Academic journal article South Asian Journal of Management

Mentor's Interest in Mentoring Entrepreneurs: Antecedents and Consequences

Academic journal article South Asian Journal of Management

Mentor's Interest in Mentoring Entrepreneurs: Antecedents and Consequences

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Owing to the unpredictability and competition of today's economic environment, many organizations are engaged in mentoring entrepreneurs. Mentoring helps in minimizing the failure rates of firms and enables entrepreneurs to survive in the competitive business environment. Deakins, Graham, Sullivan and Whittam (1997) suggested that high failure rate of firms can be minimized through mentoring on a selective basis. Individual mentors or groups of mentors are assembled to generate tailored mentoring for potential entrepreneurs (Deakins, Graham, Sullivan and Whittam, 1997). With the growing success rate of startups through mentoring organizations, mentoring has become an essential factor in the entrepreneurial growth of the Indian economy. However, the tendency of putting hardwork, expertise, and time increases the expectations of the mentors and thus, the unmet and unnoticed expectations cause disinterest among them towards the mentoring process. In order to reduce the risk of mentoring failure, it is necessary that mentors and researchers understand the catalysts responsible for mentor performance.

Research on mentoring relations has examined multiple antecedents to mentoring intentions, ranging from non-financial factors such as, help, guide, and self-satisfaction to financial factors such as, equity, fees and some designation in the mentored firm. In addition, scholars have studied the positive and negative outcomes of mentoring for mentors. These studies have provided important insights into the factors that influence mentoring intentions; it was found that outcomes for mentors varied across sectors Ragins and Cotton, 1993; Allen, Russell and Maetzke, 1997; and Ragins and Scandura, 1999). For example, mentoring intentions in government-supported organizations were found to be influenced by factors different from those in private and academic organizations. In the latter case, mentors needed to interact closely with potential entrepreneurs to work on some innovative ideas that may have required specialized knowledge and complete handholding. Moreover, Chrisman and McMullan (2005) reported that entrepreneurs who were supported by advisors (consultants, counselors, accountants and lawyers) before and after the conception of startup, were benefitted by the knowledge of their advisors.

Prior investigations have emphasized the importance of mentors to mentees in enhancing their career prospects, though a vice-versa relationship has not been established. Moreover, previous literature has reported positive and negative experiences of mentors (Eby, Durley, Evans and Ragins, 2008), but hardly explored entry-barriers which prevent them from undertaking mentoring. Also, very few studies have been conducted to explore mentor commitment in terms of time spent with mentee (Weinberg and Lankau, 2011). On occasion, literature mentions rewards for mentors (Ragins and Scandura, 1999), but it has rarely considered the mechanism through which these factors impact the intentions of mentors, and also, how in particular, these factors are related to one another. To fill these gaps, we have examined the causal relationship between the said factors. This paper aims at identifying the antecedents and the mediators that may influence mentoring intentions of the mentors.

Previous studies examined the mentor-mentee relationship have generally focused on the perspective of the mentee. We argue that in order to increase the success of mentoring relations, both mentor and mentee perspectives should be known. For example, both mentors and mentees report unmet expectations from mentoring relations (Hansford, Tennent and Ehrich, 2010) implying that the mentoring output is often uncertain and difficult to predict. Hansford also mentioned that the mentoring process leads to new ideas and progressive insights over time, but is frequently characterized by unexpected events and opportunities, and includes changes in mentee demands and lack of mentors' interest during the mentoring process. …

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