Organizational E-Mentoring and Learning: An Exploratory Study

Organizational E-Mentoring and Learning: An Exploratory Study

Vidya V. Haran, Anand Jeyaraj
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/IRMJ.2019010104
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This article explores the process by which e-mentoring unfolds in organizational settings, emphasizing the crucial role of learning that acts as the intermediate step between mentoring functions and organizational outcomes. Specifically, the authors investigate how e-mentoring functions—career support, psycho-social, and role modeling—support the protégé's learning, and how learning increases organizational commitment of the protégés. Data was collected through an online survey of 59 individuals in two multinational organizations that had mentoring programs. Analysis using SmartPLS 3.0 showed that career and role modeling support are statistically significant predictors of learning, and learning predicts organizational commitment as expected. Contrary to face-to-face mentoring literature, the direct link between the mentoring functions and organizational commitment is not supported. The authors conclude with implications for research and practice.
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Mentoring is an influential tool within organizations. It involves a mentor, typically an influential individual possessing advanced knowledge, committed to providing upward support and mobility to the protégé’s career (Kram, 1985). With the increase in globalization and rapid technological advances, mentoring relationships spanning national and cultural boundaries have increased, and mentoring dynamics are being re-shaped by new forms of work, technology and learning (Maitland and Thomson, 2011). Alternative forms of mentoring have been proposed as a mechanism for developing employee skills in response to a changing workplace (Williams et al. 2009). E-mentoring is a recent social construction of mentoring using computer mediated communication (CMC) tools and has received considerable attention in the recent literature (e.g., DiRenzo et al., 2010; Scandura and Pellegrini, 2007; Ensher and Murphy, 2007; Hamilton and Scandura, 2003).

Mentoring research has typically examined traditional face-to-face (f2f) interactions (e.g., Schunk and Muller, 2013) in academic contexts. Our study examines the impact of e-mentoring in organizational settings. For this purpose, we use the dynamic model of mentoring, which provides insights into the process by which e-mentoring unfolds rather than treat mentoring as a black box and focuses on the protégés’ final outcomes such as organizational commitment and job satisfaction (Lankau and Scandura, 2007). Prior literature has generally not examined the processes that occur during mentor–protégé interactions. One such key process is protégé learning, which has gained increasing importance at workplace, with organizations investing millions of dollars in workplace learning programs to develop human capital for competitive advantage (Noe et al., 2010). Although links between learning and positive work outcomes have often been assumed, there is little empirical evidence for its role in e-mentoring processes. Specifically, our study examines the research question: Do e-mentoring functions lead to learning and commitment in organizations?

The remainder of the paper is organized as follows. The next sections describe the theoretical framework and research methods. The discussion and conclusion sections complete the paper.

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