LEARNING WITHIN FORMAL MENTORING RELATIONSHIPS: WHAT MENTEES AND MENTORS LEARN AT DIFFERENT PHASES OF THE MENTORING LIFE-CYCLE AND FACTORS THAT MODERATE THE LEARNING PROCESS
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AbstractMentoring is increasing in popularity in the workplace but we do not fully understand it. There is not enough evidence or clarity within the practitioner or academic field to demonstrate the learning outcomes for both parties and what factors moderate the mentoring relationship over time. Therefore, this doctoral research aims to investigate this gap. Following an extensive literature review of the mentoring, learning and moderating factors, four research questions were identified. These are: 1. What do mentees and mentors perceive they are learning during their formal mentoring relationships? 2. How does the learning change over time for both parties? 3. What are the factors that moderate mentee and mentor learning during their formal mentoring relationships? 4. How do these moderating factors change over time for both parties? The research was conducted within three collaborating public sector organisations drawn from the Healthcare sector (Case 1) and the Police sector (Case 2 & 3) of the United Kingdom. Interviews and focus groups were conducted: 38 mentee and mentor interviews and two focus groups in Healthcare, 68 interviews and four focus groups in the first Police study and 12 focus groups in the second Police study, spread across the four phases of the mentoring lifecycle; initiation, cultivation, separation and redefinition (Kram, 1988). Key findings have been revealed in relation to the particular types of learning outcomes that result from formal mentoring dyadic relationships and the moderating factors that impact positively and negatively on the mentoring learning process. The present study has identified that both mentors and mentees learnt across all four learning domains as defined by Wanberg et al., (2003): cognitive, skill-based, affective-related learning and social networks, in all three organisations. Generally for both parties, the largest number of mentee and mentor responses were in relation to the affectiverelated learning domain, in the area of confidence. For the moderating factors, there were common facilitating and hindering factors identified for both parties based on Hegstad and Wentlings’s (2005) moderating factors, with four new factors added as a result of this research: personal factors, other relationships, similarity and difference. There was no similar pattern of mentee and mentor responses in relation to moderating factors over the four phases of the mentoring lifecycle, across all three case organisations. However, a common factor for all three case study organisations was that formal mentoring relationships endured despite some significant hindering factors within the workplace. The thesis concludes by discussing implications for theory and practice that have emerged from this study. It confirms that mentors learn within the same four learning domains as mentees throughout formal mentoring and that there are some significant moderating factors for both parties that change in emphasis over time. These insights have led to the modification of one established formal mentoring model and the creation of two new theoretical models in relation to learning outcomes and moderating factors. Comments are also made about the power relationships within the public sector and how mentoring can be embraced or restricted through the organisational structure, culture and climate.
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy