Enhancing Our Knowledge of Mentoring With a Person-Centric Approach

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The intent of this commentary is to illustrate how some of the ideas discussed in Weiss and Rupp (2011) can be applied to the study of mentoring relationships. Mentoring has been defined as a developmental relationship between an individual (prot ´eg ´e) and a more senior and influential individual (mentor; Dreher & Cox, 1996). Mentoring is touted as a popular tool for employee development within organizations as well as a key means by which individuals achieve personal and career development across the life span (Allen & Eby, 2007). Mentoring relationships have been associated with a variety of beneficial outcomes for prot ´eg ´es (Allen, Eby, Poteet, Lentz, & Lima, 2004). But what makes some workplace mentoring relationships more effective and meaningful than others? Our view is that despite several decades of research and hundreds of articles, we know little about the mechanisms that give rise to effective and individually transformative mentoring. This lack of knowledge can be attributed, at least in part, to a reliance on the prevailing research paradigm that Weiss and Rupp describe.

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Industrial and Organizational Psychology, v. 4, Issue 1, p. 126-130