رابطه بین مزایای مشاوره کوتاه مدت و نتایج بلندمدت مشاور
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|8370||2006||21 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Vocational Behavior, Volume 69, Issue 3, December 2006, Pages 424–444
Little is known about the short- and long-term benefits mentors gain from their mentoring relationships. This study examined the extent to which short-term proximal benefits reported by mentors (improved job performance, recognition by others, rewarding experience, and loyal base of support) predicted the long-term distal outcomes of mentor career success, work attitudes and behavioral intentions to mentor in the future. Mentors’ reports of short-term mentoring benefits significantly predicted their work attitudes and their intentions to mentor again in the future, but were unrelated to their career success. Upon closer inspection, short-term instrumental mentor benefits (improved job performance, recognition by others) were more important in predicting mentor work attitudes, whereas short-term relational mentor benefits (rewarding experience, loyal base of support) were more important in predicting intentions to mentor in the future. Implications for mentoring theory, future research, and practice are discussed.
Traditionally, mentoring is defined as an interpersonal relationship between a less experienced individual (the protégé) and a more experienced individual (the mentor) where the goal is to advance the personal and professional development of the protégé (Kram, 1985). Much has been written about the short-term or proximal benefits of mentoring for protégés, specifically the receipt of career-related and psychosocial support (e.g. Ragins and Cotton, 1999 and Ragins and McFarlin, 1990). Research has also examined more long-term or distal benefits of mentoring for protégés, including work, career, and relationship outcomes, as well as objective indicators of career success such as salary and promotion (for a review see Allen, Eby, Poteet, Lima, & Lentz, 2004). More recent theoretical perspectives on mentoring point to the importance of viewing mentoring as a mutually beneficial developmental relationship that provides learning, development and growth for both mentors and protégés (Fletcher and Ragins, in press and Ragins and Verbos, in press). Existing research supports this idea by finding that mentors can benefit from mentoring relationships, both in terms of proximal (short-term) benefits (i.e., benefits directly attributed to the relationship) and distal (long-term) outcomes (i.e., more peripheral career outcomes and work attitudes) (cf., review by Allen, in press). In terms of short-term benefits, existing studies have found that mentors report such benefits as personal satisfaction, organizational recognition, and the development of a base of support within the organization from developing relationships with protégés (e.g., Allen et al., 1997, Eby and Lockwood, 2005, Kram, 1985 and Levinson et al., 1978). In terms of long-term outcomes, two studies found that those who served as a mentor reported higher incomes (Allen et al., in press and Collins, 1994) as well as faster promotion rates and stronger perceptions of career success (Allen et al., in press) than those lacking mentoring experience. However, only the Allen et al. study controlled for other variables that might explain differences in career success among mentors and non mentors such as gender, age, race, education, organizational tenure, and hours worked. While existing studies provide important insight into the types of short-term benefits and long-term outcomes that may result from mentoring others, there is a lack of research that examines the links between mentors’ reports of the immediate benefits of their mentorships and more long-term outcomes associated with career success and positive work attitudes. In fact, only two studies have even investigated the predictors of mentoring benefits for mentors. Allen and Eby (2003) found that perceived similarity between mentor and protégé related to mentors’ reports of their learning and relationship quality after controlling for several relationship variables (e.g., relationship duration) and mentor variables (e.g., gender). Bozionelos (2004) focused on more long-term mentor benefits and found a significant association between mentors’ perceptions of their career success and both the mentoring they provided to their protégés as well as the mentoring they received when they were protégés in a mentoring relationship (after controlling for various mentor characteristics such as age, educational attainment, and tenure). While the empirical record is sparse, there is strong theoretical and empirical rationale to expect a relationship between short-term benefits and long-term outcomes. Specifically, traditional and emerging mentoring theory predicts mutual benefits in the mentoring relationship (Kram, 1985, Kram, 1996, Levinson et al., 1978 and Ragins and Verbos, in press), and research on protégés has found a link between short-term benefits and long-term outcomes (see Allen et al., 2004). Moreover, the expected relationship between short-term mentor benefits and long-term mentor outcomes is consistent with research on the effects of social capital on career success (Seibert, Kraimer, & Liden, 2001) as well as research linking positive interpersonal work relationships (e.g., supportive supervision, social networks) to career success (e.g., Bozionelos, 2003 and Kirchmeyer, 1998) and positive work attitudes (e.g., Mathieu and Zajac, 1990 and Sherony and Green, 2002). It is therefore reasonable to expect that long-term mentor outcomes are more likely to occur in situations where the mentor reports greater immediate benefits from mentoring (e.g., higher personal satisfaction, greater recognition for mentoring). The present study expands our knowledge and extends existing research on mentoring benefits for mentors by pursuing two primary objectives. First, we investigate the relationship between short-term mentor benefits and three long-term mentor outcomes: career success, work attitudes, and behavioral intentions to mentor in the future. This provides a critical empirical test of whether those benefits directly attributable to a mentoring relationship relate to more long-term career outcomes and work attitudes for the mentor. A second objective is to examine differences in the relative importance of different types of short-term mentor benefits in predicting long-term mentor outcomes. This will provide a fine-grained analysis of the relationship between short-term mentor benefits and long-term mentor outcomes. Understanding these relationships is important for both theory and practice. Traditionally, mentoring is presented as an asymmetrical relationship in which the protégé is the primary beneficiary and the mentor provides more support than he or she is likely to receive in return (Eby et al., in press and Kram, 1985). However, emerging theoretical perspectives challenge this one-directional model of growth and suggest that mentors can receive both short- and long-term developmental and career benefits from the relationship (Fletcher and Ragins, in press and Ragins and Verbos, in press). Although this is a significant new area of theoretical inquiry, we need empirical research that examines whether, and to what extent, benefits directly attributable to the mentoring relationship predict more distal outcomes for the mentor. There are also potential practical implications. By highlighting the benefits of mentoring for mentors, our findings may be useful in encouraging individuals to serve as a mentor. It may also help foster realistic expectations about what mentors are likely to gain from a mentoring relationship. 1.1. The experience of mentoring others While much of the focus of mentoring research is on how an individual’s experience as a protégé leads to career development, there is growing recognition that the relationship offers mutual benefits and that mentors may grow and develop by mentoring others (Allen and Eby, 2003, Chandler and Kram, 2005, Dreher and Ash, 1990, Feldman, 1988, Kram, 1985, Levinson et al., 1978 and Ragins and Verbos, in press). Research on youth mentoring (Diversi and Mecham, 2005 and Karcher and Lindwall, 2003), student–faculty mentorships (Busch, 1985 and Johnson, in press), and workplace relationships (cf., review by Allen et al. (in press)) further support the idea that mentoring can be advantageous for both mentor and protégé. 1.1.1. Short-term benefits of mentoring for mentors Existing theory on mentoring holds that helping a young adult develop a sense of professional identity provides mentors with a sense of satisfaction and intrinsic fulfillment (Hunt and Michael, 1983 and Kram, 1985). Mentoring others may also provide the mentor with technical support, create a base of power within the organization, and lead to recognition and rewards for developing talent (Hunt & Michael, 1983). Further, serving as a mentor may be rejuvenating by creating a renewed sense of purpose in one’s work role (Hunt & Michael, 1983). Several studies identify the actual or expected benefits from mentoring others. In Kram’s (1985) seminal study, mentors reported confirmation and support, intrinsic satisfaction from helping someone develop, and recognition and respect from others as short-term mentoring benefits. Likewise, technical and interpersonal aspects of job performance may be enhanced by mentoring others. Numerous studies find that mentors report gains in technical expertise, new information, managerial skills, and leadership capacity through mentoring others, as well as performance gains from the job-related assistance provided by protégés (Eby and Lockwood, 2005, Kram, 1985, Mullen, 1994, Mullen and Noe, 1999, Newby and Heide, 1992, Noe, 1988 and Reich, 1986). In perhaps the most comprehensive qualitative study from the mentor’s perspective, Allen et al. (1997) identified feelings of self-satisfaction by helping someone, the development of a supportive network within the organization, tangible gain for the mentor him- or herself (e.g., job assistance, learning, visibility), and other-focused job-related benefits (e.g., sustaining institutional knowledge, helping to build a competent workforce) as proximal mentor benefits. A final study by Ragins and Scandura (1999) is noteworthy since it identified a wide range of expected benefits of mentoring others and developed multi-item scales to measure each type of mentoring benefit. In the present study we examine four short-term or proximal benefits associated with mentoring others that represent the scope of benefits just described: improved job performance though mentoring, recognition by others for one’s mentoring efforts, mentoring as a personally rewarding experience, and developing a loyal base of support through mentoring. 1.1.2. Long-term outcomes associated with mentoring others As noted earlier, the experience of serving as a mentor may have effects beyond the immediate mentoring relationship. For example, Bozionelos, 2004, Collins, 1994 and Zey, 1984 observe that mentoring can lead to objective career success for the mentor since serving as a mentor hones one’s leadership skills (Bozionelos, 2004 and Nykodym et al., 1995) and increases one’s visibility in the organization (Kram, 1985). Fletcher and Ragins (in press) propose that mentoring can facilitate relational skills and competencies that lead to enhanced career outcomes, such as advancement, satisfaction and career efficacy for both mentors and protégés. Other scholars concur that mentoring others may affect mentors’ reactions to their workplace; mentoring may enhance the mentor’s sense of purpose in the organization, increase the satisfaction derived from work, or foster a deeper sense of belonging within the organization (Feldman, 1988, Hunt and Michael, 1983 and Kram, 1985). Finally, existing studies concur that mentoring others influences individuals’ intentions to serve in the role of mentor again in the future (Allen et al., 1997, Ragins and Cotton, 1993 and Ragins and Scandura, 1999). 1.1.3. Linking short-term mentor benefits to long-term mentor outcomes Social capital theory is a useful lens for viewing mentoring relationships and understanding why proximal mentor benefits may relate to long-term mentor outcomes. While scholars have defined social capital in many ways, generally it reflects the goodwill available to individuals based on the strength, quality, and breadth of their social ties (cf. Adler & Kwon, 2002 for a review). Social capital consists of “cooperative relationships” (Brehem & Rahn, 1997, p. 999) that provide individuals with information, resources, and support that facilitate individual and collective goal achievement (Baker, 1990, Lin, 2001, Portes, 1998 and Seibert et al., 2001). Social capital theory also recognizes that individuals at any level of the organization may benefit from social capital—not just those with less power in organizational structures. For example, research has linked social capital to career success among MBA and engineering alumni (Seibert et al., 2001) as well as high level executives (Belliveau et al., 1996 and Burt, 1997). There are several aspects of social capital that make it highly applicable to the present study. In particular, the relational aspect of social capital refers to the overall quality of an individual’s social relationships (Nahapiet & Ghoshal, 1998). Mentoring can be viewed as a form of relational social capital since mentoring relationships vary in quality and may offer benefits to both members of the relationship (Kram, 1985, Kram, 1996, Ragins, in press and Ragins et al., 2000). Mentoring has also been studied as a form of social capital for protégés (see Seibert et al., 2001) and there is strong rationale to expect that mentoring may also be a form of social capital for mentors. First, there is growing recognition that mentoring relationships are marked by mutuality, shared learning, and reciprocal benefits (Ragins & Verbos, in press). Second, just because protégés tend to have less power and expertise than do mentors, protégés can still add to a mentor’s social capital (for a discussion see Adler & Kwon, 2002). For example, protégés can broaden the sources of information available to a mentor in terms of the quality, quantity, timeliness, and relevance of information. Serving as a mentor can also increase the mentor’s scope of power, influence and control within and outside the organization, which makes it easier for the mentor to attain his or her goals and accomplish tasks. Moreover, by developing solidarity with protégés the mentor is able to develop close, trusting, and loyal supporters. Such a support system can be an important source of work and non-work advice for the mentor and may lead to better decision-making. Taken together, this suggests that social capital is a commodity that can be readily exchanged for a wide range of individually relevant outcomes for the mentor (Adler & Kwon, 2002). For example, individuals reporting greater social capital tend to report greater career success (Burt, 1992, Gabbay and Zuckerman, 1998 and Seibert et al., 2001), higher compensation (Belliveau et al., 1996, Burt, 1997 and Seibert et al., 2001), and a stronger sense of camaraderie with others in the organization (cf., review by Adler & Kwon, 2002). Since social capital provides individuals with access to information and resources it should also increase feelings of control and competence at work (Gist & Mitchell, 1992), which in turn influences work attitudes (Hackman & Oldham, 1980). Moreover, the relational aspect of social capital is associated with feelings of trust, intimacy, liking, and mutual identification (Nahapiet & Ghoshal, 1998), which should foster positive reactions to one’s role as a mentor. Therefore, the literature just reviewed suggests that: (1) mentors may perceive a wide range of immediate short-term benefits from mentoring others (e.g., improved job performance, recognition by others, rewarding experience) and (2) the short-term benefits obtained by mentoring others may predict a wide range of long-term mentor outcomes, including career success, work attitudes, and behavioral intentions to mentor in the future. This line of reasoning leads to the following hypotheses: Hypothesis 1. Reported mentoring benefits are positively related to mentor promotions. Hypothesis 2. Reported mentoring benefits are positively related to mentor salary. Hypothesis 3. Reported mentoring benefits are positively related to mentor job satisfaction. Hypothesis 4. Reported mentoring benefits are positively related to mentor organizational commitment. Hypothesis 5. Reported mentoring benefits are positively related to intentions to mentor in the future. Let us now turn to a more fine-grained examination of the relationship between the type of short-term mentoring benefits and long-term outcomes. 1.2. Differential predictions by type of short-term mentor benefit To build a solid foundation for future theory and research, we need to examine how differences in the type of short-term mentor benefits map onto more long-term distal mentor outcomes. Existing mentoring theory offers guidance by distinguishing two types of benefits that protégés gain from the relationship (Kram, 1985, Kram, 1996 and Ragins and Verbos, in press). One reflects instrumental benefits that are external to the mentoring relationship and facilitate protégé career development (e.g., exposure and visibility, sponsorship, challenging assignment). The other type of protégé benefit is more relational; it is internal to the mentoring relationship and includes those benefits that facilitate personal growth, well-being, and self-efficacy (e.g., acceptance and confirmation, counseling, friendship). We extend this distinction between instrumental benefits and relational benefits to the mentor’s side of the relationship, allowing for a more fine-grained examination of how and why certain types of proximal mentor benefits may relate to distal mentor outcomes. Extrapolating from research and theory on protégé benefits (cf., Allen et al., 2004), we propose that instrumental mentor benefits include improved job performance through mentoring and recognition by others for one’s mentoring efforts. Both of these short-term benefits focus on how mentoring may be instrumental for mentors by directly improving their performance and/or stature within the organization. In contrast, relational mentor benefits include mentoring as a rewarding experience and the development of a loyal base of support; these short-term benefits reflect the mentor’s perception of the affective, relational bond between him- or herself and the protégé. Using this distinction we can develop predictions about the relative importance of each in predicting long-term outcomes. It is important to note that we are not suggesting that one type of short-term benefit is exclusively related to a certain type of long-term benefit. Rather, we are speculating on the relative predictive power of instrumental versus relational benefits. In developing differential predictions one consideration is matching the construct specificity of predictor and criterion (Roznowski & Hulin, 1992). In this case, instrumental benefits focus on how the mentoring relationship may help the mentor achieve work- and career-related goals whereas relational benefits reflect the affective tie that binds mentor and protégé. As such, instrumental benefits should be more predictive of the long-term instrumental outcomes of salary and promotion than should relational benefits. Moreover, because instrumental benefits reflect factors external to the mentorship (job performance and recognition by others) these benefits should also be more important than relational benefits in predicting reactions external to the mentorship; in this case reactions to the job (job satisfaction) and organization (organizational commitment). In support of this idea, existing research indicates that receiving recognition for one’s accomplishments and feeling competent in one’s work role are both positively related to job satisfaction (Babin and Boles, 1996 and Blegen, 1993) and organizational commitment (Mathieu & Zajac, 1990). Moreover, Mathieu and Zajac found that perceived competence at work (which should be strongly influenced by one’s job performance and others’ recognition of one’s efforts) demonstrates a much stronger relationship with organizational commitment (meta-analytic r = .63) than do constructs which refer to the quality of organizational relationships, such as group cohesiveness, leader consideration, and participative leadership (meta-analytic rs = .15, .33, .39, respectively). This leads us to predict that: Hypothesis 6. Reported instrumental mentor benefits (improved job performance, recognition by others) will demonstrate greater relative importance in predicting mentor salary than will relational mentor benefits (rewarding experience, loyal base of support). Hypothesis 7. Reported instrumental mentor benefits (improved job performance, recognition by others) will demonstrate greater relative importance in predicting mentor promotions than will relational mentor benefits (rewarding experience, loyal base of support). Hypothesis 8. Reported instrumental mentor benefits (improved job performance, recognition by others) will demonstrate greater relative importance in predicting mentor job satisfaction than will relational mentor benefits (rewarding experience, loyal base of support). Hypothesis 9. Reported instrumental mentor benefits (improved job performance, recognition by others) will demonstrate greater relative importance in predicting mentor organizational commitment than will relational mentor benefits (rewarding experience, loyal base of support). Using similar reasoning, we expect that relational benefits will be more important than instrumental benefits in predicting mentors’ intentions to mentor again in the future. This is because the construct of relational benefits (i.e., personal gratification from mentoring and building a cadre of loyal supporters) is specific to the mentoring relationship, as is the criterion of behavioral intentions to mentor in the future. In support of this idea, Allen (2003) examined mentors’ motivations for mentoring and found that the self-enhancement motive (which reflects entering a mentorship because of the instrumental benefits expected) was not significantly related to willingness to mentor in the future. In contrast, a mentor’s intrinsic satisfaction motive (which reflects entering a mentorship due to the expected personal gratification it will bring) was related to willingness to mentor in the future. Moreover, Eby and colleagues found that the overall relational quality associated with previous mentorships predicted mentors’ willingness to mentor in the future (Eby, Lockwood, & Butts, 2006). Taken together this leads us to expect: Hypothesis 10. Reported relational mentor benefits (rewarding experience, loyal base of support) will demonstrate greater relative importance in predicting intentions to mentor in the future than will instrumental mentor benefits (improved job performance, recognition by others).
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The primary purpose of the present study was to investigate the relationship between mentors’ reports of mentoring benefits directly attributable to the mentorship and long-term mentor outcomes. A secondary goal was to examine the relative importance of short-term instrumental benefits and short-term relational benefits as predictors of long-term mentor outcomes. Two general conclusions can be reached from this study that offer important insights into the benefits mentors derive from mentoring relationships and the outcomes associated with these benefits. First, the benefits derived from interpersonal exchanges with protégés predict some mentor outcomes. Second, the type of short-term benefits reported by mentors mapped onto outcomes in unique and intriguing ways; some types of benefits were more strongly related to work attitudes while others predicted behavioral intentions to mentor again in the future. 4.1. Mentoring benefits and mentor outcomes Our study found that immediate proximal benefits reported by mentors were positively associated with both their job satisfaction and their organizational commitment. This finding is in line with research from the protégé’s perspective which finds a positive relationship between mentoring received by protégés and both job satisfaction (Allen et al., 2004) and organizational commitment (Aryee & Chay, 1994). The significant relationship found between short-term mentor benefits and long-term mentor outcomes is noteworthy in light of research linking job satisfaction and organizational commitment to a wide range of other organizationally relevant outcomes, such as organizational citizenship behavior (e.g. LePine et al., 2002 and Meyer et al., 2002) and turnover intentions (e.g. Mathieu and Zajac, 1990 and Tett and Meyer, 1993). Perhaps more importantly, our results extend existing research by finding that positive experiences as a mentor relate to favorable work attitudes. This study therefore builds on recent theoretical work on the impact of the relationship on mentors ( Fletcher and Ragins, in press and Ragins and Verbos, in press) and sets the stage for future empirical work on this under-studied topic. The present study also adds to the growing literature on the decision processes involved with becoming a mentor. We found that as mentors report greater short-term benefits from mentoring others, they tend to report stronger intentions to serve as a mentor in the future. This is consistent with Eby and colleagues’ finding that the overall quality of previous mentoring relationships predicts willingness to mentor in the future (Eby et al., 2006). It is also in line with research which finds that the anticipated benefits of mentoring others (Ragins & Scandura, 1999) as well as being motivated to mentor for intrinsic reasons (Allen, 2003) positively relates to willingness to mentor. Our study therefore adds to a growing body of research on the motivation to mentor. Future research could extend this line of research by examining the effects of negative and marginal mentoring experiences on the decision process and employees’ willingness to serve as mentors in the future. Mentoring schema theory suggests that past experiences, both negative and positive, create relational knowledge that drives relationship expectations (Ragins & Verbos, in press). These expectations may serve as critical predictors of the decision to develop a mentoring relationship. This represents a fertile area for future research. Unexpectedly, we did not find a significant relationship between mentor benefits and objective indicators of career success, such as salary and promotions. One reason for this is that salary and promotions are determined by many factors in organizational settings, including overall job performance, age, position, and education level. It may also be because many of the mentors in this study were reporting on current relationships and the effect of mentoring on salary and promotion may take time to accrue over multiple mentoring relationships (Ragins & Cotton, 1999). To help account for differences in mentoring history we controlled for whether the relationship was currently on-going or not, but this does not overcome the time lapse that may be necessary for a current relationship to affect long-term career outcomes. It may also be that the relationship between mentor benefits and career success varies as a function of specific reward practices in organizations for developing others. Moreover, because objective and subjective career success are not always predicted by the same variables (Ng et al., 2005), the short-term benefits mentors receive from their relationship may influence their subjective perceptions of their career success more than objective measures of salary and promotions. Thus, rather than abandon this line of inquiry all together, future research might explore possible moderators of the short-term mentor benefit-objective career success relationship as well as examine subjective indicators of career success, such as career satisfaction, career centrality, and career involvement. 4.2. Relative importance of mentoring benefits As predicted from existing theory and research on protégé outcomes, differences were found in the relative importance of mentors’ reports of instrumental short-term benefits (enhanced job performance, recognition from mentoring) and relational short-term benefits (rewarding experience, loyal base of support) in predicting long-term mentor outcomes. Short-term instrumental benefits were more important predictors of job satisfaction and organizational commitment, whereas short-term relational benefits were more important in predicting behavioral intentions to mentor in the future. This indicates that mentoring relationships that provide the mentor with both external (instrumental) and internal (relational) benefits are likely to have the most far-reaching positive effects on mentors. It is also noteworthy that as a set, short-term benefits explained approximately four times more variance in behavioral intentions to mentor in the future (ΔR2 = .23) than work reactions (ΔR2 = .05 and .06 for job satisfaction and organizational commitment, respectively), suggesting that generally speaking, short-term benefits have their strongest effect on outcomes more closely tied to mentoring than to the job or organization. By pinpointing which types of benefits are particularly predictive of specific mentor outcomes, our study offers fodder for future theory development and empirical research. For instance, since intentions to mentor in the future were most influenced by relational benefits (rewarding experience, loyal base of support), variables representing relational depth and interpersonal trust may be particularly important to incorporate into future research on motivation to mentor. To date, research on motivation to mentor has not examined how specific characteristics of previous mentoring relationships such as trust, disclosure, or felt loyalty relate to one’s desire to mentor others in the future. 4.3. Implications for mentoring theory and future research Most mentoring research to date has focused on protégé benefits (for a review see Wanberg, Welsh, & Hezlett, 2003). Our findings extend existing research by documenting that mentors can also benefit from engaging in a mentorship and identifying links between short-term mentor benefits and long-term mentor outcomes. This has important implications for an emerging body of scholarship oriented toward understanding the mutual benefits of mentoring, as well as the short-term and long-term impact of mentoring, particularly for mentors (Fletcher and Ragins, in press and Ragins and Verbos, in press). Another implication of this study relates to the construct of mentoring benefits. The mentor benefits examined in the present study were not highly correlated and in many cases demonstrated unique patterns of relationships with mentoring outcomes (see Table 1). The relative weight analysis further demonstrated differences in the relative importance of short-term instrumental versus short-term relational benefits in predicting mentor work attitudes and future intentions to mentor. These findings highlight the multidimensional nature of mentor benefits and are useful for theory development since they help identify what types of mentor benefits both consistently and differentially relate to mentor outcomes, how specific study variables are related, and why mentors may report more favorable work reactions and stronger intentions to mentor in the future (Whetten, 1989). Our findings also suggest that social capital theory (cf., for a review Adler & Kwon, 2002) may be a useful theoretical platform for understanding the outcomes of mentoring relationships for mentors. In terms of next steps for research, we offer three suggestions. The first is to identify the predictors of proximal mentor benefits. This might include mentor characteristics (e.g., certain types of mentors may receive more benefits than others), protégé characteristics (e.g., having a relationship with a certain type of protégé may lead to greater mentor benefits), dyadic factors (e.g., time spent together or similarity may relate to mentor benefits), congruency of expectations for the relationship, and contextual factors (e.g., greater benefits may be reported among mentors in certain types of job or organizations). As mentioned earlier, future research should also more closely examine the relationship between the benefits mentors receive from their relationship and various measures of career success. While we did not find a relationship between benefits and objective measures of career success, this may be a function of our sample (university employees) or an indication that one or more moderators may be operating. For example, the relationship between short-term benefits and objective career success may be moderated by the mentor’s career aspirations or developmental life stage. Thus, we encourage additional research on whether or not mentoring benefits predict objective career success in other populations and if so, the conditions under which such an effect exists. A final suggestion for future research is to investigate differences in short-term benefits and long-term outcomes across formal and informal mentorships. Because relationship initiation predicts protégé outcomes in a mentoring relationship (e.g., Ragins & Cotton, 1999), it follows that mentor benefits may also vary across formal and informal mentorships. With the limited number of formal mentoring relationships in the present study we were unable to include this as a study hypothesis. 4.4. Implications for practice Several implications also exist for practice. Mentors in the present study reported moderate levels of all four short-term mentoring benefits and were particularly likely to report that mentoring was a rewarding experience (M = 3.91) and that mentoring others created a loyal base of support (M = 3.90). Since the benefits of mentoring for mentors may not be as widely known or understood as the benefits of mentoring for protégés, organizations wanting to encourage mentoring may find it useful to discuss how serving as a mentor may be rewarding on multiple levels (e.g., psychological gratification, increased performance). Likewise, the case can be made that as relationship benefits increase, so does the likelihood that mentors will be more satisfied in their jobs and committed to the company. Discussing how serving as a mentor may influence more general work attitudes may serve to further entice individuals to serve as mentors. However, an important caveat is in order. None of the short-term mentor benefits were predictive of the objective career success measures of promotion or compensation. So, organizations should be cautious not to overstate the possible outcomes that mentors might expect from mentoring others. While we did not have ample sample sizes to compare formal and informal mentoring, some tentative suggestions can be made for formal mentoring programs. Communicating the potential short-term benefits and long-term outcomes of mentoring may have some utility in marketing formal programs to potential mentors. In addition, including a description of the likely mentor benefits associated with serving as a mentor in recruitment and marketing materials may lead to better mentor self-selection. Finally, the discussion of potential mentor benefits in training or orientation sessions may help both mentor and protégé get the most out of a mentoring relationship while simultaneously setting realistic relationship expectations. Realistic expectations are particularly important as they are a primary driver of relationship satisfaction (Young & Perrewé, 2000) and unrealistic expectations are often discussed as problems in formal mentoring relationships (Eby & Lockwood, 2005). 4.5. Study limitations Like all research the present study has several limitations. One limitation is the use of single-source data. This leads to a concern about common method bias. If such an effect is operating we would expect to find a similar pattern of findings across all mentoring benefits and mentor outcomes; this is not the case in the present study (see Table 1). Another limitation is the use of cross-sectional data, which precludes causal inferences. However, reverse causality is unlikely for many of the relationships studied. For example, benefits reported from mentoring are not likely to be an outcome of future intentions to mentor or job satisfaction. Nonetheless, additional research using longitudinal designs is important to allow cause-and-effect inferences. We also focused only on one mentoring relationship rather than one’s history of mentoring relationships. This does not allow us to pinpoint when or how often an individual served as a mentor. As discussed previously, this may be why we did not find links between mentoring benefits and salary or promotion. Finally, our 26% response rate is a limitation of the study. However, this response rate may represent a very conservative estimate because of the instructions given to potential respondents. Respondents were asked to return surveys if they were mentors, but to either discard or return unanswered surveys if they were not mentors. We received 659 responses from those who were and were not mentors. Unfortunately, some individuals may have followed our instructions and discarded their survey because they did not have experience as a mentor. Mentoring is a time consuming endeavor for mentors, yet our findings indicate that mentors can benefit from the experience. Since mentors play an essential role in the development and maintenance of these important developmental relationships, understanding more about the relationship between proximal benefits and distal outcomes associated with mentoring is important to more fully understand the dynamics of mentoring relationships. We hope that the present study provides a springboard for future research and theory-building on benefits of mentoring from the mentor’s perspective.