International Journal of Business and Social Science

ISSN 2219-1933 (Print), 2219-6021 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijbss


Mentoring, Organizational Rank, and Women’s Perceptions of Advancement Opportunities in the Workplace
Christa Ellen Washington

The purpose of this study was to examine perceived career barriers of women in entry-level and mid-level positions who were formally and informally mentored. Research studies have found that mentoring can yield positive outcomes; however, there is limited research on how mentoring style impacts career advancement. The primary research questions were: Do women who reported being informally mentored identify the same perceived barriers to career advancement as women who reported being formally mentored, and are there differences based on whether women reported being in entry-level or mid-management-level positions? Professional women representing a variety of professional organizations were invited to participate. Mentoring style (formal and informal) and organizational rank (entry-level and mid-management) were compared on perceived career barriers (lack of cultural fit, exclusion from informal networks, lack of mentoring, poor organizational management processes, difficulty getting developmental assignments, and difficulty obtaining opportunities for geographic mobility). Results indicated only one significant finding. Informally mentored protégés rated Lack of Mentoring as more of a barrier to advancement than who reported being formally mentored. The study contributes to social change by providing empirical support for the importance of formal mentoring in empowering women for future career advancement. Managers who understand the importance of formal mentoring for women can help create work environments that provide equal opportunities for advancement for both men and women.

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