A knowledge-based perspective of formal staff mentoring in higher education: context, process and outcomes.

  • Marie Connolly

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Business (DBA)


As a powerful form of knowledge creation, mentoring can deliver new ideas to organisations. Theorists and practitioners alike advocate that engaging in effective mentoring relationships can be very useful to an individual’s personal and professional development. However, very little empirical work has been carried out on the impact of mentoring relationships on knowledge creation and sharing.Through the development of a conceptual model of mentoring from a knowledge-based perspective (Figure 2.1), which is based on Nonaka and Takeuchi's (1995) theoretical SECI (socialisation, externalisation, combination and integration) process, this research focuses in particular on the socialisation dimension – the face-to-face sharing of knowledge between mentors and mentees. Using a qualitative, mixed-methods approach involving a single case study, a focus group and 27 semi-structured, one-to- one interviews, my research is framed on the three elements of the knowledge-creation process:1.The context: the space where mentoring takes place2.The process: the matching and knowledge-conversion process within the mentoring relationship3.The outcomes: intrinsic and extrinsic outcomes experienced by those involved in mentoring partnershipsThe research findings present a new, knowledge-based perspective of formal staff mentoring in higher education and, in so doing, contribute to narrowing the identified gaps in the literature. The research concludes that formal mentoring provides a ‘safe socialisation space’ for the spiral of knowledge creation and transfer to flourish through sharing and transferring existing knowledge. In particular, the findings show that the transfer of tacit knowledge, specifically institutional tacit knowledge, from the more experienced mentor to the mentee results in the creation of new knowledge and key intrinsic and extrinsic outcomes for the mentee, mentor and institution.
Date of Award14 Jun 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorJuani Swart (Supervisor) & Katharina Chudzikowski (Supervisor)


  • Mentoring
  • Knowledge

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