Impact of mentoring on practicing engineers: a meta-synthesis

Silky S.K. Wong, Jennifer A. Cross, Phillip S. Mueller

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: This paper aims to present a literature review to examine the career development outcomes on practicing engineering novices who are being mentored at work, and factors of mentoring that contribute to those career development outcomes. Design/methodology/approach: Through a meta-synthesis, the research premises and findings of 12 articles identified through a systematic search of nine databases were examined and synthesized, to identify the most common career development outcomes and the most influential factors contributing to these outcomes. Findings: The most common contributing factors were found to be job characteristics, career development mentoring support, psychosocial mentoring support and mentoring methods. The most frequent career outcomes were career satisfaction and promotion. Research limitations/implications: The sample consisted of only 12 articles; however, according to the guidelines of meta-synthesis and Critical Appraisal Skills Program (CASP), the sample size was ideal. Further, articles were all of high or very high quality, and, in all studies, multiple contributing factors were measured to investigate the relationships among those factors and career outcomes. The factors and outcomes can be considered by researchers as study variables in future studies. Practical implications: Organizations and practitioners can use factors that influence mentoring outcomes and the mentoring outcomes found in this study to develop more effective mentoring programs. Originality/value: To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first systematic review of prior research regarding mentoring for practicing engineers. This paper allows researchers and practitioners to identify key findings and trends in past works, recognize research gaps and propose future research directions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-441
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Workplace Learning
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 23 2018


  • Engineering
  • Expertise development
  • Mentoring
  • Meta-synthesis
  • Practice of engineering
  • Systematic review


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