Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Business


Faculty of Business and Public Management

First Advisor

Dr. Alan Brown

Second Advisor

Dr. Peter Standen


The purpose of this study was to examine the provision of mentoring functions, specifically providing an analysis of the contrast between those functions provided to protégés by both mentors and supervisors. Thus, the study focused on two relationships maintained by the subordinate: the relationship with their supervisor and that with their mentor. Research dealing with the functions mentors are perceived to provide to the protégé examined extensively. Additionally, research which indicates that supervisors may perform mentoring functions is presented. This includes Situational Leadership Theory, Leader member Exchange and Transformational and Transactional Leadership. The functions provided by mentors and elaborated in research by Kram (1985) and Noe (1988), among others, form the basis for both qualitative and quantitative research in this study. An assessment of the potential mentoring benefit accruing from each relationship was made by measuring the functions provided by both supervisors and mentors, as perceived by subordinates. Results indicated that supervisors generally provided both career related and psychosocial mentoring functions to a greater extent than mentors. Relationships of significant strength were found to exist between both the demographic proximity and interaction levels of respondents and mentors and the provision of mentoring functions. Very little support was found for relationships between these factors and supervisory mentoring relationships. Additionally, several barriers were identified which influenced respondent's mentoring relationships with both their mentor and supervisor. Overall, this study found that supervisors provided subordinates with a significant level of mentoring support compared to that provided by mentors.