BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Mentor and mentee relationship is a personal developmental relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person (mentor) helps a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. The receiver of mentorship was traditionally referred to as a protégé or apprentice. Today, the term “mentee” has gained acceptance and is widely used. The whole process is called mentoring.
Mentoring is a process for the informal transmission of knowledge, social capital and the psychosocial support perceived by the recipient as relevant to work, career or professional development; mentoring entails informal communication, usually face-to-face and during a sustained period of time, between a person who is perceived to have greater relevant knowledge, wisdom or experience (the mentor) and a person who is perceived to have less (the protégé or mentee). (Clawson et al, 1984))
This research study is aimed at investigating the impact of mentor and mentee relationship on commitment in an organization using Deltaafrik Engineering Limited as a case study. Deltaafrik Engineering Limited was incorporated in 1993 and 100% owned by Nigerians. The company was set up to provide Engineering Solutions and Services to the Nigerian Oil & Gas Industry because organizations in Nigeria and beyond including Deltaafrik Engineering Limited have started to see the value of mentoring for enhancing work life, performance, commitment and job satisfaction. When mentoring is implemented successfully, there are measurable improvements in employee performance, retention, employee commitment to the organization, knowledge sharing, leadership growth and succession planning (Elrich et al, 2008).
A mentor is a person who gives another person the benefit of his or her years of experience and/or education. This experience is shared in such a way that the mentor helps to develop a mentee’s skills and abilities, benefiting the mentee and the organization.
A good mentoring relationship is identified by the willingness and capability of both parties to ask questions, challenge assumptions and disagree. It’s important to note that there’s no one way to mentor. Every mentoring relationship is as unique as the individuals involved (Daloz, 2012).
The mentor is far less likely to have a direct-line relationship with the mentee, and in a mentoring relationship this distance is desirable. Mentoring is rarely a critical part of an individual’s job role, but rather an extra element that rewards the mentor with fresh thinking as well as the opportunity to transfer knowledge and experience to a less experienced colleague, peer or employee.
Over the last 40 years, mentor and mentee relationship in an organisation has been hailed as an important workplace learning activity, and applied in a variety of contexts such as government departments, hospitals, schools and community settings. It has been used to support the learning and development of new employees and leaders, as well as for the purposes of talent management and retention. Not surprisingly, its meaning often depends on the purpose for which it has been used and the particular context in which it has been applied (Daloz, 1986).
Most adults can identify a person who has had a major positive impact on their lives, e.g. a boss, a coach or a teacher, who has acted as a mentor to them. Today, organisations are embracing the concept of mentoring as a professional development tool through which improvements in efficiency, productivity and the passing of corporate knowledge and leadership skills can occur.
Coaching is not the same as mentoring. Mentoring is concerned with the development of the whole person and is driven by the person’s own work/life goals. It is usually unstructured and informal. Mentors focus on the person (the mentee), that person’s career, and support for individual growth and maturity.
Coaching is much more about achieving specific objectives in a particular way. Coaching also is more formal and more structured, usually around a coaching process or methodology. Typically, coaching is job focused and performance oriented.
Mentoring in an organisation is a way of working, embedded informally in our daily operations in the support and guidance we provide to colleagues. It can also be a more formal relationship established in the organisation through specific developmental mentoring programs.
Mentoring is an essential leadership skill and a valuable development option that can be used as part of developing performance and induction processes to help others maximise their capabilities and work effectively to promote commitment in an organisation (Starfield, 2000).
Mentor and mentee relationship has been recognized as a catalyst for organizational and career success, and mentoring relationships have been cited as important in career selection, advancement, commitment and productivity.
Mentoring tends to be broader and more holistic in focus than coaching as it is not only interested in ‘maximizing performance (Fletcher, 2012), but concerned with the person’s overall life development. Mentors are significant others who play many roles and, at times, they can be coach, counsellor and trainer.
While mentoring is an interpersonal relationship, its purpose is likely to depend on whether the organisation has instituted a mentoring program or whether the mentoring relationship is more informal. In formal mentoring programs, the purpose of mentoring is likely to be articulated in a set of guidelines or via training that is provided for both parties, where they are informed of the goals and purposes of the program. As an example, the purpose of a formal mentoring program for beginning teachers might be to help new teachers develop their teaching strategies and skills, become socialised into the school’s values and culture, and develop a good working knowledge of school policies and procedures.
In contrast, in informal mentoring arrangements, the parties may not have any set goals or specific expectations except to get together informally and discuss work-based issues as they arise. The purpose of the relationship may change depending on the needs of either party. Whether the mentoring relationship is organizationally driven or informal and more personally driven, it is likely that the overall purpose of the relationship will be for both parties to learn, engage in knowledge transfer, and support one another’s development and growth (Cohen, 1999).
A strong message in much of the previous research works and literature is that mentor and mentee relationship is a very positive experience. An important scholar in the field, Clutterbuck (2004, p. 7), goes as far as saying ‘I have yet to find anyone who is self-sufficient enough not to benefit from a mentor at some point in his or her life’. Yet mentoring is not without its ‘dark side’ (Long 1997), and there is research that has reported on the risks and shortcomings of mentor and mentee relationships. Hence this research work seeks to find out the impact of mentor and mentee relationship on commitment in an organization.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
As this research identifies the impact of mentor and mentee relationship towards organizational commitment, considering that there are a lot of factors that can hinder the success of mentor mentee relationship, it will also beam a searchlight on previous researches in that direction and identifying the gaps.
Clutterbuck (2004) argues that organizations should provide a set of ethical guidelines or a code of practice to govern the conduct of mentors and mentees who are engaged in formal mentoring programs. Within this code, he stipulates key dimensions such as a relationship that is based on openness, trust, support and mutuality. The relationship should empower the mentee, and the mentor should not abuse or use his or her power in an exploitative way. In informal mentoring arrangements, guidelines or codes of practice are unlikely to be part of the discussions between the parties. However, the dimensions identified by Clutterbuck (2004) are also important for the success of the mentor and mentee relationship.
Clawson et al (1984) argue that both parties in a mentor and mentee relationship need to define the boundaries around which they will work, and maintain professional behaviour at all times. The key to matching seems to be the issue of choice and where mentors and mentees have a say in determining their partner, it is likely that issues such as lack of compatibility or lack of mutuality will be lessened.
There is no magic formula for making mentor and mentee relationships or mentoring programs work effectively. What is known through the previous research is that the effectiveness of any mentoring relationship is contingent on the quality of the relationship between the two parties. Where there is mutuality, respect and knowledge transfer, the mentoring is likely to work well. Where there is little mutuality and a mismatch in expectations, this is a recipe for difficulty. This research study is therefore important as it seeks to look at factors that will promote commitment in the mentor and mentee relationship as a result of benefits of the outcome of the relationship taking note of factors that can hinder the success of the relationship.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of this study is to determine the impact of mentor and mentee relationship on commitment in Deltaafrik Engineering Limited. The other objectives are:
To find out how mentor and mentee relationship can improve commitment among the staffs of Deltaafrik Engineering Limited
To determine the influence of the existing mentor and mentee relationship programme in Deltaafrik Engineering Limited on staff commitment.
To determine the factors hindering the success of mentor and mentee relationship in Deltaafrik Engineering Limited
How can a mentor and mentee relationship improve staffs commitment in Deltaafrik Engineering Limited?
What is the influence of the existing mentor and mentee relationship programme on staff’s commitment in Deltaafrik Engineering Limited?
What are the factors hindering the success of mentor and mentee relationship in Deltaafrik Engineering Limited?
HYPOTHESIS OF THE STUDY
In order to enable the researcher confirm the impact of mentor and mentee relationship on commitment in Deltaafrik Engineering Limited, he has to postulate the following hypotheses:
Ho: Mentor and mentee relationship does not have impact on commitment in Deltaafrik Engineering Limited.
HR: Mentor and mentee relationship do have impact on commitment in Deltaafrik Engineering Limited.
Ho: mentor and mentee relationship has no significant influence on the knowledge base and expertise of the staffs of mentor and mentee relationship does not have impact on commitment in Deltaafrik Engineering Limited.
HR: mentor and mentee relationship has significant influence on the knowledge base and expertise of the staffs of mentor and mentee relationship does not have impact on commitment in Deltaafrik Engineering Limited.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will help beam the searchlight on the importance and the need for a formidable mentor and mentee relationship in an organization. It will also help stakeholders in governmental and non-governmental organization to understand how mentor and mentee relationship can bring about commitment and improved productivity in a work place knowing fully well the benefits that both the mentor and mentee will derive in terms of knowledge and professional expertise. It will also help the stakeholders on how to start a good and healthy mentor and mentee relationship considering all the problems that can hinder the success of the relationship.
Lastly, this research work will constitute a body of literature to the existing scholarly materials on the impact of mentor and mentee relationship on commitment to help strengthen and promote organizational development.
SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This study will examine the mentor and mentee relationship being practiced in Deltaafrik Engineering Limited looking at how effective it is considering its impact on commitment, Professional development, Personal satisfaction, and reward/growth, Interpersonal skill development.
LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
MENTOR: An experienced person in a company or educational institution who trains and counsels new employees
MENTEE: A person who is advised, trained, or counselled by a mentor
ORGANIZATION: An organized group of people with a particular purpose, such as a business or government department:
KNOWLEDGE: Facts, information, and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject:
MENTORING: Advise or train (someone, especially a younger colleague)
COMMITMENT: The state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc
RELATIONSHIP: The way in which two or more people or things are connected, or the state of being connected.
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