Mentoring as a knowledge management tool in organisations

Mavuso, Michael Abby (2007-03)

Thesis (MPhil (Information Science))--University of Stellenbosch, 2007.


Mentoring programmes have been implemented in organisations to manage succession planning and talent management; to make sure that there are enough resources (people) to take over some tasks when employees in those positions retire or leave the organisation for greener pastures. Mentoring programmes have also been implemented to minimize the call back of retired employees to the organisation at an exorbitant salary to transfer the knowledge that should have been transferred while they where still employees of the organisation. The number one problem facing organisations these days is talent management and global brain drain. Organisations are continuously faced with challenges of how they are going to make sure that their intellectual capital and knowledge remain in their organisational structures and not lost to competitors outside. Organisations have tried many tools to enhance knowledge sharing and transfer, however very little research has been done to look at mentoring as another form to share and transfer knowledge within the structures of organisations. This study aims to look at mentoring and the role it plays in knowledge management as a tool to share and transfer knowledge. It will also pursue to understand the term mentoring, how it differs or is similar to coaching and other related terms. It will also look at how organisations can go about implementing and running mentoring programmes. The research will follow a methodology of literature review from various primary and secondary sources, to ascertain what has been written on mentoring in general, as well as more specifically literature on the relationship between mentoring and knowledge management and its use in organisations. It will also look at local and international firms which have implemented mentoring programmes and how they have succeeded in managing and transferring knowledge between experienced and less experienced employees. It will also look at types of mentoring that the organisation may consider implementing in respective structures. Roles and responsibilities of various parties in the mentoring programme will also be discussed briefly. It has been proven in this research that little has been written and researched on mentoring and knowledge management. Even companies mentioned in this research, their mentoring programmes didn’t have a knowledge management flavour in it; they looked more at succession planning and the human resource factor of mentoring. South Africa as a country as well is still lagging behind with regard to mentoring; it is only in 2006 that an association of mentoring and coaching was introduced, which hopes to look at implementing country-wide standards and ethics. United States of America and United Kingdom are well developed and far ahead with mentoring in general as well as within organisations. Seeing that little has been written on the concept of mentoring and knowledge management, this research concludes that more research need to be conducted to understand and look at the relationship and value of mentoring in knowledge management. It also recommends further research on e-mentoring. The research also recommends that mentoring should be included in performance agreements of experienced employees.

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