIEW SAMPLE........................................... 133

D DISSATISFIED PROT1EGE (DPI) INTERVIEW SAMPLE.................................... 145

E EXAM PLE OF OPEN CODIN G ............................................................................... 157

REFEREN CES ............................................................................................................ 164

BIOGRAPHICA L SKETCH ........................................................................................... 172














Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

THE AFFECTIVE CORRELATES OF A GOOD MENTORING RELATIONSHIP

By

Mark Franklin Brechtel

August, 2003

Chair: Franz R. Epting, Ph.D.
Major Department: Department of Psychology

This project investigated the affective components that help define a good

mentoring relationship. This project was exploratory, not confirmatory; thus, no

hypotheses were constructed. While previous research has focused on various

components of mentoring, such as functions, phases, establishment, and structures, these

factors were not evaluated, as the focus of the project was on the quality of the

relationship. Results of this project, however, are consistent with existing research into

these areas.

Fourteen participants were interviewed (four award-winning mentors, five

satisfied proteges, and four dissatisfied proteges) regarding their experiences as mentors

and proteges. Participants were asked to provide their thoughts and perceptions about

what things were important in a good mentoring relationship and what might be missing

in a bad relationship. Results were analyzed using grounded theory methodology, which

is a qualitative method of research and analysis. Analyses indicated that positive affect








was the central factor that differentiated good mentoring relationships from bad

mentoring relationships. Positive affect, as a core category, subsumed five second-level

categories: (a) feeling respected, (b) feelings of being valued, (c) feeling safe, (d) feelings

of belonging, and (e) feelings of making progress. Each of these categories subsumed a

number of other themes. Results across all participants were remarkably consistent,

lending support to the importance of the interpersonal quality of the mentor-prothgd

relationship.














CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.
(Newton, 1676)

This sentiment, in varying forms and words, has historically been proffered by

many when asked to account for their successes in work or in life. Indeed, it is asserted

that Sir Isaac Newton, who wrote these words in a letter to his colleague Robert Hooke,

was himself paraphrasing an idea expressed by Bernard of Chartes in the year 1130

(Herbert, 2003). The insight that we are able to accomplish as much as we do only

because we build upon the works of those who have gone before us is both perceptive

and judicious, rendering due credit to those upon whose labors we build our own edifices.

It is a humbling insight. No matter our view of our own talents and efforts, we are not

alone basking in the spotlight of our accomplishments. We are not solely to credit for our

discoveries and constructions. Further, we have had an advantage that our precursors did

not have: We have access to their work, their wisdom, the edifices that they built upon

the shoulders of those who went before-and, in some cases, we have access to them.

This last element-that we often have the advantage of the presence of the

persons who have gone before-provides the direction for this research. The purpose of

this dissertation is to explore the relationship between mentors and their proteges and to

ask what factors are important for the relationship to be characterized as good.

The presence of these persons allows us to learn from them directly: to see them

working in the lab, to watch them negotiate a contract with a client in the office, to hear

1










them present their findings first hand at conferences, and to talk to them about our ideas

and our goals. More importantly, their presence may also allow us to develop personal

relationships with them. Whether in business, a profession, or in academia, the

opportunity to enter into a personal relationship with someone who is more advanced,

more knowledgeable, more expert, or of higher status and power can be a boon to the

personal and professional development of the novice.

The significance of these relationships has been heard in the words of many: the

businessman who spoke with enthusiasm about the female senior executive who showed

him the ropes (Hogan, as cited in Murray, 1991), the Nobel prize winner who described

the sponsor who saw the potential in him that he never saw in himself (Zuckerman,

1977), the spiritual teacher who eloquently expressed his love for the elder who guided

him through crises of faith (Lewis, 1955), the child who eulogized a parent's importance

to his peace and place in the world, and the artist who waxed poetic about the one who

saw and believed in the talent and passion that others discounted (McMullen, as cited in

Murray, 1991). These few examples are noted among an imagined infinitude of people

who have recognized the critical contributions of some significant figure to their

development, to their success, and to their lives.

The recognition of the value of these significant figures, however, is definitional

of graduate education (Kelly & Schweitzer, 1999). Where else are the shoulders of those

who have gone before so intentionally made available for those who would follow?

Where more than in the graduate academy is the mentoring and advising of students and

prot6g6s more central to the success of the endeavor? Although the goal of all education










is the transmission of knowledge, graduate education uniquely assigns the task of

preparing the next generation of scholars and researchers to those who themselves

developed and use the knowledge. "Generations of experienced scholars have known and

acted upon the knowledge that the intellectual development of their graduate students is

most effectively guided in one-to-one relationships" (Boyer Commission, 1998, p. I). The

intellectual, professional, social, and political development of individual graduate

students is the raison d'etre of the graduate mentor-the sine qua non of a doctoral

education.

Or is it? According to many sources (e.g., Bowen & Rudenstine, 1992; Lovitts,

2001; Tinto, 1987), the number of students who drop out of doctoral programs in the

United States has held steady at approximately 50% since the 1960s. Further, while the

specific attrition rates for women and minorities are not known, Lovitts reported it to be

considerably higher (see also National Science Foundation, 1997). It is also interesting to

note that "in many doctoral programs, roughly half of the students are mentored; in

others, the rate is much lower" (Johnson and Huwe, 2003, p. 4). Perhaps the development

of graduate students is not the central concern of graduate schools. Perhaps experienced

scholars have not known-or not acted upon the knowledge-that students' development

is best facilitated in one-on-one relationships.

A variety of reasons may be called up to explain these alarming statistics, and

researchers have not been unaware of the problem (Bean & Eaton, 2000; Bowen &

Rudenstine, 1992; Braxton, 2000; Tinto, 1987, 2000). Some researchers have focused on

the contribution of the individual student's personality and other characteristics to










retention. For example, Tinto (1987) discussed the relations between personal

dispositions such as intention and commitment and retention, Bean and Eaton (2000)

presented a model that focuses on the interactions between characteristics of the students

and the institutional environment in which they must function after arrival, and Green and

Bauer (1995) found that certain characteristics of students at entry predicted a significant

portion of the variance in outcomes.

Other researchers have explored what happens to students after they arrive.

Lovitts (2001) explored a number of reasons why graduate students do not complete their

programs and concluded that "it is not the background characteristics students bring to

the university that affects their persistence outcomes; it is what happens to them after

they arrive" (p. 2). Lovitts reported that a key factor in a students' success is their

satisfaction with their advisors/mentors, which predicted not only completion of the

doctorate, but also a wide range of other variables. Her discussion of the relative impact

of the student's advisor is of particular interest here. In summarizing, she wrote,

In particular, the students felt that their experiences would have been better if they
had had more interaction with faculty and/or their advisor and if the faculty or
their advisor had been more open, more supporting; given them a little more
personal attention; been more sensitive to their interests and career goals; and
provided them with appropriate professional socialization experiences. (p. 184)

Clearly, factors related to student success, satisfaction, and retention need further

explication. Nevertheless, and in spite of the distressing losses of doctoral students,

numerous researchers, theorists, and administrators have explicitly recognized the

importance of mentoring in graduate education. The Strategic Planning Committee of a

top-10 southeastern university concluded, "no function in the university should receive










more careful attention and support than the processes by which potential graduate

students are recruited, admitted, mentored, and placed" (University of Florida, 1997a, p.

21). Cameron and Blackburn (1981) discussed the positive correlations between

professional productivity and mentoring (broadly defined). The Council of Graduate

Schools (1990) specifically mentioned mentoring when noting that a university has an

obligation to provide support services to make academic progress possible. Commenting

on mentoring in the context of adult male development, Levinson (1978) added, "Given

the value that mentoring has for the mentor, the recipient, and society at large, it is tragic

that so little of it actually occurs" (p. 254).

Defining Mentoring

Although mentoring is a term that is frequently and widely used, it remains

resistant to clear, concise definition (Gibb, 1999). Many researchers and authors have

defined the term in the context of their work, providing additional descriptors and

examples that serve to reveal the insufficiency of the operationalization due to the

complexity and nuances of the relationship. For example, Johnson (2002) explicitly noted

that authors have had difficulty clarifying what is meant by mentoring, and then provided

three paragraphs describing his conceptions and use of the term. The present author is, of

course, not exempt from this difficulty.

A significant factor in defining the term is that mentoring is not a simple

construct. It is not a single role, a single task, nor a single concept. Rather, the mentoring

construct describes a juxtaposition of numerous roles, activities, purposes, and meanings.

The uniqueness and power of mentoring could not, in any case, be encompassed by a










bare description of functions and outcomes. As the present study is intended to

demonstrate, fulfilled functions and positive outcomes do not define the essence of

mentoring. Indeed, positive outcomes can be acquired without a mentor. Mentoring is

something more-something qualitative, phenomenal, subjective-and as such resists

attempts to define it in any categorical way.

Brief History of Mentoring

The term mentor has its origins in Greek mythology. In Homer's Odyssey,

Mentor was a close friend and wise counselor of Odysseus. Odysseus, who became a

hero after his victory at Troy, was unable to return home after the battle, as he was

hindered by the goddess, Calypso, who wanted to marry him. Eventually, the other gods

took pity on him and sent him homeward. However, Poseidon (whom Odysseus had

offended by blinding his son, Cyclopes Polyphemus) again hindered his progress and

prevented him from reaching home.

Wisely, before Odysseus had left his home in Ithaca for the battle, he placed

Mentor (his friend and advisor) in charge of his estate, his servants, and his young son,

Telemakhos. When Telemakhos was older, he thought about his missing father. At the

prompting of the goddess Athena, Telemakhos decided to seek out his father and bring

him home again. Athena would often appear to Telemakhos in the guise of Mentor, his

guardian and surrogate father, to provide advice, guidance, support, and encouragement.

Athena also appeared to Odysseus and Telemakhos in various other guises. In each case

Athena/Mentor, using her superior (divine) knowledge and power, was able to assist them










in their travels and travails because she saw their needs and intervened with the powers

(i.e., the other gods) on their behalf.

Odysseus, in appointing Mentor, was (in part) conforming to a customary practice

in ancient Greece, which was to find an older and wiser teacher to be a role model for

young men so that they could learn from and emulate their families' cultural values and

customs (e.g., Plato and Socrates, Alexander the Great and Aristotle; Murray, 1991). In

that both Mentor himself and Athena in the guise of Mentor exemplified the

characteristics of advisor, guide, counselor, intervener, and teacher, these older and wiser

role models became known as "mentors," and the term mentor became associated with

that role.

These same ideas regarding the transmission of knowledge and customs can also

be seen in the development of guilds during the Middle Ages. The various professions

(e.g., goldsmith, lawyer, merchant) developed an apprenticeship model in which young

boys were apprenticed to a master (i.e., someone recognized as expert in the given trade).

The boys spent years with their masters, learning their trades and eventually becoming

masters themselves by producing a masterpiece.

The master-apprenticeship model was largely replaced by an employer/employee

model, but informal mentoring continued to play a central role in history. For example,

McMullen (as cited by Murray, 1991) quoted artist Mary Cassatt when she learned of

Edgar Degas's interest in becoming her personal mentor:

I accepted with joy. Now I could work with absolute independence without
considering the opinion of a jury. I had already recognized who were my true
masters. I admired Manet, Courbet, and Degas. I took leave of conventional art. I
began to live. (p. 8)










The effects of having a mentor whom the protege admires and respects are evident and

continue to be play a central role in the value of mentoring (e.g., Kram, 1985; Levinson,

1978; Lovitts, 2001; O'Neil & Wrightsman, 2001).

In the last few decades, mentoring has received increasing attention in both

business and academia (Hollingsworth & Fassinger, 2002; Murray, 1991; Sands, Parson,

& Duane, 1991). Theories have been constructed, models have been developed, and

research has been conducted. The potential value to the protege, the mentor, the

institution or business, and society in general has driven an increased focus on how to

establish mentoring programs, structure mentoring relationships, and garner the hoped-

for benefits. Yet, a significant obstacle persists in the lack of a clear definition of

mentoring. Abstract knowledge of the concept remains insufficient for the task, as does

the bare description of functions and tasks.

Importance of Mentoring

At a purely practical level, teachers and mentors have always served an

acknowledged function as imparters of knowledge and exemplars of the professional role.

Knowledge, however, has been expanding at an accelerated rate in recent decades. The

increasing breadth and sheer quantity of information drives escalating demands to

specialize, and the rising number of highly trained and educated people creates growing

competition for limited business and academic positions. Technology is also more diverse

and complex, and the skills necessary to master it are correspondingly more intricate or

even esoteric. Consequently, the transmission of vital knowledge and skills required for

business or academic survival must be both efficient and effective. This does not imply










that mentoring is a new concept or that the efficient transmission of knowledge and

expertise is a 21st century imperative. Nevertheless, the levels of current demands have

grown such that, without the direct involvement of mentors, the task of survival-much

less success-may be nearly insurmountable.

As previously noted, however, the subjective experiences of the people in a

mentoring relationship are central, not only to the perceived quality of the relationship,

but also to the success of the relationship tasks (Bair, 1999; Lovitts, 2001). In addition to

noting the importance of mentoring in a professional context, Levinson (1978) discussed

the importance of a mentor to the psychological and emotional development of young

men. He stated,

A good mentor is an admixture of a good father and a good friend.... A "good
enough" mentor is a transitional figure who invites and welcomes a young man
into the adult world. He serves as a guide, teacher, and sponsor. He represents
skill, knowledge, virtue, accomplishment-the superior qualities a young man
hopes someday to acquire. He gives his blessing to the novice and his Dream.
And yet, with all this superiority, he conveys the promise that in time they will be
peers. The protegd has the hope that soon he will be able to join or even surpass
his mentor in the work that they both value. (pp. 333-334)

Although transmission of knowledge and technical expertise, dissemination of

cultural sophistication, enlarged networks, and other concrete benefits accrue to those

who are mentored, they are not perhaps the most important benefits. Neither are measures

of these benefits likely to capture the essence of the mentoring relationship. The present

study, therefore, does not focus directly on the practical aspects of mentoring, but rather

indirectly on the developmental, subjective, and phenomenological experiences of

mentors and proteges.










Present Study

The present study focuses on the subjective experience of participants in

mentoring relationships in order to develop an understanding of what qualitative factors

contribute to the characterization of a mentoring relationship as good. What does it mean

to each person in the dyad that mentoring "works"? Is essence, what elements comprise a

good mentoring relationship? As in a marriage, something occurs in a positive mentoring

relationship that is qualitatively different from a negative or less successful one. These

features are of primary interest in the present study and provide reasons for why

psychology may be uniquely suited to explore them.

This study is further undertaken in the "context of discovery," not in the "context

of verification" (Giorgi, 1990, 1992). Although the subjective perceptions and

experiences of the protdgd have been noted as a predictor of positive outcomes (e.g.,

Lovitts, 2001), little direct research has been done to date on this aspect of the

relationship. Given the data indicating the relatively high attrition rates in doctoral

education, the importance of mentoring to positive outcomes in doctoral education, and

the relatively high rate of dissatisfaction among graduate students in regard to the

mentoring they received, additional research on the subjective in the mentoring

relationship is essential.














CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE


This chapter provides an overview of the theoretical and empirical literature on

mentoring. As previously noted, the topic of mentoring has garnered increasing attention

during the last few decades. In a brief search of this body of literature, Fogg (2002) found

a significant increase in the number of articles written about mentoring, ranging from 4

papers written from 1960 to 1964 to 721 articles written from 1995 to 1999. Similar

results were obtained by this author in a search of the Educational Resources Information

Center (ERIC) database. Focusing on mentor in a keyword search of the literature

returned only one article published between 1960 and 1965. A subsequent search

returned 893 references published between 1996 and 2002.

Other resources also reveal increased interest in the topic of mentors. An internet

search using mentoring (instead of mentor in order to eliminate cities and other unrelated

references) yielded 1,520,000 hits (Google, 2003). A random search of university

websites revealed that mentoring is also a significant interest of educational

administrators. Murray (1991) commented that some reference to mentoring could be

found in "almost every publication aimed at managers, administrators, educators, human

resource professionals..." (p. xiii), and Clutterbuck (as cited in Brophy & Epting, 1996)

asserted that up to one-third of major companies in Britain have experimented with

formal mentoring schemes. Other such examples abound.








12

This surfeit of material, however, belies the relative tenuousness of the findings in

many areas of the mentoring literature (Gelso & Schlosser, 2001; Gibb, 1999; Jacobi,

1991). Although many researchers have invested significant effort into exploring the

relationship, their findings tend to be fragmented, and the essential characteristics of the

mentor-proteg6 relationship continue to be elusive as researchers obtain inconsistent

results (Chao, 1997). For example, the findings on the effects on personal development

and outcomes in cross-gendered mentor-protegd dyads are ambiguous; some authors have

found that women may have a more difficult time finding mentors or benefiting from

being mentored by men, whereas other researchers conclude that there are no differences

in outcomes or quality and effectiveness of the relationship in regard to gender issues.

Similar problems beleaguer other areas of mentorship inquiry, such as the research into

mentor-prot6g6 dyads comprised of persons from different ethnic backgrounds.

These apparent contradictions in the literature should not be taken to mean there

is no concordance between researchers or theorists regarding several important aspects of

the mentoring relationship. Some areas of study reveal significant agreement, and some

empirically well-supported models have become nearly ubiquitous in their longevity,

centrality, and explanatory power. For example, one area of significant agreement among

researchers regards the different functions that inhere in the relationship. Generally

speaking, most authors agree that the mentoring functions construed as meeting the

primary needs of the prot6gds fall into the two major categories first clearly described in

Kathy Kram's (1985) seminal work on mentoring; career functions and psychosocial

functions.










As implied by the increasing numbers of researchers, theoreticians,

administrators, and business managers interested in clarifying the character and structure

of the mentoring relationship-often with the explicit goal of developing effective and

efficient mentoring programs in business and academia-mentoring continues to be an

important topic as well as an elusive construct. That mentoring is effective seems to be

taken for granted; what its effects are, how these effects are achieved, and who benefits

from the relationship are still being clarified. Discussing the problem of definition in the

context of methodology in mentoring research, Wrightsman (1981) noted that

there is a false sense of consensus, because everyone "knows" what mentoring is.
But closer examination indicates wide variation in operational definitions, leading
to conclusions that are limited to the use of particular procedures.... The result is
that the concept is devalued, because everyone is using it loosely, without
precision.... (pp. 3-4)

Researchers have identified several factors that result in confusion and overlap

between projects and conceptualizations (e.g., Chao & Gardner, 1992; Jacobi, 1991;

Wrightsman, 1981), including inconsistency in definitions, a lack of consensus regarding

structural characteristics of the mentoring relationship, and the diversity of contexts in

which mentoring is of importance. In considering these factors for the purposes of the

present study, the research in the following categories will be reviewed: (a) construction

of the mentoring relationship, (b) functions of the mentoring relationship, (c) phases of

the mentoring relationship, (d) outcomes of the mentoring relationship, (e) obstacles to

the mentoring relationship, (f) gender, ethnicity, and other cultural factors, and (g) ethical

concerns in the mentoring relationship.










Construction of the Mentoring Relationship

Given the potential and anticipated benefits and costs of mentoring to a business

or educational institution (not to mention benefits and costs for prot6ges and mentors

themselves), anyone wishing to develop a mentoring program needs accurate information

as to how to initiate and structure the relationship within the relevant context. Many

organizations and institutions have attempted to implement mentoring programs with

which to garner these benefits (Gibb, 1999; Ragins & Cotton, 1999; Scandura, 1998).

Typically, these efforts entail the formalization of those factors and processes construed

by the program designers to be fundamental to successful mentoring in informal contexts

(Chao et al., 1992; Noe, 1988). One of the major demarcations ofmentoring and

mentoring research is thus between formal and informal mentoring paradigms.

The primary distinction between formal and informal mentoring relationships is in

the method by which the relationship is initiated. In an informal mentoring relationship,

the proteg6 and the mentor initiate a relationship based on common interests, usually with

the prot6ge seeking out the mentor. Cronan-Hillix, Gensheimer, Cronan-Hillix, and

Davidson (1986) found that more than 80% of surveyed proteges sought out their

mentors on the basis of similar interests. An informal mentoring relationship is not

managed, structured, or established by an external organization. This relationship is

described as spontaneous, natural, or voluntary (Johnson, 2002; Pollock, 1995; Scandura,

1998).

Conversely, in a formal mentoring relationship, the business or institution has

taken an active interest in the development of the protege, usually with specific tasks or








15

goals in mind (Murray, 1991). According to Gibb (1999), these goals often include better

induction and socialization into the field, professional development, improved

performance, and development of potential. The organization develops a formal system

in which the company assesses its personnel and then determines who will be a mentor

and who will be mentored. In a formal mentoring relationship, the roles are more clearly

defined and the goals are more explicitly articulated than in an informal relationship, and

specific methods of intervention are often prescribed for the mentor.

A number of other factors in both the initiation and dynamics of formal and

informal mentoring relationships may influence the character and outcomes of these

relationships. Five issues identified in this body of literature will be presented here. First,

although the mentor in a formally structured mentoring situation may be construed as

suitable for a given protege by the mentoring coordinator, the proteg6 may have a

different opinion (as may the mentor). This may render the relationship not only

ineffective, but also possibly detrimental (Murray, 1991). For example, the proteg6 may

have psychological or career needs that the mentor cannot meet or is not skilled enough

to recognize. Second, a protege may not benefit as much from a formal mentoring

relationship if he or she believes that the mentor is investing time and effort only in

response to a management directive or because of a commitment to the organization,

rather than because of an interest in the protegd or the protege's work and development

(Ragins & Cotton, 1999). Third, formal mentoring schemes are often focused on short-

term needs and goals and may not provide enough time for mentors and proteges to reap

the benefits of the functions. Kram (1985) and Chao (1997) noted that some functions










(especially career functions) take time to come to fruition and that short-term

relationships with mentors may not be sufficient for these to germinate. Fourth, informal

mentors may be more concerned with the long-term needs and outcomes of their proteges

than their formal counterparts, and may, indeed, protect their proteges at a significant cost

to the organization (Ragins & Cotton, 1999). Informal mentors may be more likely to

identify personally with their proteges and, likewise, the proteg6 with the mentor. Since

mentors and proteges in informal relationships choose each other, their personal

investment in the well being of the other may be greater than that in an assigned (formal)

relationship (Johnson, 2000; Zuckerman, 1977). Finally, Ragins and Cotton (1999)

argued that since formal mentors are more visible in an organization than informal

mentors are, they might be more concerned about avoiding the appearance of favoritism

towards their proteges. Contrariwise, informal mentors are expected to show favoritism,

to sponsor their proteges, and to buffer them from departmental politics.

Insofar as the informal mentoring relationship is prototypical and, therefore,

presumed to be effective and efficient, the formalization of the relationship has received

the most attention by researchers. Gibb (1999) noted that "while formal mentoring

programs are now very popular, there is not much critical analysis of the reality of their

relative successes and failures... "(p. 1057). Some researchers, however, have examined

the effectiveness of attempts to replicate the benefits of informal relationships in the

creation of formal mentoring programs.

Chao et al. (1992) explored differences in the perceived support functions

provided by mentors in formal and informal mentoring relationships. Support functions










were categorized as psychosocial functions or career functions as defined by Kram

(1985). Psychosocial functions are defined as those that influenced the protdgd's

competence, identity, and effectiveness in a professional role, whereas career functions

are defined as those that enhanced career advancement. Other outcomes, such as salary

and job satisfaction, were also assessed. In a survey of 576 university graduates (212

informally mentored, 53 formally mentored, and 284 non-mentored), proteges who had

been informally mentored reported receiving significantly greater career-related support

from their mentors than did formally mentored respondents. Interestingly, although

informally mentored proteges' scores were slightly higher than formally mentored

proteges in the psychosocial functions as well, the differences were not statistically

significant (thus, the researchers' hypothesis that informal mentoring relationships would

provide a greater number of the psychosocial functions described by Kram was not

supported). Additionally, both informally and formally mentored proteges scored higher

than non-mentored students did, with informally mentored proteg6s scoring higher on all

measures and formally mentored proteg6s scoring higher on only 3 of 12 measures.

Fagenson-Eland, Marks, and Amendola (1997) conducted a similar study of 16

informally mentored and 30 formally mentored proteg6s and obtained different results.

Those participants who were informally mentored reported greater psychosocial support

than did those who were formally mentored, yet both groups reported similar levels of

career-related support.

Ragins and Cotton (1999) noted the methodological difficulties (primarily in

instrumentation used) of earlier studies and sought to clarify the discrepancies in the










previous research. These researchers developed an instrument that allowed for separate

analysis of Kram's (1985) nine individual functions (five career and four psychosocial)

and two additional functions, rather than the superordinate categories of psychosocial and

career functions. They also assessed selected outcomes related to formally and informally

mentored proteges and non-mentored persons.

Ragins and Cotton (1999) surveyed a sample of 614 engineers, social workers,

and journalists (257 men, 352 women, 5 who did not report gender), 510 who had been

informally mentored, and 104 who had been formally mentored. These investigators

found that informally mentored proteges reported significantly more career function

support and more support in four of the six psychosocial domains measured than did

proteges in the formally mentored group. Informally mentored proteges also reported

greater satisfaction with their mentors and significantly greater job compensation than did

those in formal mentoring relationships. Controlling for other factors, post hoc tests with

non-mentored respondents revealed that proteges who had been informally mentored

reported significantly greater job compensation than employees who had not been

mentored, whereas no significant differences were reported in compensation between

formally mentored and non-mentored employees. Finally, informally mentored

employees received significantly more promotions than did both formally mentored and

non-mentored individuals, whereas no significant differences were reported between

formally mentored and non-mentored employees in this regard.

The findings of this research (Ragins & Cotton, 1999) support the assertion that

informal mentoring is significantly more beneficial than either formal mentoring or no










mentoring. Additionally, they provide some support for the position that formal

mentoring schemes are more beneficial than no mentoring at all, and that formal

mentoring can provide some of the functions believed to be beneficial in informal

mentoring relationships. Ragins and Cotton suggested that the more closely a formal

mentoring scheme approximates informal mentoring, the more likely that it will provide

the benefits obtained in informal mentoring. They also suggested that formal mentoring

be offered as an adjunct to informal mentoring, or perhaps as a preliminary to an informal

relationship, stating that "prot6g6s with formal mentors should be encouraged to seek

informal mentors while in the last stage of their formal mentoring relationship" (p. 546).

Clark, Harden, and Johnson (2000), taking the other side, asserted more strongly

that "the unique quality of the mentor relationship and the long-term nature of

relationship formation appear incongruent with third-party assignment" (p. 264). Some

researchers (e.g., Clark et al.; Cronan-Hillix et al., 1986; Johnson, 2002; Johnson &

Huwe, 2003) have also suggested that externally or structurally imposing the relationship

precludes the inscrutable "magic" underlying the affiliation and may render the

mentoring relationship merely utilitarian, lacking in passion and emotional investment.

These researchers do not, however, equate informal with unplanned. Johnson and his

colleagues (Johnson, 2002; Johnson & Huwe, 2003) explored ways to establish

individual and organizational conditions that would likely facilitate the initiation and

quality of what they refer to as intentional mentoring. These include such activities as

preparing mentors and students for their roles, and establishing a departmental culture

that recognizes and supports the value of the mentoring process (Cohen, Morgan, DiLillo,










& Flores, 2003; Gerholm, 1990; Lovitts, 2001). Johnson argued especially that the

protdg&-but also the mentor-must be intentional and proactive in seeking out those

with whom they would like to work and those who possess the qualities and resources to

meet one's needs (see also Kram, 1985).

As with many aspects of this body of literature, the results need further

clarification. A clear limitation, however, is that formal mentoring, at least at its present

stage of development, should not be construed as a sufficient substitute for informal

mentoring relationships. On the other hand, while few authors would be willing to assert

that people can be mentors or learn from mentors merely because they are mandated to

by upper management, some will argue that if the conditions are established that facilitate

the development of mentoring relationships, then the teaching, learning, and allied tasks

and goals are more likely to be accomplished (Kram, 1985; Johnson, 2002; Murray 1991;

Ragins & Cotton, 1999).

Functions of the Mentoring Relationship

Levinson (1978) asserted that the central function of a mentoring relationship is

the development of the self of the protege. In describing his research on adult male

development, Levinson stated, "The mentor relationship is one of the most complex, and

developmentally important, a man can have in early adulthood.... No word currently in

use is adequate to convey the nature of the relationship we have in mind here" (Levinson,

1978, p. 97). Although a mentor has a number of functions (e.g., sponsoring, guiding,

teaching), Levinson asserted that the mentor's primary role is that of a transitional figure

between parent and peer-neither one nor the other, but someone who can respond










appropriately to the developmental needs of the protege. Thus, according to Levinson,

not only is the relationship more complex than has been suggested by other researchers

(e.g., Murray, 1985), but it also ultimately exists for the developmental benefit of the

prot6ge, whether in the business context or in the educational context.

Kram (1985) defined functions as "those aspects of a relationship that enhance

both individuals' growth and advancement" (p. 22). One notable feature of Kram's

conceptualization is the delineation of both psychosocial functions as well as career

functions. Levinson's (1978) work was in the context of adult development more

generally and focused on the psychosocial development of the person. While Kram

agreed that the mentoring relationship is a developmental one in which both parties are

meeting each other's developmentally appropriate needs, she discovered that important

career functions are also being carried out in the relationship. A second important aspect

of Kram's model is that it takes into account the benefits that accrue to the mentor, as

well as to the protegd and the business or institution. Following this lead, researchers

have investigated the benefits that accrue to the mentors as well (e.g., Ragins &

Scandura, 1999; Wright & Wright, 1987).

Career and Psychosocial Functions

As noted previously, there is substantial agreement among authors regarding the

basic functions of the mentoring relationship; however, this was not always the case. In

her seminal research on mentoring, Kram (1985) evaluated the previous scattered

research and noted meaningful consistencies in the data. She subsequently engaged in a

research project in order to clarify the mentoring relationship, and developed a model that










elaborates both the phases in the mentoring relationship as well as the mentoring

functions. Her model has provided the foundation and impetus for a great deal of research

on mentoring.

Kram's (1985) mentoring functions were derived from a content analysis of

interviews with 18 mentor-protdgd dyads in a corporate setting. She identified two broad

categories of functions: career functions and psychosocial functions. She defined career

functions as those functions that contribute to the professional development of the

proteg6 and advancement in the organization. They include sponsorship (the mentor

actively advocates for or promotes their protege in the field), exposure-and-visibility (the

mentor provides or creates opportunities for the protege to demonstrate his or her

competence in front of key figures in the organization), coaching (the mentor enhances

the protege's knowledge and understanding about how to navigate effectively the culture

and politics in the organization or field), protection (the mentor shields the protege from

potentially damaging errors, interactions, or situations), and challenging assignments (the

mentor provides meaningful opportunities for the protege to develop skills and

competencies, and to obtain successes in the professional role). The ability to provide

career functions depends on the mentor's experience, rank, and status or influence. If the

mentor does not excel on these factors, then his or her ability to effectively provide the

career functions is impaired.

Contrariwise, psychosocial functions are based on the interpersonal relationship

between the mentor and the protege and are possible only in the context of mutual trust

and increasing intimacy. Kram (1985) defined these functions as "those aspects of a








23

relationship that enhance an individual's sense of competence, identity, and effectiveness

in the professional role" (p. 32). These functions include acceptance-and-confirmation

(both individual's derive a positive sense of self, personally and professionally, from the

positive regard of the other), counseling (the ability to explore personal concerns that

may interfere with the individual's professional development or functioning), friendship

(positive social interactions that make the relationship enjoyable), and role modeling (the

presentation of positive attitudes, values, and behaviors by the mentor that the protdgd

identifies with and internalizes, and that pertain to all areas of the relationship ranging

from modeling skills to enculturation in the organization or department).

Although Kram's (1985) model is significant in the literature (Chao, 1997; Gilbert

& Rossman, 1992; Johnson, 2002; Ragins & Cotton, 1999), it is not the only model

available, nor are her nine functions the only ones noted. For example, Scandura (1992)

developed a model that consists of the following three categories: vocational, social

support, and role modeling. The vocational category correlates with Kram's career

functions, whereas the social support and role modeling categories together are similar to

Kram's psychosocial functions. Subsequent factor analyses of data by Noe (1998) and

Schockett & Haring-Hidore (1985), however, confirmed a two-factor structure: (a) career

(Noe, 1988) or vocational (Schockett & Haring-Hidore, 1985) functions, and (b)

psychosocial functions. Olian, Carroll, Giannantonia, and Feren (as cited in Jacobi, 1991)

conclude that proteges "see two primary dimensions to the benefits obtained from the

relationship: job and career benefits through information and external brokering provided










by the mentor, and psychological benefits from the emotional support and friendship

obtained within the relationship" (p. 19).

Additional Functions

Researchers have proposed a number of additional functions. Jacobi (1991), in his

review of eight theorists, referred to 15 important functions (including Kram's) that have

been suggested, adding (for example) advice, clarification, socialization, and training.

Cameron and Blackburn (1981) added that mentors are often expected to provide

financial support, job placement support, publication support, research collaboration, and

more. More informally, this researcher's 30-minute perusal of approximately 20 of

journal articles revealed 35 distinct terms describing the functions or roles typically

ascribed to the mentor in the mentoring relationship. Pollock (1995) identified 144 terms

referring to mentors' behavior in her research. One wonders if true mentors are human (if

they exist at all) given the plethora of inspiring roles they must fulfill.

It is also important to note, then, that not all mentors are expected to fulfill all

roles or functions. Levinson (1978) wrote,

Mentoring is defined not in terms of the formal roles but in terms of the character
of the relationship and the functions that it serves.... A student may receive very
little mentoring from his teacher/advisor, and very important mentoring from an
older friend or relative. We have to examine a relationship closely to discover the
amount and kind of mentoring it provides. (p. 98).

The needs of the protege are often diverse, and many of them are unique to the

individual. Likewise, the capacities of mentors vary from mentor to mentor. Proteges and

mentors seek each other based largely on common interests, as well as on whether the

other has the skills and resources to meet the individual protege's or mentor's particular










set of needs (Kram, 1985; Levinson, 1978; Lovitts, 2001; Swerdlik & Bardon, 1988;

Zuckerman, 1977). The large numbers of roles and functions proposed reflects this

diversity and complexity.

A comment needs to be made on the concept of mentoring functions that is

relevant to this project. Although in significant agreement regarding the general functions

that a mentor fulfills and the factors used to describe them, researchers have been

essentially silent on just what a function accomplishes. They have derived lists of

functions and behaviors, but have not clarified why, for example, a good mentor's

teaching is different from that of any other teacher. Or again, to say that a mentor

"provides support" is to say what? To isolate 144 terms regarding mentor behaviors or

functions does not adequately clarify what makes mentoring unique, special, or worthy of

interest in itself. The current project was undertaken with this lack of clear distinction in

mind.

Phases of the Mentoring Relationship

To claim that relationships change is to state the obvious, and the mentoring

relationship is no exception to this phenomenon. In the context of his work on adult male

development, Levinson (1978) noted the changes over time in the relationship between a

young man and his mentor:

In the usual course, a young man initially experiences himself as a novice or
apprentice to a more advanced, expert, and authoritative adult. As the relationship
evolves, he gains a fuller sense of his own authority and his capability for
autonomous, responsible action. The balance of giving/receiving becomes more
equal. The younger man increasingly has the experience of"I am" as an adult, and
their relationship becomes more mutual. This shift serves a crucial developmental
function for the young man: it is part of the process by which he transcends the
father-son, man-boy division of his childhood. Although he is officially defined as










an adult at 18 or 21, and desperately wants to be one, it takes many years to
overcome the sense of being a son or a boy in relation to "real" adults. (pp. 98-99)

In the above quote, Levinson (1978) was referring to the psychological

development and transitions of the male adolescent from early to middle adulthood with

the help of a mentor. Substituting the terms "young woman," "employee," or "graduate

student" in place of "young man" does not alter the insight. In a relationship with a

teacher, advisor, sponsor (i.e., a mentor), the protdgd will progress from not only being a

novice, but also from feeling like a novice. A corollary to this psychological development

is an increased capacity to apprehend and benefit from increasingly important, complex,

and subtle aspects of the task at hand, whether in life, work, or education.

Researchers and theorists are not known for their propensity to pass up the

opportunity to reduce complex phenomena to a set of superordinate constructs: Erikson's

(1980) psychosocial stages, Kohlberg's (1963) stages of moral development, Piaget's

stages of cognitive development (Wadsworth, 1989), Helm's (1995) racial identity

statuses are examples. Similarly, mentoring, like these other important relationships, has

a developmental course that researchers and theorists have characterized by phases. The

three predominant models that have received attention in the literature have been

proposed by Phillips (1982), Missirian (1982), and Kram (1983, 1985). As discussed by

Pollock (1995), isolating phases in relationships requires both descriptions of the features

of interest as well as the ability to place these features in a temporal frame to determine if

patterns that might represent stages or phases emerge. All three models meet these

criteria.










Philips' Five Phase Model

In developing her model, Phillips (1982) interviewed 50 successful women

prot6g6es, many of whom had also been mentors. Phillips identified the following five

phases that comprise the course of a mentoring relationship: (a) initiation, (b) mutual

admiration, (c) development, (d) disillusionment, and (e) parting and transformation.

Initiation refers to the time at the very onset of the relationship in which the

mentor and protege are just meeting and agreeing to work together. Mutual admiration,

also referred to as the "sparkle" phase (Missirian, 1982), refers to the fantasies that each

party has regarding the other in terms of his or her talents and potential. Development is a

longer, two-part phase. Much of the work early in this stage is one-way (i.e., from the

mentor to the prot6ge) as the mentor structures and "kick-starts" the relationship, building

the protege's confidence and professional competence. Later parts of this stage are more

reciprocal, with the prot6ge beginning to engage with the mentor (Phillips, 1982).

Disillusionment is a phase in which the polish is off the mentor, and the proteg6

begins to become more autonomous and independent in his or her functioning. Although

the mentor continues to meet the prot6g6's needs, the urgency and level of doing so

decreases, and the prot6g6 begins to separate from the mentor. The final stage of parting

and transformation is characterized by a decrease in interactions between the mentor and

protege. The relationship is transformed from a mentor-prot6gd relationship to a senior-

junior colleague or peer relationship (Phillips, 1982). In developing one of the first

models (her work was based on her original 1977 dissertation project), Phillips' model

established a framework that subsequent research has tended to support.










Missirian's Three-Phase Model

Missirian (1982) developed another model of the stages of the mentoring

relationship based on interviews of 10 female corporate executives. Missirian identified

the following three phases in the course of the mentoring relationship: (a) initiation,

(b) development, and (c) termination. In this model, initiation is characterized by high

expectations on the mentor's part as he or she recognizes the protegd's talents and

potential. The mentor provides significant challenges and opportunities as if testing the

protege, even while providing the support, respect, and encouragement necessary for the

protege to succeed.

The development phase, also referred to as "total commitment," is one in which

the mentor provides a full range of training, support, modeling, challenge, responsibility,

coaching, and other functions. The protege is learning the tricks of the trade and being

socialized into the organization, acquiring the inside knowledge and skills necessary to

continue to move up the ladder in skill, position, and status. The protege is likewise

totally committed to the task and to the mentor, and both are becoming fully invested in

their career development and professional growth. Mentor demands are seen as

opportunities, and challenges are overcome. Later in this stage, the protege begins to

function more independently and creatively (Missirian, 1982).

During the termination phase that naturally follows the development phase, the

mentor begins to recommend the protege for promotions, associates more as a peer

(though yet senior), and begins to separate and let go the mentor-protdgd relationship.

The protege becomes more fully aware of his or her own strengths and skills, as well as










the limitations of the mentor, and also begins to look towards the next step in career or

professional development (Missirian, 1982).

Kram's Four-Phase Model

Kram (1983, 1985) noted that both of these models (Phillips, 1982; Missirian,

1982), although empirically grounded in interviews, are limited in that they were derived

from retrospective accounts, taken largely from the perspective of the proteges (Phillips)

or the mentors (Missirian) only, and were based on interviews with female managers

only. She also noted that although these studies were valuable, they provided no direction

in isolating factors that would cause the relationship to transition from one phase to the

next (Kram, 1983). To address these difficulties, Kram interviewed 18 pairs of older and

younger managers (both men and women) who were currently in a mentoring

relationship. Furthermore, these relationships were at different active stages, obviating

the need for retrospective accounting.

Kram (1983, 1985) identified the following four phases in the course of the

mentoring relationship: (a) initiation, (b) cultivation, (c) separation, and (d) redefinition.

Initiation is defined as a period of time (usually 6 months to 1 year) in which the

relationship in initiated and progresses from a mere interaction to an important

relationship between the two parties. This occurs when hopes for the relationship become

concrete expectations within the relationship between the mentor and protege. Cultivation

(2 to 5 years) is a period in which the maximum range of career and psychosocial

functions are provided. Both the mentor and the protege continue to benefit from the

alliance, and emotional bonds increase, as do opportunities for meaningful interactions.








30

The third phase, separation (6 months to 2 years), represents significant emotional

and structural changes in the relationship that occur when the protdg& wants to become

more autonomous and seeks less guidance from the mentor. Redefinition, the final stage

of the mentoring relationship, occurs for an indefinite time following the separation phase

and is characterized by a complete termination of the relationship or a reconstitution of it

in a new form-often as a peer (Kram, 1983, 1985).

Empirical Validity of the Phase Models

Although these characterizations of the phases of mentoring are well supported by

the work of the given authors, and are widely referred to in the literature, very little

subsequent research has been conducted to determine their empirical validity. Only two

articles (Chao, 1997; Pollock, 1995) were found that specifically examined the proposed

phases of the mentoring relationship. In an attempt to assess the validity of the three

above mentioned relationship phase models of mentoring, Pollock surveyed 138 proteges

and 218 non-mentored individuals from a diverse population of middle and upper-level

managers in a broad range of industries. Pollock asked respondents to reply to a list of

behaviors derived from the literature on mentor behaviors, indicating whether, when, and

how often they recollect the behavior occurring on the part of their mentors. These

behaviors were to be ascribed to one of three time frames: early, middle, or late parts of

the mentoring relationship. These behaviors were then matched to the phase models

(Kram, 1983, 1985; Missirian, 1982; Phillips, 1982) to determine which model fit the

data most adequately.










In general, Pollock (1995) found that all of the selected mentor functions were

provided at all times during the mentoring relationship. While there was some indication

that psychosocial functions received more endorsement both early and late in the

relationship and that all functions were more frequently experienced in the middle than at

the beginning of the relationship, there were no statistically significant differences in any

stage between functions received. The implication is that there are, in fact, no phases in

which different functions are emphasized or predominant, as was conceptualized by the

three models (Kram, 1983, 1985; Missirian, 1982; Phillips, 1982).

The value of Pollock's (1995) study is questionable, however, due to some

methodological concerns. First, the data were survey-based and retrospective, rather than

interviews and current, which introduces questions as to the reliability and validity of the

data. A second critical problem is that Pollock evaluated all three of the phase models and

concluded that they could all be accurately condensed to a three-phase model,

distinguished by presence, type, and frequency of the mentoring behaviors. This became

the model that Pollock used in her research. As a result of this reduction, Pollock's

instructions to the respondents required them to situate the recollected behaviors in one of

the three predetermined time frames (i.e., early, middle, late) of the mentoring

relationship. While it may allow for phases to emerge-assuming there are differences in

the frequency or occurrence of the available mentor behaviors-this procedure forces a

three-phase paradigm, thus defeating the possibility of finding or confirming a four- or

five-stage model (e.g., Kram, 1983; Phillips, 1982). Given these methodological










concerns, it is questionable whether the results of this study can be meaningfully

interpreted as appropriate evaluations these three models as intended.

The second project assessing mentoring phases was carried out by Chao (1997),

who evaluated only Kram's (1983) model. Chao used descriptions derived from Kram's

model to query 192 proteges about their current phase of mentoring relationships. This

investigator then obtained data regarding mentor psychosocial and career functions (also

derived from Kram, 1983, 1985), as well as other factors such as job satisfaction and

income (these other data will be discussed in subsequent sections of this review). Chao

found that proteges in the initiation phase reported the lowest levels of mentoring

functions (both career and psychosocial) than in any other phase. No other statistically

significant differences were found between mentoring phases and mentoring functions.

Although predictions were supported regarding the initiation phase as a time in which the

relationship is still being established, no other support for phases in the mentoring

relationship was found (using mentoring functions as a dependent variable).

Chao's (1997) findings were consistent with those of Pollock (setting aside for the

moment questions regarding Pollock's methodology), and bring into question the validity

of the phase models as they are presently construed (Kram, 1983; Missirian, 1982;

Phillips, 1982). Concerns thus arise regarding other areas of the literature on mentoring

subsequent to these ambiguities. For example, Johnson and Huwe (2003) asserted that

Kram's model has been empirically validated, citing the Pollock (1995) and Chao (1999)

research, and devote a chapter to this model. Additionally, Johnson and Huwe provide no










justification for transferring the phase structure to the graduate school context, which

arguably has meaningful differences from the business context in which it was derived.

Categorical reductions such as provided by these phase models may provide

access to complex phenomena, facilitate understanding and explanation, and provide a

common lexicon that facilitates discussion. It is important, however, that researchers and

theorists do not fall into the error of reifying the categories and limiting their research to

confirmatory paradigms. As is evidenced by the foregoing, that phases can be delineated

and operationalized does not necessarily indicate that there are invariably objective

differences between the phases in terms of functions. Kram's well-constructed and

empirically grounded four-phase model has provided 20 years of theoretical shorthand

and intuitive clarity, but has yet to find definitive empirical support. Fortunately, as noted

by Chao (1997), "the maximum level of functions provided to the protege is more

important than temporal fluctuations of these functions as the mentorship evolves" (p.26).

Outcomes of the Mentoring Relationship

Outcomes are, in a word, the reason for mentoring. The benefits that accrue to the

mentor or the protege (or the institution, or society) are what drive the interest in

understanding mentoring and trying to implement mentoring programs. For example,

Zuckerman (1977) reported some fascinating statistics: 48 of the 92 Nobel Laureates in

the United States prior to 1972 had Nobel Laureate mentors. Ten laureates in the United

States have mentored 30 Nobel winners. Forty-one percent of all Nobel winners of all

nationalities from 1901 to 1972 had at least one laureate mentor. Yet, while it almost

invariably assumed that the mentoring relationship leads to positive outcomes, it is










helpful and instructive to validate these assumptions with research. Clear empirical

support should help those involved in mentoring or in designing and implementing

mentoring programs determine which functions and activities would garner the best

possible outcomes.

Although there is a significant body of literature on the outcomes of mentoring,

outcomes have typically been associated with independent or predictor variables such as

whether or not a person was mentored at all, or whether the protege was satisfied with the

mentoring received, as opposed to specific mentoring functions. In one sense, the relative

lack of literature exploring the relationship between specific mentoring functions and

concrete outcomes is consistent with the thoughts of some of the more prominent

theorists (e.g., Kram, 1985; Levinson, 1978). Relationships are complex and multiply

determined, and people, heedless of statistical averages, continue to be unique and

idiosyncratic. Kram indicated that mentoring is a developmental relationship and that the

tendency to want to view it as an easily created and maintained panacea is simplistic and

inaccurate. She asserts that more attention needs to be given to the quality of the

relationship, as well as to the characteristics and needs of the individual protegds and

mentors. Levinson similarly noted that it is not the functions of the relationship that are

critical; rather, it is the quality of the relationship and how well it fulfills the needs of the

unique proteg6.

Correlation of Functions to Outcomes

Nonetheless, that the relationship between the many functions proposed as

definitional of mentoring and specific, concrete outcomes should be empirically explored










seems straightforward. Unfortunately, the literature does not reflect such an exploration.

Only one article was found that explored the relationship between specific functions

hypothesized to be important and the outcomes that may reasonably be associated with

those functions. Cameron and Blackburn's (1981) study of sponsorship explored specific

mentoring functions associated with concrete outcomes. In 250 surveys and 25 interviews

of active doctoral-level faculty in sociology, psychology, and English departments at nine

universities, these investigators asked whether sponsorship (as defined by such functions

as financial support, publication support, assistance on first job placement, and

collaboration on research projects received while a graduate student) was associated with

later rate of publication, grants received, rate of collaboration, and significant

involvement in professional associations. Findings provided some support for

associations between the assistance received as a graduate student in these areas and the

described outcomes.

Although the findings of Cameron and Blackburn's (1981) study provided

important (though limited) empirical support for the value of certain specific functions in

the long-terms outcomes for doctoral students, there are two difficulties. First, while this

project explored a function-outcome relationship, the function (sponsorship) was itself

broken down into a number of smaller functions. This approach dilutes the clarity of the

findings, which is a difficulty reported by the authors when they noted that the

independent predicative power of the variables (functions) was reduced when multiple

regressions analyses were carried out. Second, there is no mention in the article if the

relationships were (or were construed as) mentoring relationships (as opposed to research










assistantships or something else), and thus the applicability to mentoring is at best

inferred.

Self-Efficacy, Productivity, and Success in Graduate School

With the aforementioned limitations regarding specificity in the function-outcome

research in mind, the research exploring outcomes in relation to mentoring is, in general,

predominantly supportive. Hollingsworth and Fassinger (2002) explored the relationship

between mentoring and students' research self-efficacy and research productivity among

3rd- and 4th-year doctoral students in psychology. Using a questionnaire based on

Kram's (1985) career and psychosocial functions, Hollingsworth and Fassinger found

that both research self-efficacy and research productivity of doctoral students increased

as a function of the mentoring they received.

A further example of increased productivity was provided by a study of 174

mentored and 54 non-mentored female graduate students conducted by LeCluyse,

Tollefson, and Borgers (1985), who found that mentored students engaged in

significantly more professional activities than did non-mentored students. Professional

activities were defined as publishing an article or chapter, authoring a grant, presenting a

paper, conducting a workshop, conducting research, joining a professional organization,

attending a national conference, or working as a graduate assistant.

Interviewing and surveying administrators, department chairs, faculty, and

students across the country, Lovitts (2001) explored the importance of the advisor-student

relationship in graduate education as regards completion of the doctoral program. This

researcher defined an advisor as "the person most responsible for guiding you through










your graduate work" (p. 165), a definition not dissimilar to many provided by mentoring

researchers. Although not focusing on researcher mentoring, per se, Lovitts uncovered a

number of factors related to a student's decision to complete graduate school in the

context of her work on graduate student attrition. Some of the most significant factors

were similar or identical to those identified as functions within the mentoring literature.

For example, mentor/advisor functions such as integration/socialization into the

professional community, academic interactions, collaboration in research projects, job

search assistance, role modeling, and many others were correlated with a student's

decision to complete his or her doctoral education, which was Lovitts' primary dependent

(criterion) variable. Lovitts also explored outcome variables related to students' activities

while still in the academy (e.g., participation in professional and departmental activities),

again noting the positive correlations between these activities and students' satisfaction

with their advisors.

Job Satisfaction, Promotion, and Income Level

The benefits of mentoring in academia extend beyond the academic setting. Chao

(1997) explored the differences in outcomes between 151 mentored and 93 non-mentored

employed graduates of a college of engineering. The criterion variables were job

satisfaction, career outcomes, organizational socialization (the extent to which proteges

believed they had been well socialized into their professional roles), and income. Results

showed that proteges garnered significant outcome benefits as compared to their non-

mentored peers. These findings were also supported in a similar study by Dreher and Ash

(1990). They surveyed 440 graduates of two business schools and found significant








38

positive correlations between the quantity of mentoring received and rates of promotion,

income levels, and satisfaction with pay and benefits.

In another study, Chao et al. (1992) surveyed 576 alumni from two academic

institutions and found similar outcomes related to job satisfaction, organizational

socialization, and salary among 265 mentored proteges and 284 non-mentored persons.

On all outcome measures, mentored individuals reported significantly better outcomes

than did non-mentored individuals. Ragins and Cotton (1999) also examined differences

in outcomes as a function of whether or not an individual received mentoring. Their

survey of 1258 employees in engineering, social work, and journalism (614 mentored in

the work place and 548 without mentoring experience at work) revealed that mentored

individuals received greater compensation and more promotions than did non-mentored

individuals.

Building on the theme of better outcomes for proteges, Fagenson (1988) explored

employees' perceptions of the amount of power they have in an organization as a

function of whether they were mentored. A survey of 246 individuals working for a large

company in the health care industry revealed that those with mentors perceived

themselves as having more access to important people, more influence over

organizational policy, and a higher level of resource access in the organization than did

those without mentors. This effect, though different in absolute terms, was consistent

across levels in the organization and across gender. That is, those with mentors reported

higher perceptions of power in the organization than those without mentors regardless of

gender or level. Although Fagenson noted that no effort was made to determine if this










perceived power was also actual, she held that the benefits could be subsumed under

Kram's (1985) proposed career functions.

Impact of Protege Characteristics

Lest one think that only good things can be said about mentoring, however, there

is a qualifier worth noting. Research suggests that the characteristics of proteges before

they enter into a mentoring relationship may account for some outcomes that have been

attributed to mentoring and, indeed, facilitate entering into such a relationship in the first

place. A number of authors have noted the possibility that the student's characteristics

may be a more powerful predictor of satisfaction or outcomes than what actually occurs

within the relationship (Jacobi, 1991; Johnson & Huwe, 2003; Zuckerman, 1977).

However, other investigators (e.g., Lovitts, 2001) are adamant in their belief that "it is not

the background characteristics of students... it's what happens to them after they arrive"

(p. 2) that determines many of the outcomes of interest. If personality characteristics are

indeed a critical factor in determining who receives mentoring, however, then much of

the mentoring outcome literature is brought into question, as few researchers have

attempted to control for protege characteristics in their study designs.

Turban and Dougherty (1994) examined the potential impact of protege

characteristics on mentoring receptivity and career outcomes. In their survey of 147

graduates from a midwestemrn university, these researchers discovered that certain

personality characteristics (locus of control, self-monitoring, emotional stability)

predicted whether or not the student would initiate a mentoring relationship with a faculty

member. Subsequent analyses supported additional hypotheses that initiating a mentoring








40

relationship resulted in receiving more mentoring, and that receiving more mentoring was

related to both career attainment and perceived career success. Turban and Dougherty

thus concluded that personality characteristics indirectly influence career outcomes by

modulating mentoring received.

In a similar vein, Green and Bauer (1995) found no differences in outcomes in

terms of publications or submissions for publication after controlling for the incoming

potential of a doctoral student sample. In this well-designed study, Green and Bauer

explored the relationship among the attitudes, abilities, and commitment of students at

entry into the program and two outcome factors: productivity (number of convention

papers, journal articles, book chapters, and grants/contracts accepted) and level of

mentoring. Support was found for the hypotheses that greater student abilities at entry

would predict an increase in mentoring received. Furthermore, the hypothesis that

increased mentoring positively contributed to student productivity or commitment to

research career was not supported, again controlling for participants' incoming

characteristics. These investigators concluded that advisors look for incoming students

with high potential and commitment and provide more mentoring for them than for their

less capable or less motivated peers. This also raises a question concerning the motivation

of mentors who are unable to find the time to help those students who may need it most.

Thus, while some authors attribute student's not receiving mentoring to students'

own personality characteristics (e.g., Johnson and Huwe, 2003 cite possible protdgd

narcissism, arrogance, inappropriate boundaries, or procrastination), others (e.g., Lovitts,

2001) believe that the mentor, being older (usually), wiser (hopefully), of higher status










and power, and being in a position to know the larger picture, inherits a greater

responsibility to manage the relationship in a positive way. It seems unlikely that the

problems are either simple or categorical. In either case, although graduate schools must

recruit highly motivated and competent students, once a student is recruited by the school

and accepted by an advisor, the school and the advisor assume an obligation to facilitate

the student's development (Council of Graduate Schools, 1990; University of Florida,

1997; University of Kansas, 2003).

In summary, then, the literature generally supports the positive outcomes

attributed to mentoring relationships for both the prot6ge and the mentor. However, there

is some reason for hesitation regarding the absolute value of the research until additional

work is conducted clarifying the potential confound of student factors at entry. It can

safely be inferred that the same considerations apply in a business context as well.

Obstacles to the Relationship

As with the preceding limitations regarding the positive nature of mentoring

outcomes, another concern needs to be addressed. Not all mentoring relationships are

positive experiences in themselves-for the protege or the mentor. Research suggests that

a significant number of proteges have had bad experiences in mentoring relationships

(Eby, MacManus, Simon, & Russell, 2000). A number of authors have explored this issue

and have described characteristics of dysfunctional mentoring relationships (Johnson &

Huwe, 2003; Kram, 1985; Lovitts, 2001; O'Neil & Wrightsman, 2001; Scandura, 1998;

Wright & Wright, 1987).










Negative Behaviors

O'Neil and Wrightsman (2001) identified a number of negative behaviors in

which either or both the mentor and the protdgd may engage: using threats, being overly

authoritarian or submissive, being unavailable, acting sexist, racist, classist, ethnocentric,

or homophobic, being intellectually rigid, being unwilling to compromise, encouraging

dependence, abusing confidential information, devaluing other students or faculty,

playing one-upmanship, and/or comparing other students and faculty. Scandura (1992), in

his typology of dysfunctional behaviors, add to this list sabotage, spoiling, deception, and

harassment.

Structural, Department Specific, and Relational Obstacles

Johnson and Huwe (2003) divided the major obstacles to mentoring into the

following three categories: (a) structural, (b) department specific, and (c) relational.

Structural obstacles are products of the system in which they are imbedded (e.g., graduate

schools). These obstacles include giving the faculty or managers job credit only for

immediate productivity or funded research, or the hiring of part-time employees or

student instructors, thereby reducing the pool of available mentors.

The second category of obstacles to mentoring described by Johnson and Huwe is

department specific, representing problems in the culture of the particular department.

Examples of department specific obstacles are admitting more students than the

department can support or graduate (thus setting up competition and an expectation of

failure), failing to hire and keep minority or women faculty or managers, and failing to










concretely support mentoring with reduced teaching or productivity requirements or by

including successful mentoring in promotion decisions (Johnson & Huwe, 2003).

The third category of obstacles, relational problems, stem from the personality

characteristics and behavior patterns of a particular faculty mentor, manager, or protege,

or the interactions of traits in the mentor and the protege. Scandura (1992), for example,

developed a model for conceptualizing factors contributing to possible outcomes of

dysfunctional relationships. This model includes both protege and mentor characteristics

(e.g., demographics, personality) as contributing factors, and describes possible negative

outcomes to proteges (e.g., low self-esteem, poor job outcomes, stress, leaving), and to

mentors (e.g., stress, jealousy, overdependence, betrayal).

Additionally, as previously noted, mentors tend to select and invest in those

prot6ges who are considered most promising and whose interests are most similar to the

mentor's interests. Johnson and Huwe (2003) expressed concerns about equal access to

mentoring among students who are less exceptional. These authors further noted that

discrepant expectations between the mentor and the prot6ge concerning the character and

functions of mentoring could lead to dissatisfaction and dysfunction in the mentoring

relationship.

These obstacles to the mentoring relationship, at whatever level, can have a

significant impact on the quality of the relationship. For example, mentors who are not

given the support they need to fulfill their roles as mentors must often focus their time,

energy, and attention on the needs of their "primary" assignments, perhaps sacrificing the

needs of the protege in the process. Proteges whose expectations are rudely disconfirmed,










or whose mentors are more focused on departmental requirements of tenure, may find

that having a mentor is not worth the trouble. Often protdgds in this situation find

themselves getting their needs met elsewhere, and by other people.

Risks to Mentors

Wright and Wright (1987) noted that the mentor also is at risk in the relationship.

Taking on a commitment to a protege is highly demanding of both time and effort and

also may cost political capital if the proteg6 fails to live up to expectations or needs

excessive protection from the consequences of mistakes. Often, especially in the so-

called hard sciences, the mentor's work and reputation are on the line when a proteg6 is

given responsibility for some critical aspect of the mentor's research. Additionally, the

protege could prove to be unable to develop appropriate autonomy and become unable to

carry out tasks without constant supervision or "baby-sitting." On the other hand, the

mentor, who hopefully has invested him or herself personally in the proteg6, may be

rejected by them.

Researchers generally agree that potential problems and obstacles inherent in

mentoring relationships include personality, as well as organizational factors. Some

authors (e.g., Johnson & Huwe, 2003; Walfish & Hess, 2001) have explored these

problems more fully and presented relevant discussion regarding how to negotiate these

issues in a mentoring context. Invariably, these authors recommend approaching the

selection process and the relationship in an intentional and informed manner, given the

enormous time, energy, financial, and emotional investment.










Other Factors That Affect the Mentoring Relationship

Insofar as mentoring may be one of the most important interpersonal relationships

ever experienced by students, both personally and professionally (Gilbert & Rossman,

1992; Kram, 1985; Tinto, 1987), understanding the impact of gender, ethnicity, and other

cultural factors on the mentoring processes and outcomes also holds significant import

(Bogat & Redner, 1985). Since mentoring relationships are often based on perceived

similarities between mentor and protege, cultural differences may inhibit their formation

and functioning (Atkinson, Neville, & Casas, 1990; Redmond, 1990). In addition, the

lack of same-gender, same-ethnicity, or other identity-affirming role models may create

difficulties in identity development as the protege strives to identify with or internalize a

mentor who has limited insight into the protdgd's culture or concerns (Bruss & Kopala,

1993; Levinson, 1978).

Gender Factors

The impact of gender on mentoring has received the greatest attention among

researchers. The almost ubiquitous inclusion of gender as a demographic variable in

research has facilitated this exploration, and provides important information. Gender

effects have often been analyzed and noted, even in studies primarily designed to explore

other factors.

Another factor that may influence the relative frequency of including the gender

variable is the number of women conducting research on mentoring relationships. In fact,

many of the foundational and ongoing researchers are women (e.g., Chao, 1997;

Fagenson, 1988, 1992; Hite, 1985; Hollingsworth & Fassinger, 2002; Jacobi, 1991;










Kram, 1983; Lovitts, 2001; Missirian, 1982; Murray, 1991; Scandura, 1998; Wilde &

Schau, 1991; Zuckerman, 1977). Whatever the reasons for this proportion of female

researchers, the insight they provide may be helpful in understanding the issues inherent

in the question.

Some areas of concern raised by authors include factors that pertain to non-

mentoring relationships as well. For example, in exploring gender differences in

relationships with significant power differentials between the individuals involved,

Scandura (1992) explored concerns regarding sexual harassment. Female protdges, in

particular, may be faced with situations in which the person with the most power over her

professional or academic outcomes is a male who adheres to certain stereotypes that

entitle him to favors from female underlings. Conversely, a male mentor may, with the

best of intentions, be overprotective or excessively forgiving of a female protegee, thus

encouraging feelings of dependence or incompetence, and perhaps denying the protege

the opportunity to develop autonomy or independence (Clawson & Kram, 1984; Kram,

1983). Bogat and Redner (1985) discussed reservations on the part of some faculty that

women are able to complete graduate school, and some faculty member's perceptions

that women were less likely to make significant contributions to their fields than men.

Mixed-gender mentoring dyads also must be aware not only of their own

interpersonal behaviors, but also of public perceptions. Rumors may develop based on

observed togetherness or friendship behaviors misconstrued as sexual intimacy (Wright

& Wright, 1987). Male mentors especially may actually maintain unnecessary distance in

an effort to address or preempt these kinds of concerns, thus limiting the prot6ge's access










to them or depriving the protdg6 of important social interactions (Clawson & Kram,

1984).

As with any interpersonal relationship, then, many factors may be cause for

concern in cross-gendered relationships. These difficulties are often exacerbated by the

inclusion of personal characteristics as well as social/cultural perceptions and

expectations. It is thus important that mentors and proteges recognize and maintain

professional boundaries-neither too rigid nor too permeable-lest the relationship be no

longer a positive mentoring experience.

Regarding specific mentoring functions and outcomes, the empirical research into

the effects of gender on the mentoring relationship is more ambivalent, with some

researchers finding no effect and others finding significant effects. Ragins and Cotton's

(1999) study of 352 female and 257 male proteges found that the gender composition of

the mentoring dyad affected functions and outcomes. For example, female-female

mentor-protdg6 pairs were more likely to engage in after-work social activities than were

female proteges with male mentors. Male proteges with female mentors were less likely

to report having received acceptance functions from their mentor than any other gender

combinations, and both male and female proteges who have had male mentors received

more compensation than did those who have had female mentors. This could be

explained by Cameron and Blackburn's (1981) findings that proteges sponsored by men

developed significantly larger networking associations than did women.

Further complicating matters, findings concerning gender differences often appear

to depend on the outcomes measured. Burke, McKeen, and McKenna's (1990) study of








48

81 male and 13 female mentors found that female mentors provided both more career and

more psychosocial functions than did male mentors, yet there were no differences in

outcome measures as a function of gender of mentor or protege. In a subsequent study of

280 female business graduates, Burke and McKeen (1996) again reported few differences

in job satisfaction, career satisfaction, job involvement, or career prospects for female

proteges regardless of mentors' gender. Interestingly, although women with female

mentors received more psychosocial support than did women with male mentors, these

women were more likely to report their intentions to quit the organization. This finding

was not explained by the available data.

Among same-sex and cross-sex dyads in a sample of 466 female proteges in

business, Gaskill (1991) found differences between male and female mentors in functions

performed (female mentors performed more psychosocial functions), relationship

initiation (male mentors were more likely to unilaterally initiate a relationship, whereas

female mentors were more likely to mutually initiate the relationship), and protege

characteristics. No differences, however, were found in mentor characteristics, benefits

derived, problems reported, duration, termination causes, feelings about the relationship,

or reported value of the relationship. These findings support the hypothesis that women

benefit as much from male mentors as they do from female mentors.

On the other hand, a number of researchers have more consistently found that

gender has no impact on mentoring initiation, functions, or outcomes. Wilde and Schau

(1991) surveyed 177 graduate students (60% female) and found no differences in

psychological and professional mutual support, comprehensiveness, protege professional










development, and research together as a function of gender of proteg6, mentor, or cross-

gendered dyads. Furthermore, Fagenson (1988, 1992) found no differences as a function

of gender between mentored and non-mentored proteges regarding need for power,

autonomy, affiliation, achievement, or perceptions of power in the organization.

Surveying 80 female and 80 male executives, Ragins and Scandura (1994) explored

anecdotal reports that women were less likely to mentor than were men. Findings

revealed that women executives were as likely as men to be mentors, had every intention

of mentoring other women, and that women and men reported similar perceptions of the

costs and benefits of being mentors.

Turban and Dougherty (1994) also found no differences in their sample of

proteg6s in business (74 men, 73 women) in the probability that they would seek out and

develop a mentoring relationship or in the amount of mentoring they received. In their

study of 135 female and 59 male 3rd- and 4th-year doctoral students, Hollingsworth and

Fassinger (2002) found that student gender did not have an effect on the level of research

mentoring received, on student's research self-efficacy, or on research productivity

outcomes. Dreher and Ash (1990), studying 147 female and 173 male business school

graduates, similarly found no gender differences in the outcomes measures of promotions

received, income, or satisfaction with pay and benefits.

Trying to explain the differences in the research on gender in mentoring is,

perhaps, an exercise in futility. There are no clearly identifiable methodological problems

(e.g., sampling, data acquisition) to which the differences might be attributed. However,

three patterns seem to emerge. First, the gender of the protdg6 and the gender of the








50

mentor appear to influence some of the processes, yet these influences may be a result of

general socialization patterns in society. For example, the increase in psychosocial

functions by both female mentors and proteges is consistent with the relational

stereotypes associated with women. Second, gender effects on outcomes are minimal and

may also be attributable to social or external issues, such as the relatively lower status

and power of women (and thus of female mentors and proteges) in academia or industry.

Finally, both men and women may nonetheless be equally well served by either male or

female mentors.

Ethnicity, Sexual Orientation, and Other Cultural Factors

Regarding the impact of ethnicity, sexual orientation, and other cultural factors in

mentoring the literature is significantly smaller and much newer. In some cases, it has

little to say at all (Gilbert and Rossman, 1992; Johnson & Huwe, 2003; Wright & Wright,

1987). In a recent book on succeeding in graduate school, a chapter on graduate student

couples does not even mention gay or lesbian couples, an increasingly common and

public relationship arrangement (Pederson & Daniels, 2001. Issues specific to gay,

lesbian, bisexual, transgendered persons (GLBT) are, however, discussed elsewhere in

the volume.) In another recent book on mentoring in graduate school (Johnson & Huwe,

2002), no reference to sexual orientation could be found at all, and attraction between

mentors and proteges seemed to be of concern only in cross-gendered relationships.

As with any minority culture or group, concerns vary from blatant discrimination

to identity development issues. Institutionalized racism continues to have effects on

persons of color (Atkinson, Morton, & Sue, 1998), and legal discrimination against










GLBT persons continues in many states (e.g., denying protection against discrimination

in housing, education, and jobs. Massey & Walfish, 2001). Handicapped persons, older

persons, international students or employees, and other minorities are all at increased risk

for experiencing prejudice and discrimination. Finding mentors who are similar or who

are informed and openly sympathetic can be extremely comforting to a student or

employee as she or he negotiates, not only the academic or employment tasks common to

all, but also relevant social and cultural tasks (Hill, Castillo, Ngu, & Pepion, 1999; Lark

& Croteau, 1998; Redmond, 1990).

Fortunately, current research suggests that ethnic minorities are receiving

mentoring at approximately the same rate as Caucasians (Witt, Smith, & Markham,

2000), and that having an ethnically similar mentor is not related to proteges satisfaction

with the mentoring or to the benefits reported by doctoral student or novice professional

proteges (Atkinson, Neville, & Casas, 1991). Atkinson et al., noting that minority

proteges reported that having a mentor contributed significantly to their academic and

career success regardless of the mentor's ethnicity, concluded that European-American

professors and senior professionals can successfully serve as mentors to ethnic minority

proteges. It should be noted, however, that each individual will have his or her own racial

identity developmental status (Helms, 1995), which is likely to influence the importance

of the ethnic similarity of the mentor to the student or novice professional.

Only two empirical articles (Lark & Croteau, 1998; Niolon, 1998) were found that

focused on GLBT doctoral students' mentoring experiences. Lark and Croteau looked

more specifically at the mentoring relationships of 14 GLB counseling psychology










graduate students and found that when their mentor helped them feel safe and affirmed

them in their identities, the proteges' had the "energy and freedom" to fully engage the

work of graduate school. When they did not have this support, when they did not receive

affirmation and did not feel safe, their energies were tied up with emotional survival, and

their ability to participate in and gain from the graduate student experience and training

was severely compromised. Niolon (1998) interviewed nine gay and lesbian graduate

counseling psychology students and found that they did not have what they would refer to

as mentoring relationships with faculty, the faculty were not knowledgeable or

experienced with GLBT issues or concerns, and that they had numerous stressful

experiences and experienced prejudice and discrimination as gay and lesbian students.

These students, too, were often expending their energies on emotional survival, instead of

on graduate training and professional development.

As is evident, there is much room for additional research on mentoring in diverse

populations. In terms of ethnic minorities, the research to date is generally positive,

suggesting that minorities are being mentored and that they are satisfied with the

mentoring they are receiving. The research regarding GLBT students is not as clear.

Additional work clearly needs to be done, not only concerning research on mentoring, but

also on the mentoring and acceptance of the GLBT students themselves (Lark & Croteau,

1998; Massey & Walfish, 2001).

Ethical Concerns in the Mentoring Relationship

Mentoring is, almost by definition, a dual role relationship. The existence of

multiple overlapping roles in the context of the significant power differentials found in










the typical mentoring relationship is fertile ground for ethical problems. Boundary

violations, abuse of authority, sexual harassment, transference issues, stereotypical

expectations, and other problems are well suited to such contexts. Some fields

specifically address these concerns in ethics codes. For example, the American

Psychological Association's ethical guidelines (APA, 2002) specifically prohibits certain

multiple role relationships for psychologists, such as sexual or exploitative relationships

with students or those over whom psychologist's have evaluative authority, as well as

relationships in which there may be a conflict of interest.

In a survey of graduate students in psychology, Clark, et al. (2000) found that

11% of proteges reported ethical concerns about their mentors or mentoring relationships.

These problems included mentor's sexual behaviors and attitudes towards the protege or

other students in the program, the mentor publishing altered results, offering the protege

financial incentives to alter results, the mentor having poor boundaries or becoming

emotionally dependent on the protege, and mentors claiming credit for the protege's

work.

Further examples of possible ethical quagmires in mentoring abound (Biaggio,

Paget, & Chenworth, 1997; Blevins-Knabe, 1992; Johnson & Huwe 2003; Sumprer &

Walfish, 2001). A mentor might employ a protege on a major grant project, for example,

and feel pressured to judge the protege's work according to the need to finish the project,

rather than according to its objective quality. A mentor might characterize a protege's

work and ideas as their own. A mentor and protege might develop an intimate attraction

to each other. After all, many mentoring relationships are based on similarities and shared










interests and often develop into close working relationships. Although proteges often

assert that they did not feel coerced during the relationship, in retrospect they may see

that they often were, which undermines their assertions that such relationships were

consensual (Johnson, 2002). A mentor may "suggest" or "request" favors or behaviors

that have little to do with the academic or employment tasks, such as delivering things, or

making coffee.

Few would contend that dual relationships are avoidable in the mentoring context,

or that such a thing is necessary (Blevins-Knabe, 1992). Unfortunately, proteges are not

typically in a position to correct or address ethical concerns. Proteges are not often

inclined to accuse-publicly or privately-the person who has the most individual power

over their positions or education. Recommendations to talk to the offender are probably

more helpful to people who are strong enough in themselves to head off many of these

concerns in the first place. Additionally, department officials may choose to ignore

complaints of students for political reasons. If a 30-year senior professor or manager

denies the validity of a complaint or misrepresents it, no recourse may be available to the

protege.

It is argued that at minimum, mentors and proteges need to be educated in areas of

possible ethical concern, and that they clarify at the beginning of their relationships a

mutual recognition of the boundaries. Furthermore, mentors must monitor their own

behaviors with and attitudes towards proteges and accept responsibility for the power that

they have in the relationships (Biaggio et al., 1997). At the departmental level, it is

recommended that mentors be monitored for their competence as mentors and that, if








55

necessary, they receive supplemental training in the nature of the mentoring relationship

and in mentoring skills before they are allowed to take on graduate students or novice

employees (Johnson & Nelson, 1999).

Introduction to the Method

As was pointed out, an area of research that has received less attention is that of

the subjective factors in the mentoring relationship that lead one to characterize it as a

good relationship. Researchers have explored phases, functions, outcomes, and diversity

issues, not always with clear success, but have not often turned their attentions to the

subjective experience of mentoring. While it has been noted that satisfaction with the

mentoring relationship is significantly predictive of a number of positive outcomes, from

joining department activities to completing the doctoral degree, little has be done to

elaborate what subject factors contribute to this satisfaction.

The purpose of this project, then, is to explore the subjective factors in the

mentoring relationship. In order to accomplish this task, it will be important to use a

qualitative method that will allow the emergence of those factors that are construed as

important by the participants in the relationship. The goal is not to describe form or

function, but experience.

Value of Qualitative Research

The importance of qualitative research methodology in the understanding of

human interactions has been noted by a number of authors (Giorgi, 1990, 1992; Jacobi,

1991; Polkinghomrn, 1994). The value of qualitative research is found in its ability to tease

out factors that are subtle, idiographic, and often resistant to direct approach. For










example, the affective quality of a relationship may not be amenable to conscious

cognitive processing, and thus may be quite difficult to explore using an operationalized

survey (i.e., to quantify). And although qualitative research is often construed to be

preliminary to a presumably more rigorous quantitative confirmatory methodology, some

theorists recognize the intrinsic value of qualitative research methods in some areas of

interest (Giorgi, 1990, 1992; Glaser, 1992; Glaser & Strauss, 1967, 1970). As Glaser and

Strauss noted, "Qualitative research is often the most 'adequate' and 'efficient' method

for obtaining the type of information required... "(1970, p. 289).

The value of qualitative research has not been overlooked in the research on

mentoring, both in terms of data acquisition as well as in terms of analysis. Interviews

and surveys using open-ended questions are common methods of data acquisition, and

qualitative analyses such as phenomenological, content, and grounded theory have been

used. The grounded theory approach, for example, incorporates both a methodology and

a logic that support the value of qualitative research. This approach has been used by a

number of researchers in the mentoring literature (Kram, 1985; Lark & Croteau, 1998;

Niolon, 1997). Indeed, grounded theory is an excellent method for exploring the nuances

and subtleties of the mentoring relationship that are being sought here.

In grounded theory, as with other paradigms, the researcher begins with a

question of interest about a particular situation. The goal is to understand what is

happening (e.g., what people are doing, why they are doing it). What differentiates

grounded theory is that it is exploratory, rather than confirmatory (Giorgi, 1992). That is,

it is designed to allow for the relevant factors to emerge from the research situation,








57

rather than to seek confirmation of a hypothesis that is mapped onto the situation by the

investigator. As noted by Corbin and Strauss (1990), "One does not begin with a theory

and then prove it. Rather, one begins with an area of study, and what is relevant to that

area is allowed to emerge" (p. 23).

Even more salient, grounded theory is concerned with developing "substantive

theory" (Glaser & Strauss, 1970), which is "the formulation of concepts and their

interrelation into a set of hypotheses for a given substantive area-such as patient care,

gang behavior, or education-based on research in that area" (p. 288). Thus, the goal is

not merely to understand what is happening, but also to develop a theory within which to

situate events.

Focusing on the emergence of substantive theory, grounded research is also

differentiated from quantitative methods in how the findings are construed and judged.

Dick (2002) noted that the two main criteria for judging the adequacy (vs. validity and

reliability) of the results of a grounded theory are fit and pragmatism (i.e., that it works,

and it helps people understand the situation better). Grounded theory does not assert that

any researcher's conclusions are the only plausible ones, only that if the research is

carefully carried out, the findings will be sufficiently credible to most readers, and

adequately and accurately represent the area of interest (Glaser & Strauss, 1970). Nor are

the categories focused on and elaborated by the researcher the only possible categories of

interest in the situation. Other factors may be active and interesting, but not all things can

be attended to in any one project (Glaser, 1992).










Grounded Theory Methodology

The grounded theory method is based on a well-developed logic that establishes

meaningful guidelines for both data acquisition and data analysis. These guidelines,

described by Glaser and Strauss (1967), provide important support for the

meaningfulness of the findings and their credibility to the reader. A number of sources

can be utilized in data collection, including focus groups, existing literature, naturalistic

observation, informal discussion, and interviews. Interactive interviews, typically using

open-ended questions and a semi-structured or unstructured format, are common

approaches (Dick, 2002). The primary advantage is that themes and insights emerge in

dialectic and can be explored in vivo if the investigator is inclined. Giorgi (1990) notes

that interviews provide important contextual information for the apprehension of the

intended meaning of the respondent. Therefore, interviews will be the source of data on

the mentoring relationship in the present study.

Although reviewing the literature is a standard process in research and developing

the research question, the researcher does not follow this approach in grounded theory. In

fact, Glaser (1992) clearly stated, "There is a need not to review any of the literature in

the substantive area under study" (p. 31; emphasis added). The purpose of not reviewing

the literature is to avoid biasing the researcher by unnecessarily creating a priori

cognitive structures regarding the area of interest. Similarly, grounded theory recognizes

explicitly the subjective factor introduced by the interpretive and inductive nature of the

analytic procedure. Although this is one of the great strengths of qualitative research, it

also necessarily entails the introduction of an uncontrolled variance in the outcomes (i.e.,










already existing cognitive structures). Unlike phenomenology, which asks researchers to

withhold personal perspectives and biases, grounded theory asserts that this is neither

necessary, nor likely possible. Grounded theory instead presents a brief description of the

researcher-much as a description of any other instrument-so that readers can ascertain

for themselves the influence of the researcher on the theory presented. Note that the

purpose is not to determine the validity of the findings, per se, but their context and

credibility.

Insofar as a central feature of grounded theory is the data-driven nature of the

methodology, it is difficult to specify exactly the number of participants who will be

interviewed. Grounded theory requires that the data sets (indicated in this case as the

number of interviews and/or participants) be augmented until the categories are saturated;

that is, until no further information is being gleaned from additional data sets (Dick,

2002; Glaser, 1967; Rennie, Phillips, & Quartaro, 1988). In general, the criterion for

selection follows two steps. First, there is a focus on discovering the core features of the

phenomenon of interest, which is accomplished by interviewing persons who both

represent the phenomena and who are similar to each other in some relevant way.

The second step is to introduce variability into the data set in order to sample

exceptions to the emerging theoretical hypotheses (theory-based sampling, rather than

random sampling) and thus strengthen the generalizability of the emerging theory. This is

accomplished by interviewing participants who are somehow dissimilar from the

previous participants, or who do not represent the topic in the same way. In analogous

quantitative terms, this procedure provides data both within and between.








60

Having said this, the literature regarding this general type of qualitative research,

sparse though it is in this specific topic area, would seem to suggest that about five

interviews are preliminarily indicated for a given question, as saturation typically occurs

after analyzing 5 to 10 data sets (Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Rennie, Phillips, & Quartaro,

1988). Based upon the foregoing considerations, the present study will include interviews

conducted with four to five individuals in each of the following three categories: (a)

highly rated faculty mentors, (b) satisfied graduate student proteges, and (c) dissatisfied

graduate student proteges.

Analysis in grounded theory methodology is a multi-step process and is highly

labor intensive. Analysis begins as soon as the interviews begin and continues throughout

the study. As the interviewer begins to interact with the data presented by participants,

hypotheses and themes are already being developed and tested. This continues after each

interview as the researcher again reviews the data looking for themes and categories. As

each interview is conducted, themes from previous interviews are kept in mind, and

hypotheses are tested between participants as well as within each interview. This is

referred to as constant comparison, and is central to the method. The value of constant

comparison is that the perceptions and developing interpretations of the researcher are

constantly checked against the data, thus interfering with the development of

misconceptions and ungrounded assumptions.

The first step in the formal analysis, open coding, is a process in which each unit

of analysis is independently evaluated for possible meanings. What stands for a unit of

analysis is flexible, but once defined by the researcher remains consistent throughout










open coding. Glaser and Strauss (1967) recommend that each line of a transcript be

considered a unit, whereas Rennie et al. (1988) prefer to delineate the data according to

coherent meaning units, an option that will also be used in this project. Each meaning

unit is evaluated and categorized or labeled according to the concepts embedded in the

data. This process is referred to as open coding because there are a priori neither

theoretical nor procedural limits on the categories or meanings that may be established.

To clarify, data is reviewed word-by-word and line-by-line in order to delineate

sections that cohere semantically, yet are distinguishable from the surrounding material.

Each of these delineated sections (i.e., meaning units) is labeled according to whatever

semantic content it was that caused the researcher to be able to isolate the semantic unit

(i.e., the concept). At this stage, concept generation is to be descriptive, thus the labels

should use language representative of the language used by the interviewees. These

concept labels are established as categories, and the meaning units themselves are

established as exemplars of the category. Any time a meaning unit is evaluated (in any

data set) that can be labeled similarly to an existing category, it will be placed in that

category (i.e., be given the same label).

As the open coding process continues, each newly evaluated meaning unit is

assigned to as many of the existing categories as possible. If no category exists that

represents the meaning embedded in the data, a new category is established. Ultimately,

some finite set of categories will emerge that adequately represent the data, and

additional meaning units will no longer require the development of new categories or

labels, which is a condition known as saturation.








62

Throughout the data analysis, the researcher's hunches and theoretical notions are

recorded separately from the data and from the categorizations, a process referred to as

memoing. These memoranda allow the researcher to record for later consideration

hypotheses, notions, and ideas that emerge during the analysis, and at the same time are

designed to reduce drift away from grounding in the data by making explicit the

researcher's perspectives.

Axial coding, the second step of the analysis, is a process in which the developed

categories are individually examined in order to more fully elaborate their content and

meaning in the researchers mind. At the same time, the contents are compared and

evaluated between categories and their exemplars for differences and similarities. The

goal is to develop a second level of abstraction that more fully integrates the data, finding

connections between categories and concepts. Some of the emergent higher-level

categories will be linked to a greater number of subordinate categories and concepts,

resulting in a hierarchical integration of the data as more concepts derived directly from

the data are subsumed by fewer core categories. Categories that have few or no links are

either collapsed into other categories or dropped altogether.

The final step in the analysis, selective coding, occurs when the researcher

evaluates the data in search of the most central or core category, one that would subsume

all the others in a coherent and parsimonious structure. This would be the category most

related to others and is typically very well defined by the structure. Glaser and Strauss

(1967, 1978) suggest that once a core category is defined, no further open coding is done

for any data not subsumable by the category (thus, selective coding). Is essence, although










other data are certainly present and may be of interest, they are distractions from the

emerging focus in any given project. Glaser and Strauss (1967) note that the unused data

could be used for another paper if desired, thus further representing the focused nature of

the method.

In summary, coherent units of meaning within the data are identified and labeled

according to the conceptual term by which they were identified. The meaning units and

concepts are then evaluated and compared unit with unit and unit with concept to see if

more categories emerge. If there are similarities and/or differences among them that lend

themselves to a hierarchical ordering, some of the categories will subsume some of the

others, and some will be subsumed. This structure, which can be multi-leveled, will be

further evaluated to see is there is some category that is sufficiently well distributed and

linked so as to represent a core or central category that might subsume all the others.

Once the analysis is complete, the researcher should have a well-delineated and strongly

empirically grounded model of the phenomenon under investigation. This structure can,

if desired, be subjected to a verification process using more traditional experimental

methods as it provides the a priori structure necessary for deductive hypotheses.

Verification, however, is not advocated by grounded theory practitioners and may even

diminish the value of the findings through operationalization and reification (Glaser,

1992).

Other researchers have explored the costs and benefits of being a mentor (e.g.,

Ragins & Scandura, 1999), the contribution of personality factors to the quality and

effectiveness of the mentoring relationship (e.g., Turban & Dougherty, 1994), and the








64

variance introduced into outcomes based on whether the relationship is voluntary or

assigned (e.g., Chao, Walz, & Gardner, 1992).
















CHAPTER 3
METHOD

Participants

Thirteen individuals were interviewed for this research: four award winning

mentors, five satisfied proteges, and four dissatisfied proteges. Three of the mentors were

men, and one was a woman. One of the male mentors was a distinguished professor of

psychology, one was associate dean of the graduate school and professor of psychology,

the third male mentor was a professor of reproductive physiology and biology, and the

female mentor was a professor of pharmacology and toxicology. These mentors were

solicited at two major universities from among those who had been conferred mentoring

awards, as determined by a search of the web sites of the two institutions.

Satisfied proteges were identified by asking the interviewed mentors to provide

the names of students they had mentored, or by word of mouth. Two of the satisfied

proteges were men, and three were women. One woman was in her final year of seeking

her doctorate in clinical psychology. The second woman was 5th-year student seeking a

doctorate in pharmacology and toxicology, and the third woman was in her 4th year of

work toward doctorate in pharmacology and toxicology. One of the men had completed

his doctorate in developmental psychology, and the other man was a 2nd-year student in

a doctoral program in clinical psychology.










Dissatisfied proteges were identified by e-mailing graduate student organization

leaders and asking for word-of-mouth recommendations of students who were not happy

with the mentoring or advising they had received. Two participants were men and two

were women. The first woman was seeking a doctorate in ethno-botany, but decided to

leave with a master's degree, in part because of the extremely poor support she received.

The second woman had intended to work towards a doctoral degree in cultural

anthropology, but also was leaving her program due to lack of support. One man had

completed his doctorate in child psychology, and another will complete his doctorate in

clinical psychology this year.

Each potential participant was contacted by e-mail by the researcher and offered

the opportunity to participate in the research. In no case were mentors made aware of

which, if any, of their proteges were solicited or interviewed. All participants were fully

apprised of the research questions and procedure, and were given the opportunity to

decline or withdraw from participation at any time. Informed consent was obtained, and a

copy was given to each participant (Appendix A).

The Researcher

An important feature of the grounded theory method is the explicit recognition

that the researcher is the primary research instrument and that the personal characteristics

and history of the researcher will impact the interpretation of the data and the

development of the theory (Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Strauss & Corbin, 1990). It is

recommended, therefore, that the researcher provide information regarding his or her own

history to facilitate the reader's evaluations of the validity and generalizability of the








67

findings, which are necessarily shaped by the characteristics of the researcher. This is in

contrast to a phenomenological method, in which the researcher attempts to "bracket" or

withhold the influence of her or his biases (see Giorgi 1990, 1992).

I am 45-year-old man in a counseling psychology doctoral program. I consider

psychology to be my third career. My first career was in the electronics industry, where I

spent 15 years as an electronics technician and then as a middle level manager. My

second career was as a foster parent. In addition to raising our own three daughters, my

wife and I cared for 30 medically and therapeutically needy foster children (mostly

infants and young girls) over an 8-year period. These experiences have likely altered my

perspectives from what might be expected from someone who had never raised children

or from someone who had gone straight through school into their doctoral program.

My status as a doctoral student in psychology not only will affect my thoughts

and interpretations, but also in a few cases was noted by the interviewees. As a doctoral

student, there was a strong commonality with the protdggs, who were going through the

same process, and seeking many of the same things in their careers and lives. Some of the

interviewees appeared to be influenced by my status as a student in psychology (e.g., the

myth that psychologists have some sort of "secret knowledge" about people and behavior

seemed to appear with some of the participants). Certainly, being a student of psychology

provides me with a framework that will bias my perceptions and interpretations. In that

psychology is uniquely suited to explore relationships, however, this bias might better be

construed as an advantage rather than as a negative influence.










My age and gender likely also played a role in the interactions with some of the

participants, as well as in my self-perceptions and presentations. For example, it was

perhaps easier for me to develop rapport with the mentors than a younger interviewer.

My life experience also appeared to facilitate the interaction, as topics less focused on

mentoring often arose as I worked to develop this rapport. Whether the interviewees were

more open with me than they might have been with a younger person is open to question,

but seems plausible. My age may have had an influence on the younger proteges that

were interviewed, especially as they knew little about me except that I was a graduate

student. The international student protege, a young woman from Thailand, may have

been more strongly influenced by her cultural deference to older males in positions of

authority (this was briefly discussed in reference to her mentor, who was also an older

male).

As a student, I consider that I have been positively mentored by four different

people. Each of these has had significantly different styles as well as influences on me,

from extensive personal support to technical and research mentoring to a more detached

but safe-base style of support. Each was important to my success and survival in their

own way. Prior to being a student, during my years in business and as a parent, I was also

well mentored. A variety of people fulfilled this role in my life, but none with the focus

on the task as I have experienced as a student. I have also been poorly mentored, both as

a student and in business, by individuals who appeared to be indifferent to my training,

educational, or personal needs, and who might reasonably have been expected to have an

obligation to meet those needs. Given these experiences, I was able to draw on personal










experience when interacting with both satisfied and dissatisfied protdg6s. Having had

both experiences, however, may have helped prevent an excessive bias in either direction.

There are other factors not noted here, no doubt some of which I am unaware. The

foregoing is provided so that the reader might have some basic information about one of

the critical instruments used in this research. As noted by Glaser and Strauss (1967), "The

root source of all significant theorizing is the sensitive insights of the observer himself."

(p.251)

Procedure

This section will describe the various aspects of the grounded theory procedures

utilized in the present study. It will include discussion of data acquisition and data

analysis.

Data Acquisition

Each of the participants was interviewed by the researcher in a private milieu.

The focus of the interviews was to learn what factors contribute to the qualification of the

mentoring relationship as "good." Although participants were asked to describe or define

"good mentoring," the problem of definition discussed earlier was not addressed. If a

mentoring relationship was asserted, the assertion was accepted at face value. The

question of interest in this project, as noted, was to differentiate a "good" relationship,

not, for example, mentored vs. non-mentored, or formal vs. informal mentoring.

The semi-structured interview began with a selection of open-ended questions

designed to both create a comfortable atmosphere for the discourse, as well as to facilitate

and direct the conversation towards the topic of interest. The questions focused on the










mentoring relationship and process, yet were exploratory and elicitory. Again, neither

"mentoring" nor "good" were defined for the participants, who were all able to easily

identify someone who was, or should have been, their mentor. The following are some of

the questions used to initiate the discussions:

1. How would define good mentoring relationship?

2. What might be some characteristics of a good mentor?

3. What could [the mentor] have done to make it work better for you?

4. What kinds of things made the relationship "work" for you?

5. What are some of the things that make a lousy mentor?

As the interviews proceeded, thoughts and insights occurred to the researcher

regarding potential emergent themes in the reports of the participants. Tentative

hypotheses were developed, which guided the formulation of additional questions, as

attempts were made to confirm or disconfirm these insights. Examples of further

enquires, then, followed the following form:

1. How does that make you feel?

2. Is it a part of the mentors job to ...?

3. What do you think that gets you at a psychological level?

4. How does it feel to have a mentor that you believe in that way...?

5. Why is that important to you?

Interviews were continued until both interviewer and interviewee appeared to have

exhausted the topic. Interviews typically lasted between 60 and 90 minutes.










Although researchers who specialize in grounded theory methodology

recommend against taping or taking notes during an interview (Dick, 2002), taping, note

taking, and transcribing were used in the present study to facilitate the development and

understanding of the data and to allow the researcher review the data if there were

questions or ambiguities in his theory construction. All interviews were thus audio taped.

As the researcher became increasing familiar with the material appearing in the

interviews, cognizant of the major themes, and aware of the significant consistency of the

reports between all of the participants, it was decided that it was unnecessary to

additionally transcribe all of the interviews, and the recordings and thematic notes taken

during the remaining interviews were relied upon. Thus, eight interviews were

transcribed onto hard copy: all four mentors, three satisfied protdgds, and one dissatisfied

protdgd. Partial samples of transcripts are available in the appendices (Appendices B, C,

and D).

Data Analysis

Analysis was carried out using the grounded theory procedures described earlier.

During each interview, key notes were taken, and developing hypotheses were tested.

Following each interview these notes were reevaluated and additional insights were

noted. Memoranda were written containing possible categories and other theoretical

observations. As each interview was conducted, themes and ideas from previous

interviews and analyses were kept in mind and explored using the method of constant

comparison.










As noted, in the present study, the interviews with all four mentors (who were

interviewed first), the first three satisfied proteges, and one dissatisfied protdgd were

transcribed to facilitate this process. The interviews were gone over line-by-line and

subjected to a formal coding process. The first step, open coding, was conducted by the

researcher by going over the transcripts line by line while looking for coherent meaning

units; that is, sections that cohere semantically, and yet are distinguishable from the

surrounding material. (In later interviews, key notes taken during the interviews and

reviewing of the audio tapes replaced full transcription and review.) These "pieces of

semantic coherence" can be labeled using a single descriptive word or phrase, which may

then be referred to as concepts. Each meaning unit, then, was evaluated and labeled

according to the concepts embedded in the data (see Appendix E for an example. Note

that there were at least two iterations of open coding when using transcripts, both on the

transcript as well as on separate note cards. Thus, the sample in the appendix is reduced

and clarified for readability). The concept labels used were chosen not only to reflect the

semantic content, but as much as possible the actual words used by the participant.

These concept labels were established as categories, which were a higher level of

abstraction of the units themselves, the meaning units being exemplars of the category.

Subsequently, any time a meaning unit was evaluated (in any data set) that could be

labeled similarly to an existing meaning unit, it was placed in that category (i.e., be given

the same concept label). As the open coding process continued, each newly evaluated

meaning unit was assigned to as many of the existing categories as possible. If no

category existed that represented the meaning embedded in the data, a new category was










established. Ultimately, a finite set of categories emerged that adequately represent the

data, and no further open coding was carried out. When this occurs, it is said that the

category is saturated, and selective coding begins (see below).

Axial coding, the second step of the analysis, is a process in which the developed

concepts are individually examined in order to more fully elaborate their content and

meaning in the researchers mind. At the same time, the concepts and their exemplars are

compared and evaluated for differences and similarities. The goal is to develop a second

or higher level of abstraction that more fully integrates the data, finding connections

between categories and concepts.

Axial coding was carried out following the procedure delineated by Rennie and

Brewer (1987). All open coding, whether from transcripts or tapes, was carried out using

3 X 5 cards on which the concepts and representative citations from the data (interviews)

were written. Over one thousand cards were produced in this project. Axial coding was

carried out by placing the cards in columns on a large table according to the meaning or

concept represented. Thus, common concepts, or categories, were represented by the

different columns of cards. As the concepts and their exemplars were compared and

evaluated for differences and similarities, superordinate categories emerged and were

developed, and cards labeling these higher-level categories were placed across the top of

the table. (Again, the concept of semantic factor analysis was found helpful in

conceptualizing the process.) Note that memoranda were also recorded on 3 X 5 cards,

but were not included in the sorting process. Memoranda were, however, referred to in

the structuring of the data and the development of superordinate categories. Numerous










different organizations of the cards were tried before the one selected was settled on as

having the greatest fit and being most representative of the data.

The final step in the analytic process, selective coding, occurs when the researcher

evaluates the data in search of the most central or core category, one that would subsume

all the others in a coherent and parsimonious structure. This was accomplished using the

process described above. As the researcher continued to reexamine the concepts and

categories as well as the emergent hierarchical structure, it became possible to recognize

a common feature that was linked to all the existing categories, and was also a factor

within all of the categories. This factor, positive affect, became the core category of the

analysis, and provided the central organizing principle and discovery of this research.

Again, as with axial coding, a number of possibilities were considered and discarded

before the final selection was confirmed as being most adequate and having the greatest

fit with the data.

In summary, the data (transcripts) were broken down into coherent units of

meaning, which were labeled roughly according to the concept by which they were

identified. Then, these labels and the units they represent were evaluated and compared to

see if there were similarities and/or differences among them that lent themselves to a

hierarchical ordering, such that some of the categories subsumed some of the others, and

some were subsumed. This structure, once derived, was further evaluated to see if there

was some category that was sufficiently well distributed and linked so as to represent a

core or central category that might subsume all the others. It was found that there was:








75

positive affect. The core category of positive affect and its subordinate categories will be

fully elaborated in the next section.














CHAPTER 4
RESULTS


Four mentors (M), five satisfied proteges (SP), and four dissatisfied proteges

(DP), were interviewed for the present study. The purpose of the interviews was to

uncover factors that might contribute to the qualification of a mentoring relationship as

"good." Neither the term good nor the term mentoring were defined for the interviewees.

All protdgd participants were able to identify a person or persons whom they considered

as a mentor or, in the case of the DPs, a person whom they expected would mentor them

and did not do so satisfactorily. All Ms were identified in advance by virtue of their

having received mentoring awards.

The contents of the interviews were analyzed using the previously described

grounded theory inductive procedure. All interviews were included in the analysis. There

was very high consistency across all participants, including DPs, in terms of those aspects

that would qualify as central to the goodness of the relationship. The factors selected for

inclusion in this section emerged very early in the interviewing process, continued to

appear in virtually every data set, and subsequently represented the central themes

derived in the analysis.

As the data were analyzed, a central feature of the defining characteristics of a

good mentoring relationship appeared to be the affective nature of the relationship. That

is, when discussing what they thought defined a good mentoring relationship, the most

frequently reported features were related to participants' positive feelings about certain

76










aspects of their relationships. Since good was not defined for the participants, the focus

on these specific affective aspects of the relationship, rather than the structure or

mechanics of mentoring relationships, was emergent and indicative of the interviewees'

own priorities. Thus, the themes that emerged and the resulting categories of the derived

structure are subsumed under the core category of Positive Affect.

Participants also discussed a wide variety of other factors. Some of these factors

were subsumable into the core or second-level categories. If they were not subsumable

and they could not stand alone due to their relative infrequency, then they were dropped

from the analysis to limit the focus on a single core category as recommended when

using the grounded theory approach (Glaser & Strauss, 1967).

As the core category of the analysis, positive affect defines the features most

relevant to the evaluation of the mentoring relationship as "good," as presented by

participants. Five second-level categories identified within the core category of positive

affect were as follows: (a) feeling respected, (b) feeling valued, (c) feeling safe, (d)

feelings of belonging, and (e) feelings of increasing competence (See Table 1). These

categories are themselves reductions from third-level categories (i.e., themes) that were

derived directly from the data, and each describes areas in which positive affect was

highly salient to the participants. Each of these categories and themes will be discussed,

describing in detail the feelings themselves, ways the feelings are engendered or hindered

in the relationship, and positive correlates of the feelings.










Table 1. Affective Characteristics of a Good Mentoring Relationship

Core Category Second Level Categories Fundamental Concepts/ Themes

Positive Affect Feeling Respected Respect of person
Respect of person's right to self-
determination

Feeling Valued Availability
Time and effort

Feeling Safe Not experiencing rejection
Receiving affirmation and
encouragement.
Trust

Feelings of Belonging and
Community

Feelings of Increasing Clarifying expectations
Competence Following appropriate
developmental course
Increasing autonomy


Feeling Respected

The importance of respect (i.e., proteges' feelings of being respected by their

mentors) was noted by all three sets of participants. However, Ms and DPs drew attention

to it most frequently as of critical importance to a good mentoring relationship. SPs

mentioned the importance of feeling respected by their mentors, but much less frequently

than did the other two groups. This may be attributed to a slight difference in the salience

of certain characteristics to the different groups.

Respect seems to have been construed primarily in one of two ways. First, respect

of a person was based on the individual's belief in another's intrinsic worth as a human

being. This could be illustrated by the common admonition to treat people with simple










respect and courtesy. This character of respect was also mentioned more frequently by

Ms and DPs. A second meaning for respect that appeared to be salient was the respect of

a person's freedom and self-determination. This suggests an additional level of respect

maintained towards people's right to choose for themselves what they would like to do,

accomplish, or become. This concept was discussed by the majority of participants in all

three groups, but was most frequently discussed by the mentors.

Respect of Persons

Although all three groups of participants made references to the need for a

fundamental respect of the other in the relationship, DPs repeatedly emphasized the lack

of basic respect as a centrally important feature in their dissatisfaction with their

mentoring relationships. One DP placed basic respect at the top of her list of what she

wished she could have received from her mentor. She stated that although mentors

expected to be treated with respect, they often did not treat protdgds or students with

respect. Sometimes this emphasis on the lack of respect became quite emphatic, as

illustrated by the following example.

Interviewer: Why would he introduce you to people and brag about you?
DP3: Oh, because it reflects on him. That's what a graduate advisor is for, isn't it?
"Look, I have this...scholar who wants to work with me! I'm a cool person!"
And that's fine. I mean I totally understand that they're under a lot of pressure.
They have things they need. A grad student is cheap labor for them, who you
want to keep working for you as long as you can, because then they leave and you
have to train somebody new. I totally understand that it has to be a relationship
where they're getting something as well as you getting something. But it has to be
somewhat equal. I mean, both people do have to get something out of it. I mean,
there are rules in this relationship...
Interviewer: What are the rules?
DP3: Well, you know, a professor wants to take on a student so that they have
glory, and their work getting done, and papers written with their names on it...








80

Protdgds noted that when their mentors failed to treat them with respect, they felt

disconnected, lost interest in their work, and frequently decided that if respect was not

forthcoming, neither would it be given. As can be imagined, this can lead to further

difficulties. One protege stated that she had been "offered assistance to leave the

program." Typically these failures of respect manifested as not acknowledging or

attending to a proteg6's conversation; demeaning, condescending, or insulting behaviors

or comments; or failing to keep promises.

Satisfied prot6gds, however, mentioned basic respect only in general terms.

Having already received this kind of respect from their mentors as a function of the

quality of the relationship, it did not appear to be salient during the interview. Mentors

also tended to gloss over this form of respect perhaps because they also considered it to

be a given in the relationship. However, all four mentors stated they considered it an

honor to have been sought out by students.

The SP who was an international student described differences in cultural norms

regarding respect of persons. In her Asian culture, expectations of respect for elders or

culturally defined superiors (e.g., men, professors) are much stronger, and one never

criticizes or speaks freely with one to whom respect is due. She stated that students are

not considered to be equal to their professors. Students neither expect a mentor to stop

and talk to them, nor do students feel offended or unimportant when they do not. She

recalled being extremely and pleasantly surprised by her American mentor's openness

and willingness to engage with her in conversation at any time. She noted that although

she was not equal in status, neither did she feel inferior.










Although the consensus was that proteges a priori deserve respect, all mentors

noted its limits. As one mentor in the pharmaceutical field commented, although students

deserve respect, there are firm boundaries of acceptable behavior, especially considering

the potential health risks inherent in the field. Students are expected to take responsibility

for their education seriously and to behave as professionals.

Respect of a Person's Right to Self-Determination

The critical aspect of this theme is that a good mentoring relationship is

characterized by the mentor's focus on and commitment to facilitating the goals and

plans of the protege. The emphasis is so asymmetrical in favor of the protege that it

almost reaches the level that the needs and desires of the mentor are of little consequence.

As one mentor noted,

They are really the ones that count in the long run.... Yes, my goals will be
realized if they do their jobs, but it's more than that in the sense of who they are
and where they're going. It's really important.

This focus on supporting the goals of the protege was universal, and was focused

most strongly and repetitively by the mentors. In describing a mentoring relationship,

another mentor noted,

First and foremost I think it's a commitment to somebody else's career. So, when
somebody comes in and says they'd like to study-I'd like to study with you-
and I'm a lucky person in that I have marginal visibility nationally so that people
will apply to work with me. I'm lucky. I don't say I deserve that. It's an honor.
First, to have that happen. Second, it's a responsibility because to me it implies a
ton of obligation that the applicant probably doesn't realize.... So, I have to
know what they're interested in. I have to know what they want to do. My
favorite question to people is "Tell me what your life looks like 5 years from
now." Once we know that, then we craft the next 5 years or plan for the next 2 or
3 years to get you there.








82

Mentors stated their belief that all students are unique and that the central task of

a mentor is to uncover the natural talent of the individual student, to nurture their native

excellence and passion. Mentors repeatedly noted that it is not their task to determine

what a protege should be doing with her or his life or career; rather the mentor's task is to

support the growth and development of the prot6g6 in the direction the protege has

chosen. As M3 indicated, the goal is to develop the students in regard to their own

interests and talents, not to "make mini copies of yourself." He continued,

It's a wonderfully freeing, I think, experience [for proteges] to realize that you
can pursue that for which you have talent and interest, and can mold a life around
it.... I once heard that 98% of Americans get up in the morning, go to work and
dread that, and I can't imagine that day after day after day. This is why I think
some graduate students don't like graduate school. I would wish that 100% of
people could follow their own talents and inclinations.

Satisfied proteg6s also seemed to be most enamored of their mentors' focusing on

the prot6g6's desires and goals. One ofM3's prot6g6s, SP1, was also interviewed, and

stated that "a mentor is a guide who facilitates your reaching your goals, not you reaching

their goals." He said of M3 that whatever area you were interested in as a M3's proteg6-

academics, practice, research-M3 would "provide you with as many opportunities and

as much guidance as you need or want." SP 1 noted that he feels empowered and excited

by this kind of support because he believes he will be successful in the area he has

chosen.

There are limits and qualifications to this support, however, as is indicated in the

following exchange with M2.

M2: I've tried to find what they're interested in. And I try to give them that a little
bit....
Interviewer: So, it would be kind of like finding out what the individual student's










interests or passions are and then trying to feed that, to facilitate that?
M2: As best I can! Now, I can't just let them totally run my program, but I'm
more than willing to... I mean, I have enough flexibility in my program that I can
try to meet their particular needs, once I'm sure there's a passion for it....

M3 concurred, stating, "I just can't supervise any old thing that they come up

with.... Ml noted that if he doesn't know the area that a student wants to pursue, or the

student declines to take his advice or recommendations, then he can't do all the things

that he would normally do for a prot6ge. The student must then take responsibility to find

ways to make up the lack.

Feeling Valued by or Important to the Mentor

Feeling valued by or important to the mentor is closely aligned with respect.

However, feeling valued can be distinguished from basic respect in that basic respect is a

priori and due all people. Value and importance, on the other hand, refer to the particular

person. Although a mentor may fundamentally respect all graduate students, a mentor

should hold a special value for his or her proteges. (Should refers not to an ethical

imperative, but is an ontological indicative. I.e., a characteristic of a "good" mentoring

relationship, as described by participants in this study, is that the mentor does in fact

value the protege).

The salient factor here is that the protege feels that her or his unique identity is

being validated in the relationship with their mentor. The protege is not merely another

unit (interchangeable with any other unit) in a long series of onerous obligations with

which a faculty member is tasked by the nature of the job, nor is the protege merely a

means to the mentor's ends; rather the mentor actually has an interest in this particular

person. This interest manifests in demonstrable, tangible ways that are observable by the










protege, and that she or he can internalize as self-worth and value. In this case, the

protege could say, "If this important, high status person thinks I'm important, then maybe

I'm okay."

Participants experienced feeling valued by the practical demonstrations of their

mentors' (a) availability and (b) time and effort. Through these two modes the protege

became aware of the mentor's feelings about her or him; proteges' also construed these as

signals of the positive or negative quality of the relationship and of the self.

Availability

Availability was perhaps the most frequently noted quality in all of the data.

Mentors, satisfied proteges, and dissatisfied proteges all indicated that the mentor's

availability to proteges is sine qua non of good mentoring. Even in discussing

relationships that had little or no interpersonal components, availability was considered to

be critical. If the mentor was not available, there was, in fact, no mentor.

Availability can be understood in terms of psychological availability or physical

availability. While physical availability was mentioned numerous times, it was not

typically considered a significant factor in the quality of the relationship. All good

mentors were physically available to their proteges at some level-some spent several

hours a day with them in various contexts. What was repeatedly noted, however, was the

importance of the mentor being psychologically available. That is, graduate students felt

valued and important when their mentors responded when they were talked to, when the

response was relevant and helpful, when the mentor stopped what they were doing when

the protege wanted to talk to them about a problem (or when there was not a problem),








85

when the mentor was interested in the proteges concerns or needs, when the mentor was

willing to talk on the phone from home with the protege, or even if the mentor would

merely use e-mail to communicate.

In response to the opening question on how he would define good mentoring, SP3

said "... to be available is the most basic. To be able to be there, to be willing to be there,

to talk about your interests." M3 noted that one of the central characteristics he respected

in other good mentors he knew was "The ability to take time and listen fully to another

person's story." SP4, the student from Asia, noted that her mentor was always available

to her and that it made her feel important and valued. She further noted that her peers

with less available and open mentors were not happy, and did not feel very important to

their mentors. SP5 relayed a story that exemplifies availability and its effect on the

protege.

... He was one of the people on the committee for my paper. He was actually-
this is kinda cool-he was actually on vacation in January when I emailed him
and told him "Here's where I am, here's my outline. I've kind of revised it from
what we talked about last time." He emailed me back and said, "Actually, we're
on vacation. We're in Minnesota." He told me a little bit about the weather; it was
freezing, they were fortunate enough to arrive in the middle of a snowstorm, da da
da da da.... and, [he continued] "You know, I like what you're doing here. Our
host actually happens to know something about the subject, and he suggests that
you check out such and such...." I get this back-the guy's on vacation... and
he's talking about my project to his friend... and giving me feedback while he's
on vacation! I'm like, do I feel important? Do I feel valued? Well, yeah!

Dissatisfied proteges also had much to say about availability, or, in their case,

their mentor's unavailability. DP2 noted that she is on her second mentor/advisor;

unfortunately, the second, like the first, is not available either-physically or

psychologically. In fact, noted DP2, students have to sign up on a sheet on this










"mentor's" door to get an appointment-she dispenses her time in 15-minute

increments-whether they are an undergrad student or one of her grad students. DP2

commented that "there needs to be someone you can know that is going to answer back,

or you can touch base with, who can give you some direction, that you can talk to...."

She continued that the thing that both her mentors could have done was to simply be

available. DP3 indicated that if she had a question about requirements, about classes,

about where to find the bathroom, her mentor would tell her to go ask another grad

student. According to DP3, her mentor also waxed philosophical in her presence about

whether he should be hiring technicians rather than grad students, since technicians didn't

want other things in addition to the job.

Time and Effort

Availability is a fairly passive concept, in that the mentor is being responsive to

the immediate needs of the protege. The character of time and effort as a marker of value

and importance is found in a mentor's activity or proactivity on the prot6ge's behalf. The

mentor demonstrates her or his valuation of the proteg6 by the concrete investment of

limited time and energy resources to the development and progress of the proteg6

towards her or his goals. An important aspect of this factor is that the mentoring

relationship is not defined in terms of supply and demand; although there are lots of grad

students out there, there is only one "in front of you." The prot6g6's value to their mentor

is apparent to all, especially the protege, in the mentor's investment of time and energy.

This valuation will also be internalized and considered by the proteg6 in their valuation of

themselves.










The investment of time and effort was spoken of by the mentors mostly in terms

of the necessity of recognizing the level of commitment in these areas that is inherent in

deciding to take on grad students or proteges. All of the mentors noted this aspect of the

relationship, and expressed not only willingness, but also enthusiasm. Ml noted that he

felt that if students were going to come work with him, that he owed them his time and

effort and attention, and that he was happy to provide it. Ml's protege, SP3, said

... The fact that Ml would be willing to pass back and forth the draft three times,
was something that, as I've talked with other people, they didn't have that, and
that goes back to the first thing, about being there and to be willing to give time
for you.

When asked for his definition of a good mentor, M2 said that a good mentor was

a person that's going to take the time to spend with students on a daily basis and try to

develop them to their maximum potential... and it takes a lot of time." Later in our

interview, in the context of a discussion of how many grad students some mentors take

on, he said,

I have other colleagues that take ten or twelve students at a time, and I just can't
do that. So I've asked myself, 'what is it that precludes me from doing that?' And
I've come to the conclusion that I spend a lot more time with individual students,
mentoring them.... I put enough priority on trying to mentor and develop
individuals that I can only do so many at a time...

The other mentors reiterated this sentiment.

A partial list of other demonstrations of time and effort commitment by mentors

for their proteges reported by participants include writing a six or seven-page, single

spaced recommendation letters "in which I really tell a heartfelt story about that student"

(M3); paying for the protegd's attendance at conferences, and not only helping them set

up their presentations, but staying with them during the entire display time, and










introducing them to important people that come by; going to the lab every day and

seeking them out to see how they're doing; finishing necessary paperwork on time;

always knowing what the protege is doing, and making sure that the protege is on time

and on track regarding department and degree requirements; helping them negotiate

personal concerns, such as balancing work and family, so that they can remain in the

program and focused on their work; reading materials provided by the proteg6 in the

protege's area in order to keep up with the research in that area; and calling people to

promote the proteg6 for a position.

As might be imagined, the conversations of the dissatisfied protegds were much

briefer in this regard. Except to note that their mentors either invested no time or effort,

or that they only invested in those areas that were of personal interest, there was little to

say. DP I noted that "when I was doing things that were not only getting me through the

program, but were also gonna help him out with his... in his professional life...." he got

better treatment from his mentor. He described his personal relationship with his mentor

as "sterile" and leaving him with "an empty feeling." Ultimately, like other DPs, DPI

would take his work elsewhere; "I wouldn't even show it to him."

Feeling Safe

The importance of feeling safe was especially emphasized by the SPs. Mentors

and DPs also discussed the importance of the protdgd's feelings in this regard, but DPs

tended to withdraw from their mentors as soon as it became apparent that they weren't

safe and, as usual, the issue became one of deficiency.










In the conversations of the participants, feelings of safety seem to be related to

three primary themes: not experiencing rejection, receiving affirmation and

encouragement, and trust. These three things, when present and experienced by the

protege, establish a secure base from which they can function and develop. It is worth

noting that the concept of a secure base is derived from theories relating to attachments

between parents and their children. The participants in this study used the parent-child

metaphor frequently to express the feeling they had towards each other. In fact, all the

mentors and most of the SPs did so, but none of the dissatisfied proteges did.

For example, in response to the question "Do you like the idea of showing Ml

that you did it, that you wanted him to be proud?" SP3, who was particularly enamored of

the parenting metaphor, said

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. I definitely have that second father figure feeling about it,
and it is equally as devastating when he'd you look at the first draft and really say,
'no, this is really bad, this is really not it." It was equally as devastating. I think I
definitely have that same kind of sense of... if he was saying "good job," then I
was feeling that I was good, and I was happy with the approval, and if he was
saying "no way..." that was a bad couple of days....

When discussing how having a protege was like having kids, Ml said, "It's the

same way. It's the same thing." Similarly, M4 said

If you take on a student, you know you're really taking on some responsibility for
them, just like what we have for a child; you're responsible for them. It's not
quite the same level of responsibility, but they are somewhat dependent on you in
a variety of ways... just as much as your kids are for the skills they'll need to
survive in the world whatever they do.

Not experiencing rejection

Of the three themes that are subsumed under feelings of safety (not experiencing

rejection, receiving affirmation, and trust in the mentor), not experiencing rejection was








90

clearly the most important to the proteges, both emotionally and in terms of personal and

professional development. While this theme is defined negatively, as the absence of a

behavior, it remains significant in that rejection is a positive punishment. That is, if it is

experienced at all, the offended party often tends to withdraw, and the possibility of a

corrective or ameliorating positive interaction with the mentor is significantly reduced, if

not eliminated. This reduction is due not only to the reduced numbers of interactions, as

the protege tries to avoid a repeat of the aversive event, but also to the negatively biased

interpretations of any further mentor behaviors by the protege. For example, what is

meant as a helpful critique may be taken as a direct assault by a previously sensitized

protege. As a result, even a small amount of this negative behavior may preclude to

possibility of developing a positive mentoring relationship.

Examples of mentor behaviors that were experienced as rejecting or threatening

include demeaning a proteges' efforts, implying the protege is stupid or is asking stupid

questions, yelling or screaming at the protege, blaming the protege for errors, for poor

outcomes, or for not knowing what to do, taking out frustrations on the proteg6 related to

other situations in the mentor's life, embarrassing a protege in front of others, shaming a

protege, taking a concern a protege brings and making it about themselves (e.g., a proteg6

presents something that she wanted help with, and the mentor tells a story about

something that happened to him, showing that he has 'suffered,' too, yet without

addressing the proteg6's concerns), behaving condescendingly towards the protege, and

others. Both SPs and DPs recognized the necessity of mentors' correcting them and










showing them their errors (see below), but all participants seemed to recognize the

difference between rejection and critique.

The most significant consequents to these rejecting behaviors were that the

prot6ge withdrew from interactions with the mentor, developed questions about their own

competence and value and career choice, and became afraid to engage in the necessary

work for fear of being "slapped down," as one mentor put it. SP2, who was actually the

SP of one of the award-winning mentors (M3), noted that if a prot6g6 became defensive

at M3's strong critiques, M3 would "hammer" them, but if you accepted the critique and

asked for help, M3 would "take you under his wing." (This was definitely experienced as

rejecting and threatening, but was later resolved when the protege went to M3 and

confronted him. According to the prot6g6, M3 has been working on that quirk since that

confrontation, and they now get along extremely well).

Many participants noted the absence of rejection and its correlates. The most

noted benefit is that protdgds feel safe to take risks, not only in terms of talking to their

mentors about problems and mistakes, but also in terms of being willing and emotionally

able to explore and experiment with their work or research. For example, when asked

what her mentor did when SP2 made a mistake, she said,

SP2: Oh, it was fine. I mean, she [M4] understands that you, of course, this is a
training period, even now. I've made mistakes.., but she doesn't go 'rooting' for
it, she's really relaxed about it.
Interviewer: what does that get for you? When you're in a situation, and you
make a mistake, and she's OK with it...
SP2: Well, I mean, it makes me more willing to admit that I made a mistake, and
also, it's not so much pressure. I know some mentors who are a lot more rigid
about that, and they do expect you to know, every time, exactly everything that
needs to be done. And you know, you're going to have people in the lab who are
going to be scared when you do that. I think it makes it easier for me to just go








92

ahead and do something, than to worry about it, if everything isn't exactly right. I
do make an effort to include everything I understand, based on my own
knowledge, to do everything correctly, but if it's not correct I don't feel like I
have to fear anything.


Receiving Affirmation and Encouragement

Receiving affirmation and encouragement from a mentor is essentially the

opposite of experiencing rejection-not opposite in the sense of the absence of one

implies the presence of the other, but in the sense that while rejection actively hinders

work and development, affirmation and encouragement promotes it. Of the three themes

under the category of feeling safe, this was mentioned directly the least but nonetheless

appeared in my coding quite often. It was my impression that there was what might be

termed an affirming atmosphere between the mentors and proteges, as evidenced by the

tone and affect of the participants during the interviews.

When affirmation was mentioned directly, however, its impact was important.

SP3 said, "I always knew I had good stuff, I had a good story to tell. What I also knew

was that I wasn't always the best at telling it.... I always felt motivated, because Ml

was very reinforcing, [saying]; 'you've got a good thing here to talk about.., yeah,

you're right, this is important, this is good stuff.'" SP5 noted that her mentor was always

very affirming or her work, even when suggesting better ways to do it or other options to

try. She said that she was never made to feel stupid or small. She continued in another

section

For the most part, they offered stuff [support and encouragement] so freely it was
more a matter of"I know where I can get this." I didn't have to earn it; it would
be there no matter what I did.... It was extremely validating.








93

Mentors also noted the importance of providing affirmation and encouragement to

proteges. M4 discussed how encouragement softened the blows of failures and mistakes,

and cultivated the ability to keep "plugging;" M3 commented, "I'm constantly

encouraging them.. to stretch, to try new things, to try ideas, to make mistakes, even."

The lack of affirmation and encouragement can result in proteges going elsewhere

for their needs, as was noted by DP 1, who said (as if he were talking to his mentor), "[if]

I'm not going to get the feedback and encouragement from you, I'll go to one of these

other people...." Regarding his mentor's lack of emotional support, when asked what

would happen to a younger proteg6 who came and worked with this mentor (DPI was 32,

and had good support at home), he said, "Well, I've seen a lot of them, and... I'm the

second person who has made it out through him with a PhD."

DP3 commented that instead of commending her for what she had done, her

mentor would complain about what she hadn't done. DP2 similarly described how her

mentor would tell her to do something (without providing any clear direction), and when

she'd bring the work back to him, he would say, "Why didn't you do 'X'." She argued

that this lack of support or affirmation of her work made her not want to do any work at

all, or to ever work with him.

Trust

There are various ways to construe trust, some of which have likely been implicit

in previous sections, and others that were not discussed by participants and thus are not

presented here regardless of their assumed or likely relevance. In fact, trust was

mentioned by various participants numerous time in diverse contexts, but as a word




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