Development of an electronic mentoring scale for the investigation of the effects of the Internet on mentoring practices

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Management Science

First Committee Member

Terri A. Scandura - Committee Chair


Past mentoring research has positioned mentoring as a face-to-face phenomenon. New developments in the Internet, online relationships, and online learning are questioning this position. The Internet is defined as advances in software, computer interconnectivity, and computer networking allowing for computer-mediated-communication and the creation of computer social networks. The Internet is thus an external force that has the potential to provide a strong influence on mentoring by transferring the mentor-protege face-to-face communication process to a computer-mediated-communication model. While measurement instruments exist that capture face-to-face mentoring outcomes, none exist that assesses the influence of the Internet on mentoring. The current study addressed this deficit by developing a measure to assess the effects of the Internet on mentoring practices.Qualitative and quantitative research methods were employed in this inquiry to understand the Internet experience on mentoring and develop the electronic mentoring scale. The qualitative study employed a sample of 59 Executive masters of Business Administration (EMBA) students to develop a pool of items tapping the conceptual domain of the influence of the Internet on mentoring. This list of items formed the basis for the electronic mentoring scale. The quantitative analysis utilized measurement scale development procedures assessing content adequacy of the developed measure. A total sample of 151 college students participated in the content adequacy assessment. Triangulating the scale development for electronic mentoring using both qualitative and quantitative methodologies increased the robustness of the resultant electronic mentoring scale.As the mentoring literature revealed, mentoring affords great benefits to the mentor, the protege, and the organization. Using the Internet as the primary communication tool, the goal of the electronic mentoring model is to continue to reap the benefits of mentoring through the Internet. However, as illustrated through the literature review, there are no empirical studies comparing face-to-face mentoring and electronic mentoring. This study is expected to contribute to the literature in two ways: (1) by providing a means of assessing electronic mentoring so that it may eventually be compared to traditional mentoring, and (2) by providing the foundational support to further empirical research of electronic mentoring.


Business Administration, Management; Psychology, Industrial

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