Gendered Social-Networking Organizations: A View of the Sexed Mentorship Relationships

Gendered Social-Networking Organizations: A View of the Sexed Mentorship Relationships

Ben Tran (California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International University, San Francisco, CA, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/IJOCI.2016040103
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Abstract

Research has consistently documented that women are disproportionately represented in upper management and in positions of power and still continue to dominate traditionally female occupations. Hence, recognizing that effective efforts needs to be made to assist women in their career development, many organizations have adopted mentoring programs to address gender differences in advancement without having a grounded plan. Organizations often do so out of competing for and achieving organizational longevity, organizational competitive advantage, or for legal accommodations for marketing purposes. Organizations often implement mentoring program(s) with the goal of having mentors provide mentees with psychosocial support, career development support, sponsorship and coaching, setting up challenging assignments, fostering positive visibility, and protecting the mentee from adverse forces. Hence, the purpose of this article will be on mentorship (brief historical coverage and definition), stereotypes of gendered advancement based on gender, and cross-gender mentorship in the U.S.
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Introduction

Research has consistently documented, according to Rockwell, Leck, and Elliott (2013), that women are disproportionately represented in upper management and in positions of power (Tran, 2008, 2012, 2015) and still continue to dominate traditionally female occupations, such as administrative support and service workers (Burke, 2002; Hsieh & Winslow, 2006; Jacobs, 1999; Leck, 2002; MacRae, 2005; Schein, Mueller, Lituchy, & Liu, 1996; Tran, 2008, 2012, 2015). Catalyst, a non-profit organization whose mission is to work with organizations to expand opportunities for women, reported in 2011 that women are underrepresented as heads of Financial Post 500 organizations (5.6% in Canada, 3.2% in the U.S.), board directors (14% in Canada and 15.7% in the U.S.), senior officers (17.7% in Canada and 14.4% in the U.S.), and generally in management occupations (36.5% in Canada and 51.5% in the U.S.) although they represent almost 47% of the labor force in both countries (Rockwell et al., 2013). Furthermore, women represent only 6.2% of the FP500 top earners in Canada and 7.6% in the U.S. (Rockwell et al., 2013).

The aforementioned is a result of several factors, one of which is mentorship, or a lack of mentorship. According to Johnson (2002) and Ismail, Kho Khian Jui, and Zainal Shah (2011), based on Greek history, mentoring is first mentioned in the epic story of the Odyssey written by Homer. In this story, Odysseus tells his loyal and experienced friend, Mentor, who has great wisdom and trustworthy to teach his son, Telmachus, a mentee or protégé who has less experience about the tips for handling challenging lifestyles before he goes to the Trojan War (Edlind & Haensly, 1985; Merriam, 1993). Based on this story, mentoring is viewed as an important field of education (Johnson, Geroy, & Griego, 1991) and/or counseling (Gregson, 1994) where mentors are old men who have wisdom and can be trusted to educate who have little experience (Johnson et al., 1991; Kram, 1985; Russell & Adams, 1997; Wanguri, 1996). Hence, it has inspired Human Resource Development (HRD) scholars to generally interpret the concept and practice mentoring programs in line with the development of the current organizational practice (Dennison, 2000; Ismail, Boerhannoedin, & Rasip, 2009; Northcott, 2000; Oliver & Aggleton, 2002).

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