The influence of mentor function on protégés' psychological contracts with their organizations
Simon, Shana Alexis
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This study utilizes an exchange theory framework to examine the influence of mentor function on the development of protégés’ psychological contracts with their organizations. Specifically, it is posited that mentoring can be conceptualized as a series of exchanges between the mentor and the protégé through which the protégé determines what he or she can expect from the organization (e.g., overtime pay, personal development). In addition, this study examines the roles of organizational justice and attributions regarding the organization as a viable exchange partner with respect to the focal relationship. The hypothesized model depicts a parallel set of relationships, which are consistent with the distinction between economic exchange and social exchange. To clarify, the model distinguishes between the quantifiable or tangible aspects of the focal relationship (which define economic exchange) and the intangible aspects of the same relationship (which define social exchange). Structural equations modeling was utilized to evaluate the hypothesized model. Results suggest that this relationship is mediated by perceptions of organizational justice and attributions regarding the organization as a viable exchange partner. Furthermore, the intangible aspects of the variables (e.g., procedural justice, affective commitment) appear to have a stronger influence on psychological contract development than the tangible aspects of the same variables (e.g., distributive justice, calculative commitment). Finally, the findings contribute to mentoring research and theory as well as to the development of a new model of career progression. In particular, the results of the present study provide a deeper examination of the differences between career-related and psychosocial mentor functions and insight into the processes related to the evaluation of mentoring experiences. Additionally, this focus on processes responds to a need for an updated model of career progression that better represents the multiple directions and decisions that guide the development of the modern career.