Abstract: Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationships between specific gender combinations of mentor-mentee and distinct mentoring functions. Design/methodology/approach – Of the 500 participants, 272 were mentees and 228 were mentors from public- and private-sector organisations, representing all four gender combinations of mentor-mentee. Participants completed a 36-item measure of mentoring functions. Findings – Hierarchical regression analyses revealed few significant relationships between gender and mentoring functions. As far as mentees were concerned, female mentors provided personal and emotional guidance to a greater extent than male mentors; female mentors provided career development facilitation to a greater extent than male mentors and female mentees were provided with career development facilitation to a greater extent than male mentees; also female mentees were provided with role modelling to a greater extent than male mentees. As far as mentors were concerned, there were no significant differences in the functions provided to female and male mentees. Research limitations/implications – The study emphasized the need to use measurement tools that examine distinct, rather than categories of, mentoring functions. The findings also suggest that gender may not be as influential, with regard to mentoring functions, as has previously been proffered. Knowledge about the relationships between gender and particular mentoring functions may be beneficial for potential and actual mentees and mentors as they make decisions about becoming involved in mentoring relationships, engage in contracting processes, and monitor and review their relationships. Originality/value – The study was the first to explore the perceptions of both mentees and mentors on gender differences in mentoring functions provided, using an adequate sample and a mentoring instrument designed on a gender representative sample
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