When Does Competitive Psychological Climate Hurt Mentoring? The Moderating Roles of Mentors’ Job Insecurity and Trait Competitiveness

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Journal of Vocational Behavior




Drawing upon conservation of resources theory, we examined when mentors' competitive psychological climate (CPC) may have a negative impact on the extent of mentoring support received by protégés. We identified mentors' job insecurity and trait competitiveness as two key moderators. Our hypotheses were tested using time-lagged data collected from 174 ongoing mentoring dyads. The results showed that mentors' CPC was negatively related to the extent of mentoring support protégés reported receiving when mentors' job insecurity was high, but the relationship was not significant when their job insecurity was low. A similar pattern was found for mentors' trait competitiveness as a moderator. As expected, mentors' CPC did not have a main effect on mentoring support received by protégés. We also found that mentorship formality did not affect these moderation effects. Furthermore, supplementary analyses showed that the hypothesized moderation effects on the three different types of mentoring support (i.e., career-related support, psychosocial support, and role modeling) were generally similar to those on overall mentoring received, but they also revealed several interesting differences. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed.


Competitive psychological climate; Conservation of resources theory; Job insecurity; Mentoring; Trait competitiveness


Psychological Phenomena and Processes

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