دانلود مقاله ISI انگلیسی شماره 8388
عنوان فارسی مقاله

آیا برنامه های تسهیل شده مشاوره ای مفید هستند ؟تحقیق میدانی مطالعه تجربی تصادفی

کد مقاله سال انتشار مقاله انگلیسی ترجمه فارسی تعداد کلمات
8388 2008 12 صفحه PDF سفارش دهید محاسبه نشده
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عنوان انگلیسی
Are facilitated mentoring programs beneficial? A randomized experimental field study
منبع

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

Journal : Journal of Vocational Behavior, Volume 72, Issue 3, June 2008, Pages 351–362

کلمات کلیدی
- مشاوره رسمی - عملکرد - آزمایش میدان تصادفی - مشاوره - تجربی تصادفی -
پیش نمایش مقاله
پیش نمایش مقاله آیا برنامه های تسهیل شده مشاوره ای مفید هستند ؟تحقیق میدانی مطالعه تجربی تصادفی

چکیده انگلیسی

Results from a pretest–posttest randomized field experiment study with a control group comparing the impact of high- and low-level-facilitated mentoring programs on new employees’ performance and perceptions about their jobs and organization were reported in this paper. Results indicated increases in job satisfaction, organizational commitment, person-organization fit and performance by participants in both mentoring programs with larger gains made by the high-level-facilitated group. These results suggest that a formal mentoring program can have positive effects on employee’s work-related attitudes, cognition and behavior with significantly greater gains made by formal mentoring programs with higher levels of facilitation.

مقدمه انگلیسی

An increasing amount of attention has been given to mentoring over the past decade. Findings from studies on mentoring participation indicate that up to two-thirds of employees have engaged in some type of mentoring relationship (Chao et al., 1992, Ragins and Cotton, 1991 and Ragins and Scandura, 1994). Involvement in mentoring relationships has been found to have a variety of benefits for participants (Allen et al., 2004, Noe et al., 2002 and Wanberg et al., 2003) and for organizations (Allen & O’Brian, 2006). Some of the most highlighted benefits have been psychosocial and career advancement (Kram, 1985). Other studies have highlighted related important benefits for employees and organizations including: career success, job satisfaction, organizational commitment, competence, affiliation, autonomy, achievement, self-esteem, retention, and diversity (Allen et al., 2004, Noe et al., 2002 and Wanberg et al., 2003). A key distinction in the mentoring literature is the examination of formal versus informal mentoring relationships. Informal mentoring relationships are most frequently identified as having emerged largely through mutual initiation and ongoing connections between protégé and mentor (Ragins & Cotton, 1991). The development of informal mentoring relationships occurs over time without external intervention or planning. Conversely, formal mentoring relationships are most often instigated by organizational representatives and involve a process for assigning employees or managers to mentor–protégé pairings. While informal mentoring relationships are not guided by external expectations, formal mentoring relationships are often led by internal organizational facilitators who may set expectations for involvement such as: participation in mandatory introductory sessions or ongoing training, number of meeting times, discussion topics and goal setting. Despite the increasing popularity of formal mentoring programs in public and private organizations, few empirical studies have been performed which examine outcomes of formal mentoring programs (Wanberg et al., 2003). Additionally, the value of formal mentoring programs overall, has been questioned for some time and seen as less valuable than informal (or naturalistically occurring) mentoring relationships (Ragins & Cotton, 1999). This gap between mentoring practice and research calls for empirical study to clarify the effectiveness of formal mentoring programs. Furthermore, formal mentoring program facilitation may vary from a single intervention by the organization in which participants are simply provided a mentor–protégé match and asked to engage one another for a given period of time, to programs that provide additional ongoing group facilitation or training to protégés (e.g., Chao et al., 1992, Fagan and Ayers, 1985, Klauss, 1981, Noe, 1988, Phillips-Jones, 1983 and Wilson and Elman, 1990). The handful of rigorously implemented and analyzed studies has largely failed to differentiate formal mentoring programs in terms of a variety of facilitation approaches, such as quality, content or high versus low program facilitation (Wanberg et al., 2003). Such studies lump all mentoring programs into one group whether the formal mentoring effort is painstakingly organized or involves a haphazard pairing of mentors with protégés without thoughtful attention to program elements that may support the development of the mentoring relationship. This lack of attention on the formal mentoring specifications represents a significant limitation in the mentoring literature (Allen, Eby, & Lentz, 2006). Because of the considerable investment of time and energy on the part of organizations and mentoring participants, a better understanding of the benefits of formal mentoring programs would be an important contribution (Ragins, Cotton, & Miller, 2000). The purposes of the current study are twofold. First, the question of whether participation in formal mentoring programs will make a difference in protégés’ work-related outcomes was explored. Besides protégés’ self report of attitudinal outcomes, such as job satisfaction and organizational commitment, we included supervisor performance rating as an effectiveness index. Second, the issue regarding whether the change of one key formal mentoring specification, the level of third party facilitation during the mentoring process, will lead to different mentoring outcomes was examined. A randomized pretest and posttest experimental design with three levels of intervention (high-level-facilitated mentoring, low-level-facilitated mentoring and no formal mentoring) was adopted for this study. This study is the first known randomized experimental examination of formal mentoring and the only identified using managerial performance ratings as outcome measures for protégés. 1.1. Features of formal mentoring programs Most often in formal mentoring, organizations deliberately pair employees or managers with moderate to high levels of experience (mentors) with employees who have less experience (protégés or mentees). Typical formal mentoring program duration is 6–12 months (Single & Muller, 2001). Common goals for mentoring programs include socialization of employees into the organizational culture, provision of support for career development, or as part of a protégé promotion or succession planning effort by the organization. As is the case with the organizational practices explored in this study, organizations may use mentoring programs in an effort to support new hires in the development of task and relationship effectiveness as well as in efforts aimed toward the retention and promotion of women and minorities (Douglas & McCauley, 1999). According to Single and Muller (2001), protocols used in the implementation of formal mentoring programs may vary widely from single meetings for mentor–protégé pairs in hopes that a relationship emerges, to well planned programs engaging in careful pairing efforts and training sessions aimed at supporting the development of the dyads. Low-level-facilitated mentoring programs typically do not provide support for the mentor–protégé pair beyond matching them and providing introductory information about mentoring or mentoring relationships. The success of the mentor–protégé relationship is dependent on early interpersonal connections (perhaps influenced by perceived similarity; Allen et al., 2004; Turban, Dougherty, & Lee, 2002). Conversely, high-level-facilitated mentoring programs involve greater levels of facilitation by the program to strengthen the mentoring relationship between mentor and protégé and to accomplish the specific goals identified by formal mentoring program administrators. High-level-facilitated programs are more likely to involve ongoing check-in and support throughout the established timeframe for the program (Gaskill, 1993; Zey, 1985). In their comprehensive review of mentoring literature, Wanberg et al. (2003) indicated that “there is a striking dearth of research on formal mentoring” (p. 85). Of the fewer than 25 studies identified, only 13 were evaluated to be well-conducted empirical studies focused on the outcomes associated with formal mentoring programs in organizations. These included only four studies comparing individuals with formal mentors versus no mentors. These studies explored differences for those participating in formal mentoring programs including increased organizational socialization, job satisfaction, compensation, promotion and organizational commitment (Chao et al., 1992, Ragins and Cotton, 1991, Ragins et al., 2000 and Seibert, 1999). Among previously published empirical studies, only Seibert (1999) adopted a longitudinal experimental design and provided a comparison between groups of participants in formal mentoring programs with those not enrolled. However, the small sample size and the non-random assignment of participants into intervention or control groups limit the power of the study to detect intervention effects. Following recommendation of Wanberg et al. (2003), a randomized experimental design was used in the current study to compare the effectiveness of mentoring programs in comparison to a control group with no formal mentoring treatment. We also attempted to examine whether the level of facilitation impacted mentoring outcomes. 1.2. Outcomes of formal mentoring The goal of the formal mentoring program we examined in the current study was to promote adaptation of protégés to their new jobs. Complimentary to this goal, we included work-related affective and cognitive indices of adaptation (job satisfaction, organizational commitment and perceived person-organization fit) of protégés as mentoring outcomes. Furthermore, since an employee contributes to their organization mainly through their work behavior and performance, we also examined the relationship between mentoring participation and performance of protégé. 1.2.1. Job satisfaction and organizational commitment It is posited that facilitated mentoring relationships will have a positive effect on job attitude, to which the two most widely used indicators are job satisfaction and organizational commitment (Maier & Brunstein, 2001). Job satisfaction is typically defined as an employee’s affective reactions to a job based on comparing desired outcomes with actual outcomes (Cranny, Smith, & Stone, 1992). On the other hand, organizational commitment has often been framed as the psychological bond that ties the employee to his/her organization. Organizational commitment represents a positive feeling of congruent identity with one’s organization that may include a sense of attachment or affiliation (Meyer & Allen, 1997). Harrison, Newman, and Roth (2006) conceptualized organizational commitment and job satisfaction to be specific reflections of an overall job attitude. There appear to be relatively few studies of job satisfaction associated with mentoring. In their meta-analysis focusing on protégé outcomes, Allen et al. (2004) identified 10 mentoring studies that included job satisfaction as a dependent variable. The studies identified a positive relationship between mentoring relationships and job satisfaction. One study found protégé learning to be a mediator for the interaction between mentoring functions, role ambiguity and job satisfaction (Lankau & Scandura, 2002). In another study, Seibert, Kraimer, and Liden (2001) found that level of career sponsorship provided to the protégé to be positively related to protégé work-related satisfaction. In one of studies to compare protégés in formal mentoring programs with those in the same organization without a mentor, increases in job satisfaction were identified in a group participating in formal mentoring relationships (Seibert, 1999). In designing the current study we posited that a randomized experimental study would likely reveal a significant difference between formal mentoring participants and non-participants in terms of their average job satisfaction levels, following mentoring program participation. Thus, we proposed: Hypothesis 1a. Individuals receiving high- or low-level-facilitated mentoring will have higher level of job satisfaction at the end of the mentoring programs than those receiving no formal mentoring. Since the formal mentoring program with more facilitation is intended to provide a stronger and more positive impact on protégé adjustment to their organization than the mentoring program with less facilitation, we proposed that: Hypothesis 1b. Individuals receiving high-level-facilitated mentoring will have higher level of job satisfaction at the end of the program than those receiving low-level-facilitated mentoring. The few studies that explored the relationship between mentoring and organizational commitment generated mixed findings. While some studies found mentoring was associated with higher levels of organizational commitment (Donaldson et al., 2000, Ragins and Cotton, 1999 and Ragins et al., 2000), there were others found the relationship not significant (e.g., Seibert, 1999). The inconsistent findings from the aforementioned studies may also be due to the observational nature of these studies or inconsistent quality of mentoring programs examined. Two hypotheses associated with organizational commitment were developed for this randomized experimental study: Hypothesis 2a. Individuals receiving high- or low-level-facilitated mentoring will have higher organizational commitment at the end of the mentoring programs than those receiving no formal mentoring. Hypothesis 2b. Individuals receiving high-level-facilitated mentoring will have a higher level of organizational commitment at the end of the program than those receiving low-level-facilitated mentoring. 1.2.2. Person-organization fit The concept of person-organization fit is focused on the combination of an individual employee and a job situation in association with the individual’s response to work (O’Reilly, Chatman, & Caldwell, 1991). Employees have a stronger perception of person-organization fit when they feel their personal values match the values of their organizations and those of their co-workers. According to Vancouver and Schmitt (1991), person-organization fit can also be operationalized as goal congruence between and individual and organizational leaders and peers. In a previous study, Cable and Judge (1996) found person-organization fit to positively correlate with employee perceptions of their person-job fit, job satisfaction, organizational commitment, willingness to recommend the organization to others and employee ratings of the importance of person-job fit. Several processes of mentoring can support a positive relationship between participation of mentoring programs and the perception of person-organization fit of protégés. First, mentorship can help protégés access important social networks that contain useful knowledge and opportunity to display their competencies (Allen et al., 2004). The improved socialization of protégés can increase their perceived fit with their organization. Second, mentorship can improve protégés’ personal learning through role modeling by mentors. Through personal learning, protégés can develop a clearer awareness and sense of congruence of values of both themselves and their organization. For the current study, two hypotheses associated with person-organization fit were proposed: Hypothesis 3a. Individuals receiving high- or low-level-facilitated mentoring will report more closely aligned person-organization fit at the end of the mentoring programs than those receiving no formal mentoring. Hypothesis 3b. Individuals receiving high-level-facilitated mentoring will report more closely aligned person-organization fit at the end of the mentoring programs than those receiving low-level-facilitated mentoring. 1.2.3. Job performance Although most mentoring programs are not targeted specifically at improving productivity, it is possible to improve protégé performance by influencing proximal outcomes, such as learning, socialization and career commitment (Wanberg et al., 2003). The positive relationship between mentorship and objective career outcomes, such as compensation and promotions (Allen et al., 2004 and Underhill, 2006), also implies that job performance may be improved through mentoring. Unfortunately, few studies have focused on direct measures of job performance in relation to mentoring participation and no studies have been identified which use managerial or organizational reported measures of protégé performance. Green and Bauer (1995) identified a significant correlation between production of published work and participation in informal mentoring for graduate students, but these results were not significant in a multivariate context in which protégé ability (i.e., verbal and quantitative GRE scores) and commitment (i.e., to a research career or graduate program) were controlled. Job performance was used as a control by Day and Allen (2002) who explored mediating effects of career motivation and self-efficacy between mentoring provided and protégé outcomes. Career motivation was found to mediate fully the relationship between self-reported performance effectiveness and involvement in mentoring. Because of the absence of studies exploring the impact of mentoring on job performance, this study has the potential to make an initial contribution in the exploration of job performance and mentoring interactions. Job performance can be measured and interpreted in numerous ways (Youngcourt, Leiva, & Jones, 2007). In the current study, job performance was indicated by performance ratings of participants evaluated by their supervisors. We proposed two hypotheses associated with job performance ratings in this study: Hypothesis 4a. Individuals receiving high- or low-level-facilitated mentoring will have job performance ratings from their managers at the end of the mentoring programs greater than those receiving no formal mentoring. Hypothesis 4b. Individuals receiving high-level-facilitated mentoring will have job performance ratings from their managers at the end of the mentoring program greater than those receiving the low-level-facilitated mentoring.

نتیجه گیری انگلیسی

This study was the first known randomized experimental comparison of the effectiveness of facilitated mentoring programs in a field setting. The data indicated significant differences among mentoring and control groups with regard to four key work-related variables at the end of the experiment. Employees who participated in the high-level-facilitated mentoring program reported greater levels of job satisfaction, organizational commitment and manager performance ratings than the low-level-facilitation group, and both mentoring groups were higher than their non-mentored counterparts on the measures of job satisfaction, organizational commitment, person-organization fit and manager performance ratings. These findings are consistent with previous correlational research demonstrating positive outcomes of mentoring on satisfaction and organizational commitment (Chao et al., 1992, Dreher and Ash, 1990 and Fagenson, 1989) and for the first time demonstrated the significant difference in performance ratings for formal mentoring participants and those without formal mentoring. Our results advance the study of formal mentoring programs because it does not share threats to internal validity suffered by the majority of the mentoring studies, which used non-experimental and non-randomized designs. Results from the current study support the conclusion that the positive effects of mentoring on protégés’ job satisfaction, organizational commitment, person-organization fit and performance, is likely a characteristic outcome of formal mentoring, and not the result of an implicit selection process on the part of the mentors or protégés. Additionally, support was provided for the notion that formal mentoring designs that engage mentoring program participants beyond the initial pairing and mentor–protégé introductions enhance desired program outcomes. Few empirical studies examining the effectiveness of different formal mentoring designs have been reported in the mentoring literature. One exception is a recent survey study conducted by Allen et al. (2006), which documented that the input in the mentor–protégé pairing process and receiving training prior to the mentoring relationship had significant relationships with the perceived mentoring effectiveness. The current study, with the adoption of a randomized experimental research design, provides strong evidence to support the casual relationship between one key mentoring design feature, the levels of facilitation and mentoring outcomes. 4.1. Practical implications Results of the study indicate that formal mentoring may bring significant benefits to participants: protégés of the mentoring program cannot only benefit psychologically, including increased job satisfaction, higher commitment to their organization and perceived better fit with their organization, but also demonstrate higher job performance immediately after the program. A more satisfied, committed and higher performing employee on the job is highly likely to impact organizational level performance. Thus, organizations may benefit from formal mentoring programs. Study findings support greater use of ongoing facilitation during the mentoring process. The formal mentoring relationship is not developed naturally; instead it is a facilitated process. The relationship is initiated through certain matching procedures with the involvement of organizational representatives. The structure of the relationship is also defined and developed by facilitators. Since the relationship is not initiated naturalistically, some participates may be less motivated to engage. Furthermore, some participants may lack appropriate communication skills to engaging in effective mentoring process (Wanberg et al., 2003). These potential limitations of formal mentoring relationships require organizations to provide measures beyond the initial matching to keep the motivation of participation high and nurture a productive mentor–protégé relationship. Results of the current study suggest that these additional facilitation efforts really pay off. Besides the orientation that both groups attended at the beginning of the mentoring program, the high-level-facilitated group went through additional monthly semi-structured facilitation session and achieved significantly better outcomes than the low-level-facilitated group. The results support the importance of several key features of planned mentoring programs (Kram & Bragar, 1992), including ongoing monitoring, evaluation and support from program coordinator. During the one-hour facilitated session, coordinators can communicate and reinforce program expectations, goals and guidelines to participants. As a result, participants may be more committed to and align better with formal mentoring program goals. During facilitated sessions, program facilitators can observe interactions of mentor–protégé pairs and give specific feedback and consultation to enhance protégé developmental relationships. The facilitator thus becomes a supportive ally for mentor–protégé pairs. In a cost-cutting business environment, HRD staff is under the pressure to launch mentoring programs quickly and minimize investment and time in activities (Kram & Bragar, 1992). Results of the current study suggest that a fast-paced minimalist approach to formal mentoring may not be most effective. Programs with ongoing facilitation can be significantly more effective while requiring a relatively small additional investment of time and effort. Additional research is encouraged that examines the roles of ongoing facilitation by coordinators in improving mentoring effectiveness. However, the study does not downplay the role of program orientation or the training prior to the mentoring programs. The low-level-facilitated group in the current study, who only attended the orientation meeting at the start of the mentoring process, still achieved significantly better outcomes on average than the control group. A well designed orientation session can help participants understand the objectives of the program and guidelines in building constructive mentoring relationship. Those who already have the necessary self-awareness and interpersonal competencies may be likely to establish beneficial relationships without further facilitation. Kram and Bragar (1992) also suggest, those who lack interpersonal skills may feel uncomfortable without further facilitation and benefit less, or even withdraw from the program. It would be informative to practice if future studies can demonstrate how different levels of facilitation can benefit different groups/types of individuals. 4.2. Limitations and future research directions Despite the strengths of the research design and compelling findings, the current study still has its limitations. One limitation is that there were only two concurrent formal mentoring programs examined. It is possible that certain idiosyncrasies of the programs, the company, the industry, or even the specific research period might amplify the difference among experimental groups. Nevertheless, mentoring programs examined in the current study followed widely accepted guidelines and the company hosted mentoring programs was a well established large organization. It is likely the results can be generalized to most other well implemented formal mentoring programs. It is imperative for future studies to replicate these results with programs in different companies. By studying programs across companies, boundary conditions, such as the level of organizational support, can be examined (Ellinger, Elmadag, & Ellinger, 2007). Besides the level of facilitation, other formal mentoring program features, such as methods of pairing mentors and protégés, are relevant to formal mentoring program effectiveness. In the current study, we randomly paired mentors and protégés in both experimental groups to preserve the randomization protocol. This was different from most other formal mentoring programs, in which mentors and protégés are matched based on certain criteria, such as personality, needs or participant input. Existing studies documented that participant input into the match process was positively correlated with the perceived mentoring effectiveness (Allen et al., 2006, Klauss, 1981 and Viator, 1999). Since in the current study participants in two mentoring groups did not provide any input in the matching process, the observed positive effects for mentoring groups compared with the control group likely represents a lower bound of the estimation of mentoring effects. The focus of the current study was the use of experimental design to demonstrate evidence of formal mentoring effectiveness. Given the compelling positive outcomes revealed in the study, it is natural to ask what mechanisms account for these effects. Kram (1985) outlines two types of mentor functions that can lead to positive outcomes for protégés. The first is the career-enhancing functions including career sponsorship, coaching, exposure and visibility, protection and challenging work assignments. The second type of function is psychosocial functions including acceptance and confirmation, counseling, role modeling and friendship. Allen et al. (2004), using meta-analysis, demonstrated that both career and psychosocial mentoring functions are positively related to subjective organizational outcomes such as job satisfaction and organizational commitment, while career functions are also significantly associated with objective career outcomes of compensation levels and number of promotions. The above findings on mentoring functions suggest that career and psychosocial functions may explain mentoring intervention effectiveness. Promising next steps toward explaining the dynamics underlying formal mentoring relationships, beyond the mentor-centered explanations associated with mentoring functions, is an examination of protégé development and related outcomes that may be induced by the mentoring program. First, motivational frameworks such as self-efficacy (Bandura, 1977) and goal setting (Locke & Latham, 1990) can be used to explain protégé outcomes. As a result of a positive mentoring experience, protégés may have an increased sense of individual competence and a more positive outlook regarding career advancement. This confidence associated with anticipated job and career success may link to more positive work-related attitudes and motivate protégés to work harder and achieve better objective outcomes such as higher performance rating and salary. It is generally supported that mentors help protégés to set more challenging and specific goals through mentor behaviors such as coaching, challenging work assignments, role modeling and feedback (Kram, 1985). Enhanced work and career goals are likely to lead protégés toward better career outcomes. Second, mentoring process factors can be used to explain mentoring effectiveness. Eby, Butts, Lockwood, and Simon (2004) also examined negative mentoring experiences through the lens of social exchange theory. They found that a scale of negative mentoring experiences, including dimensions such as mismatch within the dyad and distancing behavior of the mentor can explain mentoring outcomes over and above positive psychosocial and career functions. These positive and negative mentoring processes hold the promise to explain mentoring effectiveness. We encourage future studies to test above assumptions.

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