book prospectus - Boston University
Publishing Proposal for:
Relationships that Matter:
How to create and sustain connections with meaning and purpose
Wendy M. Murphy, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Management
Tomasso Hall 126
Babson Park, MA 02457
Phone: (781) 239-4539
Kathy E. Kram, Ph.D.
Shipley Professor in Management
School of Management
595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
Phone: (617) 353-4269
The Entrepreneurial Protégé:
Why all leaders- including you- need a network of mentors and how to create your own
By Wendy M. Murphy and Kathy E. Kram
Why do I need a mentor? And if I need one, then how do I become a protégé? When do I stop
needing a mentor and start mentoring others? Interest in mentoring has exploded in the past 30
years and we all have our own ideas about what makes a good mentor. But what makes a good
After decades of research, we know that both of these skills- being a good protégé and being a
good mentor- are critical for professional learning and success. And historically, being a protégé
in a strong mentoring relationship was enough to catapult you to success. But the world of work
has changed and with it the model of mentoring has changed too. Academics have talked about
this significant change in work and in the nature of mentoring for years now, yet no one has
translated that knowledge from research to practice--- to reach a wider audience and to help you.
Our goal is to help you become an entrepreneurial protégé. An entrepreneurial protégé
determines his or her learning goals and seeks mentors that will help propel them to accomplish
what is personally and professionally meaningful.
By reading this book, you will be able to
accurately assess who you need to ask for help and take action to build your personal board of
Every CEO has a formal Board of Directors, but when you ask CEOs who helps them manage
their career (and life), they will list a variety of people, including former bosses, colleagues,
spouses, friends, and even people who work for them. Studies show that even leaders at the top
of their industry enlist several mentors at critical moments in their careers to help them succeed.
The point is that you need multiple mentors, your own personal board of directors, to help
navigate the uncertain and ever-changing workplace. And to create one, you need to become an
We start by exploring where you find mentors and why you need a network according to the
research (See Figure 1).
Figure 1: Where to find mentors
Family & Friends
We explain why mentoring works, particularly what benefits these developmental relationships
bring to both protégés and mentors. Then we discuss how you can become an entrepreneurial
protégé to create your personal board of directors. The map of where to find mentors, shapes the
chapters on who to enlist for help, how to approach them and why. This new entrepreneurial
protégé approach urges you to identify potential mentors (inside and outside your workplace)
and to proactively develop mutually beneficial relationships. In cultivating a network of mentors,
leaders at all levels will acquire knowledge and skills to accomplish their goals.
Dr. Wendy Murphy and Dr. Kathy Kram are experts on mentoring in the workplace. Their work
has focused on improving mentoring relationships and encouraging professionals to invest in
their developmental networks. In this book, we describe our own research and practice as well
as draw on the fields of mentoring, leadership, and careers to discuss strategies and techniques
that may be applied by all professionals.
The primary target audience for this book includes individuals at every career stage who want to
learn how to leverage mentoring networks in their own learning and development. Regardless of
sector and industry, all professionals are facing steep learning curves and a rapid pace of change.
Many already know that mentors and coaches can make a big difference, but don’t necessarily
know how they can proactively build such positive connections. We intend to provide practical
guidance on these matters. The book will also be of interest to Human Resource practitioners
and consultants who facilitate education and training related to mentoring and leadership
development, and to those who more generally facilitate the talent development process in
organizations. Finally, senior leaders of organizations will find a good resource for fostering a
mentoring culture and being a role model of effective mentoring for others.
STRUCTURE OF THE CHAPTERS
The first section will explain how and why mentoring (or developmental) networks are necessary
for success in today’s competitive environment and focuses on “You” at the center of your own
network (Refer to Figure 1). In the second section, each of the categories of workplace
developers is explored, including formal mentors, leaders, peers, and subordinates. The third
section addresses the importance of developers outside of the workplace, potential challenges in
developmental relationships, and emerging trends. Each chapter will contribute a piece of the
developmental network puzzle, individual and organizational examples or stories, strategies for
enlisting each type of developer, and self-assessment tools/reflections. The chapters will
conclude with a list of suggested further readings. References will be superscripted with a
complete list by chapter at the end of the book.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION
Why do you need mentors? Decades of research has shown that mentoring relationships are one
of the most valuable resources for career and leadership development. Indeed, protégés have
higher salaries, are promoted faster, and are more satisfied with their careers.
Traditionally, the mentor–protégé relationship has consisted of a junior person-- the protégé—
and a senior, more experienced colleague-- the mentor-- within the same organization. Many
employers understand that mentoring is important and have implemented formal mentoring
programs. But do you need a formal mentor?
The answer is, no, not necessarily- although mentoring programs are one avenue to begin to get
the mentoring you need in your career. Informal mentoring is often more effective than formal
mentoring for many reasons that we will discuss. Even more importantly, protégés with a
network of mentors (or developers) are more successful. And these relationships are mutually
beneficial-- mentoring is good for both the protégé and the mentor.
We begin this book explaining why one mentor is not enough in today’s turbulent and
challenging work environment. To ensure success, all of us- from new hire to CEO- should
create and maintain a network of mentors, known in academic circles as a developmental
network. We share stories and invite you to reflect on your own experiences, assess your needs,
and cultivate a mentoring (developmental) network that will enable you to thrive.
SECTION ONE: CREATING CONNECTIONS WITH MEANING AND PURPOSE
Chapter 2: Why Relationships Matter
When you tell people they need a mentor to succeed, most agree and are immediately
overwhelmed. How do I get someone to be my mentor? The problem is not with getting help in
your career, the problem is that the word mentor itself has become a “charged” word in our
It all started with Greek mythology. In Homer’s Odyssey, the original Mentor was the goddess
Athena in disguise. Odysseus, king of Ithaca, had to travel to fight the Trojan War. While at war,
he entrusted Mentor to teach and oversee his son, Telemachus. Over time, the word mentor has
come to mean someone who imparts wisdom and knowledge to their protégé. But could anyone
really live up to the standards of a Greek goddess as a mentor?
Business and academic interest in mentoring as a developmental tool soared during the 1980s
and 1990s. Today we know that mentoring has the potential to facilitate leadership development,
career advancement, satisfaction at work, individual performance and organizational
performance. However the global economy presents unprecedented challenges that require
individuals and organizations to regularly learn and develop new approaches to solving the novel
challenges in every workplace. Mentoring is not only a good thing to have (and to do), but now
essential to being effective and adaptive in the current environment.
The modern workplace is so complex that it is unlikely one mentor can fulfill all of your career
support needs. Instead, each of us needs a “developmental network”---a set of relationships that
each individual builds to access the range of mentoring functions they need in order to be
successful as they move forward on their leadership journeys. We call the people in your
developmental network developers. Some developers may be traditional mentors, while others
may provide only certain types of support. Amongst all of your developers, one may be in your
current workplace and others may be family members or members of your community. We will
explain why your developers should come from both work and non-work contexts, as Figure 1
Chapter 3: How Relationships Support Your Development
In Kathy’s first book, she found that mentors provide two main forms of support: career
functions (aspect of the relationship that support career advancement) and psychosocial functions
(aspects of the relationship that develop competence, clarity of professional identity, and selfworth). Much of what we know about mentoring relationships is based on this knowledge.
We call these “true mentors,” those relationships that provide the full range of developmental
support. However careers are less predictable today and it is unlikely that one person could
provide you with all of the support you need. By creating a network of developers who provide
some of the career and psychosocial support you seek, you will be able to get the support you
need at different career stages as you navigate new challenges.
We review how mentoring relationships look different at each stage of your career: for example,
newcomers will find mentoring very helpful in getting established in an organization and/or
career, whereas midcareer individuals will find mentoring very helpful in navigating through
voluntary or involuntary career transitions. We will summarize what you can do to attract
mentoring relationships and how those relationships may positively enhance your career. In
addition, we will discuss how the context in which relationships evolve can shape what they look
like and how they unfold.
Chapter 4: An Entrepreneurial Approach to Creating Connections
Our premise is that every individual must proactively seek out the mentoring that he or she needs
at any point in time. An entrepreneurial protégé determines his or her personal goals and the
relationships that will propel them toward accomplishing what is personally and professionally
meaningful. This vision of an ideal “developmental network” is created by you only after a
thorough assessment of your strengths and limitations, as well as your personal values and goals.
We will provide tools for self-assessment, and help you identify where to find potential
developers. We will then discuss the attitudes and behaviors that have been shown to be most
effective in building developmental relationships. You will be invited to evaluate your current
developmental network as well as to create your ideal, and to develop an action plan based on
SECTION TWO: LEARNING FROM RELATIONSHIPS AT WORK
Chapter 5: Formal Mentoring Programs as one avenue for professional development
Over 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies have implemented formal mentoring programs to
make mentoring available to targeted employees. In this chapter we review the objectives,
structure and processes that characterize these programs, and the conditions which enable them
to thrive and/or undermine their effectiveness. Major differences in process and outcomes of
formal and informal mentoring relationships will be highlighted.
Should you participate in a formal mentoring program? Our stance is that formal programs offer
opportunities to learn about mentoring, to experience an organizationally arranged mentoring
relationship, and to develop the self-awareness and social skills to build other developmental
relationships that comprise a robust developmental network.
If you are an employer thinking about sponsoring a formal program, we outline strategies for
linking such an initiative with other leadership development, career planning and succession
planning systems and programs. In addition, we highlight practices and tactics that create
unrealistic expectations, disillusionment, dysfunctional relationships, and an array of negative
outcomes for both individuals and organizations.
Chapter 6: Leaders as Mentors, Role Models, and Creators of Culture
Leaders have the potential to significantly influence the quality and availability of mentoring in
their organizations. At any level of an organization, a leader (whether first line supervisor or
senior executive) can serve as a role model by actively mentoring junior colleagues and peers. In
doing so leaders help to create a learning culture in which members are encouraged to learn in
their relationships with others.
Leaders in a position to influence HR strategy and practices can make sure that performance
management systems include recognition and rewards for mentoring others, and also lend
resources and supports to initiatives such as formal mentoring programs, education related to
mentoring and coaching, and new initiatives designed to leverage peer relationships for learning.
Specific illustrations of how leaders foster mentoring cultures as well as relevant diagnostic
questions will be provided.
Chapter 7: Friend-tors: Getting the most from Relationships with Peers
Relationships with peers are an underutilized resource for learning and development at every
career stage. There is a growing recognition that the trends of rapidly changing technology,
globalization, and team-based organizations (in contrast to traditional hierarchical organizations)
make peer learning a vital alternative and complement to traditional mentoring.
Consistent with the Developmental Network Model introduced in chapter 1, we illustrate how
peer relationships—both dyad and group---can enhance job-related learning, personal learning,
and career advancement. We distinguish between peer mentoring and peer coaching, and how
each of these relationship types can contribute to both partners. In addition, we feature several
dyad and group level initiatives that have been implemented in organizations to foster active
learning between peers at challenging moments. Risk factors inherent in peer coaching will also
be highlighted, along with the strategies for minimizing them.
-add step-ahead mentors in this chapter
Chapter 8: My employee, my teacher-- unleashing the potential of Reverse Mentoring
The most recent form of mentoring to surface in both research and practice is “reverse”
mentoring. This is when the more junior (and/or younger) partner in the relationship is the
mentor, and the relationship is initiated to support the more senior (and/or older) protégé’s
Mutuality and reciprocity are particularly important for reverse mentoring relationships because
both individuals learn and teach (on different matters). So, for example, while a new employee
may bring knowledge of technology that a manager may need to learn, the more senior,
experienced employee has wisdom and experience in the organization and industry to share. The
potential for both parties to learn in the relationship is great, both in terms of new knowledge and
skills, as well as greater empathy across generations.
When should organizations consider a reverse mentoring program? Millennial and Gen X
employees often have more technological knowledge than their bosses and other senior
executives. Thus, they can serve as mentors on these strategic imperatives. Organizations can
also benefit from reverse mentoring in creating greater understanding, information exchange, and
collaboration across inherent generational divides. Reverse mentoring can lead to a range of
outcomes including learning, better individual performance, better organizational performance,
reduced turnover and increased organizational outcomes. Guidelines for identifying and
implementing opportunities for reverse mentoring will be highlighted.
SECTION THREE: CHANGING THE MODEL OF MENTORING FOR YOU AND
Chapter 9: Why Connections Outside of Work Matter
With the rise of boundaryless careers, people are more likely to experience frequent job changes
and movement across organizations. The boundaries between work and life have also become
blurry as we are constantly connected through technology. These trends are compounded by the
rapid pace of change and economic uncertainty. In this environment, mentors (developers)
outside of work have become a key source of stability and continuity.
If you are thinking about changing jobs or have a difficult situation at work, it makes sense that
you may want to talk to someone outside your organization. Mentors from previous employers,
professional organizations, alumni networks, and family or friends provide critical information,
support, and resources. These relationships act as a buffer for stress and help decrease workfamily conflict enabling you to perform better and to feel more satisfied in both your work and
Leaders at all levels need outside support to help process what goes on within their organization
and to provide an external perspective on their leadership growth and development. We discuss
how all of us should seek to enlist a variety of developers outside of work and suggest strategies
for creating a developmental network that fits your career and life goals.
Chapter 10: 21st Century Challenges for Relationships and how to work through them
Diversity. When you initiate mentoring relationships with people who are different from you
(e.g., cross-cultural, cross-gender, cross-race, relationships), you may face challenges in
recognizing cultural differences, overcoming stereotypes, developing trust, and managing the
perceptions of others. Research has uncovered several strategies for improving mentoring among
diverse parties. For example, mentors with women protégés will want to pay particular attention
to their role as sponsors, who advocate for their protégé.
We know that over time differences may actually increase the potential learning and growth
between mentors and protégés. We will discuss the most challenging diversity issues and how to
foster effective relationships across gender, racial and ethnic boundaries so that individuals of
diverse backgrounds can thrive, and organizations can develop highly productive and diverse
Technology. The use of technology for relationship development and maintenance poses unique
challenges. While electronic communication is convenient and efficient, it is a limited form of
expression which may be particularly difficult in the early stages of relationships. Research has
shown that the addition of one phone call or face-to-face interaction improves the support that
protégés receive and the satisfaction that mentors feel. Social networks, including Facebook,
Twitter, and LinkedIn among others, must be an explicit part of the conversation in any
mentoring relationship. These technologies provide an opportunity to connect however they
often bridge the personal and professional roles for individuals (particularly Facebook) and thus
need to be managed thoughtfully.
Persistent Change. In all sectors, persistent change is a fact of life. Therefore, employees at all
career stages and hierarchical levels are novices in one or more arenas at any point in time. This
means that learning is more critical than ever before. In order to meet the daily demands of
changing circumstances, you must be an active learner, and build developmental alliances with
peers, seniors, and subordinates both inside and outside the immediate workplace.
Chapter 11: Tor-mentors: When mentoring goes awry, why and what to do about it
Like any relationship, mentoring relationships may become dysfunctional for benign reasons or
for more alarming reasons. For example, there may be conflicting goals or value differences that
make having a healthy connection difficult. When the relationship becomes more trouble than it
is worth or worse when there is deceit or harassment-- and either party may be the cause-salvaging your career may be the most important goal.
When this happens in formal mentoring programs or in developmental networks in which the
dysfunctional relationship is connected to other important people in your network, it may be
particularly difficult for the protégé or mentor to disengage and end the relationship. The most
common issue is indirect in that people simply do not have time to meet. They get busy with
their work and personal lives and do not make the relationship a priority.
We will prepare you for ways in which mentoring may go awry and alert you to patterns of
behavior that may be troublesome. In addition, we offer positive conflict-management strategies
for minimizing dysfunction and even changing the direction of a dysfunctional mentoring
relationship towards a more effective and energizing one.
Chapter 12: Why all organizations should encourage developmental networks
Organizations are beginning to use a network approach to mentoring, encouraging people at all
levels to seek out the support they need from each other. This is truly a developmental network
approach to mentoring in practice. For example, Intel has a program that matches employees
with mentors based on the topics and skills they want to learn about regardless of hierarchical
position or geographical location.
More broadly, organizations can mentor each other, particularly small entrepreneurially ventures
poised for growth. This happens in Silicon Valley where start-up incubators foster connections
between high potential start-ups and expert venture capitalists. Oftentimes, these incubators host
several organizations in the same building where they may interact and share information or
resources, such as how to access capital, manage talent, or develop sales and marketing. Silicon
Valley exemplifies an ecosystem with a culture of mentoring, where the norm is for experienced
professionals to help newcomers with interesting ideas without the expectation of reciprocity.
We know that these new forms of mentoring are fostering the growth of organizational leaders
who actively learn from one another and discover the skills and resources that will enable their
firms to thrive.
Chapter 13: CONCLUSION
What are the most important take-aways from this book for the entrepreneurial protégé? In this
chapter, we summarize the core elements of the new mentoring mindset, and outline the steps of
self-assessment, goal setting, relationship building, and mutual learning that are essential to
effective self-leadership. You will be reminded of the importance of taking a proactive approach
to maximize opportunities for building relationships that facilitate your continuous learning and
development. We will also summarize what leaders, Human Resource and Leadership
Development practitioners, and organizations can do to create and sustain a strong mentoring
culture that encourages every employee to be an entrepreneurial protégé.
SAMPLE CHAPTER 1
Have you ever searched for the term “mentor” or “mentoring” on the internet? If you have, you
know there are hundreds of websites dedicated to mentoring that offer their own tips and advice.
Why then, do you need to read this book?
After decades of research on mentoring1 and its importance for career success, we are always
surprised to learn how few of our colleagues, students, and professional friends consider
mentoring a critical component of their career development. Frankly, this is because the journals
that publish this research are not very accessible to anyone outside of academia. It can also be
traced to the growth of formal mentoring programs, such that the label of “mentor” has come to
have a formal designation. We believe that many of us now have such idealized visions of who a
mentor needs to be and what they should do that we no longer recognize or foster informal
mentoring relationships. Wait, informal mentoring relationships?
Yes- and this is one of the most important findings from academic research- informal mentoring
relationships are more effective than formal ones. Now, formal mentoring programs do help and
certainly have a place in organizations. But the research is irrefutable that informal relationships
provide more of every benefit.
As professors, we’ve spent years studying mentoring. We’ve read hundreds of academic studies,
interviewed research participants, and analyzed survey findings from our own and others’ data
Key references: Allen & Eby, 2007; Dobrow, Chandler, Murphy, & Kram, 2012; Higgins & Kram, 2001; Kram, 1985;
Ragins & Kram, 2007.
collection efforts. We’ve asked people to fill out complex questionnaires and to map their
mentoring relationships. Each of us has created and run mentoring and coaching programs and
assisted organizations with their programs. We’ve consulted with large and small organizations,
spoken with executives and consultants, and discussed mentoring at conferences with people
from all over the world. And we’d like to share a few conclusions with you.
Leaders- at all levels- face a more tumultuous and uncertain work environment than ever before.
However as workplace challenges have increased, organizations have shifted much of the
responsibility for leadership development and career management to the individual- yes, you!
Thus, the self-directed career managed by the person— or self-leadership- has replaced
traditional formulas for success.
In this environment, each of us must create stability and certainty for ourselves. Relationships are
critical resources for career development, and mentors can be a key source of stability in
assisting you to successfully adapt to career challenges and grow as a leader.
Supporting these facts, the research on mentoring consistently demonstrates that protégés have
higher salaries, are promoted faster, and are more satisfied with their careers. In fact, the latter
two points are why many organizations created formal mentoring programs as part of their HR
strategy. But recent research shows that if you have a network of mentors then each of these
benefits could be even greater.
When you combine these findings- that informal mentoring relationships are more effective and
that a network of mentors increases the benefits- the reasons this book was needed become clear.
Everyone needs to become an entrepreneurial protégé.
Traditional mentoring and boundaryless careers
The traditional mentor–protégé relationship consists of a junior person- the protégé -paired with
a senior, more experienced colleague- the mentor- most often within the same organization. We
celebrate mentors and their contributions across history, beginning with Greek mythology and
philosophy. The original Mentor appeared in Homer’s Odyssey as a teacher and protector of his
son, Telemachus. Over time, the word mentor has come to mean someone who imparts wisdom
and knowledge to their protégé. Recall that among Greek philosophers, Socrates was a mentor
to Plato, who in turn was Aristotle’s mentor.
And traditional mentors have been heralded by their protégés as life changing. Take for example,
Warren Buffet, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and one of the richest men in the world. He credits
economist Ben Graham, author of The Intelligent Investor, as an important influence in his career
development. In turn, Warren Buffet has mentored Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and now a
Traditional mentors offer wise counsel and support, and may serve as important resources if you
are lucky enough to have one. But several recent trends have combined to make relying on one
traditional mentor a risky strategy. First, people rarely spend their entire career in one
organization. We are no longer dependent on organizations to define our careers and most of us
will work for more than one organization. Second, we live in a global world which often
requires new skills and the capacity to learn from new people and experiences. This means that
different people will be more or less helpful in different contexts. Third, technology is always
evolving and keeps us connected at all hours. There are fewer and fewer barriers between work
and home, which forces all of us to make decisions as to when and how to engage (or disengage)
in our work and personal lives. Finally, and this brings us back to those Greek philosophers, the
only constant is change (Heraclitus). While this has obviously been true for a long time, the pace
of change has become increasingly rapid and overwhelming.
Our colleagues Michael Arthur and Denise Rousseau captured many of these trends with their
conception of the “boundaryless” career2. Modern careers break down many traditional
boundaries or barriers. Most importantly, you are likely to think about your career as
independent from the particular organization that employees you. Even within your company, it
is likely that there are fewer boundaries between hierarchical levels due to “restructuring” (e.g.,
delayering, downsizing, or rightsizing) and the increase in team-based work and more informal
work cultures. Thanks to technology, you may work from home or the local coffee shop or the
airport or anywhere at any time. You may move in and out of the workforce or make nontraditional career moves, such as taking a lateral position or even stepping down to learn new
skills. And you will be challenged to work with diverse colleagues or clients, on a global
assignment, or on a virtual team.
Arthur & Rousseau, 1996.
And, as the world continues to change at a rapid pace, you as an individual will be required to
adapt to changing opportunities and work requirements. Our colleague, Tim Hall, calls the new
career the “protean career3”. Proteaus was the Greek god who could change shape at a moment’s
notice to meet the conditions that he faced. While it may not be as quickly as a moment, we are
all faced with the reality that changing our skill set and our job multiple times is exceedingly
likely in the current context.
Modern careers require a network of mentors
All of the challenges in your career will be easier to navigate if you can access help from a
network of mentors with a variety of backgrounds and perspectives. This diversity enables
mentors in different roles to take action that helps you, such as sponsoring and advocating for
your promotion or coaching you through a job change. Your mentoring relationships are
developmental because they contribute to your growth and career advancement. Beyond
traditional mentoring relationships, support from other senior leaders or your peers as may be
developmental as well. This is why in academic research we call it your “developmental
network” – it includes a variety of relationships that support your career development.
Keep in mind that your developmental network is a subset of your overall network, so this is not
a book about networking in a purely instrumental sense. Don’t get us wrong, networking can be
an important part of your career and you may in fact meet future mentors in the process of
networking. But your developmental network is distinctive in its focus on your personal and
professional career growth, and requires self-awareness, a range of critical social skills, and
persistence. In this sense, you want to carefully build relationships to be highly supportive and
effective for you. When you are able to do this, both you and your developer will value the
connection that you have created.
It is important to note that both mentoring roles you may take- as a protégé and as a mentor- are
developmental. Research has shown that mentors get similar career benefits as protégés as well
as gain meaning in their work by passing on their knowledge and wisdom. This mutual learning
and growth is perhaps the most important part of the mentoring process. It is a myth that only the
protégé benefits from this kind of developmental relationship. In fact, both parties also have the
potential to develop self-awareness, new knowledge and skills, and to contribute to the learning
of the other when the relationship is based on trust, effective communication, and a commitment
to the partnership.
Very successful people apply their talents in a many ways as their careers take shape over time.
Part of that experience often includes being a protégé and then becoming a mentor yourself.
Media mogul Oprah Winfrey is a highly visible example of a mentor that has fostered a network
of protégés. She has mentored “Dr. Phil” McGraw, helped develop expert and author Dr.
Mehmet Oz, created opportunities for designer Nate Berkus, launched financial guru Suze
Orman’s television career, and made chef Rachael Ray a household name. When talking about
her own success, Oprah credits one of her mentors, Maya Angelou. Oprah calls Angelou a
“mentor-mother-sister-friend,” highlighting the different roles a mentor may take depending on
the needs of their protégé.
What is an Entrepreneurial Protégé?
When you ask a room full of executives (and we do this regularly), “What makes a good
protégé?” you get a list of admirable traits. They tell us, a protégé should be… open-minded,
motivated, thoughtful, passionate, willing to learn, and most importantly, respectful of their time
and efforts. Leaders want their protégés to be trustworthy, loyal, diligent, and grateful. And the
list goes on as you can imagine.
Our colleague Dawn Chandler calls this “relational savvy,” those attitudes and skills that enable
you to build relationships that foster your personal and career growth4. We see over and over
again that people are able to make significant progress in their careers through their
Take Nina5 for example. She had been promoted quickly up the ranks of the Menswear
Division of a national retailer, but her real passion was cosmetics. She was encouraged
by her fiancé, who also worked there, and her good friend/colleague to try to pursue her
interests by getting to know people in the cosmetics area. At the company-wide holiday
event, Nina introduced herself to Bob, Vice President of the Cosmetics Division, and
chatted with him about some new lines that she liked as well as new trends she had
noticed in other boutique stores. Bob was impressed, clearly Nina had a sense for the
product, and she had engaged him in an interesting conversation where he learned
something. They continued to talk at different company events and over an occasional
coffee as he taught her more about cosmetics and the marketplace. When Bob had an
appropriate job opening, Nina was promoted into the Cosmetics Division.
An entrepreneurial protégé determines their personal goals and seeks mentors who will propel
them toward accomplishing what is personally and professionally meaningful. And as a first
step, it may be that you need help figuring out your goals. That’s o.k. because when you identify
opportunities for career learning, it is easier to enlist the help you need from people you already
Chandler, Hall, & Kram, 2010.
Names and select details have been changed to protect research participants’ anonymity
know to begin building your network of mentors. In doing so, an entrepreneurial protégé is
authentic and eager to learn about their mentor and from their mentor’s experiences.
Alex is another good example. While he was a successful marketing executive for a large
corporation, he was just not as happy as he always imagined with his job. He admired his
friend Sanjay, who had started his own company and seemed to have a lot of fun doing it.
They had lunch on occasion and Alex would ask Sanjay questions about his business and
offer his advice on marketing strategy. After a year of talking about his discontent with
his wife and a couple of friends, including Sanjay, Alex had clarified his goals and why
he wanted to leave. He yearned for the energy and excitement of working for a startup
and building something new. Alex left his secure job and comfortable salary to be the
sixth employee of a software company. Now, a few years later, he is the chief marketing
officer of a highly respected and successful company that is growing at a rapid pace. And
he loves it.
An entrepreneurial protégé will use feedback and ideas from multiple sources to aid in their
career decision-making. Good protégés also realize that their mentoring relationships, like all
relationships, require some give-and-take and ensure that they assist their mentors when possible.
Thus, mentors (or developers) learn in the process of helping their protégés.
When you ask executives, “How do you feel when your protégé succeeds?” They tell usdelighted for him, proud of her, I knew she/he was capable. It feels good. What does this mean
to you though? Well, for one thing, people like helping others who are genuinely interested in
them and thankful for their assistance. They are particularly enthusiastic when they feel like they
learned a lot in the process of helping their protégé. In fact, some of the best mentors feel guilty
taking any credit because they feel that they get more out of the experience than their protégé.
Finally, Charlotte is our third example. Her relationship with one of her past college
professors is a good example of the mutual learning and satisfaction that comes from a
high quality developmental relationship, and how this can lead to a stronger
developmental network overall. After 5 years of working in the financial services
industry, Charlotte began to feel that this was not where she wanted to stay. She found
herself most interested in the process of change and how the two firms she had already
worked for managed the challenges of adapting to macro environmental changes and the
leadership challenges that came with them. After a couple of years of floundering and
networking, she decided that she wanted to do some systematic career exploration to find
out how her goals had changed and how to move towards them. She reconnected with
her professor, who listened and counseled, and suggested others she could talk with
working in positions that might be of interest to her. Because of her own relational
savvy, Charlotte learned about a new field, enlisted several people working in the field of
change management in to her developmental network, and two years later has enrolled in
a Masters-degree program to prepare her for this new career. She expresses much
gratitude to Professor Kaye, who delights in having enabled her to make this significant
change in her career. The two continue to be in touch. Charlotte often recommends her
professor as a potential resource in the field of Change Management, and Professor
Kaye will send Charlotte’s peers her way should they be struggling with how to do
effective career exploration. Mentor and protégé thrive as a result of their relationship.
For as many positive examples of the role of mentors and developmental networks that we have,
there are also many negative examples of dysfunctional relationships as well as the failures to
achieve personal aspirations and goals when individuals do not enlist others in to their
developmental networks. We have seen these in our classrooms, with clients and in our research
interviews. Unfortunately, poor experiences like these are far too common. By understanding
the causes of dysfunction and or the failure to engage in effective relationship building, these
negative experiences can be minimized.
Decades of research shows that good mentoring relationships are critical for career success. We
begin this book explaining why one mentor is not enough in today’s turbulent and challenging
work environment. To ensure success, all of us- from new hire to CEO- should create and
maintain a network of mentors, known in academic circles as a developmental network. We share
stories and invite you to reflect on your own experiences, assess your needs, and cultivate a
developmental network that will enable you to thrive.
How this book will help you become an Entrepreneurial Protégé
We start this book with an overview of mentoring and developmental networks, then discuss
why mentoring works and how you need to approach mentoring as an entrepreneurial protégé. In
the second section, we review the strengths and limitations of formal mentoring programs,
consider the role of leaders in fostering a mentoring culture, underscore the critical importance of
peer mentors, and explore the opportunities of reverse mentoring. The third section focuses on
mentoring outside of the workplace, special challenges presented by workforce diversity and
globalization, and the dark side of mentoring. Finally, we highlight new trends and discuss how
organizations can encourage networks of mentoring relationships. Throughout the book we
include examples and stories of people whose careers and lives have been enriched because of
their developmental networks. In addition, we provide opportunities for self-assessment and pose
questions for reflection. We hope this book helps you, our reader, discover your inner
entrepreneurial protégé and formulate a plan to create your own developmental network.
At the end of each chapter, you will find a brief list of recommended readings if you wish to
further explore the ideas that we discuss in the chapter. In addition, endnotes are provided in the
appendix if you are interested in more in-depth reading and original, academic sources.
Kopelman, S., Feldman, E.R., McDaniel, D.M., & Hall, D.T. (2012). Mindfully negotiating a
career with a heart. Organizational Dynamics, 41: 163-171.
Kram, K.E. and Higgins, M.A. (2009). A new mindset on mentoring: Creating developmental
networks at work. Sloan Management Review, Cambridge, MA.
Petrie, N. (2011). Future trends in leadership development. Center for Creative Leadership:
White Paper, November.
The unique contribution of our book is that it is written for a practitioner audience using an
evidence-based approach, which draws on extensive scholarly research. While there are many
books on mentoring, none of these are similar to the proposed book here. This is the first book
introducing a comprehensive developmental network approach to mentoring for a nonacademic
audience. Competing books are primarily academic in nature, developing and testing theory, or
written by consultants for practitioners focused on traditional mentoring relationships.
Best comparison book (different topic)
Bolles, R.N. What color is your parachute? A practical manual for job hunters and career
changers. New York: Ten Speed Press.
Kram, K.E. (1985). Mentoring at work: Developmental relationships in organizational life.
Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman and Company.
Daloz, L.A. (1999). Mentor: Guiding the journey of adult learners. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Edited Academic Books
Murrell, A.J., Crosby, F.J., Ely, R. (Eds.) (1999). Mentoring dilemmas: Developmental
relationships within multicultural organizations. Mahway, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Clutterbuck, D. & Lane, G. (Eds.) (2004). The situational mentor: An international review of
competencies and capabilities in mentoring. UK: Gower Publishing.
Allen, T.D. & Eby, L.T. (Eds.) (2007). Blackwell handbook of mentoring: A multiple
perspectives approach. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing.
Ragins, B.R. & Kram, K.E. (Eds.) (2007). The handbook of mentoring at work: Theory, research
and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Practitioner Books (Our proposed book is the first to take a developmental network approach to
mentoring. All of the following assume the traditional dyadic approach.)
Hay, J. (1995). Transformational mentoring: Creating developmental alliances for changing
organizational cultures. New York: McGraw.
Wellington, S. and Catalyst (2001). Be your own mentor. New York: Random House.
Bell, C. R. (2002). Managers as Mentors (2nd edition). San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.
Connor, M. & Pokora, J. (2007). Coaching and Mentoring at Work: Developing Effective
Hart, E. W. (2009). Seven keys to successful mentoring. Greensboro, NC: Center for Creative
Zachary, L.J. & Fischler, L.A. (2009). The mentee’s guide: Making mentoring work for you.
Klasen, N. & Clutterbuck, D. (2012). Implementing mentoring schemes. Routledge.
Other Practitioner/Academic Books (These books are written for practitioners and based on
research however they also assume a traditional, dyadic approach to mentoring.)
Ensher, E.A. & Murphy, S.E. (2005). Power mentoring. How successful mentors and protégés
get the most out of their relationships. Jossey-Bass.
Allen, T. D., Finkelstein, L. M. and Poteet, M. L. (2009). Designing workplace mentoring
programs: An evidence-based approach. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Wendy M. Murphy is an Assistant Professor of Management at Babson College. She also
serves as the Coordinator for the Mentoring Programs through the Center for Women’s
Entrepreneurial Leadership (CWEL). Prior to joining the faculty at Babson College, she taught
at Boston College and at Northern Illinois University, where she created an E-Mentoring
Program for the College of Business. Her research focuses on mentoring and developmental
networks, gender in the workplace, identity, and the work-life interface. Murphy has published
her work in several journals, including the Academy of Management Learning and Education,
Career Development International, Gender in Management: An International Journal, Human
Resource Management, Journal of Management, and the Journal of Vocational Behavior among
others. She has served as a Representative-at-Large for the Careers Division of the Academy of
Management. She is also a member of the American Psychological Association, Society for
Industrial and Organizational Psychology, and the Organizational Behavior Teaching Society.
Professor Murphy lives in Dover, MA with her husband and three young children.
Kathy E. Kram is the Shipley Professor in Management at the Boston University School of
Management. Her primary interests are in the areas of adult development, relational learning,
mentoring, diversity issues in executive development, leadership, and organizational change
processes. In addition to her book, Mentoring at Work, she has published in a wide range of
journals including Organizational Dynamics, Academy of Management Journal, Academy of
Management Review, Harvard Business Review, Business Horizons, Qualitative Sociology,
Mentoring International, Journal of Management Development, Journal of Management
Education, Journal of Management Inquiry, Organizational Behavior and Human Performance,
Career Development International, and Psychology of Women Quarterly. She is co-editor of
The Handbook of Mentoring at Work: Theory, Research and Practice with Dr. Belle Rose
Ragins. She is a founding member of the Center for Research on Emotional Intelligence in
Organizations (CREIO). During 2000-2001, she served as a visiting scholar at the Center for
Creative Leadership (CCL) during which time she worked on a study of executive coaching and
its role in developing emotional competence in leaders. She served as a member of the Center’s
Board of Governors from 2002-2009. Professor Kram teaches undergraduate, MBA, and
Executive MBA courses in Global Management, Leadership, and Team Dynamics. She consults
with private and public sector organizations on a variety of talent development concerns. She
enjoys traveling, hiking, and listening to music with her husband, Peter, and their son, Jason.
REFERENCES CITED IN PROPOSAL
Allen, T.D. & Eby, L.T. (Eds.) (2007). Blackwell handbook of mentoring: A multiple
perspectives approach. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing.
Allen, T.D., Eby, L.T., Lentz, E. (2006). Mentorship behaviors and mentorship quality
associated with formal mentoring programs: Closing the gap between research and practice.
Journal of Applied Psychology, 91(3), 567-578.
Allen, T.D., Eby, L.T., Poteet, M.L., Lentz, E., & Lima, L. (2004). Career benefits associated
with mentoring for protégés: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 89(1), 127-136.
Arthur, M.B. and Rousseau, D.M. (Eds.). (1996), The boundaryless career: A new employment
principle for a new organizational era, Oxford University Press, New York.
Baugh, S.G. and Fagenson-Eland, E.A. (2005), “Boundaryless Mentoring: An exploratory study
of the functions provided by internal versus external organizational mentors”, Journal of Applied
Psychology, Vol. 35 No. 5, pp. 939-955.
Baugh, S.G. and E. Sullivan (2005), Mentoring and career development”, Career Development
International, Vol. 10 No. 6/7, pp. 425-428.
Chandler, D.E., Hall, D.T., & Kram, K.E. 2010. A relational approach to talent development: An
underutilized and low-cost alternative, Organizational Dynamics, 39(2), 48-56.
Chandler, D.E., Kram, K.E., Yip, J. (2011). An ecological systems perspective on mentoring at
work: A review and future prospect. Academy of Management Annals, 5, 519-570.
Cohan, P. (2012). http://blogs.forbes.com/petercohan/ Accessed November 5, 2012.
Dobrow, S., Chandler, D.E., Murphy, W.M., & Kram, K.E. (2012). Developmental networks: A
review and prospects for future research. Journal of Management, 38(1): 210-242.
Dutton, J.E. & Ragins, B.R. (2007). Exploring Positive Relationships at Work, Building a
Theoretical and Research Foundation. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Eby, L.T. and Allen, T.D. (2002), “Further investigation of protégés negative mentoring
experience: Patterns and outcomes”, Group and Organization Management, Vol. 27, pp. 456479.
Hall, D.T. (2002), Careers in and out of organizations, Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA.
Higgins, M. C., & Kram, K. E. (2001). Reconceptualizing mentoring at work: A developmental
network perspective. Academy of Management Review, 26(2), 264-288.
Kram, K.E. (1985). Mentoring at work: Developmental relationships in organizational life. New
York: Scott, Foresman and Company.
Kram, K.E. (1996). A relational approach to career development. In D.T. Hall (Ed.). The career
is dead- long live the career: A relational approach to careers. Jossey-Bass San Francisco, CA,
Kram, K.E. and Higgins, M.A. (2009). A new mindset on mentoring: Creating developmental
networks at work. Sloan Management Review, Cambridge, MA.
Kram, K.E. & Isabella, L.A. (1985). Mentoring alternatives: The role of peer relationships in
career development. Academy of Management Journal, 28(1), 110-132.
Murphy, W.M. (2011). From e-mentoring to blended mentoring: Increasing students’
developmental initiation and mentors’ satisfaction. Academy of Management Learning and
Education, 10(4): 606-622.
Murphy, W.M. (2012). Reverse mentoring at work: Fostering cross-generational learning and
developing Millennial leaders. Human Resource Management, 51(4): 549-574.
Murphy, W.M. & Kram, K.E. (2010). Understanding non-work relationships in developmental
networks. Career Development International, 15(7), 637-663.
Parker, P., Hall, D.T., Kram, K.E. (2008). Peer coaching: A relational process for accelerating
career learning. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 7(4), 487-503.
Ragins, B.R. & Kram, K.E. (2007). The handbook of mentoring at work: Research, theory and
practice. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.
Ragins, B.R. & McFarlin, D.B. (1990). Perceptions of mentor roles in cross-gender mentoring
relationships. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 37, 321-339.
Ragins, B.R. & Scandura, T.A. (1994). Gender differences in expected outcomes of mentoring
relationships. Academy of Management Journal, 37(4), 957-971.
Turban, D.B., Dougherty, T.W., & Lee, F.K. (2002). Gender, race, and perceived similarity
effects in developmental relationships: The moderating role of relationship duration. Journal of
Vocational Behavior, 61, 240-262.
Wanberg, C.R., Welsh, E.T., & Hezlett, S.A. (2003). Mentoring research: A review and dynamic
process model. Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management, 22, 39-124.
Warner, F. (2002). Inside Intel’s mentoring movement. FastCompany, 57, 116-121.
Winfrey, O. (2000). Oprah talks to Maya Angelou. http://www.oprah.com/omagazine/OprahInterviews-Maya-Angelou. Accessed December 11, 2012.