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Supporting Women’s Career Advancement

Challenges and Opportunities

Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Mary C. Mattis

This book documents the progress that managerial and professional women have made in advancing their careers, and the challenges and opportunities that remain. In the context of increasing numbers of women entering the workplace and indeed pursuing professional and managerial careers, it examines why so few women occupy the top positions in corporations.
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Chapter 6: Mentoring and identity development: the role of self-determination

Marie Line Germain and Terri A. Scandura


Marie Line Germain and Terri A. Scandura1 INTRODUCTION Levinson (1986) called for theories of adult development that integrate the developmental perspective and the socialization perspective. Developmental theories from the field of psychology focus on individual differences. In contrast, the socialization perspective considers adult development to be a product of external forces such as family, school and organizations. Levinson notes that integration between those perspectives ‘has rarely been attempted’ (p. 12). The purpose of this chapter is to present a new perspective on mentoring and identity development, which focuses on the developmental aspects of the protégé’s determination to utilize mentorship. This represents both individual differences of protégés and self-determination, and socialization provided by organizational mentors. As noted by Gallos (1989), most theories of career advancement are based on male models of success where work is central to the person’s identity. Working identity has generally been defined as ‘how we see ourselves in our professional roles, what we convey about ourselves to others, and ultimately, how we live our working lives’ (Ibarra, 2003, p. 1). Women may define working identity differently from men, and more in terms of the ability to develop effective relationships. Thus, women’s working identity development may be viewed as a product of both the individual and relationships with others at the workplace. MENTORING AND WOMEN’S CAREER ADVANCEMENT According to Levinson et al. (1978) women may receive less mentoring than men, and female mentors in organizational settings are not as prevalent as their...

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