An Examination of the Role of Age in Mentoring Relationships

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Mentoring, Aging and work, Age diversity

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This study examined the role of both age and age diversity in mentorships using quantitative and qualitative methodology. Based on data from nonfaculty employees of a large university, it found that the absolute age of the protégé in mentorships influenced career mentoring provided, characteristics of the mentorship, and perceptions of mutual learning. Older protégés on average experienced less career-related mentoring, had shorter relationships, were closer in level to their mentor, and reported more mutual learning than younger protégés. Protégé age interacted with mentor age, however, such that young protégés seemed to receive similar styles of mentoring regardless of mentor age, but as protégés age increased, they reported more career and psychosocial mentoring from younger than from older mentors. The content analysis of qualita- tive data revealed important variables to investigate in future research on age diversity in mentorships, including perceptions of competence and respect, similarity, and interpersonal comfort.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Group & organization management, v. 28, issue 2, p. 249-281