Mentoring in public accounting firms: An analysis of mentor-protégé relationships, mentorship functions, and protégé turnover intentions

T. A. Scandura, R. E. Viator

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

137 Scopus citations

Abstract

From in-depth interviews with public accounting personnel, Dirsmith & Covaleski [Accounting, Organizations and Society (1985) pp. 149-169] concluded that mentoring exists in large public accounting firms and benefits the mentor, protégé and the firm. Based on a national survey of public accounting employees, the current study uses quantitative data analysis to identify public accounting mentoring functions, their effect on employee turnover intentions, and their association with specific organizational variables (protégé organizational level, protégé gender, mentor's position, and audit firm structure). The study found that public accounting mentoring consists of three separate functions: social support, career development, and role modeling. Path analysis indicated that employees with lower turnover intentions received more career development support from their mentor and had a partner as a mentor. The level of social support provided by partner mentors tended to be less than that provided by manager mentors. Female protégés, who tended to have managers as mentors, received more social support when their mentor was also female. The role modeling function did not differ across organizational variables. The results of the study indicate that while social support is a key factor in defining the mentoring process for public accounting employees, the career development function is associated with lower protégé turnover intentions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)717-734
Number of pages18
JournalAccounting, Organizations and Society
Volume19
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1994

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