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Chapter 7: Mentoring as a Career Development Tool: Gender, Race and Ethnicity Implications
Helen M. Woolnough and Marilyn J. Davidson Introduction Mentoring is increasingly regarded as an essential career development tool that aids individual development and contributes to a successful, progressive career. Empirical research has consistently demonstrated that mentees experience an array of positive outcomes from mentoring relationships including enhanced career mobility, increased job satisfaction and increased visibility (Chao, 1997; Fagenson, 1989; Woolnough et al., 2005). As the ability to learn, grow and adapt becomes more essential to organizational effectiveness, organizations are increasingly recognizing the beneﬁts of lifelong learning through mechanisms such as mentoring (Allen and Poteet, 1999; Kram, 2004). This is even more essential considering the traditional linear career structure is increasingly being replaced by more ﬂexible structures to meet the complex demands of a rapidly changing marketplace. These ﬂexible structures necessitate organizational socialization and networking (Higgins and Kram, 2001) and mentors are an effective resource to facilitate and guide this greater organizational movement (Kram, 2004). Whilst mentoring is recognized as an important career development tool for men and women, it has been suggested that mentoring relationships are particularly crucial to the career development of women in business and management. Research conducted with senior women has identiﬁed mentoring as a speciﬁc strategy employed by women to enable them to climb the corporate ladder (Davidson and Burke, 2004; Ragins, Townsend and Mattis, 1998; Vinnicombe and Singh, 2003). This has led Ragins (2002: 44) to claim that mentoring may be the ‘ice pick’ for breaking through the ‘glass ceiling’, an invisible...
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