Mentoring Together: A Literature Review of Group Mentoring

Feb. 01, 2012

Source: Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning, Vol. 20, No. 1, February 2012, 27–55
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This article presents a literature review of peer-reviewed articles and dissertations that contribute to the theory and research of group mentoring.

In this literature review, the author summarized the distinct perspectives that have been theorized and researched.
He also reviewed several typologies including peer mentoring, one-to-many mentoring, and many-to-one mentoring, and many-to-many mentoring that have been identified in the research. Finally, he identified significant gaps that exist in the study of group mentoring.

The Development of Group Mentoring Theory
Using almost 20 years of research material, the author reviewed group mentoring theories that were developed since the mid-1990s.
The development of these theories centered on attempts to take the strengths of one-to-one mentoring (OTOM) and combine it with the benefits of group learning.

Distinct Typology in Group Mentoring Research

Over the last 25 years, researchers have recognized group mentoring as a viable alternative for the development of personal and professional skills— the primary characteristics of mentoring.

During that time, researchers have identified four types of group mentoring:
(a) peer group mentoring,
(b) one-to- many mentoring,
(c) many-to-one mentoring, and
(d) many-to-many mentoring.

Discussion and Further Research

Of the four mentoring types distinguished in the literature, peer group mentoring has been the most researched (55% of research articles in this work) of the four models.
It has identified both personal and professional growth benefits to participants.

When considering the demography of the studies and specifically gender, 79% of the studies have been mixed.

Female populations have made up the other 21% of articles.
Though the research seems to conclude that communal activity for women has positive effects both personally and professionally, researchers have not identified what benefits communal activity through group mentoring might gain for men.
This represents a tremendous gap in the research that needs to be bridged.

In addition to gender gaps in research, significant gaps exist in racial and cultural diversity in the studies.

Another significant gap is revealed when examining the field of studies that have been researched in group mentoring.
The educational (defined as research with populations made up of either students and/or teaching faculty), medical, and library fields represent 86% of the research articles (52%, 24%, and 10% respectively).

Although the world of technology is changing the way that individuals interact, the only three articles presented with a purely online mentoring model (Burgstahler & Crawford, 2007; Ensher et al., 2003; Packard, 2003) are at least four years old and all theoretical in nature.
With the emergence of online networking resources such as Facebook, the possibilities for online group mentoring have escalated exponentially but the research quantifying these opportunities has not yet emerged.

Burgstahler, S., & Crawford, L. (2007). Managing an e-mentoring community to support students with disabilities: A case study. AACE Journal, 15(2), 97–114.

Ensher, E. A., Heun, C., & Blanchard, A. (2003). Online mentoring and computer-mediated communication: New directions in research. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 63, 264–288.

Packard, B. W. (2003). Web-based mentoring: Challenging traditional models to increase women’s access. Mentoring & Tutoring, 11(1), 53–65.

Updated: Mar. 11, 2014