Mentoring outcomes for people of color in the workplace
Westray, Kevin Lee
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The purpose of this study was to understand the outcomes of mentoring with a special emphasis on how it affects people of color in corporate America. There is little empirical evidence that mentoring has increased the numbers of people of color into key organizational positions. My research was a quantitative study to address the outcomes of mentoring for minority status groups. The research questions were: 1) What is the relationship between perceived quality of mentoring and perceived promotability? 2) What is the relationship between mentoring access, protégé race and the perceived opportunity for development? 3) What is the relationship among protégé race, mentoring functions received and perceived value? The survey instrument was used to test the following hypotheses: Hypothesis 1: People of Color will have less experience than Whites with mentoring. Hypothesis 2a: When mentored, People of Color will receive more psychosocial support than Whites. Hypothesis 2b: When mentored, People of Color will receive less instrumental support than Whites. Hypothesis 3: The perceived benefits of mentoring, as related to promotability for Whites will be higher than the benefits of mentoring, as related to promotability for People of Color. Hypothesis 1 was not supported. Of the 240 respondents who said they had a mentor, 49% were Black, and 51% were White. Hypothesis 2a had mixed support. At the construct level of psychosocial mentoring, hypothesis 2a was not supported. However, at the sub-construct level, there was statistical significance in role modeling, friendship and parenting. Hypothesis 2b also had mixed support. At the construct level of instrumental mentoring, hypothesis 2b was not supported. However, at the sub-construct level, there was statistical significance in sponsoring. Examining race interactions of protégé and mentor also yielded significance in the overall instrumental function, promotability, and in five of the instrumental roles; sponsor, coach, protect, challenging assignments, and exposure. Hypothesis 3 had mixed support. At the construct level of promotability, there was no statistical significance. However, when looking at the interaction between protégé race and mentor race, White protégés with a Black mentor felt their mentor had advanced their career more than any other dyad race combination.