Job characteristics and mentoring relationships in preschools: A theory-based investigation of the variability of job characteristics and mentoring relationships through the use of exploratory and confirmatory research methods
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Research on mentoring relationships has mainly focused on the benefits for individuals who provide mentoring (Allen & Eby, 2011), those receiving mentoring (Eby, Butts, Hoffman & Sauer, 2015), and for organizations (Robinson & Reio, 2012). However, there are articles that point to the lack of research on the relationship between structural factors, such as job characteristics, and mentoring relationships (e.g. McManus & Russell, 1997). According to Morgeson and Humphrey (2006), job characteristics, for example autonomy, “is a common way of measuring how jobs are designed” (p. 1321). Therefore, the first aim of this thesis was to develop three scales that describe three different roles involved in formalized mentoring relationships: mentoring provided, mentoring received and peer mentoring. It was assumed that the job characteristic of problem-solving tasks would influence these mentoring roles. Based on an exploratory design, factor analyses and correlation analyses revealed that these mentoring roles are discriminately different from each other. The second aim was to investigate the moderating influence of professional preschool teacher education on the relationship between cognitive tasks and mentoring provided. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and structural equation modeling (SEM) were used to develop multi-group measurement and structural models that gave support to this aim. The third aim was to explore how peer mentoring was influenced by six job characteristics representing task, and social and knowledge characteristics when controlled for by demographic and career variables. Through exploration of these job characteristics, it was possible to reveal that the variability of knowledge and to some extent social characteristics showed a major significant influence on peer mentoring. The fourth and final aim was to study the relationship between autonomy and mentoring provided. A multi-group analysis based on CFA and SEM was used to investigate the moderating influence of educational leadership. The context of this study was Norwegian preschools. Cross-sectional data based on self-reports was collected from 284 employees in 29 preschools.