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The Science and Practice of Workplace Mentoring Relationships

Tammy D. Allen, University of South Florida; and Lillian Turner Eby, University of Georgia

This seminar will focus on the significant contribution of mentoring initiatives in organizations. Specifically, two leading scholars in the field of mentoring will discuss the latest research developments and the impact of formal and informal mentoring. Guidelines will be reviewed for developing successful mentoring initiatives, accompanied by hands-on activities to apply session concepts.
Mentoring is an increasingly popular strategy to build human capital in organizations, especially in tough economic times. This can be accomplished by developing formal mentoring programs targeted to a particular objective (e.g., newcomer socialization, diversity development, succession planning) or by creating an organizational climate that fosters the development of informal mentoring relationships. This seminar will focus on the science and practice of workplace mentoring relationships. An overview of the latest research on mentoring will be shared, followed by a comprehensive set of guidelines for implementing mentoring programs within organizations. Strategies to increase informal mentoring within the organization will also be discussed. In addition to focusing on the potential benefits of mentoring relationships, the difficulties and challenges associated with mentoring will also be covered. Experiential exercises and discussion will be used, which can be adapted by seminar participants for use in their own organizations.

Learning Objectives:
  • Discuss current research on workplace mentoring. 
  • Recognize predictors and outcomes associated with mentoring. 
  • Describe the challenges associated with mentoring relationships and mentoring programs.
  • Identify critical “drivers” of effective formal mentoring practices.


Tammy D. Allen is professor of Psychology at the University of South Florida. Tammy is coauthor of Designing Workplace Mentoring Programs: An Evidence-based Approach, co-editor of The Blackwell Handbook of Mentoring: A Multiple Perspectives Approach, and coeditor of the forthcoming Personal Relationships at Work: The Effect of Positive and Negative Work Relationships on Employee Attitudes, Behavior, and Well-being. She is associate editor for the Journal of Applied Psychology and currently serves as the chair of the SIOP Scientific Affairs Committee. Her mentoring research has received best paper awards from organizations such as the Academy of Management and the Society for Training and Development and has been funded by agencies such as the Society for Human Resources Foundation. She is the 2008 recipient of the Academy of Management Mentoring Legacy Award, which recognizes scholars whose work has been germinal to the research and study of mentoring. Tammy is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. 
Lillian Turner Eby is professor of Psychology at the University of Georgia. Lillian’s interests are in the area of organizational careers and occupational health psychology. She is a coeditor of two edited books: one focusing on mentoring relationships and the other focusing more broadly on relationships at work. Lillian has been studying mentoring relationships for the past decade, with much of her interest on the potential problems that can arise in mentoring relationships. Her research has garnered numerous awards including the Academy of Management Mentoring Legacy Award and a Creative Research Medal from UGA. She is the former Associate Editor of Personnel Psychology and is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, and The Institute for Behavioral Research at UGA. Currently she is the Principal Investigator on three multiyear research grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (totaling $7.5 million dollars) to study workforce development issues in substance abuse treatment organizations.
Coordinator: Kristen M. Shockley, Baruch College – City University of New York