Ellison, R. L., Cory, M., Horwath, J., Barnett, A., & Huppert, E. (2020). Can mentor organizations impact mentor outcomes? Assessing organizational norms on mentor intent to stay and willingness to “go the extra mile.” Journal of Community Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1002/jcop.22391
Summarized by Monica Arkin
Notes of Interest:
- While most youth mentoring research focuses on youth outcomes, this study investigates three mentor outcomes: relational satisfaction, intent to stay within the organization, and prosocial behavior.
- Within organizations that had high average levels of interaction between mentors and mentees’ families, volunteer mentors displayed more prosocial behaviors.
- This suggests that mentors are impacted by the organizational cultures that they volunteer within.
Introduction (Reprinted from the Abstract)
The current study explores how organizational norms within mentoring organizations predict mentor outcomes over and above individual mentor characteristics. Specifically, this study examines whether mean levels (as an indicator of organizational norms) of mentors’ perceptions of their relationship quality with mentees’ families predict mentor satisfaction, mentor intent to stay and mentor extra‐role prosocial behavior over and above individual mentor perception of their relationship quality with mentees’ families. Multilevel modeling was used to assess 204 mentors nested within 37 mentoring organizations. The current study found that mentor organization averages of perceived relationship quality with mentees’ families positively predicted mentor extra‐role prosocial behavior over and above the individual mentor perceptions of relationship quality with mentees’ families. Additionally, organizational averages negatively predicted mentor intent to stay, while individual mentor perceptions positively predicted mentor intent to stay. Results have implications for mentoring organizations to create organizational norms that reduce burnout, increase continuity of mentor relationships, and help mentors go above and beyond on behalf of their mentees and mentoring organization.
Implications (Reprinted from the Discussion)
By examining the impact of mentoring organizations on mentor–mentee relations, rather than solely focusing on individual mentors or mentees, this study advances the current understanding of mentoring motives and success. Identifying the role of the organization in creating effective mentoring relationships is important for improving mentors’ experiences and addressing problems such as attrition. Organizational averages of mentor relationships with mentees’ families significantly predicted mentor extra‐role prosocial behavior, which suggests that organizational steps to improve mentee experiences may influence the mentors themselves, and even perpetuate further improvements for the relationship. However, organizational averages of mentor relationships with mentees’ families also negatively predicted mentor intent to stay. Therefore, organizations aiming to enhance mentor and mentee relationships through familial relationships and extra‐role prosocial behavior should be cognizant of potentially negative repercussions. Yet, armed with this knowledge, organizations may be able to improve familial relationships and encourage mentor prosocial behavior while simultaneously protecting mentors from associated burnout and time pressure. Future work should continue to explore organizational level changes that can promote positive mentoring and mentee relationships, as these changes may be the most influential for achieving mentoring goals.
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