Dysfunction, It Isn’t Fun
Dysfunction has been defined in two of our readings. An article by Feldman (1999) defines dysfunction by explaining the three key features of a dysfunctional relationship. The first of the features being that the relationship prevents fulfillment of primary needs of either the mentor or the mentee. The second feature of a dysfunctional relationship is that the long term costs of the relationship outweigh the benefits for either the mentor or the mentee. The third feature determines a relationship is dysfunctional if either the mentor or the mentee engage in sabotage against the other. Eby et al. (2010) takes a different approach to defining dysfunction in mentoring. Bad experiences are what constitutes dysfunction, and these negative episodes are measured by subscales: mismatches, neglect, manipulative behavior, lack of expertise, and general dysfunctionality. The sources of dysfunction as defined by both Feldman and Eby et al. are similar conceptually. If a relationship stunts the progression of fulfilling needs or goals, then the relationship could be exhibiting general dysfunctionality or neglect. Manipulative behavior and sabotage against one another are mentioned as sources of dysfunction and are similar as well. Lack of expertise on behalf of the mentor appears related to the significance of long term costs outweighing the benefits as a source of dysfunction; the mentee would be wasting their time attempting to learn from a mentor that has naught to teach.
Climbing Mt. Dysfunction
Feldman professes multiple methods of increasing levels of dysfunction in mentoring relationships or contribute to poor linkages. One of the methods appears initially counterintuitive but upon further contemplation illustrates the importance of authenticity in mentoring relationships. Impression management poses a threat to the functionality of a mentoring relationship due to increased anxiety levels resulting from the regulation of appearances when meeting with the mentor. Impression management has only been shown to...