Eby, L.T., Durley, J.R., Evans, S.C., & Ragins, B.R. (2006). The relationship between short-term mentoring benefits and long-term mentoring outcomes. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 69: 424–444.
Mentoring research has often focused on the benefits to the mentees, but few studies have examined the short-term and long-term benefits to mentors. Eby, Durley, Evans, and Ragins (2006) specifically examined workplace mentoring at two large state universities to see if short-term benefits, such as recognition by others and personal gratification from mentoring, could predict long-term benefits such as job satisfaction and intention to mentor in the future.
Mentors’ short-term benefits of improved job performance and recognition by others were positively associated with job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Benefits of feeling that the relationship was a rewarding experience and that the mentee was a loyal supporter were positively associated with stronger intentions to mentor in the future. Short-term benefits were not found to be associated with salary and promotions, which may be more subject to individual organizational factors.
This study examined formal mentoring relationships in a workplace setting, so the findings may not be generalizable to informal mentoring and other settings.
All data was reported at a single point in time, so predictive inferences cannot be made. For example, mentors reported their lifetime number of promotions, rather than the number of promotions over the course of being a part of a mentoring relationship. This may be a reason why being part of a mentoring relationship was not associated with promotions.
Also, one’s history of mentoring relationships was not included, which may also have a large effect on one’s desire to mentor in the future.
Social capital theory posits that people at all levels of an organization can benefit from information, resources, and support provided by relationships with one another. Eby et al.’s study provides support for this theory, as mentors experienced short-term benefits both personally and organizationally, which led to long-term benefits as well.
These findings may help motivate individuals to become mentors, in light of these anticipated benefits. A next step, suggested by Eby et al., could be to explore predictors of the short-term benefits; for example, how does a mentoring relationship help improve job performance?
Summarized by UMass Boston clinical psychology student, Max Wu