دانلود مقاله ISI انگلیسی شماره 8379
عنوان فارسی مقاله

برنامه های مشاوره رسمی: رابطه طراحی برنامه و حمایت برای درک منافع و هزینه های مشاوران

کد مقاله سال انتشار مقاله انگلیسی ترجمه فارسی تعداد کلمات
8379 2008 16 صفحه PDF سفارش دهید محاسبه نشده
خرید مقاله
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عنوان انگلیسی
Formal mentoring programs: The relationship of program design and support to mentors’ perceptions of benefits and costs
منبع

Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)

Journal : Journal of Vocational Behavior, Volume 72, Issue 2, April 2008, Pages 225–240

کلمات کلیدی
برنامه های رسمی مشاوره - مشاوران - حمایت مدیریت - آموزش
پیش نمایش مقاله
پیش نمایش مقاله برنامه های مشاوره رسمی: رابطه طراحی برنامه و حمایت برای درک  منافع و هزینه های مشاوران

چکیده انگلیسی

This study investigates the relationship of formal mentoring program design elements (i.e., voluntary participation, input to matching, and effectiveness of training) and management support to the benefits and costs perceived by formal mentors. Data were collected from 97 formal mentors from a Midwestern financial institution. Multiple regressions were performed controlling for time as a mentor in the program, hours spent mentoring, and number of protégés. Voluntary mentor participation was positively related to perceiving rewarding experiences and negatively related to being more trouble than it was worth. Input to the matching process was negatively related to nepotism, and perceptions of training effectiveness were positively related to generativity. Finally, perceived management support for the program was positively related to rewarding experience and recognition, and negatively related to generativity and bad reflection. Three supplemental group interviews were conducted to further explore some of the survey findings. Directions for future research and implications for formal workplace mentoring programs as well as mentoring programs in cross-disciplinary contexts are discussed.

مقدمه انگلیسی

Despite the prevalence of formal mentoring programs in organizations (Allen et al., 2006b, Allen and Poteet, 1999 and Wanberg et al., 2003) and concern about their value (Ragins and Cotton, 1999 and Ragins et al., 2000), relatively little empirical research has been conducted on formal mentoring programs and factors that might improve their effectiveness (Allen et al., 2006a, Baugh and Fagenson-Eland, 2007 and Wanberg et al., 2003). Most of the studies that have examined formal programs have focused primarily on the career outcomes and psychosocial benefits to the protégés (e.g., Chao et al., 1992, Ragins and Cotton, 1999 and Ragins et al., 2000). Given that mentors are vital for the success of formal mentoring programs (Allen and Eby, 2003, Allen et al., 2006a, Allen et al., 2006b and Allen and Poteet, 1999), more research on mentors is critical due to the shortage of mentors in organizations (Allen, 2003, Finkelstein and Poteet, 2007 and Ragins and Cotton, 1999) and concerns regarding the usefulness of these programs. The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship of key factors in the development and support of a formal mentoring program to the perceived benefits and costs to mentors participating in that program. Four aspects of formal mentoring programs are examined: the extent to which mentor participation is voluntary, the amount of input mentors have into the matching process with their protégé, the perceived effectiveness of the training mentors receive, and the perceived level of management support for the program. Examination of these key factors is important in order to enhance the attractiveness of formal mentoring programs to prospective mentors. Not only is the attraction of mentors important to workplace mentoring programs, but also to formal mentoring programs in other contexts, such as youth mentoring (Big Brothers/Big Sisters) and graduate student–faculty mentoring. Designing and supporting mentoring programs to increase perceived benefits (e.g., recognition, improved job performance) and reduce perceived costs (e.g., mentoring is too time-consuming) to mentors should be helpful in both recruiting and retaining formal mentors (Ragins & Scandura, 1999). 1.1. The mentoring process Mentoring has been defined as a relationship whereby a more senior, experienced individual is committed to providing developmental assistance and guidance to a less experienced protégé (Kram, 1985). Mentors provide protégés with career functions and psychosocial support (Kram, 1985). Career functions include providing protégés with challenging work, coaching, exposure, protection, and sponsorship. These functions ensure increased visibility and learning for protégés. Psychosocial functions include providing acceptance and confirmation, counseling, friendship and role modeling to protégés. These psychosocial functions serve to increase the self-worth of protégés by affirming their identity. In contrast to informal mentoring relationships where the pairing evolves naturally based upon mutual identification and interests (Kram, 1985 and Ragins et al., 2000), formal mentoring relationships are developed with organizational assistance where protégés and mentors are matched through some process (Eby and Lockwood, 2005, Ragins and Cotton, 1999 and Ragins et al., 2000). Formal mentoring relationships are usually designed for a limited duration, such as one year (Ragins and Cotton, 1999 and Scandura and Williams, 2002). One of the primary benefits of formal mentoring programs is that they can be structured to achieve a variety of objectives (Gibb, 1994, Gibb, 1999 and Ragins et al., 2000) such as the career development of high-potential individuals, advancement of women and minorities, and enhanced knowledge-sharing inside the organization (Scandura & Williams, 2002). To motivate mentors to actively participate in such programs, it is important to consider the potential benefits and costs that formal mentors may incur (Allen, 2004, Eby and Lockwood, 2005 and Wanberg et al., 2003). 1.2. Mentor benefits and costs Although researchers have investigated factors related to a mentor’s willingness to engage in a mentoring relationship and the benefits and costs mentors may experience (e.g., Allen et al., 1997, Aryee et al., 1996, Ragins and Scandura, 1994 and Ragins and Scandura, 1999), the majority of this research has been based upon mentors in informal mentoring relationships. However, research by several authors (e.g., Baugh and Fagenson-Eland, 2007, Eby et al., 2006, Eby and Lockwood, 2005 and Wanberg et al., 2003) suggests that benefits (e.g., personal satisfaction) and costs (e.g., dysfunctional relationship) would also appear during formal mentoring. There are many benefits that can be derived from mentoring. First, the personal satisfaction mentors receive from observing and participating in the success of their protégés (Allen et al., 1997, Eby and Lockwood, 2005 and Kram, 1985) can result in rewarding experiences for them and reinforce their sense of competence and feelings of accomplishment (Kram & Hall, 1989). Second, protégés can improve the job performance of their mentors by providing them with new perspectives and knowledge (Eby and Lockwood, 2005, Kram and Hall, 1989 and Mullen and Noe, 1999). In particular, mentors may benefit by learning new skills, such as those related to emerging technologies, from their protégés (Kram and Hall, 1996, Lankau and Scandura, 2002 and Mullen and Noe, 1999). Third, protégés can become trusted allies (Kram, 1985 and Ragins and Scandura, 1999) and form a loyal base of support for their mentors, particularly as the protégés advance in the organization. Fourth, mentors may gain recognition among peers and superiors for helping to develop high-potential individuals within the organization (Allen et al., 1997, Kram, 1985 and Ragins and Scandura, 1999). Finally, mentors may experience feelings of generativity or immortality from watching their protégés succeed (Kram, 1985 and Ragins and Scandura, 1999). Mentors may see something of themselves in their protégés (Kram, 1985), and can live vicariously through them by reveling in their successes and coaching them through their failures. Although there are numerous benefits that mentors may experience, there can be significant costs that may deter individuals from accepting a mentoring role. First, mentoring a protégé who does not perform well can cause a negative reflection on the judgment and competency of the mentor (Kram, 1985, Ragins, 1997 and Ragins and Scandura, 1999). An unsuccessful protégé might put the mentor in the uncomfortable position of having to defend his or her own status and credibility (Allen, 2004, Ragins, 1997 and Ragins and Scandura, 1994). Second, dysfunctional relationships occur when the association has deteriorated and becomes unhealthy (Ragins and Scandura, 1994, Ragins and Scandura, 1997 and Scandura, 1998). For example, mentors may worry that they will be backstabbed or exploited by their protégés (Allen et al., 1997 and Ragins and Scandura, 1999). Third, individuals may perceive that being a mentor is not worth the time and effort involved (Allen, 2003, Allen and Eby, 2003, Allen et al., 1997, Ragins and Scandura, 1994, Ragins and Scandura, 1997 and Ragins and Scandura, 1999). The time individuals devote to mentoring has opportunity costs; potential mentors may decide this time could be better spent on other initiatives that would have more instrumental effects on their careers. In addition, scheduling problems and geographic distance can exacerbate time commitment concerns (Eby & Lockwood, 2005). Finally, mentors may face allegations of nepotism if they are viewed by non-mentored individuals as showing favoritism to their protégés (Ragins and Scandura, 1994 and Ragins and Scandura, 1999). Jealousy over mentor–protégé relationships may cause morale issues in a department, and consequently deter individuals from accepting mentoring roles (Allen et al., 1997). 1.3. Relationship of program design and support to perceived benefits and costs The design of a formal mentoring program and the support of management are important to consider from the standpoint of mentor motivation and participation in the program (Baugh and Fagenson-Eland, 2007, de Janasz and Sullivan, 2004, Forret et al., 1996, Kuyper-Rushing, 2001, Scandura and Williams, 2002 and Wanberg et al., 2003). Critical factors that are expected to influence the likelihood mentors will perceive their participation in a formal mentoring program as beneficial or costly include: the degree to which mentor participation is voluntary, the amount of input mentors have in the matching process with the protégé, the perceived effectiveness of the training mentors receive, and the perceived level of management support for the program (Ragins et al., 2000 and Scandura and Williams, 2002). 1.4. Voluntary participation Although many organizations report voluntary mentor participation in their formal mentoring programs (Forret et al., 1996 and Kuyper-Rushing, 2001), the recruitment of mentors is an issue for several (Allen, 2003 and Ragins and Cotton, 1999). Given the shortage of individuals interested in participating as a mentor, it may be necessary to recruit or draft some potential mentors in order to fill the program’s needs. How the mentor feels about participating may impact the perception of benefits to be received. Those who volunteer for the opportunity may see mentoring as a vehicle for personal development, satisfaction, and challenge (Kram & Hall, 1989). Mentors may direct more attention and effort to the relationship with their protégés if they are participating voluntarily (Lee, Dougherty, & Turban, 2000). Mandatory participation as a mentor can cause resistance to the formal program (Gibb, 1999) and negatively impact the quality of mentoring (Allen and Poteet, 1999, Finkelstein and Poteet, 2007 and Megginson, 2000). In sum, we expect that mentors who voluntarily participate in a formal mentoring program are more likely to be receptive to the benefits that might accrue through their involvement. Hypothesis 1a. There will be a positive relationship between voluntary participation and benefits perceived by mentors in a formal mentoring program. In contrast, those who feel coerced into serving as mentors will likely perceive higher costs than those who volunteer. Research has found that individuals vary in their motivation to mentor (Allen, 2003 and Aryee et al., 1996). Individuals drafted into the program may be unwilling to give up their time for a responsibility that was unwanted (Allen, 2003 and Ragins and Scandura, 1994). They may feel burdened by the process (Scandura & Williams, 2002) and believe their participation will interfere with other responsibilities causing a decrease in productivity and performance-based rewards (Allen & Eby, 2003). Those who are forced to mentor may become resentful about their involvement (Kram & Hall, 1996), resulting in increased stress or indifference (Boyatzis, Smith, & Blaize, 2006) that may ultimately defeat the purpose of the program (Baugh & Fagenson-Eland, 2007). Hypothesis 1b. There will be a negative relationship between voluntary participation and costs perceived by mentors in a formal mentoring program. 1.5. Input to matching The perception of mentor benefits may be related to the method used to match the pairs. Mentoring programs vary in the amount and form of participation in the matching process (Finkelstein & Poteet, 2007). Allowing the mentor to have a say in the selection process, rather than simply having a third party make the mentor–protégé assignments, provides the mentor with more control over the relationship (Allen et al., 2006b) and may increase the probability that more benefits will be derived from the program (Lee et al., 2000). According to the similarity-attraction paradigm (Byrne, 1971), individuals are attracted to those they perceive as more similar to themselves. The ability to be able to choose a protégé who is perceived to be compatible, and who shares similar interests, goals or background with the mentor should make communication easier and the relationship more enjoyable (Lee et al., 2000 and Roberts and O’Reilly, 1979). Research has found greater mentor–protégé similarity to be related to mentors’ reports of higher quality relationships and learning (Allen & Eby, 2003). Furthermore, recent research has shown mentor input to the matching process to be related to greater commitment of the mentor and enhanced understanding of the mentoring program; both of which positively influenced the perceived effectiveness of the program (Allen et al., 2006b). Also, mentors who had a voice in the matching process perceived the mentoring relationship to be of higher quality and provided greater career mentoring (Allen et al., 2006a). Overall, having input to the matching process should increase the likelihood that mentors should derive more benefits from the experience. Hypothesis 2a. There will be a positive relationship between input to the matching process and benefits perceived by mentors in a formal mentoring program. A mentor who did not have voice in the matching process may perceive higher costs from being involved in the program. There is a better chance to form a relationship when personalities mesh (Kram & Hall, 1996) and when two people see their own similarities and reasons why they may get along. Mentors who do not have input to the matching process may perceive the match as incompatible, lessening the probability that the pair can achieve a relationship that will endure (Ragins, 1997). A poor match can cause the mentor to resent his or her involvement (Kram & Hall, 1996) and ultimately provide fewer mentoring functions for the protégé (Allen et al., 2006a). With an opportunity to get to know the protégé before the match, a mentor may be able to screen out a protégé who is perceived as incompatible resulting in fewer perceived costs to the relationship (Lee et al., 2000, Ragins and Scandura, 1994 and Ragins and Scandura, 1999). However, it should be noted that a lack of input from the mentor does not necessarily result in a bad match. There are many alternative ways that matching can be done (e.g., Forret et al., 1996). For instance, if the match is made by a program coordinator based on information that is germane, a bad match may not result even though the mentor did not have input. But overall, we believe that mentors will perceive fewer costs if they are able to express their preferences for the match. Hypothesis 2b. There will be a negative relationship between input to the matching process and costs perceived by mentors in a formal mentoring program. 1.6. Training effectiveness Training is considered a key component of formal mentoring success (Baugh and Fagenson-Eland, 2007, Kuyper-Rushing, 2001, Lee et al., 2000, Megginson, 2000 and Ragins et al., 2000), especially because first time formal mentors may have no experience to draw upon. The relatively short duration of a formal program (often one year or less) requires that participants are able to work toward their objectives immediately. Training can play an important role in getting started (Scandura & Williams, 2002), and should help prepare mentors for their responsibilities, manage their expectations (Finkelstein & Poteet, 2007), and increase their personal competency and self-efficacy (Bandura, 1995). Using training to communicate the benefits of mentoring may be useful for recruiting mentors to the program and for setting realistic expectations (Eby et al., 2006 and Lee et al., 2000). Allen et al. (2006b) recently found that mentors who received training had greater understanding of the formal mentoring program, higher commitment to the relationship, and perceived the program to be more effective. Also, their results showed that perceptions of the quality of training were positively related to program understanding and perceived program effectiveness. Furthermore, mentors who evaluate the training as more effective also tend to report providing more psychosocial mentoring (Allen et al., 2006a). Overall, effective training is likely to help improve the perception of benefits that mentors can derive because they should have an increased awareness of benefits, a more rewarding and fulfilling experience, and improved performance and commitment as a mentor (Allen et al., 2006a and Allen et al., 2006b; Finkelstein & Poteet, 2007). Hypothesis 3a. There will be a positive relationship between perceptions of training effectiveness and benefits perceived by mentors in a formal mentoring program. Inadequate training of the participants can cause frustration and may keep the mentoring relationship at a superficial level (Kram & Hall, 1996). Training should include an explanation of the objectives of the program, a discussion of the career and psychosocial functions, tactical suggestions on individual goal setting, and guidance on how often to meet and other items to facilitate communication and the development of a personal relationship (Baugh and Fagenson-Eland, 2007 and Finkelstein and Poteet, 2007). Inadequate training increases the likelihood goals of the program will not be achieved. This can be due in part to the greater ambiguity that mentors experience owing to a lack of understanding of their roles and responsibilities (Eby and Lockwood, 2005 and Gibb, 1999) and inability to handle difficult problems that might arise. Thus, we expect that mentors who believe they received insufficient training will be more likely to perceive greater costs associated with the formal mentoring experience. Hypothesis 3b. There will be a negative relationship between perceptions of training effectiveness and costs perceived by mentors in a formal mentoring program. 1.7. Management support The level of management support is also expected to impact the benefits perceived by mentors (Scandura and Williams, 2002 and Wanberg et al., 2003). However, very little research has examined this issue. One recent study by Eby, Lockwood, and Butts (2006) found that mentors who perceived management support for mentoring were more likely to view mentoring as beneficial to both mentors and protégés. Visible and sincere support by management serves as a message to the entire organization of the importance of the program and that mentoring serves a valuable role within the organization (Gibb, 1994). The commitment of the CEO in the Sontag, Vappie, and Wanberg (2007) case study was cited as an important factor to the success of that program. The support of management helps ensure that resources are available to facilitate the success of the program. Therefore, mentors should have higher expectancies that the efforts they expend will result in achievement of the desired outcomes (Nadler & Lawler, 2001). In general, mentors are more likely to perceive benefits (e.g., recognition) from participating in the program when they believe it is valued by management. Hypothesis 4a. There will be a positive relationship between perceptions of management support and benefits perceived by mentors in a formal mentoring program. In their study of two formal mentoring programs, management support was cited as a major challenge (Raabe & Beehr, 2003). Without strong support by management, it is possible that a formal mentoring program may be considered a passing fad (Sontag et al., 2007), undeserving of serious involvement by the mentors. Being a mentor is usually not part of the job description (Ragins & Scandura, 1994). A mentor may be perceived as wasting time on an unimportant initiative if the mentor’s superior does not value the mentoring program. In fact, the mentor’s participation may actually come under scrutiny (Allen, 2004) and the mentor’s rapport and reputation with his or her superior may suffer. On the other hand, when management shows strong support for the mentoring program, mentors are likely to perceive lower costs for their participation. Hypothesis 4b. There will be a negative relationship between perceptions of management support and costs perceived by mentors in a formal mentoring program.

نتیجه گیری انگلیسی

Formal mentoring programs are sometimes viewed by organizational members as another fad that will soon pass (Sontag et al., 2007), and perhaps that is why relatively little research exists on formal mentoring programs. However, these programs continue to persist in organizations although concerns remain as to their effectiveness in developing protégés (Baugh and Fagenson-Eland, 2007 and Wanberg et al., 2003). In light of this, more research is needed to examine how the design and support of these programs is related to both protégé and mentor outcomes. This study contributes to our existing knowledge by examining the relationship of important factors in the design and support of formal mentoring programs to mentors’ perceptions of benefits and costs. Previous research on formal programs has tended to focus solely on the protégé, without considering the unique role that the mentor plays in the relationship. This study builds on recent efforts (e.g., Allen et al., 2006a, Allen et al., 2006b and Eby and Lockwood, 2005) to investigate issues pertaining to mentors in formal mentoring relationships. Our results indicate that key elements are related to mentors’ perceptions of benefits and costs. Mentors whose participation in the program was more of a voluntary nature were more likely to perceive it to be a rewarding experience. Sharing their experiences with a protégé can provide intrinsic satisfaction to the mentors as they help their protégés navigate the organizational landscape (Kram, 1985). Furthermore, voluntary participation was related to mentors not perceiving the program as more trouble than it was worth. They may believe the program is a worthwhile effort to provide guidance to protégés who desire their assistance, and is a cost effective method of developing talent in the organization. Because the literature emphasizes the importance of the mentor–protégé matching process (Allen et al., 2006a, Allen et al., 2006b, de Janasz and Sullivan, 2004, Eby et al., 2000 and Scandura and Williams, 2001), we were surprised that having input into the matching process was only negatively related with perceptions of nepotism. Having more input to the matching process was associated with lower perceptions of nepotism. At first glance, this finding seems counterintuitive, in that mentors who have input to the matching process may be viewed as selecting a ‘favorite’ for a protégé, thus enhancing the perceptions of nepotism. It may be that having input to the matching process results in fewer questions as to why a mentor was paired with a particular protégé. That is, a lack of knowledge as to how the pairing occurred may be more likely to result in political behavior (Kacmar & Baron, 1999), and resultant jealousy and concerns about favoritism. Data from the group interviews suggest that the mentors in this program were ambivalent as to how they were paired. Since the mentoring program was developed to benefit the protégés, the mentors may be primarily concerned with satisfying the protégés’ needs and are thereby willing to work with whomever they are paired. Future research should examine the importance of the mentor’s preferences to the matching process. Training is considered to be an important piece of formal mentoring success (Allen et al., 2006a, Allen et al., 2006b and Kuyper-Rushing, 2001). However, our results show that perceptions of training effectiveness were positively related to feelings of generativity only. Mentors may be better able to convey their experience and expertise to their protégés as a result of effective training, which increases the likelihood of influencing their protégés’ behavior. Leaving a legacy by influencing future generations of employees may be one benefit discussed in training that mentors may not have considered previously. Furthermore, Allen et al. (2006a) found that mentors who perceived training to be of higher quality provided greater psychosocial mentoring. Perhaps offering friendship and affirmation to the protégé helps the mentor attain generativity. Contrary to our expectations, the effectiveness of the training was not related to any of the other benefit or cost variables. Future research should examine the types of training mentors receive and how the effectiveness of different aspects of mentor training impacts perceptions of benefits and costs. Finally, management support had the most number of statistically significant relationships with benefits and costs. The perceived level of management support was positively related to rewarding experience and recognition and negatively related to generativity and bad reflection. Mentors may feel rewarded and recognized because managers are supporting their involvement in the program. If senior management views the mentoring program as an important initiative for developing employees, the mentors may be recognized as contributing to the effort. Furthermore, it is less likely that a mentor would receive a negative reflection from a poorly performing protégé when management is supporting the process. Superiors might be expected to look favorably upon all who are participating in an initiative they have endorsed, and realize that while the mentor’s role is to provide assistance to protégés, not all of these protégés are likely to overcome the difficulties they are encountering. The negative relationship between management support and generativity was unexpected. One explanation may be that mentors are participating because of the visible support of top management, and not for other more intrinsic reasons. Mentors might be less apt to feel they are leaving their mark on future generations because their participation in the mentoring program helps fulfill the desires of management rather than their own. Alternatively, individual differences such as a mentor’s level of altruism or motivation to mentor may provide further insight into this negative relationship and should be explored in future research. 4.1. Limitations of study There are several limitations of this research that need to be addressed. The study was completed within one financial institution and in a relatively young program (3 years). It is possible that organizations in different industries or with more mature programs may show a different pattern of relationships between key elements of the formal mentoring program examined here and mentors’ perceptions of benefits and costs. In addition, as the program went through several changes (e.g., how individuals were matched, type of training received) across the three year period, this raises concerns of history threats to internal validity. However, we note that there were no major changes affecting personnel during this time period in the organization. Furthermore, although the program was open to everyone and included all management trainees and other high-potential protégés, its primary goal was to improve the gender diversity at all levels of management. As such, caution needs to be taken as the findings may not be generalizable to other formal mentoring programs with different objectives. Although the sample size was small (N = 97) and may have limited our ability to obtain results, the response rate to the mail survey was very high at 84%, and the demographic composition of the survey respondents did mirror the demographics in terms of gender and position in the company. Common method variance is a concern given that a self-report survey was utilized to collect the data. To test for common method variance, we conducted Harman’s one-factor test by including the study variables in an unrotated factor analysis (Podsakoff & Organ, 1986). The results broke into several factors, providing some evidence against serious method variance problems in the data. Furthermore, statements about causality cannot be made. Although in most instances it seems likely that the program design variables (e.g., input to matching) would precede the perceived costs and benefits, this may not always be the case. For example, it may be that individuals who believe that the mentoring experience will be rewarding are be more likely to volunteer for the mentoring program. 4.2. Implications and directions for future research The results of this study have identified program design and support elements that may be useful in improving the outcomes of formal mentoring programs by increasing the perceptions of benefits and reducing the perceptions of costs for mentors. Although our findings were mixed, the results illustrate the importance of voluntary participation and management support for mentors in a formal program. It is critical to have voluntary participation by mentors if a program is to flourish. Future research should investigate the utility of different methods to encourage voluntary participation. For instance, asking those who have volunteered in the past to recruit new mentors for the program may be one fruitful method since they will be able to articulate the benefits they have received and relieve concerns prospective mentors may have as to the amount of time and effort involved. Also, given research findings that former protégés express greater willingness to mentor (e.g., Bozionelos, 2004 and Ragins and Cotton, 1993), asking individuals known to be beneficiaries of mentoring to serve as a mentor may be another useful recruiting technique. This study also shows that visible support from management may be effective in helping to attract and retain mentors. Those who felt the program was supported perceived the mentoring experience as rewarding, felt they received recognition for their efforts, and were less likely to believe their careers were threatened by poorly performing protégés. To gain mentor involvement, management needs to show strong, consistent, and visible support for the program. If potential mentors believe the mentoring program is an important organizational initiative, they should be much more likely to participate. There was concern expressed that visible management support for this program had declined since its inception, which may have resulted in perceptions of lower benefits and higher costs as well as fewer individuals participating as mentors in the program. Future research should examine what management behaviors demonstrate support to program participants. For example, having top executives serve as mentors, publicizing the successes of the formal mentoring program, providing financial support for the program (e.g., dinners or outings for the participants), and providing rewards or recognition for the mentors are different methods for showing support that may be more or less effective. In addition, our management support variable measured different types of support (e.g., support from the mentor’s supervisor, senior management, the organization, and the protégé’s manager). Future research using more established scales should examine whether the various types of support impact costs and benefits differently. Although the mentoring literature supports the importance of the matching process for protégé outcomes (Allen et al., 2006a, Allen et al., 2006b, Eby et al., 2000 and Scandura and Williams, 2001, see Ragins et al., 2000, for an exception), input to matching was not shown to be related to mentors’ perceptions of benefits or costs, with the exception of nepotism. However, prior research has shown mentor input to the matching process to be important for the overall success of the program (Allen et al., 2006b), perceptions of the quality of the relationship, and the level of career mentoring provided (Allen et al., 2006a). Matching can influence the commitment of the mentor and how well mentors understand the objectives and goals of the mentoring program (Allen et al., 2006b). Future research should examine how input to the matching process relates to other aspects of relationship development for mentors. Similarly, although the perceived adequacy of the training showed a significant relationship with only one of the benefits and none of the costs to mentors, it is still a critical aspect of formal mentoring programs that enhance their effectiveness (Allen et al., 2006a, Allen et al., 2006b and Scandura and Williams, 2002). Future research should examine how mentors’ perceptions of training effectiveness relate to other desired outcomes of formal mentoring programs. Besides their implications for the workplace, our results also have implications for mentoring relationships in other contexts such as faculty–student mentoring relationships and youth mentoring. For instance, in their study of the mentoring of doctoral students, Green and Bauer (1995) found that student potential influenced the amount of mentoring provided by a faculty advisor. One implication of our results is that future research studies on faculty–student relationships should examine the degree of support by management in the form of department chairs and deans to test how their support is related to the level of mentoring provided by faculty and the benefits and costs faculty incur. Faculty who clearly see a high level of support from the administration for mentoring may be more likely to volunteer to mentor students. Also in an academic context, Feldman, Folks, and Turnley (1999) examined the amount of mentoring received by 138 student interns on six-month overseas assignments. Their results showed that interns who were different in nationality and gender from their mentors in the multinational organization to which they were assigned received less mentoring. These results suggest that training may be more critical for mentors when such unique circumstances exist, and that voluntary participation and management support may be especially important for successful international internship assignments. It was very interesting to note the contrast on input to the matching process in the workplace (in our sample at least) compared with the importance of matching for youth mentoring relationships. In Big Brothers Big Sisters there is a careful matching process based on personalities, preferences, and location, but the final decision on who to be paired with is decided by the mentor (Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, 2004). Also, Project SEED, which is administered by the American Chemical Society to help provide youth from disadvantaged backgrounds with opportunities to conduct chemically-related research projects with scientists, leaves the final choice of a student to mentor up to the scientist (American Chemical Society, 2007). This is not surprising in light of concerns regarding youth mentoring and the voluntary context in which it takes place, but it certainly contrasted with the mentors in our financial institution who appeared to take the stance of accepting protégés they were assigned as part of their job duties. Furthermore, in their handbook for students, mentors, and coordinators, Project SEED also clearly articulates the potential benefits for scientists to encourage them to volunteer as mentors (American Chemical Society, 2007). Our results on voluntary participation suggest that such information could improve the experience for the mentors. In sum, the study of formal mentoring programs is an important area for future research in view of their pervasiveness and the potential they hold for becoming a significant developmental tool in the workplace as well as in other contexts. However, little is known about the mentors in these programs (Allen et al., 2006a and Allen et al., 2006b), and what might encourage or deter them from providing developmental assistance to their protégés. As such, more research on how to design and support formal mentoring programs to increase the motivation and ability of mentors is needed.

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