The meaning of mentoring in middle-managers’ learning: mentoring as identity-formation

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    Purpose: The paper critically examines mentoring and bridges the gap between the widespread use of mentoring and the limited evidence of its effectiveness by applying the theoretical lens of identity. Fresh insights are provided into both the processes and outcomes of mentoring. Design/Methodology/Approach: A critical review of identity theorising enables the refinement of theoretical lenses for understanding mentoring in new ways. Empirically, a qualitative research approach involved image-elicitation interviews focused on the nature of the work and learning of nineteen middle-managers. Interviews were transcribed and analysed inductively using thematic and narrative techniques. Findings: The findings reveal the processes through which both being mentored and being a mentor enabled middle-managers to undertake identity-work, that is, to form, maintain, secure and advance their managerial identities and to resist identity-regulation. New insights are particularly provided into the contributions of mentoring to career progression. Research Limitations/Implications: Certain limitations of the research are acknowledged and practical suggestions developed for further research. Practical Implications: Practical implications include the need for management educators to encourage learners to discern opportunities for informal mentoring and to foster understanding of management as requiring not merely the development of knowledge or competence but as requiring the cultivation of a state of being. Originality / Value: The paper provides new insights into both the outcomes and the processes of mentoring. Furthermore, that the significance of mentoring arose from the findings rather than being the initial object of the empirical research gives particular credence to the results.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015
    EventUFHRD Conference 2015 - Cork
    Duration: 1 Jun 2015 → …


    ConferenceUFHRD Conference 2015
    Period1/06/15 → …


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