Essay Example on Worldwide many organizations have come to recognize the Value

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Worldwide many organizations have come to recognize the value of mentorships and have tried to formalize these relationships as part of the planned career development of junior managers and professionals Noe 1988 Wilson Elman 1990 The basic distinction between formal and informal mentorships lies in the formation of the relationship Formal mentorships are programs that are managed and sanctioned by the organization Chao Walz Gardner 1992 Formal mentoring programs include training for mentors Murray 2006 They tie the mentoring program to business goals with measurable results and conduct periodic evaluations and coordination offering ongoing support for mentoring pairs Day et al 2009 suggest that formal mentoring programmes are recommended for contemporary leadership development because leadership development is more effective in the context of work i e learning by doing than in traditional classroom settings Many Organizations across the globe have attempted to encash on the benefits of mentoring by developing formal mentoring programs in which mentors and mentee are matched and extended support for their relationship 



In fact today all big U S corporations have established formal mentoring programs and are already reaping benefits from same Although well intentioned formal mentoring relationships are often unable to duplicate the strong relationships that develop informally between protégés and mentors when those relationships are based on mutual attraction and respect Studies Ragins Cotton 1999 caution that formal mentoring programs do not appear to benefit women as much as men Formal mentoring programmes provide a structure that can enable individuals who might otherwise find it difficult to access influence networks to overcome implicit or explicit barriers to commencing mentoring relationships The degree of formality present in the mentoring relationship influences the dynamics and consequences of the relationship Ragins Cotton 1999 In contrast Informal mentorships are not managed structured nor formally recognized by the organization Conventionally they are spontaneous relationships that occur without exterior involvement from the organization Informal mentoring relationships develop naturally and are maintained on a voluntary basis Ragins Cotton 1999 Perceived competence and interpersonal comfort are the basis of formation of Informal mentoring relationships Eby et al 2007 Mentors tend to select high potential protégés who are considered to be rising stars or even diamonds in the rough Kram 1985 With informal mentoring relationships both the mentor and the protégé carefully observe each before committing to the mentoring relationship


Here the protégé s look for mentors who possess power have self confidence and are willing to share and protect On the other side potential mentors generally seek out protégés who have already established a good performance record possess a desirable social background and have demonstrated commitment and loyalty Hunt Michael 1983 Informal mentors are more likely than formal mentors to engage in psychosocial activities like counselling providing friendship facilitating social interactions role modelling etc Perhaps as a result of this several studies comparing these two styles of mentoring have concluded that protégés with informal mentors are more satisfied with their mentors than the protégés with formal mentors Ragins Cotton 1999 This is further supported by study highlighting that personnel with informal mentors were a source for commitment compared to personnel with no mentors Colarelli and Bishop 1990 Researches done in the field of mentoring suggest that proactive behaviours are useful in the formation of informal mentoring relationships since such behaviours lead to exchanges and interactions with others in one's environment Aryee Lo Kang 1999 Turban Dougherty 1994 Ragins and Cotton 1999 also identify other possible reasons for the greater advantages of informal mentoring For instance formal mentoring relationships typically last less than one year which might be too short a time period for the positive aspects of mentoring to take hold In contrast informal relationships may last for a longer period

Moreover in formal mentoring relationship mentor may choose to participate in the program out of sheer dedication for the organization rather than a personal connection to the protégé Consequently mentors may be less committed to their protégés and the mentor and mentees may never get to develop a bond and a fully trusting relationship Also formal programs tend to focus on short term career goals instead of the long term focus of an informal relationship The reason why informal mentoring relationships have been found to be more beneficial may also be attributed to the fact that many a times mentors assigned to employees by formal programs may not interact with the assigned mentees in the same manner as informal mentors Also if they have not supervised the individual they may not possess feedback information that can shed light on the mentee's role and guide him her in the role negotiation process Jackson Schuler 1985 According to Delong Gabarro Lees 2008 the notion that a standardized mentoring system will solve one's problems is an illusion Rewarding a mentor for engaging in prescribed interactions with subordinates simply doesn t work Mentoring process whether formal or informal should be one which can create an effective relationship between the employees and the organization in such a way that both the parties benefit equitably Chebolu 2005


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