A self-determination theory perspective on mentoring relationships at work

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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The studies reported in this dissertation aimed to inform researchers studying informal workplace mentoring relationships. A mentoring relationship involves a more experienced employee (the mentor) and a less experienced employee (the protégé) for the purpose of advancing the protégé’s career. This dissertation started with an extensive literature review, which serves as a future research agenda to inspire scholars working in the field of mentoring. Several underdeveloped research areas were identified in this review. The empirical qualitative studies in this dissertation contributed to these research areas. In these studies, protégés, mentors, coupled pairs of mentors and protégés, and persons from their direct work environment were included. Important in addressing the identified shortcomings in the current literature, is the self-determination theory. This theory proposes that individuals have three basic needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. How these basic needs are fulfilled in the context of mentoring relationships, was an important question in this dissertation. Self-determination theory was found to serve as relevant framework for understanding mentoring processes and to get more insight into the role of need-fulfillment processes in these relationships. This dissertation shows how mentors play an important role in satisfying protégés’ needs and how protégés evaluate these need-supportive functions. This dissertation also shows the motives informal mentors may have for providing developmental support to their protégés. Last, this dissertation showed how outsiders of informal mentoring relationships perceive these relationships in their direct work context. The studies presented in this dissertation show us the importance of informal relationships and processes in organizations and how they may satisfy employees’ needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • de Jong, Menno D.T., Supervisor
  • van Vuuren, Mark, Advisor
Award date30 Oct 2015
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-3980-7
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2015


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