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Developing an Organizational Understanding of Faculty Mentoring Programs in Academic Medicine in Major American Research Universities

Zellers, Darlene (2013) Developing an Organizational Understanding of Faculty Mentoring Programs in Academic Medicine in Major American Research Universities. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This study examines the organizational and contextual factors associated with faculty mentoring programs in academic medicine within major research institutions in the United States, and explores the usefulness of organizational behavior theory in understanding these relationships. To date, many formal faculty mentoring programs are in operation in higher education, yet little is known about why certain practices are favored or thought to be more effective than others, as differentiated from mentoring programs in the business sector. The original conceptual framework of this qualitative multiple cross-case study was based upon faculty mentoring program success factors gleaned from the literature being grouped by one of three perspectives of organizational behavior theory, i.e., structural, political, or symbolic, and examining these variables through the perspective to which they were assigned. Using this approach, very few organizational similarities were found among the twelve faculty mentoring programs in this study. However, by reversing the conceptual framework, and examining each program variable from the three organizational perspectives, six multi-dimensional organizational themes emerged that transcend the program variables: commitment, expectations, responsibility, accountability, community, and transformation. Three of these themes are evident across all organizational perspectives: commitment, expectations, and responsibility. Accountability is evident from a dual structural/political perspective. Community is evident from a dual structural/symbolic perspective. And, transformation is evident from a dual political/symbolic perspective. Although specific “how to” advice is limited, this study provides support for a multi-dimensional theoretical framework for academic organizations to optimize formal faculty mentoring relationships. This study demonstrates that maximizing these six dimensions within a faculty mentoring program, to the fullest potential within organizational constraints, provides the ideal faculty mentoring program format for that particular academic culture. This model also situates these six dimensions within an academic culture, which allows faculty development professionals to identify the organizational domains that exert the most influence over these dimensions within their faculty mentoring programs. The redesign of how organizational behavior theory was applied within this study revealed a new organizational understanding of faculty mentoring programs within academic cultures. This discovery provides a promising new direction for further study.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Zellers, Darlenezellersd@pitt.eduZELLERSD
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairWeidman, John Cweidman@pitt.eduWEIDMAN
Committee MemberMcclure, Maureenmmcclure@pitt.eduMMCCLURE
Committee MemberTananis, Cynthiatananis@pitt.eduTANANIS
Committee MemberOlshansky,
Date: 14 May 2013
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 28 March 2013
Approval Date: 14 May 2013
Submission Date: 10 May 2013
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 246
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: faculty mentoring career development professional development academic career development faculty development mentoring programs
Date Deposited: 14 May 2013 18:37
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:12


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