Why Managers Want to Be Mentors? The Role of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation and the Anticipated Costs of Mentoring for the Propensity to Mentor by Managers in Formal Mentoring in Organizations

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Purpose: The purpose of the research was to find out the correlation between the motivation and costs of internal or external locus of control and the propensity to mentor. Investment of time and personal energy was regarded as factors with an internal locus of control, whereas a lack of mentee’s achievement, problems caused by a mentee, unhealthy or unfriendly relation, and a risk to be replaced by a mentee were regarded as factors with an external locus of control. In the case of internal factors, their locus of control is the mentor him/herself while, in external factors, their locus is outside of the mentor and lies in a situation or an environment.

Methodology: A quantitative cross-sectional study among Polish managers.

Findings: First, the results show that uniquely intrinsic motivation relates to the propensity to mentor, while extrinsic motivation has no importance. Second, before deciding to mentor, managers estimate the costs of mentoring: the higher they are the lower the propensity to mentor. Third, the costs related to the internal locus of control – time and personal energy invested by a mentor in mentoring – are most important when deciding to mentor. The risk of destroying a mentor’s reputation, problems caused by a mentee, unfriendly or unhealthy relationship and a risk to be replaced by a mentee emerged as of little importance. Fourth, previous experience as a mentor or mentee positively influences the propensity to mentor.

Value: The study contributes to existing research, theory, and practice in the field of organizational behavior in the context of mentoring. The findings shed light on decision patterns in managers’ propensity to mentor and thoroughly explore the role of the anticipated cost of mentoring.

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