Developing towards a greater “We”!: How a formal mentorship program triggers identity work of mentees - A Qualitative Case Study

University essay from Lunds universitet/Företagsekonomiska institutionen

Abstract: Title: Developing towards a greater “We”!: How a formal mentorship program triggers identity work of mentees Course: BUSN49, Degree Project in Managing People, Knowledge & Change Authors: Jana Bernhardt and Laura Kristin Warlich Supervisor: Stefan Sveningsson (PhD), Lund University, Sweden Purpose: The main aim of our study is to gain a profound understanding of participants' sense-making in a formal mentorship program. This involves examining the significance of the relationship in the mentoring dyads. Furthermore, we aim to discover how the formal mentorship program influences mentee’s identity. Methodology: Placed in the interpretative research tradition and applying a critical lens, our research consists of a qualitative case study and follows an abductive approach. We generated our empirical material through 9 in-depth and semi- structured interviews with participants of the formal mentorship program at SecuritySolutions, as well as an organizational document. Theoretical Perspective: Our study focuses on a formal mentorship program aimed at exchanging competence intra-organizationally and developing employees. Hence, we draw upon conceptual studies on formal mentoring, and consider its purpose and the mentoring relationship. Moreover, a learning typology by Lankau and Scandura provides an important foundation to grasp mentee’s personal development. Additionally, Sveningsson and Alvesson’s concept of identity work is essential for our understanding of the formal mentorship program's influence on mentees identity. Conclusion: Our findings reveal that the relationship in formal mentorship programs is highly significant in providing psychological mentoring functions, resulting in mentees personal development. Additionally, we identified regulatory elements in the formal mentorship program, which only function through having meaningful relationships built on trust and vulnerability. Moreover, our findings suggest that these regulatory elements trigger identity work in mentees, which ultimately increases their organizational identification. Key Words: Formal Mentorship Program, Mentees’ personal development, Identity Work, Organizational Identification

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