Mentoring and Diversity: An International Perspective

Chapter 8: Differences that make a difference: common themes in the individual case studies of diversified mentoring relationships

Belle Rose Ragins

The individual cases provide some interesting qualitative insights into dynamics that are unique to diversified mentoring relationships. While these cases certainly do not represent all diversified relationships, they do represent an interesting cross-section of diversified mentoring relationships. In particular, these cases came from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, represent both formal and informal relationships, and were discussed from the mentor s and prot g s perspectives. The mentoring relationships were also quite diverse: pairs represented minority status relating to race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, nationality and socioeconomic class. Some of the relationships represent classic diversified mentoring relationships (i.e. Belinda and John s pairing as an African-American female prot g e and a white male mentor), while other relationships involve members who share a common identity but struggled with diversity issues stemming from that identity (i.e. Holly and Jude s pairing as a white lesbian mentor and a white lesbian prot g e).

What do these cases tell us about developing effective diversified mentoring relationships? In this chapter, I identify six themes underlying these individual cases. There were also some interesting interrelated aspects of these cases that have implications for both practitioners and academics. These themes and aspects are useful for practitioners interested in promoting effective diversified mentoring relationships, and may also fuel the development of future theory and research on diversified mentoring relationships.

Theme 1: Sharing values and discovering deep diversity

One of the most salient themes that emerged from these cases was the importance of shared values in the establishment of diversified mentoring relationships.

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