Exploring the Determinants of Becoming a Mentor in Turkish Organizations

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Muhsine Itir Ozgen of Koc University, Tojo Thatchenkery of George Mason University, and James William Rowell of MEF University. They recently published an article in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science entitled “Exploring the Determinants of Becoming a Mentor in Turkish Organizations,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they briefly describe the research and its significance.]

JAB_72ppiRGB_powerpointIn 2014, I was invited to facilitate a panel of international organizations at a conference in Istanbul, Turkey. The Learning and Development Directors of several well-known companies from a range of sectors were invited to discuss their learning and development strategies. Participants included – Coca-Cola, Denizbank (a Russian and Turkish cooperative venture in the banking industry), Migros (one of the largest supermarket chains). They discovered, through the conference, that they had a common strategy in learning and development, and agreed on the importance of mentoring programs in organizations. The L&D Director of Migros emphasized the value of his mentoring relationship as he stated: “I carry my mentor on my shoulders holding his feet, not to make him fall down but I keep his hands free so that he can direct me where to go”.
That was so intriguing for me and I started my inquiry about the workplace mentoring; the literature supports the notion that positive outcomes are related to employees engaging in either traditional or informal mentoring relationships.
My major motivation to pursue this research was to understand the reasons which make those individuals be part of these relationships. In the end, mentoring is a two-way relationship between mentor and mentee. The benefits are more obvious for the mentees but for the mentors, in a sense, is an additional task, adding to their workload. So what makes potential mentors want to be part of this relationship? What incites those individuals who are willing to mentor? My interest in answering these questions formed the gateway to this quantitative study.
The major challenge in the research was the research design. In order to achieve rich contextual results, a mixed method study design could be used by including employee interviews. In-depth interviews could enrich clarifying the results and understanding how the individuals interpret the items of the instrument.

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