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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Vocational Behavior, Volume 74, Issue 3, June 2009, Pages 257–263
Drawing upon role-making theory, this study examines which new job market entrants, following college graduation, find informal mentors and how much mentoring they receive from these mentors using a predictive design. Our results suggest that individuals lower in negative affectivity and higher in cognitive ability as well as women, individuals who have previously had a mentor, and those who go to work for organizations with developmental climates are more likely to find informal mentors. In contrast, individuals higher in learning goal orientation and mentoring instrumentality receive more mentoring once a mentoring relationship has been established.
Mentoring has been recognized as an important process to help organizational newcomers adjust and adapt to their new organizations, as well as a process that helps employees at junior levels achieve higher levels of career success (Noe et al., 2002 and Wanberg et al., 2003). Mentors provide career-related development through coaching, sponsorship, exposure, protection, and challenging assignments; psychosocial support is provided via counseling, friendship, acceptance, and role modeling (Kram, 1988). Although mentoring cannot be highlighted as the sole contributor to career success (Kammeyer-Mueller & Judge, 2008), meta-analytic data suggests that having a mentor is related to higher levels of job satisfaction, career satisfaction, compensation, and promotions (Allen, Eby, Poteet, Lentz, & Lima, 2004). Given the usefulness of mentoring for individuals’ careers, it is important to understand characteristics and contextual variables related to individuals becoming a protégé. Extensive research has examined gender and racial differences in having a mentor (see, for example O’Brien, Biga, Kessler, & Allen, in press), but broader examinations of variables associated with finding a mentor and receiving mentoring have been limited (Turban & Lee, 2007). This study examines a theoretically derived model, which is aimed at predicting the receipt of informal mentoring. Importantly, this research focuses on college graduates and studies these individuals over time to examine who finds a mentor in their new professional placements after graduation. Previous work, with only a few exceptions that examined formal or quasi-formal mentoring relationships (e.g., Green and Bauer, 1995 and Wanberg et al., 2007), has used cross-sectional methods (making it difficult to establish whether examined variables are truly antecedents of mentoring received or if they are actually outcomes of mentoring received) or has asked mentors what characteristics they look for in protégés. The focus of our model is on the formation of informal mentoring relationships, those that form naturally without assistance from an organization, and level of mentoring received once that relationship has begun. The core theoretical framework for this study is role-making theory (Graen & Cashman, 1975). Role-making theory models how two individuals’ roles and relationship can evolve beyond the roles and relationship that are formally defined by an organization. The framework begins in a role-finding stage (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995) where two individuals interact in a relatively superficial way, getting to know each other through repeated interactions. At some point in this stage, either individual may extend an offer to the other to expand the relationship based upon their beliefs about the other individual’s potential to become a partner in the workplace. If the second party accepts the offer, the dyad enters into a role-making stage. We build upon insights from the role-finding stage of the theory to develop hypotheses about new employee characteristics that might “push” individuals to find mentors and/or “pull” mentors to them. The theory suggests that in order for an informal mentoring relationship to form, it will be important for the protégé to possess characteristics that motivate him or her to find a mentor and make them attractive to a mentor. These characteristics will also be important to the level of mentoring received once a relationship is formed. For this study we examine four central protégé individual difference variables (learning goal orientation, mentoring instrumentality, negative affectivity, and cognitive ability) that fit especially well with both the theoretical framework and the mentoring context. 1.1. Learning goal orientation Individuals with high learning goal orientation tend to approach work with the desire to develop their knowledge, skills, and overall competence (e.g., Dweck, 1986 and Elliot, 1997). Conceptually, learning goal orientation is likely to facilitate activities on the part of newcomers that will stimulate the formation of a mentoring relationship. Research has found a positive relationship between learning goal orientation and motivation to learn, effort expended during training, and persistence when faced with difficulty (e.g., Colquitt and Simmering, 1998, Payne et al., 2007 and Vandewalle et al., 2001). In the mentoring literature, a cross-sectional association has been found between protégé learning goal orientation and level of mentoring received including psychosocial support, career-related mentoring, and role modeling (Egan, 2005 and Godshalk and Sosik, 2003). However, Turban and Lee (2007) note that because learning goal orientation might be influenced by the mentoring relationship, this construct needs to be studied as a predictor of mentoring in a longitudinal design. Learning goal orientation also appears to be attractive to mentors. Allen (2004) asked individuals with experience as mentors to indicate the importance to them of several protégé characteristics. Willingness to learn had the highest mean rating of all of the characteristics. Based upon this discussion, we propose: Hypothesis 1. College graduates’ levels of learning goal orientation will be positively related to presence of an informal mentor and level of mentoring received from this mentor in their post-graduation job one year later. 1.2. Mentoring instrumentality In contrast to learning goal orientation, which conceptually has both motivational and attraction components, mentoring instrumentality (i.e., how important an individual believes it is to have a mentor) is an individual difference that is primarily motivational. Mentoring instrumentality addresses why an individual might direct energies toward finding a mentor, as opposed to fulfilling developmental needs via other avenues such as training. Although no research was found in the mentoring literature examining the role of instrumentality, meta-analytic data from other contexts suggests that instrumentality is positively associated with effort and persistence toward the target of interest (Van Eerde & Thierry, 1996). We propose: Hypothesis 2. College graduates’ assessment of the instrumentality of having a mentor will be positively related to presence of an informal mentor and level of mentoring received from this mentor in their post-graduation job one year later. 1.3. Cognitive ability Contrasting with mentoring instrumentality, cognitive ability is an individual difference that is more important to attraction than motivation. Relationship research suggests that people are more attracted to individuals with higher levels of cognitive ability because they have more respect for them (e.g., Rubin, 1973 and Zanna and Hamilton, 1972). In addition, research has documented a positive association between general cognitive ability and performance in job training programs, job knowledge, skill acquisition, and performance in complex jobs (Kuncel, Hezlett, & Ones, 2004), all of which would be important to potential mentors who are considering investing significant time and energy in a protégé. Within the mentoring literature, research by Allen, Poteet, and Burroughs (1997) found mentors made remarks about what attracted them to their protégés such as “very smart and intelligent” (p. 80). In addition, Allen, Poteet, and Russell (2000) found that mentors choose protégés based upon their perceived potential/high ability rather than their perceived need for help and Allen (2004) found that college students in a laboratory study chose protégés with higher ability. We found no studies that attempted to predict whether individuals with higher cognitive ability are more likely to secure informal mentors and receive more informal mentoring. However, in a longitudinal study of quasi-formal mentoring relationships between graduate students and their advisors, Green and Bauer (1995) reported individuals with higher verbal GRE scores received more career-related mentoring with mixed results for the relationship between psychosocial mentoring and quantitative versus verbal GRE scores. We propose: Hypothesis 3. College graduates’ levels of cognitive ability will be positively related to presence of an informal mentor and level of mentoring received from this mentor in their post-graduation job one year later. 1.4. Negative affectivity It is also important to consider characteristics that may deter potential mentors or reduce protégé motivation to seek out a mentor, especially considering that research has found that negative information (e.g., emotions, feedback, impressions) is frequently more powerful than positive information (Baumeister, Bratslavsky, Finkenauer, & Vohs, 2001). Given the positive nature of the other antecedents considered, protégé negative affectivity, the “tendency to experience negative emotions across time and situations” (Perrewé & Spector, 2002, p. 28), was added as a potential predictor of mentoring. Negative affectivity is conceptualized to impact both the motivation of an individual to find a mentor and his or her attractiveness to mentors. Relevant to motivation, research suggests that individuals in negative moods find goals less attractive and the actions needed to attain them more unpleasant (Schwarz & Bohner, 1996). Consistent with this notion, Turban and Dougherty (1994) reported protégés with higher levels of negative affectivity reported lower levels of initiation of mentoring relationships. In terms of attraction, mentors may be less attracted to individuals high in negative affectivity. Research examining interpersonal relationships has found that the expression of negative emotions has negative consequences on likableness ratings (Hamilton and Fallot, 1974 and Kashdan and Roberts, 2004). We propose: Hypothesis 4. College graduates’ levels of negative affectivity will be negatively related to presence of an informal mentor and level of mentoring received from this mentor in their post-graduation job one year later. 1.5. Initiation behaviors We have hypothesized that higher learning goal orientation, higher mentoring instrumentality, higher cognitive ability, and lower negative affectivity on the part of college graduates will be related to receipt of informal mentoring in their first post-graduation job. Three of these variables are proposed to be related (at least in part) to finding a mentor through motivational mechanisms on the part of the college graduate. If this is indeed the case, we can expect that college graduates with higher levels of learning goal orientation, mentoring instrumentality, and lower levels of negative affectivity will report that they engaged in more behaviors related to the initiation of mentoring relationships in their first year after graduation, such as seeking to become acquainted with higher-level managers (Turban & Dougherty, 1994). We propose: Hypothesis 5. College graduates with higher levels of learning goal orientation, mentoring instrumentality, and lower levels of negative affectivity will report that they engaged in more behaviors related to the initiation of mentoring relationships in their first year after graduation.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This study investigated whether it is possible to predict which individuals in a sample of new college graduates find informal mentors in their post-graduation jobs and the amount of mentoring they receive from these relationships. Individuals with lower levels of negative affectivity and higher levels of cognitive ability were the most likely to find mentors. In contrast, protégé learning goal orientation and mentoring instrumentality were associated with higher levels of career-related mentoring received once a mentor was found and with more behaviors directed at finding a mentor, while only mentoring instrumentality was related to higher levels of psychosocial mentoring. Thus, individual characteristics associated with finding an informal mentor (cognitive ability and lack of negative affectivity) differed from those characteristics associated with the level of mentoring received from that mentor and with the amount of effort individuals reported expending toward finding a mentor (learning goal orientation and mentoring instrumentality). These findings are of significant interest from both academic and practice viewpoints. First, on the academic front, a predictive study examining antecedents of developing mentoring relationships was needed (Turban & Lee, 2007). Although causation cannot be proven with our design, our predictive approach is valuable in sorting out whether a given individual difference variable predicts mentoring, as opposed to the possibility that mentoring may affect that variable. Second, results support the usefulness of role-making theory as a framework for studying mentoring. Future investigations could build upon this theory and the variables used including adding characteristics of mentors. Third, future work should separately consider factors associated with finding a mentor from factors associated with level of mentoring received once a mentor has been found. Finally, future examinations of objective career outcomes of mentoring (e.g., promotions, compensation) should control for cognitive ability. Our results suggest an omitted variable bias otherwise, because cognitive ability was related to finding a mentor and it has also been found to predict objective career outcomes (Kuncel et al., 2004). From a practice standpoint, several of our findings have implications that may be of particular interest. First, given that protégé characteristics associated with initiation behaviors were not associated with finding an informal mentor, some individuals who try to find mentors may not be successful. Second, individuals who had higher levels of cognitive ability were more likely to report finding informal mentors. This has both positive and negative implications. On the positive side, organizations want to develop and retain their best talent, and mentoring may help accomplish this goal. On the other hand, it is possible that individuals who need mentoring the most are not getting it. Because human resource professionals have limited means to change the cognitive ability profile of their current employees, they could either try to convince potential mentors to focus on the potential for growth among individuals with lower levels of cognitive ability or use formal mentoring programs to increase the number of pairings. Third, our results suggest that individuals with higher negative affectivity are less likely to report having mentors. Thus, in order to increase mentoring relationships, human resource professionals could coach organizational newcomers to avoid expressions of negative affect. This should increase a protégé’s attractiveness although it would not address any motivational issues related to high negative affectivity (e.g., if individuals high in negative affectivity do not want mentors). Finally, because level of mentoring instrumentality and learning goal orientation were related to level of mentoring received once an individual found an informal mentor, individuals who have informal mentors should be coached on the importance of focusing on learning outcomes and the benefits of being in a mentoring relationship. In conclusion, our study’s predictive design in combination with the role-making theoretical framework allowed a strong examination of the characteristics of new job market entrants who are likely to find informal mentors and receive higher levels of mentoring. The results generally support role-making theory’s assertion that both attraction and motivation are important. It appears that cognitive ability and the absence of negative affectivity are associated with finding an informal mentor while learning goal orientation and mentoring instrumentality are associated with level of mentoring received once an informal mentor is found. These findings suggest specific tactics that might be used to increase the number of mentoring relationships and the level of mentoring received in organizations. Further research will be needed to examine the external validity of these findings, as this study’s sample was fairly homogeneous in terms of age, background and race.