"There's magic in the web": E-mentoring for women's career development

  • Headlam-Wells J
  • Gosland J
  • Craig J
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Abstract

Purpose: This paper aims to advance the argument for the transformative potential of e-mentoring for professional women. Design/methodology/approach: Existing mentoring and e-mentoring models are evaluated as the context for the development of an innovative e-mentoring programme for professional women in the UK (Empathy-Edge). The European Union-funded programme consisted of 122 participants who were matched by a combination of psychological profiling and analytical processing of these data to produce optimal matches. The e-mentoring system employed a comprehensive range of resources and communication media which are often not included in similar systems. Findings: Initial evaluation data are presented. The benefits and challenges of e-mentoring are analysed, together with initial recommendations for implementing effective schemes. Practical implications: The paper argues that e-mentoring is a valuable tool for the career and management development of both returners and employed women who wish to break through the "glass ceiling". It also indirectly improves their information and communications technologies (ICT) skills. Additionally, the paper demonstrates the strategic importance of psychological profiling for matching mentoring participants. Originality/value: The field of e-mentoring is relatively new and is under-researched, particularly from a European perspective. Combining insights from the fields of mentoring, gender in management, and computer-mediated communication, Empathy-Edge offers a new approach to career development for professional women. (Contains 1 figure, 7 tables and 1 note.)

Author-supplied keywords

  • Career development
  • Mentoring
  • Women

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Authors

  • Jenny Headlam-Wells

  • Julian Gosland

  • Jane Craig

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