University of Limerick
Rock_2013_understanding.pdf (2.21 MB)

Understanding formal career mentoring: a relational and social support perspective

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posted on 2023-01-18, 13:53 authored by Andrew David Rock
The purpose of this research thesis is to help explain formal organisational career mentoring as it is perceived among dyadic mentoring pairs. It proposes a more holistic in-depth understanding of mentoring relationships that requires a focus shift away from the conventionally utilised dual function categorisations of career and psychosocial support functions. It argues moving towards alternative taxonomies that have stronger theoretical bases in the relational aspects of mentoring. The main objective remains focusing on how mentoring dyads perceive the nature of their relationships. First, it was intended to identify how mentoring is constructed by mentors and protégés in unique organizational settings. Second, it was intended to deepen our understanding of how mentoring operates and in what ways specific learning foci lead to protégé development. The initial research question is: How do mentors and protégé’s perceive the qualitative aspects of their developmental relationships, what do they value or seek to achieve and what are the expected and experienced outcomes? The study is wholly qualitative and utilised in-depth, semi-structured interviews. The data were collected from 38 individuals (19 dyads) in four organisations located in the information technology, pharmaceutical, banking and education sectors. The study makes a significant contribution to the literature on workplace mentoring through the rich detail presented about perceptions of mentoring relationships from matched pairs of mentors and protégés. The analysis of the data yielded categorisations of support functions that indicate the importance of social support functions that are inextricably interwoven with career mentoring exchanges. It highlights justification for examining mentoring through a relational theory lens. The findings have important implications for the continuing research on mentoring and, by extension, HRD practioners’ ability to guide organisational mentoring programmes in a way that would maximise the potential for effective, high quality mentoring and the associated development and psychological well-being of individuals.



  • Kemmy Business School


  • Doctoral

First supervisor

Thomas N. Garavan





Department or School

  • Work and Employment Studies

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