Formal Mentoring Advantage for Leadership Development and Thoughts of Quitting in Early Career: Mediating Roles of Leadership Self-Efficacy and Protégé’s Network



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A large number of organizations implement formal mentoring programs in both developed and developing countries. Although the positive effects of formal mentoring on various outcomes have been explored over the last two decades, little is known about the underlying mechanisms through which quality of formal mentoring affects leadership development and thoughts of quitting. In this study, I tested a comprehensive model to explain how quality of formal mentoring can enhance leadership development and reduce the consideration of turnover by integrating social cognitive and social capital theories. I collected data from 100 mentor-protégé dyads in four organizations in South Korea. Structural equation modeling was used to estimate the effects of quality of formal mentoring on motivation to lead, promotability, and thoughts of quitting through the changes in protégés’ leadership self-efficacy and networks. I found that high-quality formal mentoring can facilitate the positive changes in protégés’ leadership self-efficacy and networks in the workplace, which in turn positively affects protégés’ motivation regarding leadership over time. I also found that the change in protégés’ leadership self-efficacy mediated the relationship between high-quality formal mentoring and promotability. Besides these mechanisms, I found that the relationship between high-quality formal mentoring and the change in protégés’ networks is strengthened when protégés have a higher level of political skill. The current study discusses implications for theory, research, and practice.



Formal mentoring, Leadership, Self-efficacy, Protégés’ networks, Motivation to lead, Motivation, Promotability, Thoughts of quitting