Virtual Mentoring

Virtual Mentoring

Narissra Maria Punyanunt-Carter (Texas Tech University, USA) and Emilio S. Hernandez (Texas Tech University, USA)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-979-8.ch010
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With the proliferation of information technology and its saturation within homes, classrooms, and organizations, the traditional landscape of mentoring relationships is quickly becoming a faceless phenomenon. Virtual mentoring is rapidly being the more preferred way to initiate mentor and protégé relationships because of constraints that prevent people from meeting face-to-face. It is through this computer-mediated method of interaction where benefits surface that increase computer-mediate dialogue, allow for the free exchange of knowledge and information regardless of an individual’s role within the interaction, and provides women a channel to voice their opinions and ideas free from gender bias. Outside of these benefits; however, limitations do exist that should be closely monitored so that the continued success of virtual mentoring can remain a viable option.
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With computerized technology on the forefront of organizational advancement, and the increased desire for globalization, virtual mentoring is rapidly becoming the preferred method of choice when mentors and protégés communicate with one another. No longer is geographic distance a barrier. Asynchronous technologies promote the development of virtual organizations, let mentors and protégés respond to inquiries at convenient times, and provide organizational members an opportunity to influence the current generation by using an assortment of web sites, podcasts, and a myriad of other types of technology to foster creativity. Additionally virtual mentoring programs can serve as virtual voices for women, minorities, and other marginalized and underrepresented groups. It is through this chapter where the prevalence of virtual mentoring will be reviewed.

Mentoring, as a concept, goes back thousands of years to Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey. Homer tells the story of an elderly and wise sea captain named Mentor, who gives Odysseus’s sun, Telemachus, guidance while his father is gone on his long journey. In modern times, the word “mentor” has been used to refer to a relationship where one individual with more knowledge and experience aids another individual who has less knowledge and experience (Richmond, Wrench, & Gorham, 2001). Mentoring can be described as the communication relationship where a senior person advises, teaches, and encourages a junior person’s professional and sometimes personal development (Hill, Bahniuk, & Dobos, 1989).

Today we see a mentor as “someone who helps someone else learn something that he or she would have learned less well, more slowly, or not at all if left alone” (Bell, 2000, p. 53). One type of mentoring relationship is the virtual mentoring relationship. To date, very little research has been conducted in the area of virtual mentoring (Harrington, 1999). The book chapter examines the realm of virtual mentoring and how it pertains to virtual work. Moreover, this chapter aims to identify mentoring practices and processes underlying virtual organizing. Most importantly, the chapter provides an understanding of the practical implications of mentoring to virtual work.

According to a UK website, called “Mentors Forum”, a website devoted to mentoring, mentor provide four key elements in their relationships with their mentees:

  • Coach: to show the learner how to carry out a task

  • Facilitate: create opportunities for learners to utilize new skills

  • Counsel: help learners explore consequences of potential decisions

  • Network: refer learners to others when mentor’s experience is insufficient

Overall, mentors offer many roles to their mentees. This type of relationship often relies on effective communication. It has been demonstrated that mentor-mentee relationships can create more satisfaction, increase productivity, and increase understanding (Conner, 2002).Hence, there are several benefits to mentorship.

For the mentor, there may be some benefits such as:

  • Offers knowledge to others

  • Offers a new perspective on their current task

  • Offers insight for the future

  • Offers a personal actualization in one’s talent/skill/compentency

For the mentee, there may also be some benefits such as:

  • Obtains advice from the mentor

  • Obtains assurance from mentor’s support

  • Obtains personalized attention

  • Obtains a new perspective on the current task

The mentor-mentee relationship is valuable for any organization because it also offers many benefits, such as:

  • Creating morale

  • Fosters creativity and growth

  • Increases satisfaction and retention

  • Increases productivity

  • Increases awareness of the organization

Complete Chapter List

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Shawn D. Long
Chapter 1
Jennifer L. Gibbs, Craig R. Scott, Young Hoon Kim, Sun Kyong Lee
This chapter examines workplace policies related to virtual work, with a specific focus on telework policies. Such policies are important to... Sample PDF
Examining Tensions in Telework Policies
Chapter 2
Tyler R. Harrison, Elizabeth A. Williams
Conflict is just as common in virtual teams as it is in collocated teams. However little is known about the process of conflict in these teams. The... Sample PDF
Communication, Structural Links, and Conflict in Three Inter-Organizational Virtual Collaborations
Chapter 3
Roy Schwartzman, David Carlone
Online teaching and learning has been adopted throughout higher education with minimal critical attention to the challenges it poses to traditional... Sample PDF
Online Teaching as Virtual Work in the New (Political) Economy
Chapter 4
Rachel N. Byers
Ethical issues due to the following four major factors inherent to virtual work are examined: (1) organizational culture, (2) trust, (3)... Sample PDF
The Ethical Implications of the Virtual Work Environment
Chapter 5
Shawn D. Long, Richie A. Goodman, Chase Clow
This chapter explores the role of surveillance in virtual work. With the modern societal shift as well as the increased global market, working... Sample PDF
The Electronic Panopticon : Organizational Surveillance in Virtual Work
Chapter 6
Huiyan Zhang, Marshall Scott Poole
This chapter reports the results of a multiple case study which investigated how virtual teams appropriated multiple media to facilitate the... Sample PDF
Virtual Team Identity Construction and Boundary Maintenance
Chapter 7
Stacey L. Connaughton, Elizabeth A. Williams, Jennifer S. Linvill, Elizabeth J. O’Connor, Troy Hayes
Temporary virtual teams are common organizing forms across industries and sectors, and their members often span national, functional, and other... Sample PDF
Temporary Virtual Teams: An Empirical Examination of Team Development
Chapter 8
Elizabeth C. Ravlin
Communication between members of decision-making teams has long been known to be strongly influenced by member status. However, we still know... Sample PDF
Status and Influence Processes in Virtual Teams and Mobile Collaborations
Chapter 9
Anita Blanchard, David A. Askay, Katherine A. Frear
Sense of virtual community (feelings of identity, belonging, and attachment) is an essential component of virtual communities. In this chapter, we... Sample PDF
Sense of Community in Professional Virtual Communities
Chapter 10
Virtual Mentoring  (pages 177-192)
Narissra Maria Punyanunt-Carter, Emilio S. Hernandez
With the proliferation of information technology and its saturation within homes, classrooms, and organizations, the traditional landscape of... Sample PDF
Virtual Mentoring
Chapter 11
Politics in Virtual Work  (pages 193-206)
Shawn D. Long, Marla D. Boughton, Rachel Widener
Due to their hierarchical structure and limited resources, organizations are inherently political. Employees need to know how to “play the game” in... Sample PDF
Politics in Virtual Work
Chapter 12
Stephen C. Yungbluth, Zachary P. Hart
This chapter examines how power dynamics are manifested in virtual work. It starts with a look at how power is demonstrated in traditional decision... Sample PDF
The Amplification of Power Dynamics in Virtual Work
Chapter 13
Eletra S. Gilchrist
Virtual work is increasingly prevalent in organizational settings. Many corporations communicate virtually to reduce travel and facility costs and... Sample PDF
Engineers' Perceptions of Relational Limitations Intrinsic to Virtual Work
Chapter 14
Ardis Hanson, Eric Paul Engel, Sheila Gobes-Ryan
How we work in an increasingly computer-mediated world requires new ways of understanding the construction of teams, their co-construction of tacit... Sample PDF
Power and Trust in the Virtual Workplace: Team Development as Communities-of-Practice
Chapter 15
Shalin Hai-Jew
This chapter focuses on a multi-institutional shared curricular-build project (2009) out of Kansas State University, Johnson County Community... Sample PDF
Structuring a Local Virtual Work Ecology for a Collaborative, Multi-Institutional Higher Educational Project: A Case Study
Chapter 16
Marinita Schumacher, Julie Stal Le Cardinal, Jean-Claude Bocquet
Virtual instruments and tools are future trends in Engineering which are due to the growing complexity of engineering tasks. Individuals who are... Sample PDF
Aided System of Competence Management for Virtual Team Building Adapted to Specific Needs of Design Projects
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