Mentoring experiences of disabled employees
Kimbrough, Andrea Brinley
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The disability literature suggests the use of mentoring programs in order to help the advancement opportunities and integration of disabled employees in the workplace. However, there is no research to date exploring the mentoring experiences of disabled employees. The current study examined the mentoring experiences of disabled protégés by exploring the relationship between protégé characteristics (i.e., self-disclosure, concealability, and disruptiveness), mentor characteristics (i.e., disability experience and gender), and work group characteristics (i.e., tokenism) with mentoring functions (i.e., career and psychosocial). In addition, moderating variables (i.e., organizational support for diversity and type of mentoring relationship) were proposed to influence the relationship between the predictor variables and mentoring functions received. Protégé self-disclosure significantly predicted psychosocial mentoring, although the other protégé characteristics of concealability and disruptiveness of the disability were not found to significantly predict mentoring functions. Examination of the moderator variable revealed a significant interaction of concealability and organizational support for diversity with career-related mentoring. Mentor disability experience was also significantly related to mentoring functions; although mentor gender was unable to be examined due to an insufficient number of male mentors reported. Finally, perceived tokenism significantly predicted the receipt of mentoring functions. The current study suggests that specific characteristics of the protégé, mentor, and work environment relative to the protégés’ disability influence the receipt of mentoring functions received. This study contributes to the literature by including disabled populations into the study of diversified mentoring relationships. Implications and future research are discussed.