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Title: How does a developmental relationship mentoring model affect toxicity experienced in mentoring relationships?
Author: Washington, Rhianon S.
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2012
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Mentoring receives a consistently favourable press and its merits and benefits are widely researched and acclaimed (for example Clutterbuck, 1995 and Harrington, 2011). Some advocates appear almost evangelical in their perspective and responses to the mentoring process. From offender schemes (Tarling, Davison and Clarke, 2004), to initiatives for small businesses (NWDA, 2010), the UK government continues to invest heavily in the concept of mentoring. Despite these plaudits mentoring relationships can occasionally founder and, due to the intensity of the relationship harm can be inflicted on both mentor and mentee alike. Such failing relationships are usually ascribed the provocatively charged label of 'toxic' mentoring (Feldman, 1999; Gray and Smith, 2000). Both the human and financial implications of failed mentoring relationships are a serious problem for government investment. Although a relatively under-researched phenomenon the incidents of negative mentoring experiences are not uncommon (Simon and Eby, 2003). Investment in mentoring has grown, with a proliferation of progressive schemes addressing an array of specific issues, from adult substance misuse (Welsh Assembly, 2009) to workplace gender inequalities (EC, 2007). With investment ranging from thousands of pounds in small scale schemes to hundreds of thousands of pounds, the economic implications of failure are potentially significant. Hamlin and Sage (2011) argue that while research has studied the benefits of mentoring, there is little focus on what constitutes effective mentoring in formal settings, or the interpersonal processes involved. Allen and Poteet (1999:70) noted that research was "desperately needed to assess the specific design features" of successful mentoring programmes. The focus has been on the programmes themselves rather than the individuals within them, and findings have centred on programme improvements and objectives or better matching processes in order to understand successful mentoring (Eby and Lockwood, 2005). The measurement of mentoring success however, is problematic and a uniform model for evaluation remains elusive. In one study (Gaskell, 2007) just 34% of organisations were able to successfully measure the impact of coaching, despite the availability of adequate resources and substantial investment in the programmes. Demonstrating return on investment for enterprises involving soft skills can be challenging, particularly when endeavouring to separate the mentoring aspect from other influencing factors. Establishing return on expectation is however, a more manageable proposition and can prove valuable. Attempts to identify the impact of professional development interventions have generated some innovative approaches such as the 'isolation factor' identified in research by McGovern, Lindemann, Vergara, Murphy, Barker and, Warrenfeltz (2001). The study separates out the effects of coaching but is generated purely from the perspective of the participants, which arguably lacks objectivity. However its success is measured, the popularity of mentoring continues to grow and its benefits remain appreciated (CIMA, 2002). Ineffective mentoring may be avoided through understanding its characteristics and the rationale of failed relationships may prevent repetition, providing a valid objective worthy of further research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: coaching, mentoring, Doctorate in Coaching and Mentoring