This phenomenological study attempted to offer new elucidation on the protégé's experience in mentoring relationships facilitated in the virtual domain. Its purpose was to more fully understand the nature and effectiveness of protégé learning in e-mentoring by discovering, specifically, what they learned of their mentors, how that learning occurred, and what factors assisted or hindered that learning in the electronic platform.
As a result of this study, 19 diverse "learned" elements were incorporated into a new taxonomy with four distinctive categories: intra-personal learning; interpersonal learning; organizational protocols and norms; and business tools and processes. Additionally, the methods for protégé learning were revealed, with the use of telephone, email, and web-based visual conferencing confirmed as the primary modes for information exchange. Further, 11 approaches by which mentors interacted with protégés were noted, ranging from more directive measures to more engaging behaviors, as cataloged in a new model that illustrated this on a continuum. Finally, this study revealed 28 factors that assisted the learning process and nine factors that hindered it, as captured in an index of best practices and obstacles to avoid for the primary actors in the virtual mentoring experience – mentors, protégés, and their sponsoring programs.
This final point identifies the important implications of this research for mentors and their protégés, offering a baseline of recommended interactions that would catalyze a more successful learning experience. Human resources professionals may also use these guidelines in the development of mentor and protégé training programs and as a component in the process of build learning organizations that are adaptive, agile, and able to create sustainable success in today's globalized workplace.
|Subjects||Management; Organization theory; Organizational behavior|
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