Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Mary Jo Abascal-Hildebrand, EdD, Director; Mary Woods Scherr, PhD; Johanna S. Hunsaker, PhD; Philip O. Hwang, PhD


business, gender, Leadership studies, mentoring, Phenomenology, qualitative, women


The purpose of this study was to examine the lived experience of ten business and professional women who have experienced a mentoring relationship as a mentor or protegee with another woman, to understand the essence of their mentoring experience, and to know more about their participation as mentors. This study began with the assumption that women who experienced mentoring whether from women or men would be active mentors themselves. However, the data reveal an important contradiction.

Since women are entering the business and professional ranks of the work force at an increasing pace, there are greater numbers of women who have reached positions of influence and are in situations to mentor other women. Likewise, there is also an increase in the number of women entering professions who may benefit from a mentoring relationship, especially as it concerns their workplace satisfaction and professional development. Thus, those who promote mentoring need to know more about its practice.

This qualitative study took a phenomenological approach to examine mentoring experiences; the data were collected during conversations that developed into narratives. This approach enabled these women participants to reflect deeply on their own mentoring experiences, and to consider how they in turn mentor others.

These women narrated their mentoring experiences as they examined the influences of family, education, and gender, as well as their work. Part of this examination considered the historical context which has otherwise been repressive to women's development in general and to their career development in particular for these women aged thirty-eight to fifty-seven.

There are two major implications of this study. First, while these women are interested in mentoring, participate in and enjoy mentoring, and recognize the benefits of mentoring, they lack a commitment to specifically mentor other women. Second, this phenomenological methodology promoted their understanding about the way they seem to distance themselves from mentoring even though they believe they benefited from their own mentoring experiences.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access