American Society of Civil Engineers

Mentoring—New Twists on a Familiar Topic

by Shelley A. M. Wolff, P.E.

Leadership and Management in Engineering, Vol. 2, No. 4, October 2002, pp. 40-42, (doi:

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Document type: Feature Article
Abstract: The traditional meaning of “mentoring” is discussed, and recent developments are reviewed. Attention is then given to a comparison of formal and informal mentoring arrangements, with the pros and cons of each summarized. It is noted that women and members of minorities may be excluded in informal arrangements. Formal mentoring programs at various companies are then surveyed. The way in which advances in communication and technology are facilitating the mentoring process is described, and the phenomenon of reverse, or bottom-up, mentoring is explained. Finally, the role of the “influencer” is discussed.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Personnel management
Minority groups
Professional development