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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Developing an organizational understanding of faculty mentoring programs in academic medicine in major American research universities
by Fischer Zellers, Darlene, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2013, 247; 3573265
Abstract (Summary)

This study examines the organizational and contextual factors associated with faculty mentoring programs in academic medicine within major research institutions in the United States, and explores the usefulness of organizational behavior theory in understanding these relationships. To date, many formal faculty mentoring programs are in operation in higher education, yet little is known about why certain practices are favored or thought to be more effective than others, as differentiated from mentoring programs in the business sector. The original conceptual framework of this qualitative multiple cross-case study was based upon faculty mentoring program success factors gleaned from the literature being grouped by one of three perspectives of organizational behavior theory, i.e., structural, political, or symbolic, and examining these variables through the perspective to which they were assigned. Using this approach, very few organizational similarities were found among the twelve faculty mentoring programs in this study. However, by reversing the conceptual framework, and examining each program variable from the three organizational perspectives, six multi-dimensional organizational themes emerged that transcend the program variables: commitment, expectations, responsibility, accountability, community, and transformation. Three of these themes are evident across all organizational perspectives: commitment, expectations, and responsibility. Accountability is evident from a dual structural/political perspective. Community is evident from a dual structural/symbolic perspective. And, transformation is evident from a dual political/ symbolic perspective. Although specific “how to” advice is limited, this study provides support for a multi-dimensional theoretical framework for academic organizations to optimize formal faculty mentoring relationships. This study demonstrates that maximizing these six dimensions within a faculty mentoring program, to the fullest potential within organizational constraints, provides the ideal faculty mentoring program format for that particular academic culture. This model also situates these six dimensions within an academic culture, which allows faculty development professionals to identify the organizational domains that exert the most influence over these dimensions within their faculty mentoring programs. The redesign of how organizational behavior theory was applied within this study revealed a new organizational understanding of faculty mentoring programs within academic cultures. This discovery provides a promising new direction for further study.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Weidman, John C., II
School: University of Pittsburgh
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 74/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Higher Education Administration, Health education, Higher education
Keywords: Academic career development, Academic medicine, Faculty mentoring, Professional development, Research universities
Publication Number: 3573265
ISBN: 978-1-303-43046-6
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