Date of Award

5-2007

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Major Professor

Robert T. Ladd,

Committee Members

Joan Rentsch, Michael Rush, Eric Sundstrom

Abstract

Organizational mentoring is associated with positive events and experiences for protégés, mentors, and their organizations. Research on what makes those relationships successful – and potentially replicable with formal programs – has looked at the structure of the mentorship (e.g., formal vs. informal), the demographic make up of the mentoring dyad (e.g., race, gender), and attitudinal similarity between the mentor and protégé. Generally, results have been mixed and it appears that these factors do not account for a great deal of mentorship success. Cognitive prototypes of the mentor and protégé roles may be one as yet unexplored factor that might help us better understand successful mentorships. Since no research to date has been conducted in this area, the current study investigates the nature of those cognitive prototypes by identifying their content, examining the extent to which these prototypes may be gender-typed, and how prior mentoring experiences might be related to prototype gender-typing. Results suggest that strong performance and high potential are important aspects of the prototypical protégé, and that elements of organizational power and interpersonal skills are important aspects of the prototypical mentor. There was no evidence of prototype gender-typing. Implications for research and practice also are discussed.

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